Jackson

June 30, 2020

Trademark Law Update: Supreme Court Decides Fate of Booking.com’s Trademark Applications

By: Josh Leggett That was quicker than expected.  The Supreme Court issued its slip opinion in the matter of United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com on June 30, 2020.[i]  Justice Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the Court, and Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh joined.  Justice Sotomayor wrote a concurring opinion, and Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion. To begin with the conclusion, the Court held that Booking.com was entitled to trademark protection.  In making its decision, the Court focused on whether Booking.com “taken as a whole, signifies to consumers the class of online hotel-reservation services.”  If so, then it is a generic term not entitled to protection.[ii]  Part of the Court’s opinion relates back to Chief Justice Roberts’ concern at oral argument wherein he inquired as to whether similar sites, such as  “Travelocity,” were considered to be a “Booking.com.”[iii]   According to the Court, because consumers do not view it this way, as was determined by the lower courts, the case should be resolved.[iv] However, the Court does not conclude its opinion so quickly and addresses the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) argument that combining a generic term such as “Booking” with a generic top level domain like “.com” results in a  generic pairing, with some exceptions.  Importantly, the Court points out that the USPTO’s own practice does not follow such a rule, and, in fact, existing registered trademarks would be subject to cancellation if such a rule were enforced.[v]   The Court declines to adopt […]

May 29, 2020

MS Supreme Court Affirms Complete Dismissal of Alleged Price-Fixing Case

On April 30, 2020, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the complete dismissal of claims against clients represented by FormanWatkins attorneys Fred Krutz and Daniel Mulholland in a case brought by the Attorney General of Mississippi regarding alleged price-fixing of Automotive Wire Harness Systems used in automobiles.  The State sued several companies alleging violations of the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act (“MCPA”), the Mississippi Antitrust Act (“MAA”), and a civil conspiracy to violate both Acts. 

May 8, 2020

Giallourakis, Metcalf, and Maron Win Summary Judgment

Nick Giallourakis, Joshua Metcalf, and Ruth Maron won summary judgment on behalf of our client in a King County, Washington living mesothelioma premises liability case on May 6, 2020. Working together with attorneys from Bullivant Houser Bailey, FormanWatkins convinced the Court that the plaintiff’s claims against our client should be dismissed in their entirety because the plaintiff could not present any evidence to support his household exposure claims against our client, rather, his claims were “based on speculation and conjecture.” The Court also noted that the plaintiff conceded that any exposure claims based on his own employment with our client were barred by Washington’s workers’ compensation exclusivity provision. This is a significant victory for our client, in particular in a jurisdiction that does not typically grant summary judgment to defendants. This case is set for trial on August 24, 2020.

April 14, 2020

Hannula and Upchurch Win Summary Judgment

Brian Hannula and Caroline Upchurch, members of our commercial litigation group, worked with attorneys from Parsons McEntire McCleary to win summary judgment on behalf of a commercial real estate broker in a fraud/misrepresentation case pending in Harrison County, Mississippi. The plaintiff alleged multiple defendants made fraudulent misrepresentations about occupancy rates during a multi-million dollar real estate transaction and sought more than $3 million in damages. After reviewing the briefs and hearing oral arguments, the Circuit Court Judge determined the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that the broker (1) made any false statements, (2) had knowledge of the allegedly fraudulent representations, or (3) participated in the alleged falsification of rent roll data.

April 2, 2020

Mississippi Issues Shelter-in-Place Order: What You Need To Know

On April 1, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a Shelter-in-Place Order (“SIP Order” – Executive Order No. 1466) requiring all individuals currently living in Mississippi to stay home or in their place of residence (e.g., hotels, shelters, or rental units used as a person’s dwelling), except as specifically allowed by the SIP Order.

March 20, 2020

Employment Law Update – COVID-19 and the Workplace:  An Employer’s Quick Guide

With COVID-19 reaching pandemic status and the total number of cases in the United States surging, it has become critical that employers have a response strategy.  Any response strategy to COVID-19 should consider the current and developing labor and employment laws implicated by the COVID-19 crisis along with the concerns that could arise outside the employment context, including potential tort and contract liability.

March 19, 2020

Gault and Ritchie Complete Successful Jury Trial

Win Gault and Spencer Ritchie completed a successful jury trial for an international oil field supply company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The plaintiff claimed almost $10 million for property damage to its business and clean-up costs resulting from a spill of hydrochloric acid.

March 18, 2020

Coronavirus: FWK Operational Update

Clients and Friends,

As we monitor, assess, and respond to rapidly-evolving developments related to the spread of COVID-19, the safety and health of FormanWatkins employees, their families, and our communities is our most important objective. This is an unprecedented time filled with unique challenges. To meet these challenges, the Firm has taken a number of actions to protect the safety of our team while ensuring continued service to our clients.

March 4, 2020

Maron, Metcalf, and Giallourakis Win Summary Judgment

FormanWatkins attorneys Ruth Maron, Joshua Metcalf, and Nick Giallourakis worked with attorneys from Bullivant Houser Bailey to obtain summary judgment in a King County, Washington living mesothelioma case on February 28, 2020. 

March 2, 2020

FormanWatkins Runs the Mississippi Blues Marathon

Congratulations to all finishers of the 2020 Mississippi Blues Marathon, especially the FormanWatkins relay team (Simine Reed, Mitch McGuffey, Patrick Fields, and Ruth Maron) and FormanWatkins runners of the half marathon, 10k, and 5k.