SIST subsidiary sued over trademark by ExxonMobil: People's Express use of logos challenged

The Shawano Leader/March 22, 2012

Signs at the People's Express gas stations in Shawano displaying a red horse and the letters PeOEXX prompted ExxonMobil Oil Corporation to bring a trademark lawsuit against the station's owners, Midwest Oil of Shawano LLC.

Midwest Oil is a subsidiary of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology.

According to the suit filed March 13 in federal court in Milwaukee, ExxonMobil contracted with petroleum distributor Condon Oil Company in 1998 to authorize certain gasoline dealers to sell Mobil branded products and display its logos. Condon made Midwest Oil a dealer of Mobil products and ExxonMobil was a third party to the Condon-Midwest Oil agreement.

In August 2006, ExxonMobil ended its authorization for Midwest Oil to use Mobil trademarks, and trademarked signage at the stations at 716 South Main Street and 1381 East Green Bay Street was to be removed. The People's Express station at 1206 East Green Bay Street was not referenced in the suit.

However, the trademarked interlocking X's, a red horse with a rider dressed in blue – which Mobil calls the red Mobil Pegasus, Mobil dispensers, canopy wraps and other Mobil signage are still displayed at the two stations in violation of trademark law, the suit alleged.

ExxonMobil said in its filing that it is considered the largest privately owned petroleum marketer in the world and has spent millions of dollars promoting its products and building brand identification that, for its predecessor companies, dates to the 1930s.

The People's Express stations are independent retailers selling gasoline that is not Mobil or Exxon branded gasoline, according to the lawsuit, and by using the ExxonMobil trademarks, Midwest is deceiving the public into believing the stations still sell Mobil gasoline.

A call to Naomi Isaacson at SIST was not returned before deadline. Calls to ExxonMobil's attorneys in Green Bay and Dallas also weren't returned.

The suit seeks a court order prohibiting the display of any signage that is similar to ExxonMobil trademarks or would confuse consumers that the stations are affiliated with ExxonMobil. Also, ExxonMobil seeks recovery of triple damages for the loss of business it has sustained as a result of Midwest Oil's use of signage that infringes on ExxonMobil's trademarks.

The case was assigned to District Judge William Griesbach.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.