RNA Corp. v. The Procter & Gamble Co., No. 08 C 5953, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 21, 2010) (Zagel, J.).
Judge Zagel held that defendant Procter & Gamble’s ("P&G") intellectual property rights could not be held infringed based upon the available evidence and held that on the available record, the Court could not grant attorney’s fees because a prevailing party could not be determined, in this Lanham Act case regarding P&G’s alleged trademarks and trade dress in its Herbal Essence hydrating shampoos and conditioners. Through a series of settlement conferences, the parties agreed to the scope of a preliminary and then a permanent injunction, but were unable to determine money damages issues. The parties, therefore, agreed to submit the remaining issues to trial by the Court on the papers. The Court, therefore, ruled based upon the parties’ written submissions. In my experience, this is a relatively unique way to resolve and especially to try a case in federal court. And it is an excellent example of how willing the Northern District bench tends to be to find cost-effective ways to resolve what are otherwise often prohibitively expensive intellectual property disputes.