CARY, NC, January 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Coats and Bennett, PLLC (http://www.coatsandbennett.com), an intellectual property law firm, has announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the previous award of summary judgment on behalf of their client Boynton Carolina Ale House, a Carolina Ale House franchise that had been sued by Miller's Ale House, Inc. in Florida, for trademark infringement, trade dress infringement and copyright infringement. The Southern District of Florida previously ruled that Miller's Ale House, which operates a chain of sports bars throughout several states, must pay $251,130.01 in attorneys' fees and costs to Boynton Carolina Ale House as part of the judgment of noninfringement.
Miller's argued that Boynton Carolina Ale House, which operates in Boynton Beach, Fla., used a similar name, logo, trade dress and floor plans for its restaurant. They claimed this caused confusion among patrons.
Led by Anthony Biller, partner at Coats + Bennett, the litigation team argued for their client that:
- The "ale house" term was generic and therefore could not be trademarked.
- The trade dress infringement claim was not valid because Miller's trade dress (physical appearance) lacks inherent distinctiveness, and the company failed to submit evidence that its customers recognize its restaurant decorations and layouts as unique trade dress.
- Miller's asserted copyrights in its restaurant floor plans were not infringed because the floor plans must be compared at the level of protected expression and not at a conceptual view (a view that the customer or lay person would see).
- Carolina Ale House has locations in Boynton Beach, Weston and Doral, Fla., as well as others throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
"The affirmation of the summary judgment is important for our client and for other entities defending overly broad and overly aggressive intellectual property claims," said Biller. "Based on the evidence that we provided to the district court, we proved that Miller's Ale House does not have a claim of infringement against the Carolina Ale House. We are pleased that the Eleventh Circuit agreed. "
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ABOUT COATS AND BENNETT, PLLC:
Coats and Bennett, PLLC, is one of the most established full service intellectual property law firms in the Southeast. Located in Cary, N.C., the firm provides a comprehensive range of intellectual property legal services including litigation, patents, trademarks, copyrights, licensing, trade secrets and related matters throughout the United States and worldwide. With a reputation as a trusted, experienced and effective resource for businesses and individuals in need of IP counsel, Coats and Bennett delivers quality work to local clients and Fortune 500 companies alike. For more information, visit http://www.coatsandbennett.com.
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