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National Wireless Independent Dealer Association

Is Nextel Back Again? (Again, Again)

Nextel - NWIDAAs we mentioned a while back a company called RetroBrands started using the Nextel name and brand, claiming it was abandoned by T-Mobile after they bought Sprint.

T-Mobile disagreed – and filed suit. In 2022 a Florida jury awarded T-Mobile $9.7 million. Retrobrands appealed and yesterday, the case was in court again.

Dorothy Easley, an attorney for Retrobrands, told the court that the jury had ignored evidence showing Sprint effectively abandoned the Nextel mark after the companies merged in 2005. As such, Easley said, the company didn’t suffer any real injury from Retrobrands’ use of the Nextel name.

The Judges, however, reminded Easley the jury had already heard all those points and decided in Sprint’s favor.

Easley later tried to argue the notion that Nextel is all but forgotten, and Retrobrands’ product couldn’t dilute the trademark.

“Even Sprint’s own sales associates don’t recognize Nextel,” she said. “All of Sprint’s cases on dilution are famous — Chanel, Audi — known throughout the world … Our [cases] are accurate because Nextel is not a known name. It’s not being used today. It’s in a little tiny font on the back of the sticker, on the back of a box, and it has been abandoned.”

You can listen to a recording of the Oral Arguments here.

The case is Sprint Communications LLC v. Retrobrands USA LLC et al., case number 22-11717, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
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