Mary Kay cosmetics filed suit yesterday against Yahoo for trademark infringement, for allegedly inserting links to unauthorized retailers, in personal email messages that Mary Kay sellers send to their consumers.
“Emails that advertise Mary Kay products are hijacked and manipulated by Yahoo and provide an unfair advantage for the unauthorized re-sellers and other competitors,” the company alleges in its lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal district court in for the Northern District which is Dallas (yes Texas Again).
The cosmetics company is seeking an injunction and monetary damages. “We want Yahoo to stop doing what it’s doing,” says Mary Kay spokesman Crayton Webb. “Yahoo mail needs to stop infringing on our trade name.”
In its lawsuit, Mary Kay specifically complains about an ad format that sends pop-ups to users when they scroll over text in emails. These pop-ups allegedly contain links to sites run by unauthorized sellers of Mary Kay cosmetics.
Yahoo appears to have begun inserting these types of in-email ads earlier this year.
This suit appears to mark the first time a company has complained about links in personal emails.
Mary Kay argues in its complaint that many email recipients might “mistakenly believe that the hyperlinks and pop-ups which include ads associated with the Mary Kay marks were affirmatively included or authorized by either Mary Kay or the Independent Beauty Consultant sending the email.”