• Ray Allegrezza

Stanley Furniture sues Costco, Whalen Furniture

Claims trademark infringement, design knockoff

ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. β€” Adult and youth case goods resource Stanley Furniture has filed a trademark infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against retailer Costco and manufacturer Whalen Furniture.

In a statement, Stanley said it filed the action to protect its brand and furniture designs.

The lawsuit alleges the intentional copying of Stanley's MyHaven trademark and furniture collection, part of the company's Young America infant and youth furniture line. It claims that Costco and Whalen are using without authorization the MyHaven trademark and have substantially duplicated the design and trade dress of the Young America MyHaven bed.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Greensboro, N.C. The complaint identifies the "My Haven" bedroom furniture manufactured by Whalen and sold under the name Bayside Furnishings. Stanley seeks an injunction to stop all U.S. sales, manufacturing and importation of the infringing furniture, and compensation in the form of attorney's fees and damages incurred from such sales.

Whalen is selling the infringing furniture through Costco stores, the suit adds.

"Consumers have come to recognize our MyHaven collection within Young America as high quality furniture made right here in the USA," said Glenn Prillaman, Stanley Furniture's president and CEO.

"We spend a great deal of time, effort and resources educating consumers and creating goodwill for our brands and our products. We are a global company utilizing overseas manufacturing sources for other brands offered by our company. However, we cannot tolerate the use of our brand names and designs to deceive the American public and we will aggressively protect our position," Prillaman added.

Young America is made at the Stanley manufacturing facility in Robbinsville, N.C., which is nearing completion of an $8 million refurbishment, he said.

"We are surprised as to the boldness of actions in copying our name and design, and using it to label children's furniture made in Vietnam," said Prillaman. "We are forced to take action to protect our retail customers who have come to rely upon the Young America brand as a symbol of quality, American-made products. These customers have stuck with us during our journey to provide a differentiated product that will retail in the premium segment of our industry, even as overseas competition has so often led our industry towards commoditization. We will fight for our retail customer and we will fight for our associate, the American furniture factory worker."

Ken Whalen, president of Whalen Furniture, told Furniture/Today at press time that, "We have not had any communication with Stanley Furniture regarding this matter."

However, after being told the specifics of Stanley's allegations, Whalen said, "We do not believe this suit has merit."

Costco officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza | Editor in Chief, Furniture Today

Each week in my Editor's Desk blogs, we'll take a look at interesting news or events in the furniture industry. The most important part of this whole process will be your input. So, take a look at my posts below and weigh in with what you think by clicking on "Add Your Comment" at the bottom of each blog.

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