Edsal Manufacturing Company, Inc. v. Vault Brands, Inc.
Case #: 11 C 9287
Full Text Opinion: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2121720362425027222&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
Trademarks: Claims for trademark infringement are not proper if the term has only been used as a descriptor, not a trademark.
Opinion (Dow): Edsal Manufacturing Company, Inc. (“Edsal”) makes industrial equipment, including cabinets bearing the designation “Vault.” Edsal sued Vault Brands, Inc. (“Vault Brands”) in 2011 after Vault Brands registered the “VAULT” mark for use on custom cabinets. Among other violations that went unaddressed by the court, Edsal claimed trademark infringement under the Lantham Act. The Court, in determining whether Vault Brands infringed upon Edsal’s trademark, considered whether Edsal had used the “Vault” designation as a descriptor or as a trademark. Although Edsal had been using the word “Vault” for years, the Court determined that it was merely a descriptor. In making this determination, the Court considered the low frequency of the term on Edsal’s website and promotional materials and its prior use of the term in commerce as a descriptor of the product, not as a trademark. Accordingly, the Court GRANTED Vault Brands summary judgment.