A prominent fitness company is accusing a competitor of trademark infringement for allegedly marketing similarly branded products despite being ordered to stop by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
In its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport Monday, Hybrid Athletics claims Hylete LLC is making money off its similar mark and name. Stamford-based Hybrid Athletics, which registered several of the trademarks in question in 2008, claims California-based Hylete has used the marks extensively since at least April 2012.
TTAB ruled in Hybrid’s favor in December 2016, according to the lawsuit. Hylete asked the board to reconsider, but it denied that request on March 16. Despite that order, Hylete continues to advertise and market athletic apparel, including shirts, polos, tank tops and headwear, with similar markings, according to the lawsuit.
In addition, “Hylete is a combination of the words hybrid and athlete, which are the same words, or confusingly similar to, as those of Hybrid,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also claims the current owners of Hylete are intimately familiar with the Hybrid mark. Before the formation of Hylete, Hybrid worked with now-shuttered mixed martial arts clothing manufacturer JACO, which produced shorts for Hybrid using its mark. JACO was owned by Ron Wilson, who now owns Hylete.
The lawsuit claims ”JACO saved the Hybrid marks on its computer system.”
The lawsuit includes claims of trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition and unfair competition under various state and federal laws. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and punitive damages.
Michael Cosma of Whitmyer IP Group in Stamford represents Hybrid. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Also, no one from Hylete’s Solana Beach, California, headquarters responded to a request for comment Monday.
The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden.