Court House

Herman Miller files legal action in Illinois

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Global furniture manufacturer Herman Miller announced in an Aug. 19 press release that it has filed a legal action in the Northern District of Illinois against Madison Seating, alleging unauthorized use of its trademarks and improper marketing and sales of Herman Miller products, including the Aeron® chair.

“Herman Miller vigorously supports our strong global brand to ensure that the products our consumers purchase exceed their expectations for quality, design and performance,” said Brian Walker, CEO, in the press release. “We also respect — and therefore protect — the reputations of the designers who develop these products, as well as our employees who take great pride in the products they make.”

Companies and individuals are able to sell used Herman Miller furniture, but they must clearly indicate the condition of products. Authorized Herman Miller retailers must be truthful in their advertisements for the products, which Herman Miller monitors through an enforcement program.

The program protects consumers from businesses that misrepresent the condition of products, that confuse and mislead consumers and that produce and sell counterfeit products. Herman Miller said in the press release that it will leverage all methods of intellectual property protection to maintain the brand’s integrity and encourages authorized producers and retailers to do the same.

“Misleading business practices are a scourge of the industry,” said Walker. “They negatively impact the entire category by confusing and frustrating customers … and damaging the brands and reputations of companies like Herman Miller and others that are committed to creating and selling authentic, innovative, high-quality products that last for generations.”

Herman Miller’s legal action is a motion to enforce a previous consent judgment between the company and Levi Cohen, who, according to the press release, previously owned and has restarted his business under the name Madison Seating. The press release states that the consent judgment prohibits Cohen from engaging in Madison Seating’s (alleged) current infringing activities and imposes penalties for violations of it.

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