Abuse of Process in a Lanham Act Suit May Trigger Award Of Attorneys’ Fees

A recent opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Andodyne Therapy, LLC) attempts to clarify when the prosecution or defense of a Lanham Act suit renders the case “exceptional,” so as to allow for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. In doing so, the court addressed the increasing trend of businesses in bringing or defending trademark infringement and false advertising lawsuits against competitors solely to obtain a competitive advantage independent of the outcome of the case. The court held that where a party is guilty of such “abuse of process,” an award of attorneys’ fees would be warranted. This summary further elaborates upon the court’s reasoning and why businesses must exercise caution in bringing or defending against intellectual property claims under the Lanham Act.

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