• David Perry

Matt Firm, Tempur Sealy square off in lawsuits

HOUSTON – The divorce between Mattress Firm and Tempur Sealy has taken a litigious turn, with the parties now squaring off in dueling lawsuits.

Mattress Firm filed suit on March 30, alleging that Tempur Sealy has engaged in “a systematic campaign aimed at extracting retribution for their losses” after a sharp drop in Tempur Sealy’s market capitalization that followed news of the impending Mattress Firm/Tempur Sealy split earlier this year.

“Specifically, during the winding up of the parties’ extensive relationship, Tempur Sealy threatened to prematurely cut off Mattress Firm’s supply, despite their knowledge that hundreds of orders were pending and millions of households in the country had received Mattress Firm advertisements for their product,” Mattress Firm says in its suit.

“As to product deliveries,” the suit continues, “Tempur Sealy failed to comply with obligations to deliver product as to time, location and specifications, resulting in lost sales and frustrated Mattress Firm customers. Tempur Sealy even embarked on a nationwide internet advertising campaign implying that shoppers should avoid ‘bait and switch’ sales tactics and buy direct from the manufacturer instead of Mattress Firm.

“Tempur Sealy’s sharp tactics violated the parties’ written agreements and interfered with Mattress Firm’s customer relationships,” the suit continues. “Mattress Firm therefore seeks an award of damages, declaratory relief, and attorney’s fees.”

Asked for comment on these charges, Tempur Sealy said it does not comment on ongoing litigation to which the company is a party.

But about one week later, Tempur-Pedic North America and Sealy Mattress Co. filed suit against Mattress Firm, contending that it is violating the terms of an agreement to wind-down and terminate the parties’ business relationship on April 3, 2017.

“The agreements required Mattress Firm to cease and desist from the use of Tempur Sealy trademarks by no later than April 3, 2017,” the Tempur Sealy suit says. “However, since April 3, 2017, Mattress Firm has failed, as promised, to: (a) take down all signs in its stores referring to Tempur-Pedic or Sealy; (b) remove all references to Tempur-Pedic and Sealy from its website; and (c) cease all Mattress Firm advertising referring to Tempur-Pedic and Sealy.

“Mattress Firm’s conduct has caused and will continue to cause Tempur-Sealy irreparable harm,” the suit continues. “As a result … Tempur-Sealy is entitled to injunctive relief to stop Mattress Firm from continuing to exploit Tempur-Sealy’s trademarks in violation of its contractural obligations, and federal and state law.”

Mattress Firm has been conducting a “once-in-a-lifetime” sale, promising savings on brands including Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster and Sealy, brands in the Tempur Sealy portfolio.

Asked for comment on the Mattress Firm lawsuit, Ken Murphy, Mattress Firm’s CEO, made this statement: “Winding down a relationship of this magnitude is a complex process that raises a number of operational challenges. We worked diligently with Tempur Sealy over the past couple of months to resolve those issues as they arose, but it became clear that there were several critical areas where an agreement was not possible. We therefore had no choice but to file a lawsuit … to enforce and define our rights. Tempur Sealy’s subsequent lawsuit addresses those same areas of disagreement, and is merely a continuation of its efforts to prohibit Mattress Firm’s authorized use of their trademarks. The complaints speak for themselves and we do not plan to comment further.”

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DT_Perry
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