Manatt achieved a major trademark victory in a Lanham case for its client Intuit, the maker of TurboTax software, as reported by Law360. The Manatt team responsible for the representation leading to this landmark win included Linda Goldstein, Chad Hummel, Noel Cohen, Jessica Slusser, and Seth Reagan.
The dismissal of H&R Block's trademark infringement claim against Manatt's client was particularly remarkable for being one of the first reported decisions, and the only one of record in the Eighth Circuit, to achieve this result at the initial pleading stage by Rule 12 motion.
Law360 reports that H&R Block alleged that Intuit's TurboTax commercials falsely implied that H&R Block's tax preparers are inexperienced and unqualified, and that, in that context, had misused its trademarks. A Missouri federal judge rejected the trademark infringement theory as a matter of law. The district court found that the ads would not cause consumer confusion about the quality of H&R Block's services, and that there was "no possibility" that consumers could be confused as to whether the company endorsed or sponsored Intuit's products and services. The judge noted that trademark infringement law does not extend to any other form of confusion, and thus the plaintiffs' reading of the term "confusion" has no support under current Eighth Circuit law. The victory comes shortly after Manatt blocked an injunction request by H&R Block that would have forced the commercials off the air.
Read the article here.