May 16, 2005 |

Trademark, Appellate

Our client had sued a competitor for infringement of trade dress in 1999. We had already obtained an unpublished decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversing a summary judgment granted against our client by the District Court Judge (see January, 2002). When the matter finally came up for trial, after the first appeal, the defendant argued that our client had waived the right to a jury trial. The judge ruled that the plaintiff was not entitled to a jury trial. Thereafter, he held a bench trial and ruled in favor of the defendant, for reasons which we believed were similar to the grounds on which he had been previously reversed by the 9th Circuit. However, we made a strategic decision not to appeal from the decision at trial because the standard of review on a trial decision is extremely difficult to satisfy. Instead we chose to appeal only from the denial of a jury trial, for which the standard of review is de novo. Moreover, if a party has been improperly deprived of a jury trial, it is virtually mandatory to require a new trial. We succeeded in obtaining a published opinion, from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, holding that our client was, in fact, entitled to a jury trial.