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To Gnome Is to Sue Over Him, as Southlake-Based Travelocity Goes After QVC

At right is a decidedly familiar figure -- the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, which first began appearing in the Southlake-based online travel agency's ads way back in January 2004. Or is it? Because, you see, Travelocity's downtown Dallas attorney, Fish & Richardson's Victor C. Johnson, says in court docs that what you're looking at isn't the gnome -- far from it, actually.

In a suit filed yesterday in Dallas federal court, Travelocity is claiming that QVC has been selling this imitation gnome for a long time, all the while violating Travelocity's trademark and cheapening the brand name. Because, see, if you go to the QVC website, you'll see it's selling the Travelocity 13" Roaming Gnome Garden Statue for $26.50, plus shipping and handling. But Travelocity says that's QVC's has been selling "counterfeits" made by a company out of New York called SK Enterprises, which is also named in the suit. (Update: Joel Frey, who handles PR for Travelocity, clarifies via e-mail: "QVC was and still is an authorized reseller of the genuine Roaming Gnome statue, as discussed in paragraph 28. The counterfeit version is the one that we are concerned about, as discussed in paragraphs 29 and 30.")

And till recently, says the suit, QVC was selling several other gnome-related products, all under the Travelocity name brand. Which is why, for starters, it's demanding "statutory damages of $2,000,000 per counterfeit mark per type of good."

Suit's on the other side.

Travelocity v QVC

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky