BENTON HARBOR, Mich., April 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR), Whirlpool Properties and KitchenAid Europa today announced legal action against Kenwood Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of De' Longhi S.p.A., of Italy, for infringement of the shape of the KitchenAid stand mixer, which is a registered trademark.
The lawsuit, filed in the High Court of Justice in London, England, states that Kenwood willfully copied, and now infringes the trademark shape of the KitchenAid stand mixer, which has been in use since 1937. Whirlpool is seeking an injunction to prevent Kenwood from continuing the sale of its kMix mixer in the European Union, as well damages. In the last several years, Whirlpool Corporation has taken action more than 80 times for infringement of the well-recognized shape, and has been successful in every instance. Whirlpool Corporation owns this mixer shape trademark in numerous countries around the world, such as the United States, Canada, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Benelux and Australia.
"From world class chefs to consumers around the globe, the KitchenAid stand mixer is renowned as a symbol of excellence in performance and design," said Brian Maynard, director, brand marketing, KitchenAid. "Its unique shape has been granted a registered trademark by the U.S. and other governments, which means the shape - even without usage of the KitchenAid brand name - is protected by law. We are acting to prevent consumer confusion and unfair advantage being taken of the distinctive KitchenAid shape. We will vigorously protect this trademark, as we have time and time again, and fully expect to prevail as we have in every prior case."
Whirlpool Corporation is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion, more than 73,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Additional information about the company can be found at www.whirlpoolcorp.com
Since the introduction of its legendary stand mixer in 1919 and first dishwasher in 1949, KitchenAid has built on the legacy of these icons to create a complete line of products designed for cooks. From countertop appliances to cookware, ranges to refrigerators, and whisks to wine cellars, KitchenAid now offers virtually every essential for the well-equipped kitchen. To learn why chefs choose KitchenAid for their homes more than any other brand*, visit www.KitchenAid.com.
*Based on a September 2007 survey, KitchenAid was found to be the home kitchen appliance brand chosen most often by members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Whirlpool Additional Information:
This document contains forward-looking statements that speak only as of this date. Whirlpool disclaims any obligation to update these statements. Forward-looking statements in this document include, but are not limited to, statements regarding expected earnings per share, cash flow, productivity and material and oil-related prices. Many risks, contingencies and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from Whirlpool Corporation's forward-looking statements. Among these factors are: (1) intense competition in the home appliance industry reflecting the impact of both new and established global competitors, including Asian and European manufacturers; (2) Whirlpool's ability to continue its strong relationship with Sears Holding Corporation in North America (accounting for approximately 12% of Whirlpool's 2007 consolidated net sales of $19.4 billion) and other significant trade customers, and the ability of these trade customers to maintain or increase market share; (3) changes in economic conditions, including the strength of the U.S. building industry and the level of interest rates; (4) the ability of Whirlpool to achieve its business plans, productivity improvements, cost control, leveraging of its global operating platform, and acceleration of the rate of innovation; (5) fluctuations in the cost of key materials (including steel, oil, plastic, resins, copper and zinc) and components and the ability of Whirlpool to offset cost increases; (6) the ability of suppliers of critical parts, components and manufacturing equipment to deliver sufficient quantities to Whirlpool in a timely and cost-effective manner; (7) our ability to attract, develop and retain executives and other qualified employees; (8) health care cost trends and regulatory changes that could increase future funding obligations for pension and post retirement benefit plans; (9) the cost of compliance with environmental and health and safety regulations; (10) litigation including product liability and product defect claims; (11) the impact of labor relations; (12) Whirlpool's ability to obtain and protect intellectual property rights; (13) the ability of Whirlpool to manage foreign currency fluctuations; and (14) global, political and/or economic uncertainty and disruptions, especially in Whirlpool's significant geographic regions, including uncertainty and disruptions arising from natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in Whirlpool Corporation's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K.
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