CINCINNATI — With a Jan. 23 appellant reply, briefing concluded in a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dispute over the necessity of physical evidence of accused counterfeit goods to establish trademark infringement liability, with Coach Inc. and an accused counterfeiter offering opposing arguments on the burden of proof (Coach Services Inc., et al. v. Source II Inc., et al., No. 17-1546, 6th Cir.).
SEATTLE — In a Feb. 14 ruling, a Washington federal magistrate judge largely rejected efforts by a defendant to undo a December jury verdict of trade dress infringement, denying a request for a new trial but conditioning that denial upon a plaintiff’s acceptance of a remittitur that would reduce damages in the case from $193,598 to $167,239 (National Products Inc. v. Arkon Resources Inc., No. 15-1553, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24436).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Feb. 12 entered a default judgment on claims for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and trademark infringement asserted by a maker of hot sauce and granted a permanent injunction in its favor, enjoining another hot sauce maker from making or selling certain products containing similar marks (Tapatio Foods LLC v. Isaac Granados, No. 17-7532, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23618).
DENVER — A trial court incorrectly found the pink trade dress of its hip joint components to be functional, a trademark holder argues in a Feb. 9 brief to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking reversal of a judgment deeming its color pink trademark registrations unprotectable and not infringed (C5 Medical Werks LLC, et al. v. CeramTec GmbH, No. 17-1173, 10th Cir.).
CHICAGO — In a Jan. 31 holding, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed, on jurisdictional grounds, an Illinois federal judge’s determination that a Florida corporation is liable for trademark infringement (Ariel Investments LLC v. Ariel Capital Advisors LLC, No. 17-1516, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2412).
MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a motion by IHOP Restaurants LLC and IHOP Franchisor LLC for a preliminary injunction enjoining a franchisee from using its mark or any trademark that is confusingly similar to the IHOP mark at restaurants (IHOP Restaurants LLC, et al. v. Moeini Corp., No. 17-00570, S.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19707).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A men’s salon franchisor filed a complaint on Jan. 18 in a California federal court accusing one of its franchisees of improperly terminating its franchise agreement and continuing to use its trademarked items and confidential information while operating a salon under a different name (Ultimate Franchises, Inc., et al. v. Amyn Sachedina, et al., No. 18-97, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Jan. 22 appellee brief, an Asian foods maker tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a trial court has twice properly denied a defendant’s motions for attorney fees in a trademark dispute, arguing that the correct “totality of the circumstances” standard was thoroughly considered (Anhing Corp. v. Viet Phu Inc., et al., No. 17-55851, 9th Cir.).
PHOENIX — Following a four-day bench trial in October 2017, an Arizona federal magistrate judge on Jan. 29 sided squarely with declaratory judgment defendant Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. in a trademark and trade dress dispute over a “Bad Spaniels” dog chew toy (VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc., No. 14-2057, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14432).
ST. LOUIS — A fastener manufacturer argues in a Jan. 30 brief in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that an infringement verdict in its favor related to its “Sealtight” trademark should have resulted in an award of disgorgement of the infringer’s profits, saying that the trial court improperly balanced the parties’ equities in denying the award (B&B Hardware Inc. v. Hargis Industries Inc., No. 17-1570 and 17-1755, 8th Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Jan. 26 sued the operators of vehicle dealerships in relation to the alleged use of its trademark, asserting causes of action for infringement and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) (National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Ken Grody Management Inc., et al., No. 8:18-cv-00153, C.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS — Allegations of service mark infringement against four defendants were dismissed by a Missouri federal judge on Jan. 23, based upon findings that a karaoke licensing company is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims (Phoenix Entertainment Partners LLC v. Sports Legends LLC, et al., No. 17-1209, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10381).
RICHMOND, Va. — Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2017 decision in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744, 1751 (2017), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 vacated and remanded to the Eastern District of Virginia a dispute over the registrability of six trademarks and logos belonging to the Washington Redskins professional football team (Pro-Football Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al., No. 15-1874, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1186).
CHICAGO — A counterclaim seeking a declaration of copyright invalidity is “unnecessary” in light of affirmative defenses of fair use, first sale, acquiescence and license raised in response to allegations of copyright infringement, an Illinois federal judge ruled Jan. 23 (Maui Jim Inc. v. SmartBuyGlasses Optical Limited, No. 16-9788, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10093).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel on Jan. 22 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has no obligation to reimburse its insured for more than $16,000 in independent counsel fees incurred in an underlying copyright infringement dispute, rejecting the insured’s contention that a conflict of interest entitled it to independent counsel (Bean Products, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 1-17-0421, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 89).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Jan. 18 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the owner of Applebee’s and IHOP restaurants of using artificial sweetener in its franchise network that’s packaged in a yellow packet made to look like trademarked Splenda sweetener (Heartland Consumer Products LLC, et al. v. DineEquity, Inc., et al., No. 17-1035, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7983).
MILWAUKEE — A California federal judge on Jan. 11 transferred an aftermarket motorcycle part company’s action in which it seeks a declaration of noninfringement and asserts a claim for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) against a motorcycle maker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, noting that an underlying cease-and-desist letter originated in Wisconsin (Cobra Engineering Inc. v. H-D USA Llc, et al., No. 2:18cv71, E.D. Wis.).
OMAHA, Neb. — A request by a trademark owner to retransfer infringement allegations to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas was denied Jan. 16 by a Nebraska federal judge, who found that the plaintiff failed to show that a previously severed defendant is indispensable to the Texas action (Buc-ee’s Ltd. v. Buck’s Inc., et al., No. 17-287, D. Neb., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6619).
BOSTON — In what it deemed a case of first impression, a divided First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 12 found that a trademark licensee retains only the right to seek prepetition damages following a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession’s rejection of the underlying license agreement (Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, No. 16-9016, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 870).
CINCINNATI — A rejection on summary judgment of allegations that a riflescope maker committed trade dress infringement through the design of its knurling was erroneous, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 10 (Leapers Inc. v. SMTS LLC, et al., No. 17-1007, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 599).