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12-CV-02309

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Case Summary: Taylor v. Thomas et al, 12-CV-02309 (W.D. Tenn.)

Plaintiff Fontaine Taylor, a real estate agent in Memphis, Tennessee, brought this action against Defendant Mark Thomas, also a real estate agent, alleging unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s service mark on Defendant’s marketing signs in violation of the Lanham Act and Tennessee state law. The service mark at issue shows a blue city skyline behind the name of Plaintiff’s company printed in red lettering. The service mark was never registered, but the court granted partial summary judgment on January 22, 2013 affirming Plaintiff’s ownership of the mark.

Defendant worked for Plaintiff for 17 years before moving to another brokerage firm in 2011. In 2012, Defendant began using marketing materials with a blue skyline behind red lettering, which he continued using until the court ordered a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction as part of these proceedings. Defendant then began using new signs with an uneven blue horizon behind red lettering.

This video shows the jury trial beginning on September 23, 2013. On September 26, the jury returned a verdict finding that the first sign with a blue skyline background, but not the second sign with an uneven blue horizon, violated the Lanham Act and Tennessee state law because it was likely to be confused with Plaintiff’s mark. Plaintiff was awarded damages totaling $97,270, attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $237,982, and a permanent injunction enjoining Defendant from using the blue skyline image.

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Case Highlights

  • Complaint filed 4/20/2012 (Doc #1)
  • Preliminary injunction granted 5/07/2012 (Doc #37)
  • Answer filed 7/23/2012 (Doc #69)
  • Jury Trial held 9/23-9/26/2013 (Doc #233-238)
  • Jury verdict entered 9/26/2013 (Doc #241)

 

Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit Pacer.gov.