San Diego - Medical device maker Stryker Corp. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against rival Wright Medical Technology Inc. in New Jersey federal court Thursday alleging Wright is misusing the name for Stryker's latest knee replacement implant to draw people to its own products.
Wright is operating a website that uses the knee implant name trademark to bring attention to its own unrelated knee implant devices, according to Stryker.
Stryker has developed a knee implant and accompanying promotional campaign based on the name "GetAroundKnee," according to the complaint. The company filed trademark applications for the phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December, January and March, all of which remain pending.
The GetAroundKnee campaign launched in February, involving a "massive print advertising effort" beginning in April which continues to be distributed within the orthopedic community and the public at large, Stryker says.
Stryker also invested significant time and money in a series of television commercials beginning in May to promote its "circular motion" knee concept, featuring the GetAroundKnee trademark, and maintains a website featuring the name, GetAroundKnee.com The company claims its promotional campaign is likely to be among the most ambitious direct-to-patient advertising and education efforts ever undertaken by an orthopedic device maker.
Long after that ad campaign was in full swing, Wright registered the domain name Get-A-Round-Knee.com. The accompanying website features little information about Wright's knee implants, according to Stryker.
A Google search for the term GetAroundKnee yields three paid placement ad results, the first of which is Stryker's ad but the very next of which is Wright's ad, using the trademark tagline as a caption and link to its own website, Stryker says. It claims similar results can be found using other search engines like Bing or Yahoo! as well.
Wright has no permission to use the GetAroundKnee trademark in any manner, and has no affiliation, association or sponsorship with respect to the trademark, Stryker says.
"Defendants have acted deliberately in an ongoing attempt to cause substantial and irreparable damage to plaintiffs' business and to confuse consumers as to the source or sponsor of the websites, services and owner of the GetAroundKnee mark," the complaint says."