City Mattress lawsuit contends trademark infringement by Nirvana Sleep

Defendants are attempting to palm off the goods it sells or offers for sale as those of (PranaSleep)."

City Mattress in lawsuit

— City Mattress is suing a former company president, alleging his new Nirvana Sleep store stole the trademarked PranaSleep mattress idea and distinctive seven-point lotus flower symbol.

Bonita Springs-based CM Management Inc., which does business as City Mattress of Florida Inc. and PranaSleep LLC, contend that Michael Bookbinder of Naples purposely started his new bedding company in the same territory as two City Mattress stores, in Naples and Fort Myers, which is causing unfair competition, financial losses, damaged reputation and a loss of customers' good will.

Bookbinder said his company has been advised by its lawyers not to discuss the pending litigation, except to say: "We deny the baseless allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves in court."

PranaSleep filed its trademark infringement lawsuit in mid-January in U.S. District Court in Fort Myers, alleging that it spent millions to promote its distinctive luxury mattresses and lotus flower symbol and received its lotus trademark 5½ years before Nirvana Sleep applied for its trademark.

"Defendants have marketed the Nirvana Sleep mattresses with the specific intent to exploit the recognition and fame of the PranaSleep marks, intending that their ultimate purchasers believe that the defendants' Nirvana Sleep products emanate from (PranaSleep)," the 17-page lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges that Bookbinder's company placed the lotus flower to the left of its name, just like PranaSleep, and included a definition of its concept by using phrases such as "Mind, Body and Spirit" and "Create the Sanctuary," which are similar to language used by PranaSleep: "Restoring Life's Energy" and "Awaken the Energy of Life." It says Bookbinder used and modified PranaSleep's lotus mark.

We deny the baseless allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves in court."

Michael Bookbinder

"By adopting a similar name ... and the overall ethereal feel used by the PranaSleep marks for use in Nirvana Sleep marketing materials … a media advertising representative became confused, thinking that PranaSleep was launching a new product and contacted (PranaSleep) to solicit their business," the lawsuit says.

Because Nirvana Sleep is using PranaSleep's marks on the Internet, the lawsuit says it will confuse or deceive customers into thinking they are marketed or approved by PranaSleep.

"Defendants are attempting to palm off the goods it sells or offers for sale as those of (PranaSleep) and … seek to misappropriate and capitalize upon the good will associated with the PranaSleep marks," the lawsuit says.

U.S. Trademark and Patent Office records show City Mattress filed its PranaSleep trademark in 2004, received approval and registered it in June 2006 and obtained approval three months later for bedding retail store services and its online store. The filing noted that Prana means "Breath of Life." Its trademarked phrase, "Restoring Life's Energy," was registered in October 2005, while the lotus symbol was registered in January 2007.

In contrast, Nirvana Sleep filed for its trademark in September, but it hasn't been registered yet and records show PranaSleep has sent its opposition to the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.

PranaSleep's website shows its line starts at $2,049 for its lowest-priced twin and the highest-priced king goes for $8,499. Nirvana Sleep's website offers limited information about its products, but says its showrooms offer a Wellness Center and Wellness Bar that provide an interactive program so customers can find solutions to sleep ailments and its private Tranquility Room enables customers to narrow their bedding choices.

Attorney José Riguera of Fort Lauderdale, who filed the lawsuit, declined comment.

City Mattress began in 1963, when Jay Schiller bought a mattress refurbishing store in Buffalo, N.Y. Through the years, his business grew and he expanded into surrounding suburbs, eventually focusing solely on new mattresses. The company expanded to Florida and a Naples store opened in 1989, followed a year later by one in Fort Myers, and a Bonita Springs store in 2003.

In 2007, his son, Stephen, the company's CEO, moved the headquarters to Bonita Springs, where he lives. City Mattress now has 11 stores on both Florida coasts. Schiller's brother, Marc, who lives in Delray Beach, is the company's president and spokesman. The two, along with Jerome Schiller, are managers of PranaSleep.

The courts

The courts

Records show PranaSleep hasn't filed other trademark infringement lawsuits.

Federal court records show City Mattress filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in 1997 against Mattress City. Three years later, a federal judge ordered Mattress City to stop using that name and the name City Mattress.

Press releases detailing Bookbinder's career show he began at City Mattress in Buffalo in 1982 and worked his way up to president and CEO before moving to Sleepy's on Long Island, where he worked for more than 11 years and was executive president of marketing, sales and merchandising. He later worked at King Koil and Mattress Giant before incorporating in Florida as Nirvana Sleep in September.

Florida business records show he had a Plano, Texas, address, but used a Naples mailing address, 2170 U.S. 41 North, the location for the store, which is set to open about two miles south of PranaSleep.

The Fort Myers Nirvana Sleep store at 15121 U.S. 41 South is also on U.S. 41, roughly a mile from City Mattress and PranaSleep and 1½ miles from City Mattress' clearance store.

The lawsuit contends PranaSleep's trademarked name and the lotus mark are being weakened under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act, injuring its reputation. It asks a judge to issue temporary and permanent injunctions to stop Nirvana Sleep from using the lotus symbol or words and designs similar to PranaSleep's trademarks. It asks a judge to award PranaSleep compensatory damages, including triple damages under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

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