Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 05 C 1171, 2007 WL 2875232 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 28, 2004) (Kendall, J.)
Judge Kendall granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss its Lanham Act case with prejudice and awarded defendant its costs but not its fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). The Court held that attorney’s fees were not warranted because the case and its dismissal after substantial fact discovery were not exceptional. Plaintiff dismissed its case because of two significant events which plaintiff believed reduced its likelihood of success.
First, during discovery Congress passed the Trademark Dilution Revision Act (“TDRA”)* which changed the definition of “famous” such that fame within a niche market was no longer sufficient for dilution. Plaintiff was not certain it could prove fame outside its market. Second, defendant changed the trade dress, and particularly the color scheme, of its accused SKIL line of power tools. Plaintiff believed that defendant’s new trade dress was less similar to plaintiff’s and, therefore, plaintiff’s case was more difficult to prove. The Court accepted plaintiff’s reasoning and, therefore, held that the case was not exceptional. The Court did, however, award costs, which plaintiff had originally agreed it would pay.