Pierce Atwood Wins Summary Judgment in Trade-Dress Infringement Case

On behalf of our client Vans, Inc., we won summary judgment in trade-dress infringement case in Federal District Court in Boston. The court granted summary judgment to Vans, upholding the design of its Pro-Tec snow and skateboarding helmets against competitor’s trade dress allegations. Vans, Inc. and five other companies that design, manufacture, and sell sports helmets (among other products), were sued by a competitor alleging trade-dress infringement and unfair competition. The plaintiff, Bern Unlimited, Inc., contended the visor on its Baker snow helmets was unique and distinctive, and that Vans and the other defendants were prohibited from selling helmets that also contained a visor. The court found as a matter of law that Bern’s helmet design lacked distinctiveness, thus freeing Vans and other companies to sell competing helmets with visors. In a 56-page opinion issued on March 31, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Saylor dismissed the claims against Vans and the other defendants.