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What’s in a name? JetBlue files suit against Walmart’s Jetblack

Airline says online retailer infringes on its name

Walmart may find itself getting black and blue over a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement.

JetBlue Airways filed suit Friday against the retail giant for using the name Jetblack for its text-based personal shopping service. The nation’s sixth-largest airline, in existence since 1999, says that the name Jetblack is a “transparent attempt” by Walmart to capitalize on the goodwill associated with the carrier's trademarks.

Further, JetBlue claims that Jetblack is likely to cause “significant consumer confusion” as Walmart expands the service, and warned that Walmart intends further infringements by using additional “Jet+color” names such as Jetgold and Jetsilver.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. Jet.com, which Walmart bought in 2016, is also a defendant.

In a statement, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said, "We take this issue seriously, and once we are served with the complaint will respond appropriately with the court."

The plaintiffs are asking the court for a jury trial and seeking a permanent injunction against Walmart using the “infringing Mark, the JetBlue Marks or colorable limitations thereof.” JetBlue is also asking the court to require Walmart to forfeit and deliver for destruction all label, signs, advertisements or other marketing materials bearing the Jetblack name.

JetBlue said it will seek compensatory and punitive damages it has suffered as a result of the trademark infringement, which will be proven at the trial.

Walmart technology incubator Store No 8 unveiled Jetblack in May 2018 as a retail service targeted to urban customers that takes a concierge-style approach to online shopping. Currently available in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, the members-only service allows customers to text almost any shopping request and Jetblack will find the right products and deliver them the same day or the next day for no extra charge.

Daily essentials ordered through Jetblack may be sourced from Walmart and its Jet.com unit, while other items and specialty products are procured from local brands and shops, according to Walmart.

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