Watertown’s Car-Freshner garners $100K judgment in trademark dispute

Car-Freshner Corp.'s headquarters in Watertown's Jefferson County Corporate Park. Photo courtesy Purcell Construction Corp.

Car-Freshner Corp.'s headquarters in Watertown's Jefferson County Corporate Park. Photo courtesy Purcell Construction Corp.

Car-Freshner Corp. has obtained a $100,000 judgment against a Nevada company that was marketing air fresheners similar to the Watertown manufacturer’s trademarked “Little Trees” design.

Car-Freshner, which has its headquarters in the Jefferson County Corporate Park, sued Air Fresheners Inc., Las Vegas, which does business as Scent USA, in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, in December 2010, claiming the company was selling fresheners on its website with pine tree designs.

The company believes that caused confusion among consumers who believed they were buying Car-Freshner products.

Car-Freshner previously sued the Nevada company in 2003, also in federal court in Syracuse, and obtained a consent judgment in which the company agreed it would no longer sell tree-shaped fresheners and would remove any references to “Little Trees” from its website.

However, Car-Freshner alleged in its suit that the products returned to the Air Fresheners website.

According to a judgment entered Friday, Air Fresheners has agreed to pay Car-Freshner $100,000 within 30 days and will immediately stop all use of the phrases “Little Tree,” “Little Trees,” “Magic Tree” and “Car Freshner.”

The company also agreed to stop selling fresheners using pine tree designs.

If the company breaches terms of the judgment, it will pay $10,000 for each violation and $1 for each product produced or distributed that infringes on Car-Freshner’s trademark.

In June, Car-Freshner obtained a $100,000 judgment from Getty Images, Seattle, for unauthorized use of Little Trees fresheners’ images.

-Brian Kelly, Watertown Daily Times staff writer