Montblanc pen victory could help watchmakers

A recent court victory for Montblanc pens could benefit luxury watchmakers, too, says the June newsletter of the American Watch Association.

On May 3, a Boston federal court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against Staples, the office supply superstore chain, to prevent it from selling Montblanc writing instruments which have had identifying serial numerals and secondary trademarks removed.

”This decision should serve as a valuable precedent for luxury watchmakers facing similar problems from the sale of altered and defaced gray market and diverted watches bearing their trademarks,” says the AWA report.

The court issued the injunction after concluding that Montblanc is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement claims against Staples, says AWA, given the ”material differences” in appearance, physical integrity and quality control between pens sold by Staples and genuine ones sold by authorized Montblanc dealers. Among other things, the court held that sale of the altered pens tarnished Montblanc’s image and impeded its ability to control product quality.

In addition to Staples, Montblanc has also brought trademark infringement suits against two other national office supply chains – Office Depot and Office Max.