Connect with us

Fashion

9th Circuit Examines Commercial Apparel Functionality in Favor of Iconic Herman Miller Office Chairs | Hogan Lovells

Avatar

Published

on


The Ninth Circuit rules in favor of furniture designer Herman Miller in his trade dress infringement lawsuit against a manufacturer of copies of imitation Eames and Aeron office chairs. The court upholds a jury finding that the commercial trim on the Eames chair is non-functional and overturns the district court’s erroneous instructions on the aesthetic functionality of the Aeron chair, ordering a new trial. However, the court overturned the jury’s conclusion on the dilution of the trademark of the Eames chair, finding that the evidence of Herman Miller was insufficient to exceed the high threshold of the household’s reputation. The case is Blumenthal Distributing, Inc. v Herman Miller, Inc., 963 F.3d 859 (9th Cir. 2020).

American furniture maker Herman Miller took legal action against Blumenthal Distributing, Inc. (d / b / a Office Star Products) for selling imitation office chairs that closely resembled the famous Eames and Aeron office chairs from Herman Miller, as shown below:

Eames chairsAeron chair
Eames chairsAeron chair

Herman Miller sued Office Star in United States District Court for the Central District of California for violation and dilution of its registered and unregistered trade dress in the Eames and Aeron chair models. A jury trial ruled in favor of Herman Miller for his Eames design, finding the Eames trade dress was non-functional and awarded nearly $ 3.4 million for willful trademark infringement and $ 3 million dollars for dilution. The jury, however, convicted Herman Miller for his Aeron design, ruling that the trade dress was functional and not protectable, with the district court ordering the cancellation of the registration of the Aeron trade dress in the United States Patent & Trademark. Office. Both parties appealed.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit (1) upheld the judgment in favor of Herman Miller on the infringement claim for Eames trade dress, (2) reversed the judgment in favor of Office Star on the Aeron trade dress, and was sent back for a new trial, and (3) reversed the judgment in favor of Herman Miller on the dilution claim for Eames trade dress.

  • Breach of Eames business dress – Limiting its analysis to utility functionality alone (according to the Office Star briefing), the Ninth Circuit found that just because the Eames chair contains certain utility features does not mean that the chair’s overall appearance is functional in law. Herman Miller also presented extensive evidence, including publicity material touting the chairs’ distinctive design and testimony from the company’s own industrial design expert, demonstrating that the overall appearance of the Eames chair was the result of non-utilitarian design choices. and incorporated features chosen in large part for their aesthetic impact.
  • Breach of Aeron business dress – The Ninth Circuit claimed that the district court misstated the aesthetic functionality law in its instructions to the jury, clarifying that a feature is not functional simply by being “part of the actual benefit that consumers wish to purchase when they buy the product ”. Although the jury charge was based on model instructions for the circuit, the Ninth Circuit canceled and returned for a new trial because the instruction did not faithfully reflect the existing jurisprudence on functionality and Office Star did not established that this error was harmless.
  • Eames Commercial Coat Dilution – The Ninth Circuit pointed out that the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 eliminated niche notoriety as the basis of protection against dilution and established that a mark should be “widely recognized by the general consumer public in the United States as a source designation ”. Despite Herman Miller’s evidence of around $ 550,000 a year in advertising spending and the appearance of the chairs in several publications, museums, and television programs, including the hit show Mad Men, the court ruled that Herman Miller did not meet the high standard of “familiar name” for establishing reputation. A panel judge disagreed with this finding, saying she believed Herman Miller’s testimony sufficiently established “the household’s reputation”, especially since the general consumer public is not required to may Last name trademark holder, as the majority opinion seemed to suggest.

Key points to remember

Appeals courts have recently seen an increase in written opinions on the functionality of trade dress and this recent Ninth Circuit ruling reaffirms the proposition that mere inclusion of functional elements in trade dress does not make its overall appearance functional. . This principle aligns with a 2019 decision from the Seventh Circuit – Bodum USA, Inc. v A Top New Casting, Inc. – whereas the assessment of functionality is not simply whether an item of trade dress is generally ‘functional’, but rather whether design of this element is functional.

Further, the ruling reveals the Ninth Circuit’s incredibly high standard for establishing fame for dilution purposes, particularly when a panelist felt that “proof of the cultural significance of trade dress” can establish fame. . Herman Miller provides ample evidence of its cultural impact, its “ubiquity” in modern office environments, and prominent features of renowned museums and television shows, but this was insufficient for the majority of the panel.

* significant contribution from Erica Brackett.

[View source.]

What Are The Main Benefits Of Comparing Car Insurance Quotes Online

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / June 24, 2020, / Compare-autoinsurance.Org has launched a new blog post that presents the main benefits of comparing multiple car insurance quotes. For more info and free online quotes, please visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/the-advantages-of-comparing-prices-with-car-insurance-quotes-online/ The modern society has numerous technological advantages. One important advantage is the speed at which information is sent and received. With the help of the internet, the shopping habits of many persons have drastically changed. The car insurance industry hasn't remained untouched by these changes. On the internet, drivers can compare insurance prices and find out which sellers have the best offers. View photos The advantages of comparing online car insurance quotes are the following: Online quotes can be obtained from anywhere and at any time. Unlike physical insurance agencies, websites don't have a specific schedule and they are available at any time. Drivers that have busy working schedules, can compare quotes from anywhere and at any time, even at midnight. Multiple choices. Almost all insurance providers, no matter if they are well-known brands or just local insurers, have an online presence. Online quotes will allow policyholders the chance to discover multiple insurance companies and check their prices. Drivers are no longer required to get quotes from just a few known insurance companies. Also, local and regional insurers can provide lower insurance rates for the same services. Accurate insurance estimates. Online quotes can only be accurate if the customers provide accurate and real info about their car models and driving history. Lying about past driving incidents can make the price estimates to be lower, but when dealing with an insurance company lying to them is useless. Usually, insurance companies will do research about a potential customer before granting him coverage. Online quotes can be sorted easily. Although drivers are recommended to not choose a policy just based on its price, drivers can easily sort quotes by insurance price. Using brokerage websites will allow drivers to get quotes from multiple insurers, thus making the comparison faster and easier. For additional info, money-saving tips, and free car insurance quotes, visit https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ Compare-autoinsurance.Org is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc. "Online quotes can easily help drivers obtain better car insurance deals. All they have to do is to complete an online form with accurate and real info, then compare prices", said Russell Rabichev, Marketing Director of Internet Marketing Company. CONTACT: Company Name: Internet Marketing CompanyPerson for contact Name: Gurgu CPhone Number: (818) 359-3898Email: [email protected]: https://compare-autoinsurance.Org/ SOURCE: Compare-autoinsurance.Org View source version on accesswire.Com:https://www.Accesswire.Com/595055/What-Are-The-Main-Benefits-Of-Comparing-Car-Insurance-Quotes-Online View photos



picture credit

ExBUlletin

to request, modification Contact us at Here or [email protected]