Teresa Earnhardt v. Kerry Earnhardt, Inc. case provided oral arguments today in court – Listen to the court tape below
Today, Teresa Earnhardt v. Kerry Earnhardt, Inc. oral arguments were heard in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. You can listen to the audio tape from the court hearing on March 10th, 2017 via the video below.
The case is about Kerry Earnhardt’s ‘Earnhardt Collection’, a brand of custom homes. Teresa Earnhardt, widow to Dale Earnhardt, is concerned that when people see that brand name, people will think it’s coming from her.
This case filed by Teresa against the elder son of Dale Earnhardt, has already been to court once last year, Teresa lost. A U.S. Patent and Trademark office ruled the Teresa Earnhardt can’t stop Kerry Earnhardt from using the term ‘Earnhardt Collection’.
She has since filled for an appeal of that original ruling. Today, was the first official hearing of the Teresa Earnhardt v. Kerry Earnhardt, Inc. appeal case. The judge heard both sides of the arguments. Which can be heard in the video below.
To defend their case, Sam Gunn, the lawyer on the side of Teresa Earnhardt is using examples from a 1986 court case involving Hutchinson Furniture. The discussion is about a Sir name. The lawyer for Teresa Earnhardt doesn’t feel this was handled correctly the last time they went to court.
The issue was with the following statement from the last court case, “Since the term ‘collection’ is not generic. The addition to the Sir name ‘Earnhardt’ does diminish the sir names significance.”
The judge told the lawyer for Teressa Earnhardt, “If we’re going to be this nitpicky and send it back you’re just going to get the same result. They’re going to go through this evidence and say ‘collection’ is not merely descriptive of custom homes. If you know what the goods are. If know you know what’s being sold is furniture and you see ‘Earnhardt Collection’ then it’s not far of a leap to say ‘Collection’ in this case, means ‘furniture’.”
The lawyer for Teresa stated, “But ‘Collection’ to me does not designate ‘furniture’ or ‘custom homes’.”
The court arguments continued, “You think an average person would look at the word ‘Collection’ and think the it designates ‘furniture?” At that moment, an unknown voice joins the hearing. That voice provides a bit of comic relief to the serious court case, “If I got a phone call and it showed up on the ID as ‘Earnhardt Collection’ I’d assume it was a bill collector.”
The lawyer for Teresa explains their case, “We’re not talking about determining whether ‘collection’ is descriptive of furniture and custom homes, in the abstract. We’re not asking someone to look at a flash card and say the first thing that comes into their head. That’s simply not the standard that the board or this court has applied in the past.”
Side Note: Last year Dale Earnhardt was asked to pick a side in this family case. In regards to Teresa Earnhardt vs. Kerry Earnhardt he simply stated to the Charlotte Observer, “Obviously, I’m in support of my brother.”
“There are examples where the trademark board said the additional use of the word ‘collection’ did not alter the significance of the sir name and the composite mark.”
Closing arguments were provided by Blaine Sanders, lawyer for Kerry Earnhardt.
He stated, “It really is a case by case analysis and here the board looked at the argument and determined that ‘collection’ was commonly used with Earnhardt. But just like Technology and Hutchinson it did not describe the products and therefore it did diminish the sir name. And we’d ask that the board reaffirm.”
Both sides of the case were given a predetermined length of time to plead their case. Each of them being somewhat cut short due to the timer reaching zero.
The hearing was heard in the Courtroom 201. The Washington, D.C. oral arguments were hosted in the courtroom of Evan J. Wallach, Raymond T. Chen and Todd M. Hudhes.
Click here to view photos of the Earnhardt Collection, home design from Kerry Earnhardt.
Teresa Earnhardt v. Kerry Earnhardt, Inc.
Oral Arguments Tape
March 10th, 2017
The tape is provided by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit