Decisions Roundup: 7th Circuit Restores $713,000 Beanie Babies Award

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Decisions Roundup: 7th Circuit Restores $713,000 Beanie Babies Award

Wed Feb 27, 2008 @ 10:27AM PST

Posted by Matthew Heller

Gavel_celeb_20061127Case: Ty Inc. v. Softbelly's, Inc.

Court: 7th Circuit

Date: Feb. 22, 2008

Facts: In the retrial of a trademark dispute between Ty, the maker of Beanie Babies, and Softbelly, the maker of Screenie Babies, a judge ordered Ty to forfeit the $713,000 in damages to which it was entitled for infringement as a sanction for owner Ty Warner's alleged tampering with a prospective witness for Softbelly. The witness had been prepared to testify that the word 'beanie" had become generic before Ty started selling Beanie Babies.

Holding: The 7th Circuit vacated the sanction and restored the $713,000 award to Ty. The limits of "notions of proportionality" were "exceeded in this case" because the trial judge "imposed what amounted to a large fine ... for what she described as 'serious misconduct,' even though ... no harm was done by the misconduct beyond imposing a litigation expense on the opposing party
that the misbehaving party is ready to make good."

To view the opinion, click here.

Case: Sindharella, Inc. v Vu

Court: USDC, N. Calif.

Date: Feb. 12, 2008

Facts: Sindharella, which operates four "Boiling Crab" restaurants in Orange County, Calif., alleged Kevin Vu has violated its trademarks by operating "Boiling Crab" restaurants in northern California. The restaurants of both parties offer Louisiana-style seafood, including crab, oysters, shrimp and crawfish and the menus have similar layouts and structure.

Holding: Pending a trial on the merits, defendants are enjoined from using “The Boiling Crab” or any other mark with “Boiling” in combination with a sea-water crustacean. Although Vu "claims to have copied the name and decor from a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, this claim seems tangled in a net of fishy contradictions. Truth is, defendant has been trying to muscle in on plaintiff’s hard-won success and should be enjoined."

To view the opinion, click here.

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