FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Clair S. Sassin
Seventh Circuit Dismisses Appeal by Leo Stoller
Pure Fishing’s Assertions of Invalid Trademarks Upheld
(Washington, D.C. – February 23, 2007) – Last week the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of Leo Stoller against the outcomes of the trademark infringement case Central Mfg. Co. vs. Pure Fishing, Inc. The dismissal of Mr. Stoller’s appeal ends decades of trademark infringement lawsuits and oppositions of questionable factual foundation. By upholding the original conviction, the court validates Pure Fishing’s assertion that Mr. Stoller’s trademarks were invalid and that the injunction levied against him was just and fair.
On October 4, 2006, the federal district court in Illinois entered final judgment on all counts in favor of Pure Fishing, et al. Further, the district court declared the case to be “exceptional” under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) and ordered Mr. Stoller, Central Mfg. Co. and several other of Mr. Stoller’s wholly owned companies to pay Pure Fishing’s costs, charges and disbursements incurred in the action.
In addition, the district court:
(1) Ordered that US Trademark Registration No. 1,766,806 and the STEALTH mark for fishing bobbers was “lapsed, invalid, abandoned, unenforceable, and forfeit under federal and common laws;”
(2) Canceled each of the 33 STEALTH trademark registrations listed in the complaint;
(3) Held that there was no reasonable likelihood of confusion with respect to the mark used by Pure Fishing;
(4) Held that Mr. Stoller and his companies were liable for a prior sanction judgment in S Industries, Inc. v. Centra 2000, Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10649, 1998 WL 395161 (N.D. Ill. 1998) so as to allow execution against that judgment; and
(5) Enjoined Mr. Stoller and his companies from, inter alia, “dissipating, transferring, assigning, liquidating, or otherwise removing the trademark assets.”
In a rare decision, the Court further ordered that Mr. Stoller and his companies were “vexatious litigants” and barred them “from instituting any lawsuit or trademark opposition without prior leave of this Court pursuant to this Court’s authority under the All Writs Act 28 U.S. C. § 1651(a).” This injunction follows a sanction entered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July 2006 that prohibits Mr. Stoller from filing certain types of documents against trademark applicants for two years and requires that he use a lawyer for such documents thereafter.
In response to this district court judgment, Mr. Stoller filed an appeal to challenge the fairness of the sanctions and the cancellation of his STEALTH trademarks.
Over the course of these legal proceedings, documents and testimony revealed that Mr. Stoller was engaged in an average of 30-40 oppositions or trademark lawsuits each year since 1996. Conservative estimates place Mr. Stoller’s impact on the US economy for the last 11 years between $60-100 million in unnecessary legal costs to trademark applicants. Mr. Stoller’s personal bankruptcy case remains pending in Illinois (05 B 64075), and he continues to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination against efforts by the court-appointed trustee to determine the scope and extent of his financial estate.
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Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman, L.L.P. (www.roylance.com) based in Washington, DC, served as lead counsel with Lance G. Johnson as lead partner; Banner & Witcoff (www.bannerwitcoff.com) of Chicago was the local firm.
Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman, L.L.P. specializes in protecting and defending the intellectual property assets, copyrights and trademarks for their clients. Known for innovative solutions, we use groundbreaking and
traditional legal strategies to provide a full range of services including litigation, licensing, trade secret matters and unfair competition to companies worldwide. We have extensive experience in proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and prevailed in the first-filed inter partes patent reexamination. Clients include Hubble Incorporated, Pure Fishing, Samsung Electronics, The American Farm Bureau, and XM Satellite Radio. Roylance, Abrams is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.roylance.com.
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