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Illinois Attorneys Awarded Attorney’s Fees in Trademark Infringement Case

Chicago Partner Cole G. Dunnick and Attorney Inessa S. Holly prevailed on their recent petition for fees under the Lanham Act, and secured for the Firm’s client more of 99% of the total reasonable attorney’s fees requested.

In January 2022, attorneys Cole Dunnick and Inessa Holly obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, an Indiana employment and staffing agency, before Judge Robert L. Miller in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Plaintiff, a New York-based employment and staffing agency, filed a three-count complaint against our client alleging intentional trademark infringement, false advertising and violations of the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act (ACPA). In addition to obtaining summary judgment on Plaintiff’s trademark infringement and false advertising claims, the Court dismissed Plaintiff’s ACPA claim pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) with prejudice.

The Lanham Act allows a prevailing party to recover reasonable attorney’s fees in “exceptional cases” based on the applicable substantive law and the facts of the case. Cole and Inessa argued this was an “exceptional case” because Plaintiff failed to produce any admissible evidence of consumer confusion and based its litigation strategy on an incorrect interpretation of settled federal trademark law. Judge Miller agreed. In August 2022, Judge Miller found this to be an exceptional case and awarded our client more than 99% of the total attorney’s fees sought. No appeal was timely filed.

Click here to view the order granting our petition for attorney’s fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1117(a).

Cole’s litigation practice includes products liability, complex commercial litigation and professional malpractice, as well as catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and toxic tort defense. He is currently national counsel for a major consumer goods manufacturer for products liability and toxic tort matters. Cole is the managing partner of Litchfield Cavo LLP’s Chicago office.

Inessa concentrates her practice on personal injury, construction negligence, wrongful death and toxic tort defense. Her representative clients include contractors and tradesmen, as well as manufacturers and distributors.