My name is Tom Abouassaf. My brother and I are Syrian immigrants. We came to the United States legally, followed the rules, became U.S. citizens and opened a small but successful wholesale and retail furniture business.
We currently have one retail store in Woodfield Mall named American Eagle Furniture. Despite a trademark issued to us by the United States Patent and Trademark office over four years ago, in April 2011 Pittsburgh-based retail giant American Eagle Outfitters (“AEO”) sued us for trademark infringement and related claims in the U.S. District Court forthe Northern District of Illinois before the Honorable Edmond Chang,. The casenumber is 11cv 2242.
These David v. Goliath trademark protection suits are not new but we are told that this is AEO’s eighth such suit since 2001. As far as we know, none have gone to trial because few businesses like ours can afford and are willing to up against such a big business to defend themselves. Another recent example is the “Eat More Kale” versus “Eat mor Chikin” dispute between Chik-fil-A and a Vermont folk artist. Wehave enclosed a link to an AP wire story that discussesthis particular case and provides useful background information:
Most of these cases seem to be very large corporations with vast resources pouncingon a small business owner with limited resources, seeking to broaden the reach of their trademark far beyond their current markets. In this case, clothing marketed to teens and young adults versus home furniture marketed to a much older demographic.Chicagobreakingbusiness.com picked up our case back when it was first filed andbefore we retained legal counsel: http://archive.chicagobreakingbusiness.com/2011/04/american-eagle-sues-s-side-furniture-company.html.
My brother and I also believe that no company should be able to monopolize such a worldwide symbol of American freedom and values such that companies like mine are unable to use it to show our own pride as American citizens. I know that is not a legal argument, but I believe it is an important one for my fellow citizens to hear. The freedom of the American press provides a valuable service to temper overzealous lawsuits by reporting accurately to the public when such cases occur. I will leave it to you to decide for yourself if you believe this is one such case.
If you are interested, you maycontact me at 708-715-0064.
Thank you for the time you havetaken to read our story.
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