Mattress Firm is 'conspiring' to sell bogus mattresses, Tempur-Pedic alleges in lawsuit

Mattress Firm store in New York City. 
Michael Brochstein | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
Mattress Firm store in New York City. 

Tempur-Pedic has filed a lawsuit against Mattress Firm, accusing the retailer of "conspiring" to sell products that bear a strong resemblance to its mattresses.

The allegation marks an escalation of a bitter feud between the two companies after Mattress Firm last year ended its contract to sell Tempur-Sealy International mattresses in its more than 3,300 U.S. stores.

Mattress Firm, the nation's largest mattress retailer, is reeling from declining sales, overexpansion and a financial scandal at its parent company, Steinhoff International.

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Tempur-Sealy's North American division said in court papers that Mattress Firm has been selling a product marketed as "Therapedic," "copying the look and feel of the entire Tempur-Pedic brand and consumer experience."

"MF's products, and the environment in which MF is selling them, are so strikingly similar to Tempur-Pedic's products and sales environment that consumers will inevitably be confused and harmed," Tempur-Pedic North America lawyers said Tuesday in the lawsuit. "Consumers will incorrectly believe that MF is still an authorized seller of Tempur-Pedic products when it is not."

Tempur-Sealy, which has faced declining sales since losing the Mattress Firm deal, demanded that the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida take action to block its rival from selling the Therapedic products.

After the Tempur-Sealy contract cancellation last year, Mattress Firm signed a deal to get mattresses from Tempur-Sealy rival Serta Simmons, which is not involved in the latest fight.

Mattress Firm has closed hundreds of stores over the last year and is said to be considering bankruptcy, according to Reuters. Among other issues, the company is grappling with the fallout from an intense competition with online bed-in-a-box rivals such as Casper and the consequences of heavy discounting.

Tempur-Pedic accused Mattress Firm of having "intentionally directed" companies called Sino-US and Sino-CH to make "mattresses that look confusingly similar" to its own and to create similar branding and marketing materials.

Mattress Firm did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment early Wednesday. Tempur-Sealy declined to comment, saying it doesn't discuss pending litigation.

Mattress Firm and Tempur-Pedic have squared off in court before. After their deal ended in early 2017, Tempur-Pedic filed a lawsuit accusing Mattress Firm of selling its mattresses without authorization. A judge eventually prevented Mattress Firm from selling Tempur-Pedic mattresses, according to the new case.

"Now, barely a year later, MF is at it again," Tempur-Pedic said in the latest lawsuit.

Tempur-Pedic North America, a division of Tempur-Sealy International, filed the lawsuit. Tempur-Sealy is technically not party to the case.

While most Mattress Firm locations are no longer selling Tempur-Pedic products, a few dozen franchise locations are still allowed to sell them.