Samsung wins jury trial in 'S10' trademark lawsuit

FILE PHOTO: A Samsung employee poses with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone at a press event in London, Britain February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

(Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd convinced a Los Angeles federal jury on Friday that its Galaxy S10 phones do not violate the trademark rights of a talent-management agency that also uses the "S10" name.

The jury found that S10 Entertainment & Media LLC had not shown that Samsung's popular smartphones were likely to cause consumer confusion and drown out its brand in the marketplace, according to a court document published Monday.

Representatives for Samsung and S10 did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

S10 Entertainment, which manages the pop singers Anitta and Normani, said it began using the S10 name in 2017. Samsung began selling its Galaxy S-series smartphones in 2010 and started offering S10 phones in 2019.

S10 argued Samsung's advertising would confuse customers into thinking the brands were affiliated, citing Samsung's use of a similar font and color scheme as the talent agency for its S10 logo and its promotional partnerships with musicians.

The lawsuit said S10 had received social-media messages from people trying to buy Samsung's phones. It also said Samsung was aware of the company before adopting the branding, and that Samsung and S10 had discussed a potential deal for Anitta to endorse the tech giant.

"As a result of confusion between Samsung's S10 phone line and S10 Entertainment's S10 mark, the value and goodwill of S10 Entertainment's Instagram and social media footprint has been severely diminished," the lawsuit said.

Samsung told the court that its use of "S10" would not cause confusion, that it had priority to the S10 name based on its earlier Galaxy S "family" of marks, and that S10 waited too long to bring the lawsuit.

The case is S10 Entertainment & Media LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-02443.

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington)

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