The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that Flexible Steel Lacing Co.’s (“Flexco”) trade dress is invalid because it is functional.
Flexco originally filed suit in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division for trade dress infringement and unfair competition against Conveyor Accessories, Inc. (“CAI”). CAI counterclaimed seeking cancellation of Flexco’s trademarks and seeking declaratory judgment of invalidity, unenforceability, and noninfringement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of CAI, finding that Flexco’s trade dress was functional because the product’s utilitarian advantages were disclosed in an expired utility patent, internal corporate documents, and advertising materials.
This case was before Chief Judge, Diane Wood, Judge Joel Flaum and Judge Kenneth Ripple assigned Appeal No. 19-2035 and was decided April 7, 2020.