Samsung Electronics has successfully defended itself in a lawsuit that accused the company of violating the trademark rights of a talent-management agency that also uses the “S10” name. A Los Angeles federal jury ruled in favor of Samsung on Friday, affirming that the company’s Galaxy S10 phones did not infringe on the trademark of the agency.
Furthermore, according to a court document published on Monday, the jury found that S10 Entertainment & Media LLC failed to demonstrate that Samsung’s popular smartphones would likely cause consumer confusion and overshadow its brand in the marketplace. This further solidifies Samsung’s position in the lawsuit, as the jury’s decision suggests that the use of the “S10” name by Samsung does not infringe on the trademark of the talent-management agency.
S10 Entertainment & Media LLC, the talent-management agency that brought the trademark lawsuit against Samsung, manages pop singers Anitta and Normani and claimed that it began using the “S10” name in 2017. In contrast, Samsung began selling its Galaxy S-series smartphones in 2010 and launched the S10 phones in 2019. This timeline suggests that Samsung was using the “S10” name for its smartphones before S10 Entertainment & Media LLC began using it for its brand. However, the jury’s decision was not based on the timeline alone but also on the lack of evidence demonstrating that Samsung’s use of the name was likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.
S10 Entertainment argued that Samsung’s advertising would mislead customers into believing that the two brands were affiliated, citing Samsung’s use of a similar font and color scheme as the talent agency for its S10 logo, as well as its promotional partnerships with musicians.
The lawsuit also included additional claims from S10 Entertainment, including that the talent agency had received social media messages from people attempting to purchase Samsung’s phones under the mistaken belief that they were associated with the talent agency. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that Samsung was aware of S10 Entertainment before adopting the “S10” branding and that the two companies had discussed a potential deal for pop singer Anitta to endorse Samsung.
“As a result of confusion between Samsung’s S10 phone line and S10 Entertainment’s S10 mark, the value and goodwill of S10 Entertainment’s Instagram and social media footprint have been severely diminished,” the lawsuit said.
Samsung told the court that its use of “S10” would not cause confusion, that it had priority to the S10 name based on its earlier Galaxy S “family” of marks, and that S10 waited too long to bring the lawsuit.
The case is S10 Entertainment & Media LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-02443.
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Thanks to “Reuters”