U.S. Polo Ass'n v. PRL USA Holdings
US Supreme Court Decision: COMMIL USA, LLC v. CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.

Burford v. Accounting Practice Sales, Inc

On the likelihood‐of‐confusion issue, the district court could similarly find at least a good‐faith basis for APS to ar‐ gue that consumers would be confused. APS would have provided evidence about how the two businesses’ markets overlap, the similarity of the two names and business mod‐ els, and Burford’s attempts to pass off his services as those of APS. See Forum Corp. of N.A. v. Forum, Ltd., 903 F.2d 434, 439 (7th Cir. 1990).

Without deciding the ultimate merits of APS’s Lanham Act claim, we find no abuse of discretion by the district court in finding that it was not objectively unreasonable for APS to have brought the claim in the first place. That is, a rational litigant might bring this claim at least in substantial part to protect its trademark. Thus, we cannot presume that the on‐ ly reason APS pursued this claim was to impose costs on Burford. Nor is there direct evidence that APS brought suit solely to obtain an economic benefit for itself unrelated to winning the suit. Cf. Nightingale, 626 F.3d at 965–66 (finding that plaintiff had made Lanham Act claim solely to coerce a price reduction out of defendant). Accordingly, we REVERSE the grant of summary judgment to defendants on the contract claim and REMAND for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

We AFFIRM the district court’s denial of Burford’s request for attorney fees on the Lanham Act counterclaim.

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