Twa Sues Freight Forwarder over Trademarks

Article excerpt

Trans World Airlines Inc. has sued an air freight forwarder, alleging violations of the Lanham Trademark Act.

The airline says in court papers that Escape Air Limited Inc. and Pilot Air Freight Inc. are using TWA trademarks "Next Flight Out" and "NFO" to market their high-priority air cargo service.

Escape Air is the local franchisee of Pilot. Pilot is based in suburban Philadelphia and has franchises in more than 60 cities. Escape Air and Pilot are both defendants in the suit. A spokesman for Escape Air declined to comment Friday, and said he would ask the corporate office in Pennsylvania to call us. That call hadn't come by press time. Escape Air and Pilot don't own any planes or hire pilots. They place their cargo on regularly scheduled flights on commercial airlines, including those of TWA. The companies compete directly with TWA's cargo service at Lambert Field and other airports, the airline says. In 1995, the suit states, TWA's revenue from its Next Flight Out/NFO cargo was $7.5 million. TWA says it's used the Next Flight Out designation since 1968, and registered it as a trademark in 1980. NFO has been used since 1976, the suit says, and was registered in 1990. The airline says it's spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting these trademarks. It's asking the U.S. District Court here to stop Escape Air and Pilot from using the two trademarks. It says Pilot is using them all over the country. TWA also wants the profits that Escape Air and Pilot obtained by using the trademarks, and reimbursements for the profits that TWA says it lost from the allegedly unfair competition. It also wants the court to order destruction of all the defendants' labels, business cards, etc. that contain the trademarks. The suit was filed by Larry M. Bauer of the St. Louis office of Stinson, Mag & Fizzell, which is based in Kansas City. BREAKFAST AT SIMONS: Simons Jewelers in Clayton has signed a deal with Tiffany & Co. to sell the famous jeweler's gold and silver jewelry, watches and silver gift items. Simon Katz, who founded Simons in 1976, said this is the first such relationship that Tiffany has established here. Other retailers carry Tiffany china, crystal and silverware, but not the jewelry. He didn't have to compete for the account, or badger Tiffany to let him have it. In fact, he didn't know his firm was being considered. Tiffany secretly shopped his store last spring, and was happy with the layout and the staff. Cecilia Powers of Tiffany said Simons will sell the "trade assortment," which includes all the Tiffany jewelry except the very high-end items such as rare pearls. This deal does not preclude Tiffany from opening its own store here, or selling jewelry through other retailers. Tiffany has 22 stores nationally and nearly 100 worldwide. Last year the publicly traded company earned $39.2 million on sales of $803.3 million. Part of Katz's interest is in the lower end of the Tiffany line. "We lacked smaller gift items, those from $35 on up," he said. …