Thursday, January 06, 2011

8th Cir.: disgorgement of profits under Lanham Act does not, in all cases, require proof of actual confusion

The Eighth Circuit today clarified that its precedents do not necessarily require proof of actual confusion to qualify for an award of disgorgement of the infringer’s profits in all cases. It held that where a licensee willfully uses the mark for services beyond those authorized in the license, the licensor may seek disgorgement.

While the court did not expressly limit its ruling to this factual setting, it was careful to avoid broad dictum implying that disgorgement is available in all trademark infringement settings, irrespective of proof of actual confusion.

The case is Masters v. UHS of Del., Inc., No. 09-3543 (8th Cir. Jan. 6, 2011).

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