ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - A Caribbean company called Beardo sued three competitors, claiming they swiped its patented "innovative design" for hats with fake beards.
Beardo, through its parent company Stat Ltd., sued Beard Head and Bearded Apparel, both of California, and Neon Eaters, of Utah, in Federal Court.
Beardo claims its rivals infringed on it patented "combined ski facemask and hat."
Beardo, of the Turks & Caicos Islands, claims its beard hats "have received significant national and international publicity" through national publications and TV shows.
"Beardo's design is inherently distinctive, or alternatively, has acquired secondary meaning," the complaint states. "The famousness and popularity of Beardo's design is reflected in the significant efforts Beardo (and/or its owner) have taken to publicize its products, in its significant publicity Beardo's design has received, and by its significant popularity amongst consumers of combined ski facemasks and hats.
"For instance, Beardo has, as of November 13, 2013, approximately 165,737 'likes' on its Facebook page. Conversely, defendant Beard Head has approximately 15,869 'likes' and defendant Neon Eaters has approximately 350 'likes.'" (Citations to Facebook pages omitted.)
Social media statistics aside, Beardo says, it has patents for its beard hats in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and Beard Head's products - distinguished by "Stubble," "Short," and "Long" - infringe on those patents.
The 21-page complaint includes side-by-side illustrations of Beardo's beard hat and the hats made by Beard Head and by Neon Eaters.
Neon Eater's hat is called the "Lumberjack," and comes with a removable beard that can be interchanged with its "Santa" beard.
Also sued is David Stankunas, a Los Angeles man who owns Bearded Apparel and Beard Head.
Beardo wants Stankunas and the fake beard companies to pay it compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, for trademark and patent infringement.
Beardo is represented by Daniel Ward, with Ward & Ward in Washington, D.C.