Mortar Net continues its attempts to protect its “dovetail-shaped line of fibrous mesh products for use in masonry applications” (see example in Exhibit A below). Mortar Net’s counsel have a pretty clear hurdle to overcome in the “functionality doctrine,” which prevents manufacturers from protecting specific features of a product by means of trademark law. If a feature gives a producer a competitive advantage which is not related entirely to its function as a brand identifier, then it cannot be trademarked, regardless of advertising and promotional efforts. Such features are more appropriately protected under patent law. This is Mortar Net’s third filing of the year (see Related Cases below) and all have been assigned to a different judge, so maybe they’ll get lucky and find a judge willing to extend trademark protection to their dovetail design.
Stay tuned for updates.
Mortar Net USA Ltd v. Masonry Reinforcing Corporation of America
Court Case Number: 2:12-cv-00252-PPS-PRC
File Date: Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Plaintiff: Mortar Net USA Ltd
Plaintiff Counsel: Daniel W Glavin of O’Neill McFadden & Willett LLP
Defendant: Masonry Reinforcing Corporation of America
Cause: Trade Dress Infringement, Federal Trademark Infringement, Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, Common Law Infringement Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Chief Judge Philip P Simon
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Paul R Cherry