Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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B&B, manufacturer and seller of a product called "Sealtight," filed suit against Hargis, manufacturer of a product called "Sealtite," claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. Hargis counterclaimed for false advertising and false designation of origin. The jury returned a verdict which rejected B&B's claims but found in favor of Hargis on its counterclaims. On appeal, B&B argued that the district court should have given preclusive effect to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's (TTAB) findings concerning the likelihood of confusion of the two companies' trademarks. B&B also appealed the award of attorney fees and costs. The court concluded that the district court properly refused to apply collateral estoppel to the TTAB's decision; rejected B&B's argument that the TTAB's factual findings from a trademark registration case were entitled to deference by the district court; and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the TTAB's decision from the evidence presented to the jury. Therefore, the court affirmed the denial of B&B's motion for judgment as a matter of law or alternative motion for a new trial based on its claim of issue preclusion; affirmed the district court's evidentiary decisions; and remanded the award of attorney fees with directions to amend the award by deducting Hargis's attorney fees for the prior appeal. View "B & B Hardware v. Hargis Industries, et al" on Justia Law

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APLC moved to unseal a complaint filed by IDT and Net2Phone in a civil suit against eBay, Skype, and Skype Technologies. APLC moved to intervene in the suit and urged the district court to unseal the complaint in the interest of an open court system. The district court denied APLC's motion. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its decision to seal sensitive business information included in the complaint where the potential harm of unsealing confidential and competitively sensitive information outweighed ALPC's generalized interest in access to the complaint. However, the court vacated the order and remanded for the district court either to explain why sealing of the entire pleading was warranted or to unseal a redacted version of the complaint. View "IDT Corp, et al v. AR Public Law Center" on Justia Law

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Retro Television Network appealed the district court's dismissal of its claims against appellees, Luken and Retro Television, under Rule 12(b)(6). In 2005, Equity entered into an intellectual property agreement (IPA) with Retro Television Network. Retro Television Network subsequently sued appellees seeking royalty payments and an accounting under the IPA. Because Retro Television Network failed to allege any facts that would make Luken liable for Equity's obligations under the IPA, the district court properly dismissed its claims against Luken. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorneys' fees. View "Retro Television Network, Inc. v. Luken Communications LLC, et al" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from a dispute between several recording companies and defendant. Defendant willfully infringed copyrights of 24 sound recordings by engaging in file-sharing on the Internet. On appeal, the companies appealed the remedy ordered by the district court. The court concluded that the recording companies were entitled to the remedies they sought: damages of $222,000 and a broadened injunction that forbid defendant to make available sound recordings for distribution. But because the verdicts returned by the second and third juries were sufficient to justify these remedies, it was unnecessary for the court to consider the merits of the district court's order granting a new trial after the first verdict. View "Capitol Records, Inc., et al v. Thomas-Rasset" on Justia Law

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FNB South Dakota and its affiliates appealed from the district court's entry of a permanent injunction against them as a remedy for trademark infringement and unfair competition claims brought by FNB Sioux Falls. FNB Sioux Falls cross-appealed the denial of its motion for attorney's fees and the district court's purported factual finding that certain of FNB South Dakota's affiliates' names "appear" not to infringe FNB Sioux Falls' marks. The court held that, because the nucleus of operative facts in this action included facts not common to the prior action, this action was not barred by res judicata; the admission of the confusion log was harmless error; the district court's finding of a likelihood of confusion was based on a permissible view of the evidence and was therefore not clearly erroneous; and the district court's denial of fees must be affirmed. The court also declined to strike the challenged language from the district court's Amended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "The First National Bank v. First National Bank SD, et al." on Justia Law

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This was an appeal of two consolidated suits brought under Indiana's and Missouri's trade secret statutes, involving information about the repair and overhaul of helicopter engines published by Rolls-Royce. The court held that the district court did not err in granting Rolls-Royce summary judgment on its trade secret claims where AvidAir was not entitled to the value of the proprietary revised documents, even if the new technical specifications were relatively minor in the context of the overhaul process as whole. Having concluded that the documents in question were protected trade secrets, the district court did not err in granting an injunction in favor of Rolls-Royce. Consequently, the court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Rolls-Royce on AvidAir's antitrust and tortious interference claims. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "AvidAir Helicopter Supply v. Rolls-Royce Corp." on Justia Law

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Synoran and e-Pin (appellants) appealed from the district court's confirmation of an arbitration award in favor of Wells Fargo, which had prevailed on its claims for breach of contract and for misappropriation of trade secrets. Appellants maintained that the district court lacked jurisdiction to confirm the award, erred in confirming the award, and abused its discretion in denying their motion to amend or terminate a permanent injunction issued as part of the award. The court rejected appellants' claim that Wells Fargo was a citizen of both South Dakota and California and concluded that the district court did not err in determining that it had subject-matter jurisdiction over the action. The court also held that the district court did not err in determining that appellants had waived their right to challenge the award of injunctive relief; in declining to vacate the award on the grounds that the arbitration panel exceeded the scope of its arbitral mandate; and in confirming the award of attorneys' fees against e-Pin. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to terminate or amend the permanent injunction. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. WMR e-PIN, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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FICO brought suit against three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, as well as against VantageScore, the credit bureaus' joint venture. The suit alleged antitrust, trademark infringement, false-advertising, and other claims. FICO, Experian, and VantageScore appealed from the district court's judgment. The court held that FICO failed to demonstrate that it had suffered any antitrust injury that would entitle it to seek damages under section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 12-27, and FICO failed to demonstrate the threat of an immediate injury that might support injunctive relief under section 16. The court also held that there was no genuine issue of material fact that consumers in this market immediately understood "300-850" to describe the qualities and characteristics of FICO's credit score and therefore, the district court did not err in finding the mark to be merely descriptive. The court further held that there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to determine that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) relied on FICO's false representation in deciding whether to issue the "300-850" trademark registration. The court agreed with the district court that VantageScore was not a licensee and therefore was not estopped from challenging the mark under either theory of agency or equity. The court finally held that FICO's false advertising claims were properly dismissed and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion for attorneys' fees. View "Fair Isaac Corp., et al. v. Experian Information Solutions, et al." on Justia Law

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Appellant, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in St. Louis, Missouri, sued appellee, a Spanish corporation with its principal place of business in Barcelona, Spain, for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. At issue was whether the district court properly granted appellee's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, declined to reach the forum-non-conveniens argument, and denied the motion for failure to state a claim. The court held that the proper application of the five-factor test set forth in Johnson v. Arden supported hearing the present case in Missouri. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's decision to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and remanded for further proceedings. As a preliminary matter, the court held that it would address the forum-non-conveniens argument because no additional facts were needed to resolve the issue. The court held, however, that because the plaintiff's choice of forum was entitled to significant deference and because the public-interest factors favor deciding the case in Missouri, the court did not find that the present case presented the exceptional circumstances necessary to invoke the doctrine of forum-non-conveniens. Therefore, the court denied appellee's motion to dismiss based on this ground. The court further held that in denying appellee's motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the district court did so without analysis and without prejudice. Therefore, the issue should be left for the district court to consider on remand. View "KV Pharmaceutical Co. v. J. Uriach & CIA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the owner of the federal trademark "The Flying Burrito Company," appealed the district court's dismissal of its trademark infringement action for lack of personal jurisdiction. At issue was whether a federal court in Arkansas had personal jurisdiction over an Iowa citizen and an Iowa limited liability company where the contact with Arkansas was a single meeting by the parties in Arkansas. The court held that defendants' actions in making the isolated trip to Arkansas do not reveal an intent to purposefully avail themselves of the protection of that state's laws, or otherwise established sufficient contacts with Arkansas to justify personal jurisdiction. As noted, defendants made the trip to Arkansas in an effort to avoid any trademark infringement resulting from the name of their Iowa restaurant and nothing in the record showed any other connection to Arkansas. Therefore, defendants have insufficient contacts with Arkansas to confer personal jurisdiction over them with respect to the subject of this lawsuit. With respect to plaintiff's ground of appeal seeking jurisdictional discovery, the district court did not expressly rule on that issue, but in any even, the court saw no basis for such discovery. View "Pangaea, Inc. v. The Flying Burrito, LLC, et al." on Justia Law