Access practice tools, as well as industry leading news, customizable alerts, dockets, and primary content, including a comprehensive collection of case law, dockets, and regulations. Leverage...
Sept. 2 — The case against Sears for allegedly infringing the trade dress of Weber grills will continue after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Sears's motion to dismiss Sept. 1.
Sears Holding Corp. argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because Weber-Stephen Products LLC's trade dress had not obtained secondary meaning, making it unprotectable. The court rejected this argument because there was evidence that the public associates Weber's grill designs with the company, and there was more damning evidence that Sears intentionally copied Weber's trade dress to play on the company's goodwill.
“Copying like this is strong evidence of secondary meaning because the only reason that Sears would have expected copying Weber to make consumers think of Weber is if, in fact, Sears believed that Weber's trade dress had acquired secondary meaning,” Judge Edmond E. Chang said. “This copying evidence, taken together with Weber's other evidence, is enough to warrant a trial.”
The court noted an e-mail from a Sears project manager indicating the company's copying of Weber's trade dress was purposeful. The e-mail said that Sears “developed a model to directly compete with Weber's” and “spec'd the features exactly the same, improved the materials and construction and created a grill that the fit, feel and finish will make the customer think of the market share leader, Weber, but at a lower price.”
The court also said that significant advertising and sales of Weber grills and evidence of actual customer confusion between Sears and Weber's grills indicated that the relevant public associated the trade dress with Weber.
Weber is represented by Raymond Pardo Niro Jr. of Niro McAndrews Dowell & Grossman LLC, Chicago. Sears is represented by James J. Lukas Jr. of Greenberg Traurig LLP, Chicago.
To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anandashankar Mazumdar at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)