Flava Works, Inc. v. Wyche d/b/a DGSource.com, No. 10 C 748, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jun. 28, 2010) (Gottschall, J.).
Judge Gottschall denied plaintiff Flava Works’ motion for default judgment based upon Flava Works’ proof of damages. Flava Works accused defendants (collectively "DGSource") of copyright infringement and Lanham Act false designation of origin based upon a series of websites that allegedly used and sold Flava Works’ copyrighted content. DGSource never answered the complaint, and the Court entered a default order. In response, Flava Works submitted a proof of damages seeking approximately $1.3M. As an initial matter, the Court held that because both claims stem from the same operative facts, Flava Works was required to choose either copyright or Lanham Act damages. Flava Works also had to choose actual or statutory damages to the extent it chose copyright damages.
With respect to actual damages, the difference between the copyright and Lanham Act claims was that the Lanham Act provided for trebling damages. Regardless of the calculation, Flava Works’ estimates of its losses and DGSource’s profits were "conclusory" and provided without context. For example, Flava Works did not set out how much of DGSource’s website content was infringing and, therefore, would be relevant to a damages calculation.
Flava Works was not required to present evidence if it chose statutory damages, but without evidence the Court was required to adjust the award down, and the Court noted that it would benefit from additional evidence. The Court also noted that Flava Works was only entitled to statutory damages as to the two registered copyrights.
Finally, Flava Works did not prove the elements necessary for a permanent injunction. And Flava Works offered no authority for its requested remedy of transferring DGSource’s domain names to Flava Works.
Lyons Partnership, L.P. v. Welle, No. 08 C 2909, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 22, 2010) (Grady, Sen. J.).
Jude Grady denied defendants’ motion to set aside the Court’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(c) default judgment in this case alleging that defendants violated plaintiff’s intellectual property rights in children’s characters Hello Kitty, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, among others. While the defendants acted diligently after default was entered, they did not act diligently prior to the default. Defendants’ "cash flow" problems were not an excuse for failing to appear pro se. Additionally, the defendants did not identify a meritorious defense. Bare denials from defendants’ answer were not sufficient.
American Taxi Dispatch, Inc. v. American Metro Tax & Limo Co., __ F. Supp.2d __, 2008 WL 4616855 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2008) (St. Eve, J.).
Judge St. Eve permanently enjoined defendants’ (collectively “Metro”) use of trademarks infringing plaintiff American Taxi’s American Taxi marks, and awarded American Taxi damages in the amount of Metro’s gross sales as well as attorney’s fees. American Taxi began using its marks in 1975. Metro incorporated and began using their American Metro Taxi marks in early 2007. American Taxi filed the instant suit for trademark infringement, Lanham Act unfair competition and related state law claims. Metro initially defended itself, but after repeatedly missing deadlines th Court entered a default judgment and allowed American Taxi to submit proofs, which led to this opinion.
Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(c), the award could not exceed in form or amount what was demanded in the pleadings. The Court held that the complaint justified a permanent injunction. American Taxi alleged that Metro’s infringing acts harmed American Taxi’s goodwill, and the Seventh Circuit has held that damage to goodwill can constitute irreparable harm. And American Taxi backed up its complaint with an affidavit detailing actual confusion between the marks. Furthermore, a tailored injunction would not put Metro out of business. In fact, Metro’s owner claimed that Metro had been dissolved. So, the balance of harms weighed in American Taxi’s favor. And finally, there is a public interest in knowing whom they conduct business with, which favored an injunction. The Court, therefore, permanently enjoined Metro and its affiliates, successors and assigns from using its marks or any others that were confusingly similar to the American Taxi marks.