18
Aug/09

Pictures Not Worth 1000 Words: How To Plead Trade Dress Infringement and Dilution


Plaintiff is the authorized distributor of the BELLINI CHAIR. A registration for the shape of the chair looks like this:
bellini chair reg drawing 2.jpg
Design Within Reach had been an authorized retailer of the BELLINI chair:
bellini dnr 2.jpg
Then DNR came out with a chair that looked like this:
dnr alonzo.jpg
Plaintiff sued on trade dress infringement and dilution (Bellini complaint previously reported here).
DNR moves to dismiss the complaint.
Held as to dilution: Dismissed. Plaintiff had pled that the Bellini chair was well known to the “relevant public interested in contemporary furniture.” That is niche fame, not fame among the ‘general consuming public.’ Revenues of $1 million is nowhere near the levels where plaintiff could plausibly prove fame, as that term is used by the dilution statute.
Held as to trade dress: Dismissed without prejudice for failure to articulate a precise expression of the character and scope of the claimed trade dress. A copy of the drawing from the trademark registration and a photo of the product was INSUFFICIENT in articulating the distinctive features of the trade dress. Plaintiff had to identify the elements of the trade dress that were distintive.
Decision Bellini Trade Dress
, then came out with a chair that plaintiff alleged infringed the Bellini

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