La-Z-Boy Calls in Lawyers, Calls Off Auction
When last we left the notorious pimped-out, motorized La-Z-Boy whose driver had become the first person ever to be arrested for driving an easy chair while intoxicated, it was on course to be sold on eBay for somewhere north of $40,000. But when I checked back later in the day, the listing had disappeared. A quick query found a report on TMZ that La-Z-Boy had put the brakes on the auction.
Well, now we know more, thanks to reports from Wired and Sphere, among other sources. Walter Wobig, the police chief in Proctor, Minn., whose department had seized the notorious chair and put it up for auction, told Wired, "I talked to this guy Rand Tucker from La-Z-Boy who asked if we could take 'La-Z-Boy' out of the listing and out of the whole thing and to respect the La-Z-Boy trademark."
Rand Tucker would be R. Rand Tucker, assistant secretary and corporate counsel of La-Z-Boy Incorporated. Chief Wobig said his conversation with Tucker was cordial and the lawyer agreed the auction could go forward provided the La-Z-Boy name was not used.
Turns out the motorized chair was not even a La-Z-Boy in the first place. A company spokesperson told Wired, "The La-Z-Boy chair and name is one of our most valuable assets and this is a trademark infringement." As a matter of fact, Wobig said he used the trade name in his eBay auction only because the media had used it in reporting on the case. "The chief even ran the listing by his attorney beforehand, but the guy didn't pick up on the legal landmine," Wired says.
Meanwhile, the Proctor police department has relisted the motorized chair on eBay, this time as DWI Chair, Motorized Chair, Racing Chair. It would appear that now that everyone knows this is a knock-off and not an actual La-Z-Boy, the chair's value has diminished. The bidding this time around has so far yet to break $10,000.
Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 4, 2009 at 01:34 PM | Permalink
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