If you ask Walmart what the cost of using someone else Trademark, the answer is $9.5 million. Pursuant to the case of Variety Stores, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.[i] Walmart was sued for the use of the Variety Store’s trademark Backyard in connection with the sale of grills and grilling supplies.
Variety has USPTO trademark registration for Backyard in the category of the lawn and gardening supplies. Variety has been using the trademark Background in the sale of grills and grilling supplies since 1983.
Before the Court is a case in which a larger company with deeper pockets for litigation selected a product name with the same dominant word as a smaller company by which to sell the same and similar items as that smaller company. The larger company knew of the smaller company’s use — and trademark — when it decided to use the name, but the larger company used it anyway
Walmart knowingly violated Variety’s trademark. The jury awarded Variety $45,536,846.71 as a royalty for Walmart’s use of the trademark Backyard. The jury also award Variety $50,000,000 in disgorgement of profits Walmart earned in the sell of the Backyard products[i].
[i] Variety Stores, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., E.D.N.C. No. 5:14-CV-217