Welch Allyn vs. Tyco (TYCOS vs. TYCO)

Don’t let this happen to you.  This Northern District of New York case doesn’t really represent new law but it illustrates that “Creeping Equities” is still a common problem which can befall a strong mark in a narrow field.  Plainitff had used TYCOS on sphygmomanometers and stethoscopes since 1909.  Defendant, one of the world’s larger companies, used TYCO as a secondary trading name when it entered the healthcare field several years ago.   Several years ago plaintiff probably would have lost a dilution action, as its reputation was in a specific field.  Now equity bars plaintiff from undoing the resulting reverse confusion.  

UPDATE on June 7: In view of the indictment of the CEO of Tyco this week, one wonders if Welch Allyn is experiencing schadenfreude.


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