When is a draw a win? Coco & Dash- Hästens trademark cases get dismissed

DALLAS — The legal battle between home décor retailer Coco & Dash and Swedish luxury mattress maker Hästens is over, at least for now.

A pair of parallel proceedings, one in Texas initiated by the Dallas-based retailer, and another in California instigated by the mattress maker, were dismissed late last year, effectively ending the dispute over a blue-and-white checked pattern, via stalemate.

“We view that as a win, an expensive jaunt down that road,” said Teddie Garrigan, who owns the shop with her daughter, Courtney. “I’m sorry we didn’t go to trial. I’m disappointed because I feel we would have prevailed in front of a jury, and it would have made a difference.”

In 2021, Courtney and Teddie Garrigan were served a cease-and-desist letter from the luxury mattress maker over their usage of a blue-and-white checked sofa they had featured on social media, as Hästens has held trademarks on the pattern in the U.S. dating back to 2000. The terms extended by Hästens required that Coco & Dash stop selling the checked sofa and anything else in stock that has checks on it, and to provide a full inventory of anything it has ever sold that has a checked pattern, as well as a requirement that the mother-and-daughter retail team sign a nondisclosure agreement.

In response, the Garrigans filed a suit against Hästens in federal court in the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, asking the court to find that the retailer is not infringing on the trademarks and to find the trademarks unenforceable. The suit was translated into Swedish and served to Hästens on May 30. That suit was dismissed without prejudice on Dec. 5.

Hästens then countersued in federal court in the Northern District of California in San Francisco on June 21 for trademark infringement, among other allegations, noting that since Coco & Dash has sold through San Francisco-based Chairish, it falls under California jurisdiction. At the same time, Hästens filed a motion for dismissal of Coco & Dash’s suit in Dallas, but that request was denied. The California suit brought by Hästens was dismissed on Nov. 21. The Dallas Morning News reported that U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria didn’t parse words when tossing the suit.

“This court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over a defendant must be fair and reasonable,” Chhabria wrote. “It would be neither fair nor reasonable to allow Hästens to drag a modest Texas-based operation to court in a state where it has directed no efforts to market, sell or distribute the allegedly infringing item.”

In an interesting sidenote, Hästens will open a store later this month in Dallas at 4433 McKinney Avenue, close to Coco & Dash. “They’re opening around the corner from us and across the street from Serena & Lily, who sells so much blue and white check. The whole thing is so bizarre.”

With the cases thrown out, Hästens can continue enforcing its trademark of the checked pattern that was at the heart of the legal matter, while Coco & Dash is essentially free to sell products with the design, although with no legal resolution, nothing is preventing Hästens from again going after the retailer.

“They can always come back at us,” Garrigan said. “I’d be surprised if they did, but I would also do the same thing we did this last time. Our reaction would be the same. They’re welcome to come back at us.”

And although this particular chapter is closed, Garrigan says she still wants answers and is prepared to pursue them.

“For me, the next step, is behind the scenes. We’re working on a roadmap to figure out how this process works in the (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office),” Garrigan said. “There is a process where we can challenge, and that’s where we’re headed now. I really do want to challenge this trademark.

“The bottom line for us is we don’t understand how these trademarks were granted. They were denied in Europe and in other countries, but if the USPTO can say here’s why this makes sense and here’s why this was granted, everybody would understand.”

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