Building 19 wins good decision cheap in trademark battle with fancy-shmancy crystal company

If you saw one of those Building 19 circulars advertising the sale of some salvaged Swarovski crystal, would you assume Swarovski was going downmarket?

A federal appeals court ruled today that the maker of expensive crystal is going to have to do a better job proving such an ad would confuse consumers if it wants to win a lawsuit seeking to bar Building 19 from mentioning its name at all as it tries to unload $500,000 worth of Swarovski goods salvaged from a warehouse hit by a tornado.

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said Swarovski to date has failed to prove such confusion would exist and that without that, it can't claim its reputation has been "irreparably" damaged. Confusion in trademark cases usually comes when one company tries to pass its own goods off as a better known competitor's wares, but in this case, Building 19 wasn't trying to foist one on an unsuspecting public - it really would sell Swarovski crystal, just to a clientele not known for frequenting the hoity-toity upscale malls in which Swarovski normally plies its wares.

Swarovski also highlights evidence presented in the hearing that its luxury brand reputation would suffer as a result of its association with Building #19. But, there was no formal finding of irreparable harm, and that is consonant with the lack of any finding of confusion. Without an explanation by the district court, there is no indication in the record that the court concluded that Swarovski would suffer irreparable harm if it allowed the advertisement to run as proposed.

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This is New England

There will be more than a few of those upmarket fancy mall customers descending on Building 19 in their expensive, but durable vehicles to check out what's there.

Bingo. Rich people are often

Bingo. Rich people are often the cheapest consumers in New England. It's that Protestant Work Ethic that just never wore off. They will go to any length to save even a few dollars (I've even given price adjustments worth $2 upon request to someone with an Amex Centurion Card before) . This sale will bring people out in droves from the ritzy burbs to snatch up these deals.

You got it all wrong

Yeah, sure, for compost, mulch, or a snow shovel, maybe. But value is the name of this game - getting something that is of high value for a low price is blood sport in these parts. WalMart? Tends to be low value for low price.

I've helped a very well dressed woman with a Mercedes trash-pick a rather tatty but otherwise fabulous Morris chair before. That's what I'm talking about!

Too true!

By on

Many years ago, I had to pick up a client in one of the vans who lived in Weston. I took him to Bldg.19 in Burlington where he purchased several of those high end Proton TV's and on the way back proudly exclaimed "I'll save a bundle on bonuses at the firm this year!".