Chicago, Illinois – Chicago is apparently home to two hotels named “Hotel Chicago.” The first, owned by plaintiff/appellee, LHO Chicago River, LLC (“LHO”) was allegedly named in 2014. The second hotel, owned by defendants/appellants Rosemoor Suites, LLC, Portfolio Hotel & Resorts, LLC and Chicago Hotel, LLC (collectively “Rosemoor”), was apparently renamed to “Hotel Chicago” in 2016. LHO filed suit for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, deceptive advertising, and common-law trademark infringement under Illinois law.
The district court found that LHO failed “to show that it is likely to succeed in proving secondary meaning” of the alleged mark “Hotel Chicago” and thus denied preliminary injunctive relief. While LHO appealed this ruling, it moved to voluntarily dismiss its claims with prejudice prior to briefing.
After the case was dismissed, Rosemoor filed a motion requesting more than half a million dollars in attorney fees, claiming the case was “exceptional.” This request was denied by the district court. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit held that the district court did not use the proper standard of Octane Fitness to deny the request and remanded. On remand, Rosemoor filed a renewed request for fees including an extra $130,000 on top of the original fee request. However, even after applying the Octane Fitness standard, the district court still denied the fee request. The Seventh Circuit affirmed finding the district court “considered the evidence under the Octane Fitness framework and reasonably determined that this case did not qualify as exceptional.”
Practice Tip: Under Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 572 U.S. 545 at n.7. (2014), a district court must consider the totality of the circumstances by simply weighing non-exclusive factors such as “frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of the case) and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence.”