After Hours Formalwear, Inc. v. Tuxedos, Inc., No. 06 C 2460, 2007 WL 404005 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2007) (Guzman, J.).
Judge Guzman denied plaintiff’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss certain of defendants’ tortious interference and antitrust claims. Plaintiff, After Hours Formalwear ("AHF"), controls at least 50% of Chicago’s formalwear market. AHF acquired a group of formalwear stores operating under the mark "Modern Tuxedo" and converted them to its AHF mark. Shortly thereafter, defendants, including Tuxedos, Inc., (collectively "Tuxedos") renamed its stores, "Formally Modern Tuxedo." This renaming led to AHF’s suit against Tuxedos for trademark infringement and unfair competition. Tuxedos responded with counterclaims alleging tortious interference of various kinds, and both federal and state antitrust violations. Basically, Tuxedos alleged that AHF was using baseless trademark infringement claims to harass Tuxedos’ customers and push Tuxedos out of the market.
AHF argued that Tuxedos’ federal antitrust claim was insufficient because it alleged damage only to Tuxedo, not to consumers or competition generally as required by the statute. But the Court held that damage to competition and consumers was sufficiently pled based upon Tuxedos’ allegations that AHF’s alleged anticompetitive activities targeted not only Tuxedos, but other formalwear providers as well. Furthermore, the counterclaims included allegations that formalwear consumers were being harmed by the allegedly anticompetitive acts. The Court further held that conclusory allegations of harm were sufficient, without ruling on whether Tuxedos’ allegations were conclusory, because the Sherman Act does not have a heightened pleading standard.