Legal Battle Unfolds: Annie Sloan vs. Jolie Home
In a significant legal development, U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon issued a crucial preliminary injunction on October twelfth against Jolie Home, LLC, and various defendants accused of trademark infringement by Annie Sloan Interiors, the U.K.-based creators of Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint®.
Background of the Dispute
Annie Sloan initiated trademark claims against Jolie Home and Jolie Design and Décor after successfully securing a summary judgment at the district court regarding the termination of their distribution agreement. The perpetual agreement was terminated by Annie Sloan due to Jolie Design’s actions, such as selling Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint® on platforms like Amazon, in violation of the distribution agreement.
Trademark Infringement Allegations
Following the termination, Jolie Design, and its operator Lisa Rickert, established a new entity, Jolie Home, engaging with a manufacturer of a paint product that Annie Sloan alleged infringed upon its trademarks and trade dress associated with the Chalk Paint® product. This unprecedented move from a former distributor to a direct competitor prompted legal action.
Court’s Decision and Analysis
Judge Lemmon’s order effectively halted Jolie Home from introducing the infringing product to the market, preventing potential damage to Annie Sloan’s reputation. The court found evidence that Jolie Home intentionally mimicked Annie Sloan’s trade dress, including replicating the font style for the brand name.
Unique Legal Situation
Andy Lee, lead counsel representing Annie Sloan, emphasized the rarity of a terminated distributor becoming a competitor and engaging in trademark infringement. He highlighted the court’s role in protecting Annie Sloan’s reputation by issuing the preliminary injunction.
Upcoming Legal Proceedings
Despite the preliminary injunction, Jolie Design has appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. A trial for a permanent injunction is scheduled for June 2019. Annie Sloan filed a motion for contempt on November 20th, alleging that the defendants violated the preliminary injunction. The contempt hearing is set for mid-January 2019.