Dental Arts Lab. V. Studio 360, The Dental Lab, LLC, No. 10 CV 4535, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 23, 2010) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow denied defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) motion to dismiss this Lanham Act dispute regarding plaintiff’s 360 Dental Laboratories mark. Defendant was a Nevada entity which had sold product to sixteen Illinois dentists, making up 1.2% of defendant’s gross revenue, and maintained a website that used the mark and offered defendant’s products for sale. Plaintiff only argued that the Court had specific, not general jurisdiction. While defendant’s contacts were minimal – sixteen customers and 1.2% of revenues – they involved the alleged tortious acts at issue. The sales, therefore, were sufficient minimum contacts to create specific jurisdiction. Although the Illinois sales were allegedly de minimus, each sale was allegedly a tortious act and the Court could have had jurisdiction based upon even one of the sales. Because defendant’s venue arguments mirrored its jurisdiction arguments, venue was also proper.

Continue Reading Sales to Sixteen Illinois Dentists Creates Jurisdiction

Bone Care Int’l, LLC v. Pentech Pharm., Inc., No. 08 C 1083, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sep. 30, 2010) (Dow, J.).
Judge Dow decided the parties motions in limine in this patent infringement dispute. Of particular note, the Court made the following rulings:
The Court allowed defendants’ anticipation and written description invalidity defenses even though they were not properly disclosed or supported in defendants’ interrogatory responses or expert reports. The anticipation defense was so intertwined with the disclosed obviousness defense that there was no prejudice. And the parties argued the written description defense as part of a summary judgment motion. The Court, however, excluded other undisclosed invalidity defenses.
The Court allowed plaintiffs to present evidence regarding the priority date of one of its claims became there was a question of fact as to whether the claim had priority based upon an earlier, related application.
Plaintiffs were allowed to call defendants’ expert witnesses in plaintiffs’ case-in-chief so long as the testimony was not just cumulative. Plaintiffs could also call defendants’ experts. Even if defendants chose not to call them Defendants cannot turn an expert into a non-testifying expert pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(4)(B), once the expert issued a report and was listed on defendants’ witness list.
A parties’ witnesses should be called live whenever possible, unless the witness is unavailable.
Defendants’ expert was allowed to add references after the expert report deadline and after his deposition, by identifying the references in a deposition errata sheet and in corrected expert report pages. The references did not significantly change the experts analysis. And plaintiffs questioned the expert about the references during his deposition. So, plaintiffs were not prejudiced.
Defendants were also allowed to rely upon their experts’ rebuttal and supplemental reports became the arguments in the reports all properly responded to Plaintiffs’ reports.

Continue Reading Expert Allowed to Amend Expert Report Via Deposition Errata Sheets

Viskase v. World Pac, No. 09 C 5022, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 15, 2010) (Bucklo, J.).
Judge Bucklo granted defendants’ motion to reconsider, ordering production of the “Merritt Memo” previously held to be privileged because it included litigation counsel. The Court held that litigation counsel, before becoming litigation counsel, was the principal conduit to opinion counsel and his opinion was sought in connection with opinion counsel’s analysis. The Court, however, held that no post-filing communications were discoverable in light of In re Seagate which provided post-filing protection where a preliminary injunction was denied.

Continue Reading Trial Counsel’s Opinion – Related Documents Are Discoverable

Hickory Farms, Inc. v. Snackmasters, Inc., No. 05 C 4541, 2007 WL 1576124 (N.D. Ill. May 29, 2007) (Kennelly, J.).
Judge Kennelly denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision that plaintiff’s “Beef Stick” and “Turkey Stick” marks were generic and the Court’s cancellation of the Beef Stick mark (you can read more about that opinion in the Blog’s archives). The Court denied plaintiff’s argument that it should be given more time, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f) to conduct a survey to show that the marks are not generic. But the Court reasoned that plaintiff was free to conduct such a survey in the fourteen months of discovery leading up to defendant’s summary judgment motion. Furthermore, in its responsive briefing plaintiff specifically stated that plaintiff would “not seek to delay the briefing of this matter with its own survey at this time.” Instead, plaintiff suggested that it would conduct a survey if the Court denied defendant’s summary judgment motion. The Court held that after these statements, plaintiff’s current request to perform a survey was almost “frivolous.”
The Court also held that plaintiff’s evidence of its advertising investment and market share had not effect on the Court’s ruling that the marks were generic. A company’s marketing and advertising expenditures cannot make a mark less generic. Additionally, the fact that there is another generic term (summer sausage) for beef sticks and turkey sticks does not mean that beef stick and turkey stick cannot also be generic.

Continue Reading Late Requested 56(f) Cannot Save Summary Judgment