BaliJewel, Inc. v. John Hardy Ltd., No. 07 C 3819, 2008 WL 4425886 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 24, 2008) (Gottschall, J.).
Judge Gottschall granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Lanham Act malicious interference with business relations claim (§ 1125(a)) and related state law claims, and denied defendant’s motion for sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1927. Plaintiff’s malicious interference claim was based upon defendant’s allegedly false letters to plaintiff’s ISPs stating that plaintiff was selling Indonesian folk jewelry that infringed defendant’s copyrights in defendant’s jewelry. But defendant was not accused of using any word or mark that confused defendant’s goods with plaintiff’s. Allegedly false claims of copyright infringement do not constitute a malicious interference claim. And individual letters to ISPs making allegedly false copyright infringement claims do not constitute actionable “commercial advertising or promotion” because the letters were single, private correspondences, as opposed to public dissemination of information. Finally, despite dismissing the claims, plaintiff had not crossed the line from zealous advocacy to sanctionable conduct, that would merit sanctions.