by Stephen Garner
Bryant Gumbel in a recent Eyebobs campaign

Eyewear company Eyebobs has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Snap Inc., parent company of social media platform Snapchat, in the United States District Court, District Court of Minnesota.

The preliminary injunction has requested the Court enjoin Snap Inc. from further use of the infringing mark in connection with its “Spectacles” product, including all vending machines or “robots” and Fifth Avenue pop-up store in New York City. In December 2016, Eyebobs filed a trademark infringement complaint which includes one count each of Infringement of a Registered Trademark, False Designation of Origin and Deceptive Trade Practices.

In September 2016, Snap Inc. began advertising, distributing and selling its “Spectacles” brand sunglasses under an eyeball design mark, an eyeball against a yellow background. This eyeball design directly infringes on Eyebobs’ logo, which has represented Eyebob’s brand since 2001 and registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office since 2008.

Eyebobs v. Snapchat
Snap Inc.’s logo on left compared to Eyebobs’ logo on right

When the company was first made aware of Snap Inc. using the infringing design as the centerpiece of the high-profile roll out of its own “Spectacles” brand, Eyebobs contacted Snap Inc. immediately in an attempt to handle the situation amicably. Although Eyebobs would have preferred to reach a resolution without the need for litigation, Snap Inc., unfortunately, has refused to recognize the problem and has proceeded with the use of the infringing mark.

“Regrettably, Snap Inc. has been unwilling to take this infringement seriously and Eyebobs now has to take the necessary steps to address the situation to defend and protect the company’s trademark in court,” said James Steffen, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels. “Snap Inc.’s attempt to cement consumer association of the infringing mark with its ‘Spectacles’ product stands to inflict irreparable damage on the Eyebobs’ brand and company.”

“The Eyebobs brand and logo is the cornerstone of our identity,” added Michael Magerman, CEO of Eyebobs. “Ultimately, the new ‘Spectacles’ logo is nearly identical to the one our customers have become familiar with over the past 15 years. Allowing another business – particular one selling glasses – to use that mark would be very damaging to our business’s growth and expansion in the years ahead.”

In 2015, Eyebobs received a significant investment from Norwest Equity Partners, a leading middle market investment firm, and is currently represented by Faegre Baker Daniels.