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Loggerhead Tools, LLC v. Sears Holding Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 20, 2016

LOGGERHEAD TOOLS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SEARS HOLDING CORPORATION and APEX TOOL GROUP, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John W. Darrah, Judge

         Plaintiff LoggerHead Tools, LLC filed a Second Amended Complaint against Defendants Sears Holding Corporation and Apex Tool Group, LLC, alleging, inter alia, trade dress infringement claims against Defendants based on product design, Count XV, and product packaging, Count XVI. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [270] on Counts XV and XVI. For the reasons set forth more fully below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [270] is granted.

         LOCAL RULE 56.1

         Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide “a statement of material facts as to which the party contends there is no genuine issue for trial.” Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) requires the nonmoving party to admit or deny every factual statement proffered by the moving party and to concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. See Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005). A nonmovant's “mere disagreement with the movant's asserted facts is inadequate if made without reference to specific supporting material.” Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). In the case of any disagreement, the nonmoving party must reference affidavits, parts of the record, and other materials that support his stance. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). To the extent that a response to a statement of material fact provides only extraneous or argumentative information, this response will not constitute a proper denial of the fact, and the fact is admitted. See Graziano v. Vill. of Oak Park, 401 F.Supp.2d 918, 936 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Similarly, to the extent that a statement of fact contains a legal conclusion or otherwise unsupported statement, including a fact that relies upon inadmissible hearsay, such a fact is disregarded. Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997). Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C), the nonmovant may submit additional statements of material facts that “require the denial of summary judgment.”

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are taken from the parties' statements of undisputed material facts submitted in accordance with Local Rule 56.1.

         Plaintiff LoggerHead Tools, LLC (“LoggerHead”) is an Illinois limited-liability company with its principal place of business in Palos Park, Illinois. (DSOF ¶ 1.) Defendant Sears Holding Corporation (“Sears”) is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 2.) Defendant Apex Tool Group, LLC (“Apex”) is a Delaware limited-liability company with its principal place of business in Sparks, Maryland. (Id. ¶ 3.) LoggerHead asserts two patents in this case, U.S Patent Nos. 6, 889, 579 (“the ‘579 Patent”) and 7, 992, 470 (the “‘470 Patent”). (Id. ¶ 22) Those patents describe the claimed device as an adjustable gripping tool. (Id. ¶ 23.) LoggerHead started selling the Bionic Wrench in 2005. (Id. ¶ 34.) The Bionic Wrench is stamped with the trademark LOGGERHEAD TOOLS and the trademark BIONIC WRENCH. (Id. ¶ 40.) The Bionic Wrench has black handles and green horizontal ribbing at the top of each handle. (Id.) In the packaging, the 8-inch version of the Bionic Wrench appears as follows:

         (IMAGE OMITTED)

         (Id. ¶ 9.) The packaging for the Bionic Wrench has the trademark LOGGERHEAD and the trademark BIONIC WRENCH. (Id. ¶ 41.) The packaging also includes a turtle-head logo, “A Gripping Experience” tagline, and a green, yellow, and black color scheme. (Id.) The packaging includes an image and text of multiple wrenches being replaced by a single wrench and a “Try Me” sign ad. (Id. ¶ 41.) LOGGERHEAD, BIONIC WRENCH, a turtle-head logo and “A Gripping Experience” are registered trademarks owned by LoggerHead, are used for goods including wrenches, and serve as source identifiers. (Id. ¶¶ 42-43.)

         On May 6, 2014, LoggerHead received Supplemental Trademark Registration No. 4, 527, 177 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for claim of the following design in solid lines:

         (IMAGE OMITTED)

(Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) The Supplemental Trademark Registration says that “[t]he mark consists of three-dimensional depiction of a wrench head. The wrench head consists of a cog-like design in the nature of a circle with six rectangular slots. The broken lines depicting the handles indicate placement of the mark on the goods and are not part of the mark.” (Id. ¶ 14.) In the prosecution of application for the supplemental trademark registration, the USPTO found that the applied-for-design was functional and lacked distinctiveness, which Plaintiff disputed. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.)

         The Max Axess Locking Wrench (“MALW”) has red and black handles and is stamped with the CRAFTSMAN trademark. (Id. ¶ 35.) It includes a measuring scale and a locking mechanism that protrudes from the wrench head like a fin. (Id. ¶ 47.) In the packaging, the 8-inch version of the MALW appears as follows:

         (IMAGE OMITTED)

(Id. ¶ 8.) CRAFTSMAN and MAX AXESS are registered Sears trademarks for goods including wrenches. (Id. ¶ 37.) CRAFTSMAN is a source identifier for Sears. (Id. ¶ 38.)

         LEGAL ...


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