Capitol Indemnity Corp. v. Elston Self Serv. Wholesale Grocs., Inc., No. 04 C 6536, 2008 WL 696919 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 13, 2008) (Pallmeyer, J.).
Judge Pallmeyer held that the advertising injury claim in plaintiff Capitol Indemnity’s ("CI") insurance policy required that it defend defendants the "Elston Grocery" defendants in the underlying trademark infringement, unfair competition and Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act ("IDTPA") claims. In the underlying litigation, Lorillard Tobacco accused Elston Grocery of selling counterfeit Newport cigarettes using Newport cigarette advertisements.
The advertising injury clause covered infringement of "copyright, title, or slogan" and "[m]isappropriation of advertising ideas." The Court held that "title" does not mean just the title of a work, but also encompasses, among other things, trademarks and names. CI, therefore, had a duty to defend Elston Grocery against Lorillard’s trademark infringement claims. A duty to defend was also created by the trademark infringement claims because they accused Elston Grocery of misappropriating Lorillard’s advertising ideas – its trademarks and advertisements.
CI argued that there was an exclusion for allegedly intentional acts. But the Court held the exclusion did not apply, even though Lorillard pled intent, because intent was not required for trademark infringement.
Additionally, it did not matter that the policy covered only compensatory damages. Lorillard sought punitive damages, but they would only be awarded if compensatory damages were awarded. So, the punitive damages exclusion did not alter CI’s duty to defend.
Finally, the Court declined to rule on indemnity because Lorillard’s claims had not been finally resolved. An indemnity ruling regarding an ongoing case was inappropriate because it would be an advisory opinion.