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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Trademarks Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Trademarks Legal News

Headline Trademarks Legal News from LexisNexis®


9th Circuit Sides With Google In Genericide Dispute
SAN FRANCISCO - An Arizona federal judge did not err in concluding that a plaintiff failed to establish that the primary significance of the word "google" to the relevant public is as a generic name for internet search engines, instead of as a trademark identifying the Google Inc. search engine in particular, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 16 (David Elliott and Chris Gillespie v. Google Inc., No. 15-15809, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8583).

Counterclaims, Defenses Dismissed In Trademark Dispute Over Cup Design
CHICAGO - Trademark infringement plaintiff Solo Cup Operating Corp. on May 17 won dismissal of counterclaims that Solo's complaint is preempted by the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 1 et seq., when an Illinois federal judge agreed that a product configuration disclosed in an expired utility patent can nonetheless be entitled to trade dress protection (Solo Cup Operating Corporation v. Lollicup USA Inc., No. 16-8041, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74922).

Florida Federal Judge Allows Damage Request To Proceed In Unfair Competition Case
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Efforts by myriad defendants to obtain partial summary judgment in connection with allegations they used deceptive sales pitches while selling security services door-to-door were largely rejected May 17 by a Florida federal judge, who agreed only with the defendants' claim that plaintiffs ADT LLC and ADT US Holdings Inc. may not seek attorney fees in the matter (ADT LLC, et al. v. Alarm Protection LLC, et al., No. 15-80073, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75046).

Indiana Federal Judge Dismisses Franchise Fraud Claims Against Publisher
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on May 16 granted third-party defendants' motion to dismiss franchise fraud claims against them in a trademark infringement case, saying counterclaimants failed to plead their claim with sufficient particularity (Britt Interactive LLC, et al. v. A3 Media LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02884, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73945).

New York Federal Judge Says Trademark Complaint States Claim For Relief
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 16 denied a defendant restaurateur's motion to dismiss a complaint that its use of trademarks infringes a pizza franchisor's trademark that predates the restaurateur's mark, finding that the complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted (I.O.B. Realty Inc. v. Patsy's Brand Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-7682, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74108).

Judge Denies Preliminary Injunction Request In Trade Dress, Trade Secrets Suit
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on May 10 denied stainless steel and silver-plated dinnerware designer and seller Oneida Group Inc.'s motion for preliminary injunction in a trade dress infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit, ruling that Oneida failed to show that it owns the trade dress at issue (The Oneida Group Inc. v. Steelite International U.S.A. Inc., et al., No. 17-0957, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71438).

Pennsylvania Federal Judge Denies Relief In Trademark Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - Allegations that a newly named pharmacy continues to infringe the "Rann Pharmacy" trademark despite a November 2016 injunction were rejected June 6 by a Pennsylvania federal judge (Rann Pharmacy Inc. v. Shree Navdurga LLC, et al., No. 17-1893, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86373).

Magistrate Allows Survey Of Taffy Shop Customers In Trademark Battle
DENVER - A taffy shop may have valid complaints about a survey conducted by an expert for a competing taffy shop in a trademark dispute, but the survey is reliable and relevant enough to not preclude it from trial, a Colorado federal magistrate judge ruled June 8 (Estes Park Taffy Company, LLC, et al. v. The Original Taffy Shop, Inc., No. 15-cv-01697, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88113).

California Federal Judge Sides With Plaintiff In Trademark Case
LOS ANGELES - A dispute between competing car clubs over the "Stylistics" trademark was resolved in favor of a plaintiff on May 23, when a California federal judge awarded summary judgment (Gilbert Lerma Jr. v. Ernie Armijo, et al., No. 15-9953, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77575).

Federal Circuit: Patent, Copyright, Trademark Claims Properly Rejected
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Washington federal judge did not err in rejecting allegations that Inc. infringes the intellectual property of others through its online marketplace and "Fulfillment by Amazon" service, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 23 (Milo & Gabby LLC, et al. v. Inc., No. 16-1290, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8932).

Trademark, Copyright Defendants Awarded $922,309 In Attorney Fees
LOS ANGELES - A trademark and copyright dispute over the phrase "Life is Beautiful" rejected on summary judgment due to a lack of similarity and a plaintiff's unclean hands yielded a $922,309 attorney fee award on May 23 by a California federal judge (Amusement Art LLC v. Life is Beautiful LLC, et al., No. 14-8290, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79135).

Federal Circuit Remands For Redetermination Of Mark Cancellation Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A rejection by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of a petition for cancellation of the "Alec Bradley Star Insignia" trademark was vacated and remanded by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24 (Joseph Phelps Vineyards LLC v. Fairmont Holdings LLC, No. 16-1089, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9006).

'Get Lucky' Jeans Maker Tells 2nd Circuit Rival Violated Prior Trademark Ruling
NEW YORK - On a third appeal to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals over rival clothing manufacturers' claims to the "Get Lucky" trademark, Marcel Fashions Group Inc. in its May 5 appellant brief argues that a competitor has continued its infringing conduct in violation of a previous judgment and that a trial court judge erred in deeming the present claims barred by a 2003 settlement agreement between the parties (Marcel Fashions Group Inc. v. Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., et al., No. 17-0361, 2nd Cir.).

Riflescope Makers Debate Trade Dress Functionality In 6th Circuit
CINCINNATI - Competitors in the riflescope industry have filed briefs in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing whether the trade dress on the knurling of the plaintiff's scopes are ornamental, which would permit the plaintiff to pursue infringement claims against the defendants, or functional and nonprotectable, as a trial court found (Leapers Inc. v. SMTS LLC, et al., No. 17-1007, 6th Cir.).

'Guppie' Trademark Owners Argue Reverse Confusion By Viacom To 6th Circuit
CINCINNATI - A Michigan couple who sell the "Guppie Kid" children's clothing line argue in a June 14 brief in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that clothing related to the Nickelodeon show "Bubble Guppies" infringed their trademarks by overwhelming their senior marks via reverse confusion (Debbie Rohn, et al. v. Viacom International Inc., et al., No. 17-1225, 6th Cir.).

Daycare Operator Defends Contempt To 4th Circuit In 'Rainbow' Trademark Row
RICHMOND, Va. - Because the defendant repeatedly failed to comply with an injunction requiring it to remove all uses of the "Rainbow" trademark from its website, a trial court properly issued contempt rulings and a monetary judgment against it, a daycare operator tells the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a June 7 appellee brief (Rainbow School Inc. v. Rainbow Early Education Holding LLC, et al., Nos. 17-1055 and 17-1123, 4th Cir.).

Illinois Federal Judge Dismisses Lanham Act Dispute Over Promotion
CHICAGO - Allegations by the world record holder for consecutive kicks of a footbag - commonly known as a "hacky sack" - that Wendy's International Inc. violated the Lanham Act by using his identity in a 2013 promotion were rejected April 28 by an Illinois federal judge pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (Johannes Martin v. Wendy's International Inc., No. 15-6998, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64435).

6th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Lanham Act Claims Against UPS
CINCINNATI - Allegations that United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) committed infringement when it used the "UPS OrderLink" trademark in connection with a free software program despite rejection of the same by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office were properly rejected by a Michigan federal judge, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 3 (Progressive Distribution Services Inc. v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 16-1830, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7841).

4th Circuit Affirms: Confusion Unlikely In '450' Trademark Case
RICHMOND, Va. - A North Carolina federal judge did not err in concluding that consumers were unlikely to be confused between the use of "450" in connection with competing hair care products, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 5 (Grayson O Company v. Agadir International LLC, No. 15-2552, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8010).

8th Circuit Panel Affirms Grant Of Injunction Against Dry Cleaner Franchisee
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a Minnesota federal judge's grant of a permanent injunction enjoining a dry cleaner franchisee from using Martinizing International LLC's trademarks but said Martinizing was not entitled to punitive damages, costs or attorney fees in its action against the franchisee and two of its employees because they agreed to cease using the marks (Martinizing International LLC v. BC Cleaners LLC, et al., No. 16-1069, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7531).

New York Federal Judge Retains Jurisdiction Over Copyright, Trademark Case
NEW YORK - Efforts by a defendant to obtain dismissal for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue of allegations that it infringed copyrighted and trademarked fine jewelry designs were rejected May 4 by a New York federal judge, who found that personal jurisdiction exists in the case (Verragio Inc. v. SK Diamonds, No. 16-6931, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68422).

4th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of False Advertising Claims
RICHMOND, Va. - A Virginia federal judge's decision to dismiss allegations of false advertising levied in connection with Better Business Bureau ratings was not erroneous, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 24 (Wall & Associates Inc. v. Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, Inc., et al., No. 16-1819, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7118).

Federal Circuit Sides With False Marking, False Advertising Defendant
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina federal judge did not err in granting summary judgment to a Lanham Act and Patent Act defendant accused of marking its key-cutting machines as "patent pending," the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 13 (Gordon Gravelle v. Kaba Ibco Corp., No. 16-2318, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6246).

3rd Circuit Vacates, Remands Damage Award In Trademark Dispute
PHILADELPHIA - A decision by a Pennsylvania federal judge to "eschew" statutory damages and award more than $4 million to a trademark plaintiff was an abuse of discretion because "the record was insufficient to approximate actual damages," the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 18 (Covertech Fabricating Inc. v. TVM Building Products Inc., No. 15-3893, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6588).

Trademark Plaintiff Largely Prevails In Nebraska Federal Case
OMAHA, Neb. - A request by a plaintiff for summary judgment on its allegations that four defendants infringed the "LaGrange" trademark was granted, in part, by a Nebraska federal judge on April 18 (JDR Industries v. James L. Vance, et al., No. 14-284, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58912).

Judge Finds Hoverboard Seller Infringed On Trademarks, Awards $1M
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on April 20 granted a motion filed by the owner of certain trademarks for summary judgment on its other claims for infringement and counterfeiting of a registered mark, awarding it $1 million in damages (UL LLC v. The Space Chariot Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-08172, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56147).

Judge: Fact Issues Exist Whether Defendants Used Bimbo's Trade Secrets
SALT LAKE CITY - Defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit have failed to show that no genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether they violated Utah's trade secrets statute in producing bread products using the trade secrets owned by another company, a federal judge in Utah ruled April 12 (Bimbo Bakeries Inc. v. Leland Sycamore, et al., No. 13-749, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57861).

Company's Trade Secrets Misappropriation Claims Survive Dismissal Motion
DALLAS - Defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets and intellectual property lawsuit have failed to show that a plaintiff failed to state its claims for violation of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), as well as several common-law claims, a federal magistrate judge in Texas ruled May 8 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (TeamLogic Inc. v. Meredith Group IT LLC, et al., No. 16-2542, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69580).

Indiana Magistrate Judge Orders Discovery Of Franchise Pacts In Restaurant Row
HAMMOND, Ind. - An Indiana magistrate judge on May 10 granted a Texas grill and saloon franchisor's motion to compel discovery of franchise agreements of a western-style restaurant franchisor that is accusing it of trademark and trade dress infringement, but limited it to production of U.S. franchise agreements because requiring production of foreign franchise agreements, if any, would be "disproportional to the needs of the case" (Texas Roadhouse Inc., et al. v. Texas Corral Restaurants Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-28, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71182).

9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal In Dispute Over Growth Hormone Ads
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge properly rejected a state law unfair competition plaintiff's effort to apply the Lanham Act's "establishment claim" standard outside the context of a Lanham Act claim, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Serena Kwan, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. SanMedica International, No. 15-15496, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6995).

Dismissal Of Trademark Dispute Between Tracks, Kentucky Downs Affirmed
CINCINNATI - Allegations that Kentucky Downs LLC infringed the trademarks of other horse racing venues when operating an historical horse-race gambling platform were properly dismissed, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 19 (Oaklawn Jockey Club Inc., et al. v. Kentucky Downs LLC and Exacta Systems LLC, No. 16-5582, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7078).

Judge Dismisses Infringement Claim Against Party City Over Drink Vessel Patent
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 25 dismissed claims asserted by a drink vessel maker for patent infringement and unjust enrichment in relation to a party supply retailer's alleged infringement on its utility patent but found that part of its claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) can proceed (Small Axe Enterprises Inc. v. Amscan Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-00981, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62900).

Copyright, Lanham Act Claims Partly Dismissed In Dispute Over Bobblehead
SAN DIEGO - Allegations that the sellers of a Hillary Clinton bobblehead doll committed false advertising by falsely claiming an association with the Trump organization fail to plead proximate causation because the claims lack evidence of lost sales or reputational damage, a California federal judge ruled May 8 ( LLC v. Wright Brothers Inc., et al., No. 16-2790, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70050).

2nd Petition For Certiorari Filed In Dispute Over 'M2' Trademark
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An April 7 petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court represents the second request for review of a 2016 Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a finding of no infringement in a dispute over two technology firms' use of the "M2" trademark that has led to the filing of three lawsuits (David Escamilla v. M2 Technology Inc., et al., No. 16-1213, U.S. Sup.).

Day Care Operator Appeals Contempt Ruling In 'Rainbow' Trademark Suit
RICHMOND, Va. - A child care center operator filed a brief with the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 26, seeking reversal of a trial court's entry of two contempt orders, arguing that it made good faith efforts to remove a disputed "Rainbow" from its website (Rainbow School Inc. v. Rainbow Early Education Holding LLC, et al., No. 17-1055, 4th Cir.).

Machine Company Tells 7th Circuit Defamation Pact Did Not Include Trademark Suit
CHICAGO - In a May 8 brief to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a machine company appeals a trial court's finding that the settlement of a defamation suit with a competitor also applied to a previously issued trademark judgment between the two firms and released a judgment in the plaintiff's favor (Engineered Abrasives Inc. v. American Machine Products & Services Inc., et al., No. 17-1429, 7th Cir.).

West Virginia Federal Judge: Res Judicata Bars Trademark Claims
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Allegations of trademark abandonment through naked licensing were dismissed March 31 by a West Virginia federal judge pursuant to the doctrine of res judicata (Gerald Mollohan v. Brothers of the Wheel M.C. Executive Council Inc., No. 13-32251, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48690).

Judge: Expert Testimony Is Relevant, Reliable In Weight Loss Drug Trademark Suit
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 29 allowed rebuttal expert testimony in a trademark lawsuit over the quality of a weight loss supplement because the expert is qualified and her testimony is relevant and based on reliable methods (Obesity Research Institute LLC v. Fiber Research International LLC, et al., No. 15-595, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46999).

11th Circuit Panel Says Groucho's Trademark Suit Barred By Laches
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 29 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a delicatessen in a lawsuit in which a restaurant chain franchisor said the deli's name infringed on its registered service mark, saying the complaint was barred by laches (Groucho's Franchise Systems LLC v. Grouchy's Deli Inc., No. 16-16279, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5437).

Illinois Federal Judge: Does Noble Roman's Lawsuit Name Correct Defendant?
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 29 denied both plaintiff and defense motions for summary judgment in a breach of contract and Lanham Act case, saying there is a question of whether the correct corporate entity has been named as the defendant (Noble Roman's Inc. v. B&MP LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-9446, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46861).

New Jersey Federal Judge Grants Howard Johnson Judgment Against Franchisee
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on April 3 granted Howard Johnson International Inc.'s (HJI) unopposed motion for summary judgment on breach of contract, breach of guarantee and Lanham Act claims against a franchisee, saying the franchisee did not provide any information refuting HJI's claims (Howard Johnson International Inc. v. SSR Inc., et al., No. 14-4611, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51109).

Indiana Federal Judge Extends Injunction Against Former Fitness Salon Franchisee
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on April 5 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation and extended a preliminary injunction against a woman who allegedly began operating a competing fitness business using a fitness franchisor's trademarks, logos and confidential information, saying that she failed to show that the order was clearly in error (Get in Shape Franchise Inc. v. TFL Fishers LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01374, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51626).

Terminated Franchisees Preliminarily Enjoined From Using Dickey's Barbecue Marks
SHERMAN, Texas - Two weeks after issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the terminated franchisees of two Arizona Dickey's Barbecue Pit locations to prevent them from using the barbecue chain's trademarks, a Texas federal judge on March 22 granted the franchisor's motion for a preliminary injunction, finding the plaintiff likely to succeed on its trademark infringement claims (Dickey's Barbecue Pit Inc., et al. v. Celebrated Affairs Catering Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00127, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41038).

House, Senate Unveil Legislation Aimed At Stolen Trademarks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Identical bills devoted to curbing the practice of Cuban confiscation of trademarks were recently introduced in both chambers of Congress; S. 259 and H.R. 1450 are both titled the "No Stolen Trademarks Honored in America Act."

Judge: Intellectual Property Exclusion Relieves Insurer Of Its Duty To Defend
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 3 entered final judgment in favor of a commercial general liability insurer after finding that it has no duty to defend its insured against an underlying trademark and trade dress infringement lawsuit because the insurance policy's intellectual property exclusion bars coverage for all claims (Secard Pools, Inc., et al. v. Kinsale Insurance Co., No. 16-02404, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47871).

Judge: Suit Fails To Allege Insured Published Material That Disparages Sprint
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 29 held that Sprint's underlying lawsuit against an insured fails to allege the publication of disparaging material and, therefore, the insurer's duty to defend was not triggered under the policy's "personal and advertising injury coverage" (Unwired Solutions, Inc. v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., No. 16-0405, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46215).

No Coverage For False Advertising Claims Against Insured, 6th Circuit Affirms
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 11 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that a business liability policy does not provide coverage for false advertising claims brought against an eye health supplement maker insured by a competitor, finding that the insured failed to demonstrate that the underlying complaint alleged a product disparagement claim (Vitamin Health, Inc. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No.16-1724, 6th Cir.).

9th Circuit Dismisses Appeal In Coverage Dispute Over Trademark Claims
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 dismissed an insured's appeal in an advertising injury coverage dispute after a lower federal court determined on remand that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case (Vogue International, LLC, d.b.a. Vogue International v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-56394, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5011).

Award Vacated, Trademark Infringement Verdict Upheld By 5th Circuit
NEW ORLEANS - An award of royalty damages on behalf of a trademark infringement plaintiff was vacated March 16 by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Streamline Production Systems Inc. v. Streamline Manufacturing Inc., No. 16-20046, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4708).

New York Federal Judge Grants Verizon Motion In Service Mark Case
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Allegations that Verizon Communications Inc. committed trademark infringement when it adopted the term "Free Will" in connection with an advertising campaign were dismissed March 17 by a New York federal judge (Public Free Will Corp. v. Verizon Communications Inc., No. 15-6354, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39168).

New York Federal Judge Grants Partial Judgment In Trademark Case
ALBANY, N.Y. - Citing evidence that a defendant acted outside the scope of its licensing agreement with a plaintiff, as well as evidence that the defendant used a trademark identical to that of a plaintiff, a New York federal judge on March 22 granted partial summary judgment in a dispute over sports protective eyewear (Halo Optical Products Inc. v. Liberty Sport Inc., No. 14-282, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41084).

Illinois Federal Judge Finds Ethics Violation In Trademark Case
CHICAGO - All previous pleadings by counsel for three common-law trademark defendants were stricken March 28 by an Illinois federal judge as a sanction for ethics violations (Lectric Limited v. DGW Inc., No. 15-7744, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44867).

South Dakota Federal Judge Vacates Damage Award In Trademark Case
RAPID CITY, S.D. - A money judgment totaling nearly $1 million was vacated March 10 by a South Dakota federal judge on laches grounds, despite findings in the same ruling that a plaintiff owns a valid and infringed trademark (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. v. Rushmore Photo & Gifts Inc., et al., No. 11-5052, D. S.D.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39462).

D.C. Federal Judge: Domain Registration Would Not Change Trial Outcome
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Efforts by a defendant to obtain a new trial in a dispute over the "La Indita Michoacana" trademark in light of newly discovered evidence were denied March 30 by a District of Columbia federal judge (Paleteria La Michoacana Inc., et al. v. Productos Lacteos Tocumbo S.A. De C.V., No. 11-1623, D. D.C.).

Record Label Says 'Empire' Trademark Infringement Falls Into Exception Of Rogers
SAN FRANCISCO - A record label argues to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in its March 15 reply brief that Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994, 997 (2d Cir. 1989), does not govern the infringement of its trademarks by television companies because their use of a mark in the title of a television series and music soundtracks falls within an exception to Rogers (Twentieth Century Fox Television, et al. v. Empire Distribution Inc., No. 16-55577, 9th Cir.).

Firearms Dealer: Heightened Scrutiny For Denial Of Jury Trial In Trademark Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a trademark dispute over a profits claim, a firearms dealer argues to the U.S. Supreme Court in a March 15 reply brief that when a party clearly intends to pursue a jury trial, "heightened scrutiny applies to a district court's denial of that right" (Clyde Armory Inc. v. FN Herstal S.A., No. 16-936, U.S. Sup.).

Plastics Firms Debate Attorney Fees Award In 8th Circuit Trademark Appeal
ST. LOUIS - On a second appeal before the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals regarding the ownership of a trademark connected with plastic products in the poultry field, two plastic manufacturing companies filed briefs arguing whether an Iowa federal judge properly clarified an earlier ruling on remand and awarded attorney fees under state law based on the defendant's harassment of the plaintiff (East Iowa Plastics Inc. v. PI Inc., No. 16-4574, 8th Cir.).

Trade Dress, Trademark Protection Of Light Installations Debated In 8th Circuit
ST. LOUIS - An artist known for light installations and a one-time potential client have filed briefs in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, debating whether a trial court properly dismissed the artist's trade dress and trademark claims over a purported lookalike, and similarly-named, display as preempted by copyright law (Bruce Munro, et al. v. Lucy Activewear Inc., et al., No. 16-4483, 8th Cir.).