Thursday, January 6, 2011, 1:13 PM

WEEKENDS No Time Off For Arkansas Furniture Retailers

Two Jonesboro, Arkansas furniture retailers are in litigation over the use of the term "WEEKENDS" in their store names.  On December 17, 2010, Christopher Gamble, owner of a furniture store doing business as "Weekends" sued Furniture Row, LLC and Furniture Row USA, LCC for adding the term "Weekends" to the name of their store approximately six miles from Gamble's store thus naming the store "Weekends at Furniture Row."  (Civil Action No. 3:10-cv-323 (E.D. Ark.)).

The complaint reveals that Gamble does not have a federal trademark registration and only obtained a state registration after defendants changed their store's name.  While without the benefits of a federal registration, Gamble apparently has collected over 30 instances of actual confusion.  Presuming those instances of confusion are admissible, this case demonstrates how a common law mark can potentially be protected without a federal registration.  Of course, the better course of action is seek and obtain a federal registration in most cases.


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