Yeti is one of the leading manufacturers of outdoor products in the U.S. It majors in soft coolers, ice sheets, vacuum-insulated drinkware, and other related accessories. Yeti Company came into existence in 2006 when two brothers, Roy and Ryan Seiders, joined to start the company. They saw a gap in outdoor products and decided to develop coolers far away better than the existing ones. Over the years, the company has propelled itself to be one of the most successful family-owned businesses in the United States. One thing Yeti Company has demonstrated is its ability to defend its identity through lawsuits. No matter how prominent a player is, Yeti ownership has not been afraid of taking them to court. This article will look at the ten most significant lawsuits in the company’s history.
A Flash look at The Yeti’s Company Lawsuits
As we engage in discussing these lawsuits, some features will come out. There are very few recorded individuals and class lawsuits against the company. In addition, the company’s central area of litigation is protecting its Intellectual Property (I.P.) rights. From individuals to the biggest companies such as Walmart, Yeti Company spared no one in protecting its rights. Most of its lawsuits were civil matters where it only sought to obtain court orders to protect its empire without necessarily shouting at the amount of money it had won.
10. Yeti vs. Igloo, Copyright Lawsuit
In its pursuit to take control of the $370 million market, Yeti filed a case against Igloo in 2021, alleging that the latter had stolen and profited from its drinkware designs. Igloo had just tried to start to produce its drinkware which Yeti claimed they were giving it unfair competition. The case was the second time the company sued Igloo over patent issues. In the earlier suit, the case was dismissed. At this time, Yeti alleges that Igloo’s stainless bottles, mugs, tumblers, and Cool Mates infringed on its patent. Yeti alleged that Igloo’s stainless line was similar to its patented Rambler Drinkware. In the prayer, Yeti sought damages and award of some profits made by Igloo. In addition, it wanted Igloo to be stopped from further infringement and misappropriation of any designs it had already registered.
9. Yeti Coolers, LLC vs. Voyager Industries
Yeti filed a case on July 8, 2019, against Voyager Industries, asserting claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution, cyber piracy, and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act. In the September of the same year, Voyager Industries moved before a Magistrate court seeking to dismiss the case on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and Improper Venue. Citing two cases, Yeti argued that there was an intentional infringement of its I.P. rights by the defendant. Yeti persuaded the court that Voyager Industries using the website “yettioutdoors.com,” was in the midrange of interactivity. After listening to all parties, Susan Hightower ordered that there were no grounds to terminate the matter. She ordered the clerk to move the case back to District Judge Robert Pitman to hear and determine the matter.
8. Ontel Products Corporation vs. Yeti Coolers, LLC
Intel is an incorporated company with its headquarters in New Jersey. Together with the Yeti, they manufacture, distribute and sell beverage tumblers. In September 2016, Ontel went to court to seek a declaration that its products did not infringe on the Yeti’s trade dress rights. Intel went to court on the pretext that, during a business meeting with a potential buyer, the “buyer” informed its president that Yeti was looking forward to using it on allegations that it had violated its intellectual property rights. Secondly, Ontel was on the presumption that Yeti had sued almost every competitor, and it was necessary to seek preservatory orders to avoid the same.
Thirdly, the Ontel president filed a certification alleging that he obtained the information from an inner employee of Walmart who was aware of the forthcoming suit. The case was majorly based on predictions rather than what had happened. It was the opinion of the sitting judge Leda Dunn Wettre that Ontel failed to prove before the court that it would suffer prejudice if Yeti filed any case against it. Generally, it invites us to study the continuous tendency of American courts to balance the need to give parties a chance to sue without prejudicing the future legal options of all affected parties.
7. Ludwikoski & Associates, Inc. vs. Yeti Coolers, A Case on Contract Diversity
The plaintiff sued the defendant seeking monetary compensation because the defendant used their relationship to enrich themselves. Ludwikoski & Associates worked with Cooler manufacturing companies in selling, marketing, and researching their products, forming a business relationship. The case arguments were mainly around the contract contents of the two companies. Though not indicated in the contract, the plaintiff argued that, by interacting with the defendant’s employees, they gained marketing and accounting skills from them.
In a twist of events, the plaintiff made amendments to the initial complaint, saying that it was attempting to clarify the nature of the contract. The court granted the plaintiff’s prayer to amend its original petition before the matter proceeded. The memorandum granting the order was signed by District Judge Eric F. Meklgren. This case is vital in the sense that it touches on two issues. One party’s financial obligation is when they benefit from auxiliary services of a contract. Two, the Judge created precedence that nothing is cast on the stone as far as legal litigations are concerned. One party can still be granted an opportunity to introduce further evidence, which will help clarify the original matter without altering their suit.
6. Yeti Cooler, LLC vs. Blueworks, LLC, in a Matter of Determining Whether Magistrate’s Court Could Interfere with Matters Mentioned before the District Court
In 2020, Yeti filed a case against Blueworks alleging that the latter had infringed on its trade dress rights. Yeti majored in the Violation of the Lanham Act, which touches on dress infringement rights, unfair competition, and alternating the original product structure. Blueworks LLC moved to the magistrate court and fought the matter by alleging that it was before an incompetent court and it ought to be dismissed in totality.
In its submission, Blueworks alleged that its coolers were so unique, and there was no way Yeti would claim that there were grounds in which the former’s products would have confused the latter customers. The sitting Magistrate’s opinion that Blue Coolers failed to prove that the allegations by Yeti wore implausibly and ought to be thrown out. He ordered that the matter be removed from the Magistrate’s Court Docket and taken back to The Honorable Presiding Judge, Robert Pitman, who was sitting on the District Court. Law students have used the case to argue for the doctrine of separation of legal powers when determining a matter before different judges of different jurisdictions.
5. Yeti Coolers vs. Axis Cups & Bayou Ice Boxes, Infringement of the Plaintiff’s Trade Dress
2017 was one of the years in which Yeti took almost every competitor whom they accused of producing “confusingly similar” products. According to The Austin American Statesman, just after settling the matter the company had with RTIC, it moved to U.S. District Court in Austin demanding that Axis Cup (Livingstone) and Bayou Ice Boxes (Alaska) they recall and redesign products which they deemed was similar to theirs. According to papers seen by the media, Yeti accused the two companies of purposely promoting, selling, selling, distributing, and continuing to advertise coolers and drinkware that violated its intellectual property laws. This case is just another case where Yeti used legal mechanisms to dominate the market.
4. James Moore vs. Yeti, A Class Lawsuit Based on Deceptive Volume Capacity of Its Products
In 2016, James Moore filed a class lawsuit against Yeti Coolers LLC. In his suit, he argued that the company was deceptively advertising that their coolers had specific volumes when in a real sense, they were of lesser volume. Moore based his case on one of the Yeti Coolers dealers-Mack’s Prairie Wings. He alleged that on October 21, 2014, he ordered a Yeti 45 Quart Tundra Color at $386.74, only to discover that it was 37.6 Quarts and not 45 as indicated.
Moore argued that Yeti, like any other cooler dealer, was expected to make sure that any specifications written on their coolers were the ones that the company would deliver to customers. He further argued that other customers had total faith in the company’s information, affecting their decisions on which cooler to buy. According to Top Class Actions, Moore thought that the company had violated the Arkansas Consumer Protection Laws. Through the trial by a jury, he sought the case to be classified as a class lawsuit. The matter was dismissed because the information in the advertisement did not necessarily amount to contractual obligations.
3. Amazon and Yeti vs. Third Party Sellers (Michael L. White and Karen White) – ($142 500)
To control the selling of dupe products sold by Yeti on Amazon’s platforms, the two economic giants filed a case in the U.S. District t Court in Seattle, 2020. They accused Michael L. White and Karen White, San Diego, CA, of operating third-party accounts. The two imported fake Yeti tumblers from China, and then they would sell them on Amazon. Just after filing the case, the Vice President of Yeti, Bryan Barksdale, issued a statement acknowledging Amazon’s collaborative actions in helping them protect their customers from scrupulous dealers.
The decision to sue the two was prompted by an earlier incident where Border Patrol Officers had just seized a shipment of cup lids whose accumulative size was that of a cargo. When the officers sent the lids to Yeti, they said they were unaware of the consignment. According to Business Insider, Yeti decided to invest $500 million in the fight against fraud and abuse. According to the Pace monitor, the court ordered the two to pay Yeti $142, 500.
2. Yeti vs. RTIC ($11 million)
Yeti and RTIC compete for the manufacturing of coolers in the United States. At the start of 2017, Yeti sued RTIC accusing it of failing to warn customers of the dangers associated with their coolers and that they were capable of causing severe injuries to their users. The case by Yeti alleged that the coolers sold by RTIC failed to meet the set standards as contained in the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Yeti clung to federal laws, which demand that every company has the legal responsibility of warning its customers of the negative impacts of its products.
Besides violating the CPSC Act, RTIC was accused by the petitioner of infringing on the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The evidence presented by Yeti in court proved that RTIC was aware that its coolers had adverse negative effects on its customers. On February 2, 2017, RTIC agreed to settle the matter by paying $2 million to Yeti, $1 million to the United States Department of Justice, $5 million as an attorney fee, and $3 million to the state of California as a penalty. In addition, RTIC consented not to engage in manufacturing, distributing, selling, offering to sell, or undertaking the importation of any ice coolers that violate the FHSA and the CPSIA.
1. Yeti Company vs. Walmart Stores ($228 million)
Yeti Coolers LLC sued Walmart Stores Inc in December 2017. The lawsuit is perhaps the most incredible show of a no-nonsense attitude to its competitors that it will not shy off from confronting any market player who will infringe on its rights. Yeti filed the lawsuit in the Western District of Texas, alleging that Walmart Stores infringed on its intellectual property by violating the two companies’ agreement in a previous disagreement. Yeti’s main argument was that, due to the success of its product, my company, whose product would take after its product by any design or appearance, would infringe on its trademarks.
According to Yeti, Walmart was selling products confusing customers with those it was also selling. The 20 and 30-ounce beverage holders were the same size and shape as those sold by the Yeti company. The total impact was that Walmart was giving Yeti unfair competition. Representatives of Yeti lined up 16 counts against the respondent. According to the Law chart, Walmart agreed to pay Yeti a total of $228 million.
The lawsuits discussed herein have been crucial in shaping the dominance of Yeti Company in its area of specialization. Due to its lengthy existence on the market, it has the upper hand in claiming that its I.P. rights have been infringed. Companies wishing to survive in the Cooler manufacturing market must be aware that Yeti will not let them off if they produce products that will cause any ‘customer confusion’ concerning its original ones.