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Glassybaby Appeals Trade Dress Dismissal, Then Apparently Settles

Appeal dismissed by stipulation:
Glassybaby’s candle holder (left) and one made by Northern Lights.
The Western District found Glassybaby’s design generic.

Glassybaby LLC, the Seattle maker of upscale candle holders, sued Northern Lights Enterprises Inc. and another defendant for making and selling candle holders that Glassybaby alleged infringed its trade dress (STL post here).

On Sept. 30, the Western District found Glassybaby’s trade dress is generic and dismissed its claims.

Glassybaby appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit.

Today, the Ninth Circuit ordered a Dec. 15 conference with the parties cancelled. It stated that, “Pursuant to stipulation of the parties, this appeal is voluntarily dismissed.”

Looks like the parties have settled.

Wonder whether we’ll see the defendants (or others) selling Glassybaby look-alikes.

The case cite is Glassybaby LLC v. Northern Lights Enterprises Inc., No. 11-35899 (9th Cir. Nov. 15, 2011).

Posted on November 15, 2011 by Registered CommenterMichael Atkins | Comments2 Comments

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Reader Comments (2)

Last week I visited Glassybaby shop in University Village and I gotta say I was a little on a fence regarding its generic trade dress.

My first thought when I saw the product online......was kinda cute and unique. But I'm not sure whether I would think of the producer if I saw Glassybaby on Target's shelf. My thought would be it's just a pretty good looking glass that you can probably find anywhere.

However, after walking in the store. I was blown away by the decor and the way the glasses were presented. You can google the picture. They were color coordinated and available in all shades under the rainbow. If you notice well enough, you will see there is only one design, although available in hundred color choices. My point is the overall look and feel of Glassybaby shop reenforce the distinctiveness of the glass design itself. I know this sounds kind of confused.

I understand that the trade dress of the shop (packaging design) is separable from the trade dress of the glass (product design) itself. When you see this particular shape of glass in all different color, it suggests that this glass only comes from Glassybaby. I don't know I guess I was trying to put a designer hat on rather than putting myself in consumer's shoes.

I also think secondary meaning could come into play as long as consumers have associated this particular design with Glassybaby. However, because the trade dress is claimed generic not descriptive, there is no way it could be protected through a development of secondary meaning.
November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVal
As defense counsel for Northern Lights, I can advise you there was no settlement between Northern Lights and Glassybaby LLC. Glassybaby LLC chose to abandon its appeal. To determine the reasons for that decision, one would need to inquire of Glassybaby or its counsel. [By the way, the name of the product sold by Glassybaby LLC is "glassybaby," all lower case].

You have also erroneously implied that Northern Lights sells "Glassybaby lookalikes." The NL and GB LLC products are distinctively different in size, weight, coloration method and range of colors on offer, labeling, packaging, advertising and price point. The side by side images above are not shown to scale and do not accurately depict the appearance of the actual objects when viewed side by side.

As NL's summary judgment motion argued, GB LLC does not have a trademark for the "shape" of its glass object. However, even if GB LLC did have or could obtain a trademark for the "glassybaby shape," as GB LLC defined the alleged "trademark shape" in its PTO application and in its amended complaint in this action, NL's "jeweltone votive holder" did not infringe on the trademark. Furthermore, a random selection of items purchased directly from Glassybaby did not themselves conform to the "glassybaby shape" as set forth in the amended complaint and PTO papers.

Judge Pechman chose not to rule on our alternative grounds for relief, and instead held quite simply that GB LLC does not have a trademark and its product "shape" is inherently incapable of being trademarked because it is generic.
November 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchambolle

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