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Decision Secalt Tirak Trade Dress Shape

Decision Secalt Tirak Trade Dress Shape

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Published by mschwimmer
trade dress decision re tirak hoist
trade dress decision re tirak hoist

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Published by: mschwimmer on Feb 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

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FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
S
ECALT
S.A.; T
RACTEL
, I
NC
.,
Plaintiffs-Appellants,
No. 10-17007v.D.C. No.
2:08-cv-00336-JCM-W
UXI
S
HENXI
C
ONSTRUCTION
GWFM
ACHINERY
C
OMPANY
, L
TD
.,
 Defendant-Appellee.
S
ECALT
S.A.; T
RACTEL
, I
NC
.,No. 11-15066
Plaintiffs-Appellants,
D.C. No.v.2:08-cv-00336-JCM-
W
UXI
S
HENXI
C
ONSTRUCTION
GWFM
ACHINERY
C
OMPANY
, L
TD
.,OPINION
 Defendant-Appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Courtfor the District of NevadaJames C. Mahan, District Judge, PresidingArgued and SubmittedNovember 17, 2011—San Francisco, CaliforniaFiled February 7, 2012Before: MichaelDalyHawkins, M.MargaretMcKeown, andMilanD.Smith,Jr., Circuit Judges.Opinion by Judge McKeown
1269
 
COUNSEL
Scott S. Christie (argued), McCarter & English, Newark, NewJersey, for the plaintiffs-appellants.James C. Martin, Charles H. Dougherty, Jr., Donna M. Dobl-ick (argued), Clay P. Hughes, Reed Smith LLP, Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania; Carina M. Tan, Reed Smith LLP, Palo Alto,California; Ivy Y. Mei, The Law Offices of Ivy Y. Mei,Mountain View, California, for the defendant-appellee.
OPINION
McKEOWN, Circuit Judge:Although “[p]rotection of trade dress, no less than of trade-marks, serves the [Lanham] Act’s purpose,”
Two Pesos, Inc.v. Taco Cabana, Inc.
, 505 U.S. 763, 774 (1992), that protec-tion does not extend to designs that are functional. We con-sider here whether a traction hoist manufactured by Secalt,S.A., and Tractel, Inc. (collectively “Tractel”) qualifies fortrade dress protection. We agree with the district court thatTractel did not meet its burden to establish nonfunctionalityand affirm the grant of summary judgment in favor of JiangsuShenxi Construction Machinery Co. (“Jiangsu”). We affirmthe district court’s award of attorney’s fees to Jiangsu uponfinding that this is an “exceptional” case meriting fees. Whilethe line delineating “exceptional” cases under the Lanham Actmay be murky, this action falls squarely within the realm of exceptional cases contemplated by the Act.
1273S
ECALT
S.A. v. W
UXI
S
HENXI
C
ONSTRUCTION
 
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Tractel manufactures and sells the Tirak traction hoist,which is used typically for commercial building projects andexternal maintenance, like window washing. These devicesare commonly affixed to suspended platforms to power theplatforms up and down stationary wire ropes. Upon discover-ing that Jiangsu, a Chinese competitor, exhibited similar look-ing hoists at a trade show in Las Vegas, Tractel brought suitclaiming that Jiangsu’s hoists infringed the trade dress of theTractel traction hoist. The complaint included three countsagainst Jiangsu: trade dress infringement under the LanhamAct; federal unfair competition; and related state law tradedress and unfair competition claims. This photograph reflectsthe design of Tractel’s hoist.
1274S
ECALT
S.A. v. W
UXI
S
HENXI
C
ONSTRUCTION

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