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Monthly Archives

May 2016

The Next Venue Frontier: New Federal Trade Secret Legislation Opens The Federal Courts To Trade Secret Claims

By Trade Secrets - News & Publications

By Andrew P. Holland and Jared M. Ahern
On May 11, 2016 President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”). Among other things, the DTSA provides that an “owner of a trade secret that is misappropriated may bring a civil action . . . if the trade secret is related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”1 The new law expressly states that it is not meant to “preempt any other provision of law,”2 and therefore state substantive trade secret law—such as California’s rejection of the inevitable disclosure doctrine3—will apply to actions brought in federal court under the DTSA. Read More

Congress Corrals Scope Of Discovery With Recent Amendment To Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 26

By Blog, Litigation

By Andrew P. Holland and Jared M. Ahern
Rule 26 may be the most important Federal Rule of Civil Procedure because it governs discovery, which is arguably the most important part of modern civil litigation. On December 1, 2015 Congress amended Rule 26 to make “proportionality” a more prominent part of the rule.1 Generally, proportionality requires striking a balance between the need for the information sought in discovery with the burden imposed on the party who would have to supply that information. Read More

Is This Fishing Lure Made By The Butter Company? Seventh Circuit Finds Butter And Fishing Tackle Companies’ Use Of The Same Trademark Is Not Likely To Confuse Consumers

By Blog, Intellectual Property Law, Litigation

By Andrew P. Holland and Jared M. Ahern
Is a consumer likely to be confused when a company that makes butter uses the same trademark as a company that makes fishing tackle (hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, baits, lures, spears, nets, gaffs, traps, waders and tackle boxes)?1 The court’s answer in Hugunin v. Land O’ Lakes, Inc. was a resounding no.2 815 F.3d 1064 (7th Cir. 2016).
James Hugunin, along with two of his companies, sued the dairy company Land O’ Lakes, Inc. for trademark infringement after it demanded that he cease using the “LAND O LAKES” mark without a license.3 Land O’ Lakes counterclaimed for trademark dilution.4 The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of all the claims, observing that “in this unusual case two firms sued each other though neither had been, is, or is likely to be harmed in the slightest by the other.”5 Read More