Of course, I dutifully prepared a post titled "Monday Morning Trademark Notes" over the weekend, only to have the biggest trademark news of all strike... right after the post publishes. I'm referring, of course, to a French court's decision yesterday that eBay must pay $61 million to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.
We're still waiting for a decision on the Tiffany v. eBay case heard late last year in Manhattan. I have reason to believe a lot of folks are waiting on that verdict; I've noticed quite a few hits on my own blog by people searching for terms like "tiffany ebay verdict," despite the fact that I mentioned the Tiffany v. eBay case only once, quite briefly, in December.
Dan Slater at the WSJ raises an interesting question: could the French ruling could be considered a "hometown verdict?"
That's a question that could be asked in plenty of stateside IP disputes, as well. Viacom sued Google in Manhattan, not California; Tiffany's sued eBay in Manhattan.
We're not talking about venue shopping; in both of those examples, plaintiffs sued in their home base. But still, it's interesting to think about what kind of hometown advantage can be reaped. If I were a big mark-holder, I'd like Manhattan. A Manhattan jury is likelier to have folks who, if they don't work for a big fashion brand themselves, might have a brother or aunt or half-sister's dog walker's buddy who is connected to such a company. Similarly, a Northern California jury is likely to have jurors with connections to technology workers. People in Los Angeles are more likely to sympathize with a movie studio.
Maybe I'm stating the obvious here. But I live in San Francisco and spend a lot of time with family and friends in Los Angeles. Both of those regions have large and diversified economies. Despite that, it's surprising to me how much they can both feel, in a way, like "industry towns."