Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chicago Judge Enters Permanent Injunction in Google RICO Action Against Stoller Companies

In January we reported that Google, Inc. had commenced an action in the Chicago federal court against several of Leo Stoller's companies, charging them with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S. C. Sec. 1961 et. seq., of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and of the law of unfair competition. (TTABlog posting here).

Leo Stoller

Mr. Stoller filed a motion to intervene in the action, but U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall denied that motion in a decision (here) dated March 12, 2007. She ruled that Stoller had no right to intervene and, in light of Stoller's past litigation conduct, she denied Stoller permissive intervention: "The court has no doubt that permitting Stoller to intervene in this action would frustrate the parties' efforts to resolve this matter by settlement."

Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Courthouse
(Click on photo for larger picture)

On March 15th, Judge Kendall entered the stipulated permanent injunction and final judgment (here) as agreed to between Google and the Chapter 7 Trustee of Leo Stoller's bankruptcy estate. The settlement agreement between Google and the bankruptcy trustee may be found as an exhibit to this TTAB filing.

The judgment includes admissions and representations that, inter alia, the defendant entities have no rights in the GOOGLE mark, no right to license the GOOGLE mark, and no right to identify themselves as a business entity using the GOOGLE mark. It enjoins the defendants and their officers and principals, etc., from using, licensing, challenging, or in any way messing with the GOOGLE mark.

The settlement agreement calls for dismissal with prejudice of Central Mfg. Co. (Inc.)'s petition for cancellation of the GOOGLE registration (Cancellation No. 92045778), withdrawal of Central's application to register GOOGLE, and withdrawal of Central's CAFC appeal from the TTAB's dismissal of its opposition to registration of GOOGLE for exercise balls. (TTABlogged here).

It appears that Leo Stoller's attack on the GOOGLE trademark has come to a rather ignominious end.

TTABlog update: On March 22, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied Stoller's motion to suspend enforcement of the final judgment pending appeal (here).

Text and courthouse photo Copyright John L. Welch 2007.


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