Shutting Down a Mississippi Bait And Switch

October 10, 2020

Young woman holding smartphone in front of a shop
Client was losing sales to an ex-dealer. Despite repeated requests to immediately stop, the ex-dealer continued to display on its exterior a large sign featuring our client’s logo. In addition, it ran newspaper advertisements claiming to be an authorized dealer of our client’s products. Further, the owner engaged in classic bait and switch tactics by disparaging our client’s products to customers lured into his store, and recommending instead those of our client’s largest competitor. Our office contacted the owner insisting that he immediately cease his unlawful activities. The ex-dealer agreed to comply with our requests. But then he became recalcitrant based in part on advice received while out hunting with a retired judge. We prefer persuasion over the iron bar of litigation, but sometimes a fight is thrust upon reasonable right-holders. Thus, we sued the ex-dealer in the U.S. District Court, alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, and dilution. This course had the desired de-intoxicating effect: the owner promptly settled on terms very favorable to our client, which included the payment of monetary damages. The lesson here: never ask a barber if you need a hair-cut, and never ask a judge if you should litigate.


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