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Boss Products, Inc. v. Port-A-Pit Bar-B-Que of Edgerton, Inc.
No: 3:05-CV-293 RM (February 4, 2009)
U.S. District Court, N.D. of Indiana
Before: Chief Judge Miller

For full opinion:
2009 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 8192

TRADEMARKS; LACHES

Opinion (Miller): Plaintiff Boss Products sued defendant Port-A-Pit Bar-B-Que of Edgerton, Ohio (Edgerton) for infringement of registered trademark (PORT-A-PIT) after Edgerton conducted business under PORT-A-PIT for 30 years.  Defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that Boss Products inexcusably delayed enforcement of its trademark rights and therefore its recovery should be barred under laches or acquiescence.  The record indicated that Boss Products had knowledge of Edgerton’s use of the mark from the beginning and the 30 years of extreme delay would cause substantial prejudice if Edgerton was forced to rebuild its business under a new name.  Edgerton’s motion for summary judgment was granted.

KLF Legal: Note that the PORT-A-PIT registration (abstract below) was assigned to Boss Products back in December ’04.  Apparently, Boss continued to be unhappy about Edgerton’s use of the mark.  Edgerton relied on the doctrine of “laches,” an equitable defense.  This means that while Edgerton is legally infringing Boss’s trademark, it would be unfair to enforce the law against them.  The person invoking laches (Edgerton) is asserting that the opposing party (Boss) has “slept on its rights”, and that, as a result of this delay, that other party is no longer entitled to its original claim.  3 years might be too long to wait and try to enforce your trademark rights…30 years is definitely too long.

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Courtesy of Willamette Law Online