AutoZone, Inc. v. Strick, No. 03 C 8152, 2007 WL 683992 (N.D. Ill. March 1, 2007) (Hart, J.).
Judge Hart denied plaintiffs’ motion for a Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) entry of final judgment on plaintiffs’ Lanham Act and related state law trademark infringement and dilution claims, which the Court dismissed in this opinion. The Court denied the motion on two grounds. First, plaintiffs notified the Court of their intent to file the motion 30 days after the Court’s order dismissing the claims, but only entered it 37 days later. The Court noted the Seventh Circuit standard is that a district court generally abuses its discretion by entering a Rule 54(b) judgment when the motion was filed more than 30 days after the underlying order was issued.* Second, the Court denied the motion on substantive grounds. Defendants’ counterclaims, which were the only claims remaining in suit, involved overlapping factual issues with plaintiffs’ dismissed claims. Defendants sought cancellation of plaintiffs’ Zone mark, one of the marks plaintiffs alleged defendants infringed in the dismissed claims. Additionally, defendants’ remaining claims alleged infringement of their Oil Zone mark, a mark that plaintiffs’ dismissed claims alleged infringed their AutoZone and Zone marks.
* The Court also noted that some litigants have argued that the Seventh Circuit standard is no longer good law, but stated that district courts throughout the Seventh Circuit continue to follow it with a string cite.