Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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The court affirmed the grant of a permanent injunction enjoining BC Cleaners from using Martinizing's trademarks, concluding that Martinizing failed to prove willful infringement by BC Cleaners. Because Martinizing failed to prove that it was entitled to monetary remedies against BC Cleaners, the individual defendants were likewise not liable for damages, an accounting for profits, and attorneys' fees. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in not granting injunctive relief against the individual defendants, because BC Cleaners had agreed to stop using the trademarks. Therefore, the court reversed as to these issues; affirmed the denial of a default judgment against Defendants Lundell and Carver; and remanded with directions to enter amended judgments. View "Martinizing International v. BC Cleaners" on Justia Law

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Warner filed suit claiming that AVELA infringed their trademarks and engaged in unfair competition by licensing iconic pictures and phrases from films. On appeal, AVELA challenges a permanent injunction prohibiting them from licensing images from the films Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, as well as the animated short films featuring cat-and-mouse duo Tom and Jerry. The court concluded that AVELA’s Seventh Amendment claim is not properly before the court and thus the court declined to consider it; the court rejected AVELA's alternative claim that the $2,570,000 statutory damages award is disproportionate to the offense, insufficiently reasoned, and in violation of this court’s ruling in the previous appeal; the doctrine of judicial admissions does not bar Warner’s trademark claims; likewise, judicial estoppel does not apply; Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. does not bar Warner's trademark claims; AVELA has waived the functionality and fair use defenses; the likelihood of confusion does not always require a jury trial and, on the merits, the district court did not err by rendering summary judgment on the likelihood of confusion; the court rejected AVELA's challenges to the permanent injunction; and the district court’s order is not inconsistent with the court's ruling in the prior appeal. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Warner Bros. Entertainment v. X One X Productions" on Justia Law

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EIP filed suit against PI, alleging claims related to the PAKSTER mark under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 119, 1120, and 1125(a). PI filed counterclaims for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act. The district court then issued findings of fact and conclusions of law. As relevant to this appeal, the district court cancelled PI’s two federal trademark registrations and found that EIP was the prevailing party. PI now appeals the grant of attorney's fees. The court concluded that the district court lacked jurisdiction to cancel the federal registrations of PI’s trademarks, and vacated the cancellation. Having obtained no damages, injunction, or cancellation from its section 38 claim, there is no basis for concluding that EIP was the prevailing party on that claim, which EIP agrees is a precondition to receiving attorney’s fees. As a result, the court need not reach PI’s argument that attorney’s fees are not available under section 38 of the Lanham Act. The court also concluded that, because EIP was not the “prevailing party” with respect to PI’s trademark infringement and unfair competition counterclaims, it is not entitled to attorney’s fees under section 35 of the Lanham Act. Finally, the court remanded the case for further consideration of the issue of whether EIP should obtain attorney's fees because it successfully obtained a declaration that it owned the PAKSTER trademark. Accordingly, the court vacated in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "East Iowa Plastics, Inc. v. PI, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, twenty-three professional football players, filed a putative class action against the NFL, claiming that films produced by NFL-affiliate NFL Films violated the players’ rights under the right-of-publicity laws of various states as well as their rights under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125. Twenty plaintiffs settled, but appellants elected to opt out of the settlement and pursued individual right-of-publicity and Lanham Act claims. The district court granted summary judgment for the NFL. Applying the three Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., factors, the court agreed with the district court’s conclusion that the films are expressive, rather than commercial, speech and that the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 301(a), therefore preempts appellants’ claims. The court also concluded that appellants' claim of false endorsement under the Lanham Act fails as a matter of law because appellants provide no evidence that the films contain misleading or false statements regarding their current endorsement of the NFL. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Dryer v. National Football League" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a trademark infringement suit against defendants. The district court entered a default judgment against defendants as sanction for discovery abuses and then proceeded to enter default judgment against defendant Steven West. The court concluded that the district court and the magistrate judge did not abuse their discretion in declining to delay a hearing for damages based on West's medical issues where they were clearly skeptical of West's credibility based on their experience with him during the discovery process. The court rejected West's argument that the district court erred by not deducting overhead and operating costs from its calculation of defendants’ profits. Accordingly, because the court found no error in the district court's rulings, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc. v. West" on Justia Law