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PDP Gaming seeks immediate ban on Poly's use of logo

PDP Gaming is seeking an immediate injunction against Poly's use of a disputed logo. The escalation comes despite the two companies initially pursuing a settlement.

The gaming accessories company Performance Designed Products LLC has asked a federal judge to prohibit Poly from using a disputed logo while a legal fight over the mark works its way through the courts. 

The proposed injunction threatens to embarrass Poly following its flashy debut of the logo as part of the merger and rebranding of Plantronics and Polycom at the Enterprise Connect conference in March.

PDP Gaming's lawsuit against Poly could take years to resolve, but this injunction would take effect immediately. It would prevent Poly from selling products bearing the design or displaying the logo on its website.

The gaming company's motion for preliminary relief comes after settlement talks between the two companies apparently stalled, according to documents filed in connection with the lawsuit.

PDP Gaming has accused Poly of violating federal trademark law through the use of a logo nearly identical to a mark it had begun using several months before Poly's rebranding. Among other things, PDP Gaming and Poly both sell consumer headsets for gaming.

PDP Gaming said in a court filing that it hired a graphic designer to make a new logo in January 2018 and reviewed an initial design in March 2018. A retail partner, GameStop, began marketing headsets bearing the new logo in October 2018 and PDP Gaming launched the design on its website in January, according to the filing.

PDP Gaming-Poly logo dispute

Poly has maintained that it developed its logo independently. An outside design firm developed Poly's new logo several months before the company's March 18 launch, wrote Mary Huser, Poly's chief legal and compliance officer, in an email to PDP Gaming shortly after the lawsuit was filed.

"There should be no doubt that Poly selected our logo without knowledge of PDP's use of the disputed logo," Huser wrote in the March 24 email, which PDP Gaming later added to the public court record.

While Poly submitted a trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late February, PDP Gaming did not seek trademark protections until shortly after Poly debuted its mark. However, PDP Gaming could still be entitled to relief under certain sections of the federal trademark law.

PDP Gaming, Poly pursued settlement

Both companies were open to resolving the legal dispute outside of court, so high-ranking executives held a video conference in late March during which they apparently discussed the matter, according to court filings.

In her March 24 email, Huser suggested Poly would be open to paying PDP Gaming to drop its claims to the disputed logo.

In exchange for uncontested use of the logo, she wrote, "Poly will, for instance, agree to pay for the costs PDP incurred in manufacturing headsets that bear the disputed mark, reasonable transition expenditures, and reasonable costs associated with the remaining inventory using the disputed mark."

John Alpay, general counsel for PDP Gaming, responded that his company was amenable to exploring a "business deal" to resolve the lawsuit. Executives from both companies met shortly after that, but the discussion was subject to a mutual confidentiality agreement.

A Poly spokesperson said the company had "no comment" on the status of any potential settlement negotiations, as it does not comment on pending litigation. An attorney representing PDP Gaming did not respond to a request for comment.

Poly's outside litigation attorney later tweaked PDP Gaming for entering emails concerning a potential settlement into the public record, arguing it was "beyond improper" because of the confidentiality agreement and a federal court rule related to settlement negotiations.

A hearing on PDP Gaming's motion for a preliminary injunction against Poly's use of the logo is scheduled for July 26 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

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