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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.”
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.).
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.).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on April 10 granted a motion filed by a company that alleges that another entity violated California's unfair completion (UCL) and false advertising laws when it sold trademarked domain names, finding the company in contempt of a temporary restraining order and injunction (UL LLC v. The Space Chariot Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-08172, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56147).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).