WMH Tool Group, Inc. v. Woodstock Int’l, Inc., No. 07 C 3885, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 14, 2007) (Darrah, J.).*
Judge Darrah denied defendants’ Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff WMH Tool Group’s (“WMH”) Lanham Act dilution claim and its related Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“Consumer Fraud Act”) claim. WMH registered a trade dress for the color white on its woodworking and metal working products, sold under its JET brand. WMH alleged that its white trade dress was both famous and exclusively associated with WHM’s tools. WMH further alleged that defendant Woodstock International (“Woodstock”) diluted WMH’s trade dress by selling woodworking and metal working tools in WMH’s distinctive white color under Woodstock’s Shop Fox brand. Similarly, WMH alleged that defendant Grizzly Industrial (“Grizzly”) diluted WMH’s trade dress by selling woodworking and metal working tools in WMH’s distinctive white color under Grizzly’s Grizzly or Grizzly Industrial brands.
Defendants argued that WMH did not state a claim for dilution because the complaint did not specify the date when WMH’s trade dress became famous and that defendants’ allegedly infringing sales began after that date. But the Court held that notice pleading did not require that WMH plead specific dates. It was enough that WMH pled that the trade dress had become famous and that defendants’ infringement of the trade dress occurred after the fame was acquired.
Defendants also argued that WMH lacked standing to bring a Consumer Fraud Act claim because WMH was not a “person” or a “consumer” pursuant to the Act. But the Court held that 815 ILCS 505/1(1)(c) defined “persons” to include business entities, and that a plaintiff need not be an actual consumer to bring a claim pursuant to the Consumer Fraud Act.
* Click here for a copy of the opinion.