A US trade association has been awarded damages in a trademark infringement case against a travel agency that sent unsolicited emails to tradeshow attendees and exhibitors representing that it was affiliated with the tradeshow.
A US district court ordered Tarzango to pay the US Poultry & Egg Association more than $700,000 in damages and attorney’s fees for infringing the trademark of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), an organization that US Poultry partners with to organize its tradeshow.
Tarzango sent unsolicited emails to IPPE exhibitors and attendees advertising hotel accommodations for its annual tradeshow. IPPE had a contract with Experient to manage accommodations for the show.
Deceptive advertising practices affect tradeshow organizers globally. The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) estimates that room pirating and poaching scams affect an estimated 15 million bookings every year, and results in more than $1.3 billion in lost revenue for hotels and consumer spending.
US Poultry’s Executive Vice President for Expo Nath Morris told Trade Show Executive:
“I guess you can say we were kind of surprised [by the award], but we really felt we had to protect our brand.”
Trade Show Network News reports that John Starkey, president of US Poultry said: “This decision should serve as a strong warning to those service providers who seek to trade off of the strong goodwill developed in IPPE.”
The court decision was handed down in January and made public recently.