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July 3, 2019 3:45 PM, EDT

In Court Filing, Prime Inc. Says Amazon’s Use of ‘Prime’ Causes Confusion

Trucks showing Prime Inc. and Amazon Prime logos John Sommers II for Transport Topics

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Prime Inc. says Amazon’s display of “Prime” on its shipping vehicles creates a likelihood of confusion with Prime Inc.'s trucking business, a July 2 complaint in the Western District of Missouri says.

Prime Inc. says it’s been providing trucking services since 1970, and has been using the “Prime Inc.” mark in commerce since 1980. It filed to register a trademark for “Prime Inc.” covering trucking services in 2011 and 2017, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused registration both times, citing a likelihood of confusion with Amazon’s “Prime” mark covering shipping services.

Prime Inc., which ranks No. 18 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, argued that Amazon creates a likelihood of confusion by displaying “Prime” on trucks and other shipping vehicles that transport goods to Amazon Prime members. Amazon is giving “the false impression the services provided by Amazon are provided, authorized, endorsed by, or in some manner associated with, Prime Inc.,” the complaint says.

Amazon’s registration for “Prime” covering shipping services should also be canceled because Amazon defrauded the PTO, Prime Inc. said. The complaint says Amazon falsely represented it was providing an “expedited shipping service for others” in its 2005 application when it “did not itself transport any goods, even to its retail customers and Prime loyalty program members, until approximately 2015.”

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Springfield, Mo.-based Prime Inc. seeks cancellation of Amazon’s trademark registration, injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees.