Long-Fought Trademark Battle Heads to SCOTUS
WASHINGTON (CN) - A hardware company whose trademark-infringement claims fell apart in a federal jury trial persuaded the Supreme Court on Tuesday to assess the case.
B&B Hardware Inc. has been in litigation with Hargis Industries Inc. for 16 years regarding the similar-sounding names of their respective products. B&B has a fastener called Sealtight that is used predominantly in the aerospace industry, while Hargis makes a line of self-drilling and self-taping screws called Sealtite that is used in the construction of metal buildings.
The 8th Circuit has ruled on the case at least three times already. Its last decision, issued in May 2013, appeared after the parties faced a seven-day jury trial in Little Rock, Ark. The jury had rejected B&B's trademark infringement and unfair competition claims, but sided with Hargis on counterclaims for false advertising and false designation of origin.
Hargis also won attorneys' fees, which B&B challenged on appeal.
Though the 8th Circuit found that the lower court should recalculate the fee award, it rejected B&B's additional claim that the trial court failed to give preclusive effect to findings by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board concerning the likelihood of confusion of the Sealtight and Sealtite trademarks.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted B&B a writ of certiorari Monday. Per its custom, the court did not issue any comment.