1. Vuitton, a French corporation, manufactures high-quality handbags, luggage, and accessories. Crown Handbags, a New York corporation, manufactures and distributes ladies’ handbags. Vuitton handbags are sold exclusively in expensive department stores, and distribution is strictly controlled to maintain a certain retail selling price. The Vuitton bags bear a registered trademark and a distinctive design. Crown’s handbags appear identical to the Vuitton bags but are of inferior quality. May Vuitton recover from Crown for manufacturing counterfeit handbags and selling them at a discount? Explain.
2. T.G.I. Friday’s, a New York corporation and registered service mark, entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Tiffany & Co. that allowed Tiffany to open a Friday’s restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. International Restaurant Group, operated by the owners of Tiffany, applied for a license to open a Friday’s in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but was refused. In Baton Rouge, International then opened another restaurant, called E.L. Saturday’s, or Ever Lovin’ Saturday’s, which had the same type of menu and decor as Friday’s. Friday’s sues International for trademark infringement. Explain who will prevail.
3. As part of its business, Kinko’s Graphics Corporation (Kinko’s) copied excerpts from books, compiled them in “packets,” and sold the packets to college students. Kinko’s did this without permission from the owners of the copyrights to the books and without paying copyright fees or royalties. Kinko’s has more than two hundred stores nationwide and reported $15 million in assets and $3 million in profits for 1989. Basic Books, Harper & Row, John Wiley & Sons, and others (plaintiffs) sued Kinko’s for violation of the Copyright Act of 1976. Plaintiffs owned copyrights to the works copied and sold by Kinko’s and derived substantial income from royalties. They argued that Kinko’s had infringed on their copyrights by copying excerpts from their books and selling the copies to college students for profit. Kinko’s admitted that it had copied excerpts without permission and had sold them in packets to students, but it contended that its actions constituted a fair use of the works in question under the Copyright Act. What result? Explain.
4. In 1967, a Chicago brewer, Meister Brau, Inc., began making and selling a reduced-calorie, reduced-carbohydrate beer under the name “LITE.” Late in 1968, that company filed applications to register “LITE” as a trademark in the U.S. Patent Office, which ultimately approved three registrations of labels containing the name “LITE” for “beer with no available carbohydrates.” In 1972, Meister Brau sold its interest in the “LITE” trademarks and the accompanying goodwill to Miller Brewing Company. Miller decided to expand its marketing of beer under the brand “LITE.” It developed a modified recipe, which resulted in a beer lower in calories than Miller’s regular beer but not without available carbohydrates. The label was revised, and one of the registrations was amended to show “LITE” printed rather than in script. In addition, Miller undertook an extensive advertising campaign. From 1973 through 1976, Miller expanded its annual sales of “LITE” from 50 thousand barrels to 4 million barrels and increased its annual advertising expenditures from $500,000 to more than $12 million. Beginning in early 1975, a number of other brewers, including G. Heileman Brewing Company, introduced reduced-calorie beers labeled or described as “light.” In response, Miller began filing trademark infringement actions against competitors to enjoin the use of the word light. Should Miller be granted the injunction? Explain.
5. B. C. Ziegler and Company (Ziegler) was a securities company located in West Bend. It had established an internal procedure by which its customer lists were treated confidentially. This procedure included burning or shredding any paper to be disposed of that contained a customer name or information. Nonetheless, in late 1985, Ziegler delivered a number of boxes of unshredded scrap paper to Lynn’s Waste Paper Company for disposal. One of Lynn’s employees, Ehren, who had been in the securities business and had worked for two of Ziegler’s competitors, noticed the information contained in the delivery from Ziegler and purchased six boxes of the Ziegler wastepaper for $16.75 from Lynn’s. Shortly thereafter, Ehren and his daughter sorted through the information and ultimately obtained 11,600 envelopes of information on Ziegler’s customers, including names, account summaries, and other information. Ehren sold this information to Thorson, a broker in competition with Ziegler. Thorson then sent a mailing to the Ziegler customers to solicit security sales for his firm and obtained an abnormally high response rate as a result. Ziegler, with the help of the West Bend Police Department, traced the dissemination of this information to Ehren and sought from the court a permanent injunction against Ehren using or disclosing the information regarding Ziegler’s clients. What result?
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