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In house and general counsel may be able to glean a lesson about how not to turn an ally into an enemy from the most recent shot fired in the mattress wars. Last year, when Mattress Firm decided to end its relationship with Tempur-Sealy, the makers of the Tempur-Pedic mattress couldn't just lie still.
As the bed-in-a-box ecommerce industry is still soaring, traditional mattress stores are taking a big hit to sales, and that pain is being felt across the industry's major players. But rather than lying awake at night thinking about how to compete in the changed landscape, the purveyor of those premium giant slabs of super comfortable high priced memory foam filed a lawsuit against their former authorized retailer for selling a competitor's lookalike brand that looks and sounds rather similar.
From Broken Deal to Mattress Bedlam
It's no secret that Mattress Firm's parent company, and the retailer itself, is facing some serious financial trouble. It's not just the declining sales in the brick and mortar stores either, the parent company may be headed into bankruptcy due to major accounting errors.
Despite the industry downturn, Tempur-Pedic may have a decent case. It's alleging that the competing brand sold by Mattress firm is very likely to be confused by consumers for a few reasons. Primarily, it asserts that the name, Therapedic, as well as the look of the mattresses, are so similar, that consumers are likely to be confused. The lawsuit further alleges that Mattress Firm directed two companies to make the "confusingly similar" mattresses, including the use of the similar styling and branding.
Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time these two sleepy giants have battled it out in court. Last year, after Mattress Firm ended its deal with Tempur-Pedic, Tempur-Pedic sued the company in district court in Florida, seeking an injunction to get the company to stop selling their mattresses. And Tempur-Pedic succeeded. And making the case even more confusing, there are still more than a handful of franchise Mattress Firm locations that do still carry the official Tempur-Pedic brand.