Walmart Sued By Cooler Maker Over Intellectual Property

An Austin, Texas-based maker of coolers, Yeti Coolers LLC, has filed a lawsuit against Walmart alleging violation of copyright, trademark and patent by the biggest big-box retailer in the world. According to Yeti, products that appear strikingly similar to the cooler maker’s are being sold by Walmart even though they are knockoffs.

This is not the first time that Yeti is filing a lawsuit against Walmart alleging infringement of intellectual property as the cooler maker had done the same in 2016 before a settlement was reached between the two parties earlier this year. In the latest lawsuit Yeti alleges that Walmart has continued to stock the knockoffs which include a Koozie and Rambler cups. Walmart has denied the allegations.

Rigorous defense

“We’ve worked hard to comply with the settlement agreement. We’ve confirmed that a sales block is in place. Any Yeti-branded products on Walmart.com are sold and fulfilled by third parties, not Walmart. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves,”read a statement from the retailer.

In the settlement deal that was reached earlier in the year, it was agreed that Yeti dismiss all the claims it had against Walmart in exchange for the retailer preventing the sale of infringing products. Now Yeti claims the agreement has been flouted.

This not the first time that Walmart is being accused of stocking items which are in violation of intellectual property rights. According to IPWatchdog, the retailer has been the defendant in a total of 66 court cases regarding copyright, trademark or patent claims.

Me-too copycats

Yeti was started 11 years ago by two brothers Ryan and Roy Seiders and two years reached revenues of over $468 million with an employee base of more than 300 workers. Besides roto-molded coolers the firm also sells apparel, drinkware, duffel bags, soft coolers as well as other times. The startling rise of the company has seen copycats some of whom have been forced to shut down following legal action. Yeti also launched its first retail outlet this year.

The lawsuit against Walmart comes in the wake of the giant retailer revealing the most popular items in every state on its e-commerce platform. In its home state of Arkansas, the most popular item ordered online from Walmart in 2017 was chocolate. The most ordered item by Californians was protein powder while in Florida it was sparkling cider. In the state of Illinois it was erasers while in New York and Texas it was cheerios and TV wall mounts respectively.

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