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JetBlue Airways aircraft at departure gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York
Reuters/Fred Prouser
Defender of the “Jet+color” names.
BLACK VS. BLUE

JetBlue is taking Walmart to court over its Jetblack shopping service

By Marc Bain

Walmart apparently got JetBlue’s attention last year when the giant retailer rolled out Jetblack, a service that allows members to easily order products by text message.

Now the airline is suing Walmart for trademark infringement.

In a lawsuit filed June 21 in a New York federal court, JetBlue argues that Jetblack is confusingly similar to its own name, diluting its brand and leading consumers to believe it’s somehow connected with the service. It’s just one of the offenses the lawsuit alleges. It adds that Walmart recently applied to trademark “additional Jet+color names,” including “Jetgold” and “Jetsilver,” which it says will “further infringe and dilute” the JetBlue trademark.

“It is a transparent attempt to trade on the goodwill associated with the JetBlue Marks,” the suit states.

A spokesperson for Walmart says the company takes the issue seriously, and once it is served with the complaint, it will respond to the court. “Walmart is an intellectual-property owner, and we respect the intellectual-property rights of others,” the spokesperson said.

Walmart, which acquired e-commerce retailer Jet.com in 2016, debuted Jetblack last May as part of its startup incubator. Jenny Fleiss, who cofounded Rent the Runway before joining Walmart, led the launch. The service, which started in New York, was a way to appeal to more affluent customers, particularly moms who were strapped for time, and offered the company another avenue to compete with Amazon’s Prime service.

JetBlue, which has been using its name since 1999, expresses concern in the suit that Walmart’s services are inching closer to its own though. While its primary business is the airline, it notes that it also uses the JetBlue name for travel services, pop-up retail shops, on products such as clothing and toys, and more. Walmart’s trademark filings, it claims, suggest they want to use the “Jet+color” names in connection with a variety of goods and services, including retail sales, recommending entertainment options, booking activities, and even transportation.

The suits asks for an injunction against Walmart using the names, and financial compensation for damages, the amount of which would be determined at trial.