TAMPA — A U.S. District Court judge denied appeals filed by U-Haul in a trademark infringement battle against a competitor, Clearwater-based PODS Enterprises.
The ruling clears the way for PODS to collect more than $65 million in damages, including $60.7 million awarded in the original trial. A jury, after the trial last September, found U-Haul liable for federal and state trademark infringement and dilution of the PODS trademark, in addition to unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. PODS, at the trial, successfully argued it owned the trademark and logos for “pods,” the shortened name for portable on demand storage. U-Haul had argued that “pods” was a generic term and that as such PODS Enterprises' trademark was invalid.
In addition to denying U-Haul's motions and reaffirming the verdict, the court awarded PODS more than $4.9 million in pre-judgment interest, according to a statement. That brings the final judgment to $65.6 million, plus PODS' costs. The court also issued a permanent injunction against U-Haul to respect the validity of the PODS trademark, the release adds.
“PODS is pleased that the jury and the Court have recognized the importance and value of the PODS trademark and the efforts taken by PODS to build the brand,” PODS Enterprises Senior Vice President and General Counsel Aaron Parker says in the statement. “PODS is the innovator and genuine brand leader in the containerized moving and storage industry and this decision recognizes that the PODS brand has become renowned nationwide.”
Founded in 1998, PODS focuses on moveable container storage. The PODS network has completed more than 500,000 long-distance moves and has more than 150,000 PODS containers in service.