Trademark Lawsuit Filings In Decline

Chanel, Deckers, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Coach were the most common parties to "win relinquishment of a domain name" in cybersquatting cases this past year, according to data released Monday.

Lex Machina, a LexisNexis company, released of its second annual Trademark Litigation Year in Review report, highlighting filings and findings from trademark cases pending in U.S. District Court from 2009 through the first quarter of 2016.

The report shows that the Central District of California was the most popular district for trademark filings -- 4,164 cases filed from 2009 through the first quarter of 2016 -- although it has seen a decline since 2015 corresponding to an overall decline in all trademark cases filings.

The decline doesn't mean an end to trademark infringement and filings. Overall, Chanel was awarded the most damages from 2009 through first-quarter 2016 -- nearly $1 billion, followed by Burberry at $523 million, and Gucci at $208 million.

Coach was the leading plaintiff in trademark cases filed in this period with 730 cases, followed by Chanel at 330 cases and Microsoft at 203 cases.

Top defendants include Syngenta Seeds with 184 cases, Big Bad Limo Service with 109 cases, with 66 cases, and Walmart with 59 cases. 

Although the National Football League remains technically tops the list of defendants (548 cases), these cases related to a single dispute over use of former players’ likenesses in the District of Minnesota filed in the third quarter of 2014

The 2016 report examines cybersquatting and false advertising, along with new areas that include mass counterfeiter default damages, a type of trademark damages to capture scenarios where plaintiffs are awarded statutory damages on default judgment for masse against many defendants accused of counterfeiting. Since the actual number or identity of the defendants is unknown in mass counterfeiter default damages, Lex Machina separates them so totals are not artificially inflated.

The median time to a temporary restraining order in trademark cases is 6 days.  For preliminary injunctions, the median time to issuance is just more than one month.  For permanent injunctions, the median is six months.

This report draws on data from Lex Machina’s proprietary intellectual property litigation database, and runs it through analytics to ensure the consistency of the data.


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