Raytheon Sues Lockheed For Laser Guided Bomb Trademark Infringement

October 2, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Raytheon Co. hit Lockheed Martin Corp. with a new trademark infringement lawsuit in Arizona federal court Thursday over Lockheed’s alleged misappropriation of the Raytheon trademark name Paveway for laser guided bombs.

At the time of their introduction 40 years ago by Raytheon predecessor Texas Instruments, Paveway LGBs revolutionized tactical air-to-ground warfare. Since then, Raytheon has sold billions of dollars worth of Paveway bombs, which have been used in every major U.S. military operation since the 1970s, and has developed strong rights and substantial goodwill in the Paveway trademark, Raytheon says.

Lockheed entered the laser guided training round market in the early 1990s and sold its LTGRs for over 10 years under that generic name, according to Raytheon. When Lockheed started making LGBs, in kept using the generic name “laser guided bombs” or its abbreviation.

Around 2005, though, three years after entering the laser guided bomb market and decades after the Paveway trademark was first used, Lockheed decided to start calling its own LGBs Paveway, to capitalize on the goodwill Raytheon had already established, the complaint alleges.

Lockheed “set in motion a deliberate strategy to simultaneously misappropriate and destroy Raytheon’s rights in the term Paveway,” the complaint says.

Lockheed’s “continued and progressive encroachment” on Raytheon’s rights in the Paveway trademark has caused actual confusion in the market already, Raytheon says. Lockheed’s LGB products have also experienced poor quality issues, causing post-sale confusion and direct harm to Raytheon’s reputation, as well as millions of dollars in lost sales, according to Raytheon.

From 2005 through 2011 Raytheon and Lockheed waged war over whether Paveway can be registered as a trademark before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Lockheed eventually convinced the TTAB that Paveway is a generic term, primarily based on evidence dating from 2005, three years after it entered the market.

In the district court and the Ninth Circuit, though, the distinctiveness of the Paveway trademark must be determined at the time that Lockheed entered the market in 2002, Raytheon says. The Paveway trademark was and is a distinctive mark identifying Raytheon as the source of the LGBs, it claims.