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Proton Files Lawsuit On Use Of Protron Brand Name In CE

High-performance television manufacture Proton, which made its reintroduction at International CES with a new high-end flat-panel TV line, issued a statement at the show saying it had filed a complaint alleging “willful trademark infringement” against the Prosonic Group Corp. for use of the confusingly similar name “Protron.”

Prosonic representatives did not return repeated requests to comment for this report.

The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charges the Prosonic Group with improperly using the brand name “Protron” to sell directly competing products, including flat-panel LCD screens, and improperly trying to register “Protron” as a brand.

Proton pointed out that Prosonic has already advertised the Protron name for LCD displays priced significantly below those manufactured and marketed by Proton. Protron ads have appeared in spots for such accounts as Longs Drugs, Sears and Staples.

“Proton has no subsidiary named ‘Protron’ and no relationship with ‘Protron,’” the company said in a prepared statement. “However, advertisements for ‘Protron’ products have already led to confusion in the marketplace, causing purchasers of Proton flat-panel screens to ask dealers why their units were so much more expensive than ‘the same product’ they have seen advertised for substantially less.”

Proton claims the confusion has harmed Proton sales by “inducing consumers to purchase `the less expensive’ LCD flat-panel screens sold under the confusingly similar trademark ‘Protron’, and by injuring Proton’s business reputation and good will.”

Proton has asked for an injunction against all further use of the name “Protron” by Prosonic, including the sale or transport of any remaining “Protron” inventory. Proton is also seeking unspecified damages, including all court costs and a punitive assessment for “willful trademark infringement” of the Proton brand.