Previous month:
November 2007
Next month:
January 2008

Welding Servs., Inc. v. Forman

Welding Services, Inc. appeals from the district court's entry of summary judgment against it on its claim that Welding Technologies, Inc., its General Manager, Terry Forman, and its Vice President, Robert Henson, infringed Welding Services' service marks in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Welding Services contends that there are triable issues of fact as to whether the companies' service marks are confusingly similar, whether there has been actual confusion about which company was designated by Welding Technologies' marks, and whether Welding Technologies intended to infringe on Welding Services' marks. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

K & N Eng'g, Inc. v. Bulat

In this case we are asked to decide whether an award of statutory damages for trademark counterfeiting under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(c) precludes an award of attorney’s fees under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(b).

. . .

Because an election to receive statutory damages under § 1117(c) precludes an award of attorney’s fees under § 1117(b), we hold that the district court abused its discretion in awarding K&N $100,000 in attorney’s fees. Because we reach this conclusion, we need not address appellants’ remaining arguments that the fee award was improper.

REVERSED.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Cambridge Literary Props, Inc. v. W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik G.m.b.H. & Co. Kg.

The district court entered summary judgment for defendants due to plaintiff's failure to meet the Copyright Act's three-year statute of limitations in this dispute over profits from the sale of Hummel figurines and images. Cambridge Literary Properties, Ltd. v. W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik G.m.b.H. & Co. Kg. (Cambridge II), 448 F. Supp. 2d 244 (D. Mass. 2006). We affirm.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Top Tobacco L.P. v. N. Atl. Operating Co., Inc.

The portion of §1125 from which we have quoted was amended in October 2006 to use “the general public” as the benchmark. This change eliminated any possibility of “niche fame,” which some courts had recognized before the amendment. See Syndicate Sales, Inc. v. Hampshire Paper Corp., 192 F.3d 633 (7th Cir. 1999). Top Tobacco insists that even if the amendment (and North Atlantic’s new packaging) preclude equitable relief, it is still entitled to damages under the old version of §1125. But what we have said is enough to show that the word “top” is not famously distinctive “as a designator of source” in any sensibly specified niche of tobacco products.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.

In this appeal, we consider a copyright owner’s efforts to stop an Internet search engine from facilitating access to infringing images. Perfect 10, Inc. sued Google Inc., for infringing Perfect 10’s copyrighted photographs of nude models, among other claims. Perfect 10 brought a similar action against Amazon.com and its subsidiary A9.com (collectively, “Amazon.com”). The district court preliminarily enjoined Google from creating and publicly displaying thumbnail versions of Perfect 10’s images, Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc., 416 F. Supp. 2d 828 (C.D. Cal. 2006), but did not enjoin Google from linking to third-party websites that display infringing full-size versions of Perfect 10’s images. Nor did the district court preliminarily enjoin Amazon.com from giving users access to information provided by Google. Perfect 10 and Google both appeal the district court’s order. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1).

The district court handled this complex case in a particularly thoughtful and skillful manner. Nonetheless, the district court erred on certain issues, as we will further explain below. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

In re Garner

Harold R. Garner (Garner) appeals the December 14, 2006, decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board), awarding judgment against Garner for failure to make a prima facie showing of priority. Specifically, Garner appeals the Board’s ruling on sufficiency and the Board’s definition of “new evidence.” We affirm.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

Elbex Video, Ltd. v. Sensormatic Elecs. Corp.

Elbex Video, Ltd. (Elbex) appeals from the grant of summary judgment in favor of Sensormatic Electronics Corp. (Sensormatic) by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Elbex Video, Ltd. v. Sensormatic Elecs. Corp., No. 04-CIV-9530 (RO), 2006 WL 2588139 (Sept. 6, 2006) (SJ Order). The district court determined that Sensormatic’s accused closed circuit television (CCTV) systems do not infringe claim 1 of United States Patent No. 4,989,085 (the ’085 patent). We affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.

JCW Invs., Inc. v. Novelty, Inc.

Tekky Toys won a jury verdict for $575,099.82 on its claim that Novelty, Inc., infringed Tekky’s copyright and trademark on “Pull My Finger Fred,” a farting plush doll; this court affirmed that judgment. See JCW Invs., Inc. v. Novelty, Inc., 482 F.3d 910, 921 (7th Cir. 2007). Thirty days after we entered judgment in Tekky’s favor, it filed a petition for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and costs in the district court. What is presently before us is the petition Tekky filed in this court for an award of appellate attorneys’ fees, expenses, and costs in the amount of $78,037.76.

Download the decision.

Please visit Gehrke & Associates, SC to learn more about how to enhance and defend your intellectual property.  Thank you.