CHICAGO, Aug. 29 LAWFUEL – Legal News Network — Brinks Hofer Gilson and Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., recently announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago has affirmed a jury verdict secured by the firm on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR).
In May 2004, after a two-week trial, a federal court jury in Chicago
returned a verdict finding that discount retailer, Cigarettes Cheaper!,
committed trademark infringement and willful trademark dilution. It had
sold RJR’s CAMEL, WINSTON and SALEM brand cigarettes domestically that had
been intended for sale outside the United States.
The cigarettes sold by Cigarettes Cheaper! were “gray market” because
they bore U.S. trademarks, but differed materially from U.S. cigarettes in several respects, causing consumer confusion. They were not part of loyalty programs applicable to domestic cigarettes and they were not subject to RJR’s post- manufacturing quality control procedures. Further, the foreign WINSTON cigarettes contained additives, unlike domestic WINSTON cigarettes, which are additive-free. The jury awarded RJR $3.5 million representing
Cigarettes Cheaper!’s profits. The trial court later added prejudgment
interest to this amount, bringing the total award to more than $5 million.
On August 24, 2006, the appeals court affirmed the judgment in all
“We are very pleased that we were able to protect RJR’s valuable brands against the confusion caused by gray market sales,” said Brinks’
shareholder, David S. Fleming.
The Brinks attorneys who represented R.J. Reynolds in this matter were
shareholders David S. Fleming, Philip A. Jones, John T. Gabrielides and
Jerome Gilson. All are based in Brinks’ Chicago office.
Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with
four other offices across the country serving the intellectual property
needs of clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP
law firms in the country, with more than 150 attorneys, scientific advisors
and patent agents specializing in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, intellectual asset management, and technology and licensing agreements.
Brinks routinely handles assignments in fields as diverse as electrical,
chemical, mechanical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology,
Internet and computer technology, as well as in trademarks or brand names
for a wide variety of products and services.