Obama for America vs. Demstore.com Case May be Dismissed
According to a case docket obtained by Promo Marketing, the lawsuit filed by President Obama's re-election campaign against distributor Washington Promotions & Printing may be dismissed. On Monday during a status hearing for the case, Obama for America vs. Demstore.com, the campaign's representation stated they "will file a notice of voluntary dismissal before next status hearing."
As originally reported by Promo Marketing on October 27, Obama for America charged the website Demstore.com, owned by Washington Promotions & Printing, with trademark infringement and sale of unauthorized merchandise. The Obama campaign claimed that the website featured promotional products for sale with the "Rising Sun" logo. Obama for America owns the trademarks for the Rising Sun and 2012 logos.
Michael D. Smith, the attorney representing Washington Promotions & Printing, presented a motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction on December 30. U.S. District Court Judge Susan B. Conlon of the Northern District of Illinois, presiding over the case, took Smith's motion under advisement, which prompted the campaign's response on Monday.
"What that means is that the defendant is contending that the Illinois federal court has no jurisdiction over the defendant, because the defendant doesn't live in Illinois or the defendant doesn't do business in Illinois," explained Lisa Lori, a partner in the litigation department at law firm Klehr, Harrison, Harvey & Branzburg LLP, and an expert on trademark law. "The plaintiff is basically saying that they're going to voluntarily dismiss that case."
According to Lori, the Obama for America campaign's decision to voluntarily dismiss the case does not mean the matter is necessarily settled.
"If it's a dismissal because they settled, then usually it would be what we call 'dismissed with prejudice,' meaning they can't refile," she explained. "If it's dismissed just on these jurisdictional grounds, or, in legalese, without prejudice, they could refile somewhere else." For example, the case could be refiled in Washington, D.C., where Washington Promotions & Printing is headquartered.
"We don't know at this point because we haven't seen the actual dismissal form, and we don't know if they've been talking settlement. But in a case like this, it's very typical that all the plaintiff wants is an injunction, to have the defendant stop what they're doing," Lori explained.
The next status hearing for the case, when the plaintiff's voluntary dismissal notice is due, is scheduled for Monday, January 30. Stay tuned to Promo Marketing for more as the story develops.
Related story: Obama Campaign Sues Washington Promotions & Printing for Trademark Infringement
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.