A Seattle, Wash., company that provides stock images to businesses and other consumers has agreed to pay Car-Freshner Corp. $100,000 for the unauthorized use of the Watertown companys trademarked Little Trees designs.
Getty Images also agreed to stop offering to license for commercial, non-editorial purposes any images or products depicting Little Tree air fresheners, according to an offer of judgment filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Car-Freshner sued Getty Images in November 2009, claiming the company was licensing images on its website that were virtually indistinguishable from Car-Freshners trademarked tree designs. Car-Freshner asked a judge to order, among other things, that all unauthorized tree design images covered by the trademark be removed from Getty Imagess website. It also sought damages for the claimed trademark infringement.
While agreeing to pay the monetary penalty and to stop using the images, Getty Images made no admission of wrongdoing.
Gettys customers thought Getty could give them permission to use the Little Tree air freshener design, which is not the case, Jody R.A. LaLone, Car-Freshners president, said in a prepared statement. We are often surprised and usually flattered by how consumers use our products. But this was about Getty making money licensing something they did not own.
Should Getty Images violate terms of the judgment, it has agreed to pay Car-Freshner $10,000 for each instance, attorneys fees and 100 percent of any revenue made from licensing the Little Trees design.
Car-Freshner and its co-plaintiff, Julius Samann Ltd., were represented in the action by Edward T. Colbert and Michelle Mancino Marsh of the law firm Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, Washington, D.C., and Roberta S. Bren and Jonathan Hudis of the firm Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, Alexandria, Va.