Jetblack, a shopper concierge service that uses text messaging, was launched by Walmart’s incubator, Store No. 8, a year ago. Walmart is now being sued for trademark infringement by discount airline company JetBlue for the use of the “Jetblack” name.
On June 21, JetBlue Airways Corp., filed suit against Walmart, Jet.com and the technology arm Apollo. The 53-page complaint filed in the Southern District of New York outlined the retail giant’s use of the Jetblack to name its retail service has resulted in damages to JetBlue’s retail division that also sells some of the same items sold to Jetblack subscribers.
“Walmart is an intellectual property owner and respects the intellectual property rights of others. We take this issue seriously and once we are served with the complaint, we will respond appropriately with the court,” according to a statement received by Talk Business & Politics from Walmart corporate spokesman Randy Hargrove.
The suit claims Jetblack has benefited from having a name resembling JetBlue. The complaint said Walmart filed applications to register the trademark Jet Black (using two separate words) in May 2017. These applications were filed where JetBlue has prior rights. But the retail subsequently eliminated the space using Jetblack.
JetBlue said the use of Jetblack a “transparent attempt” by Walmart to capitalize on the goodwill associated with the carrier’s trademarks. JetBlue also said Jetblack was likely to cause “significant consumer confusion” as Walmart expands the service, and warned that Walmart intends further infringements by using additional “Jet+color” names such as Jetgold and Jetsilver.
The plaintiffs are asking the court for a jury trial and seeking a permanent injunction against Walmart using the “infringing Mark, the JetBlue Marks or colorable limitations thereof.” JetBlue is also asking the court to require Walmart to forfeit and deliver for destruction all label, signs, advertisements or other marketing materials bearing the Jetblack name.
JetBlue said it will seek compensatory and punitive damages it has suffered as a result of the trademark infringement, which will be proven at the trial.
Earlier this month Marc Lore, founder of Jet.com and now CEO of Walmart U.S. e-Commerce, told the media the Jetblack service was doing well in Manhattan. He said there is a waiting list to take part. Lore said the service provided key shopper insights for the retail giant but there were no plans to expand the trial to other metro areas.