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From Home Furnishing Business

Mattress Firm Sues Tuft & Needle Over Advertising Campaign

Bedding retailer Mattress Firm has filed suit against online mattress heavyweight Tuft & Needle, accusing the company of false advertising and infringing on several Mattress Firm trademarks.

The suit, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Houston, stems from an ongoing Tuft & Needle advertising campaign that Mattress Firm contends makes false price comparisons and other disparaging comments about the company. Mattress Firm also said the ads unlawfully use lettering and imagery that has been trademarked by the company.

In its complaint, Mattress Firm described Tuft & Needle’s adverting effort as a “multi-state smear campaign.”

“In fact, its entire business model is premised on a pervasive, nationwide blitz of billboards, commercials, and online advertisements containing lies, speculation, and conjecture about ‘Big Mattress,’ and specifically Mattress Firm,” the complaint read. “Mattress Firm believes in and indeed welcomes competition, but not at the expense of honesty and integrity in advertising. Tuft & Needle’s smear campaign, directed squarely at Mattress Firm, crosses the line, and it must be held accountable for its unlawful acts.”

A Tuft & Needle spokeswoman said the company was aware of the suit, but would not comment on the allegations.

“We would like to focus on the facts instead of conveying opinion at this time,” the spokeswoman said.

Mattress Firm contends, among other things, that the ads falsely claim it adds huge mark-ups on mattresses sold in its stores, when in fact, its bed-in-a-box product is priced roughly the same at Tuft & Needle’s bed-in-a-box.

Mattress Firm, which has more than 3,500 stores in 49 states, also claims Tuft & Needle began purchasing Google AdWords in 2015 incorporating the name “Mattress Firm” to direct search traffic to its own website.

“When consumers run searches on Google using these phrases, they encounter ‘Mattress Stores are Greedy’ or ‘Learn the Truth’ advertisements that direct them not to Mattress Firm’s website, but to Tuft & Needle’s instead,” the complaint read. “After the potential Mattress Firm customer clicks on Tuft & Needle’s incendiary advertising link, they are taken to Tuft & Needle’s website, which is replete with false and disparaging statements about Mattress Firm and its services and products.”

Mattress Firm said it believes Tuft & Needle is the second largest of the online bed-in-a-box retailers that have been founded in recent years.

Casper, who is believed to be the largest bed-in-a-box retailer, was recently sued for patent infringement by Serta Simmons Bedding, the largest mattress manufacturer in North America and a major supplier to Mattress Firm.

In its suit, Mattress Firm asks the court to issue a permanent injunction preventing Tuft & Needle from making false statements in its advertising, and award actual and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, court costs, and interest.

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