(CN) – A 1989 settlement between two hairstyling companies doesn’t bar Great Clips from using its trademarks on franchises in New England, the 1st Circuit ruled.
The dispute traces to the 1980s, when Great Clips tried to block Dalan Corp., the predecessor of Great Cuts Inc. and the Hair Cuttery of Greater Boston, from registering a trademark for “Great Cuts.” Great Clips found the name too similar to its own, which it trademarked in 1985.
Dalan reacted to the opposition by petitioning to have Great Clips’ trademark canceled.
In 1989 the companies agreed to settle the dispute by withdrawing their respective claims and dropping any objections to the other’s trademark.
Dalan eventually registered “Great Cuts,” and Great Clips kept its trademark.
But 19 years later, the hair-cutting companies once again butted heads when Great Clips signed agreements to open franchises in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
In May and June 2008, an executive at Hair Cuttery told Great Clips that he would sue to block it from using its trademark in the New England market, according to the ruling.
But Great Clips sued first, seeking a declaration that its franchises didn’t violate the settlement agreement.
The Boston-based appellate panel upheld the lower court’s ruling for Great Clips, saying the settlement “entitled Great Clips to use its federally registered mark without geographic limitation.”