Thursday, May 12, 2016

Entitlement to disgorgement doesn't create Lanham Act standing

Gravelle v. Kaba Ilco Corp., 2016 WL 2644890, NO. 5:13-CV-642 (E.D.N.C. May 9, 2016)

Simple, but worth having a cite: plaintiff claimed false advertising based on allegedly false patent marking.  He couldn’t show that the falsity was proximately connected to any harm to his sales, in part because there were other obvious explanations for declining sales (the product was near the end of its commercial life and he also put a next-generation product on the market, cannibalizing his own sales).  He argued that he had standing to bring his Lanham Act claim because, if he prevailed, he’d be entitled to disgorgement of profits.  But injury and damages are separate inquiries.  “Thus, the mere fact that the Lanham Act establishes a mechanism by which plaintiff could recover damages, were he successful, does not mean that plaintiff has suffered an injury proximately caused by defendant’s conduct, sufficient to support a claim under the Act.”

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