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.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.