LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2013) — Stoll Keenon Ogden attorney Steven Loy argued a case Tuesday before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Lexmark International, Inc.
The issue before the Supreme Court is who has standing to sue for false advertising under the Lanham Act, a federal trademark statute.
The case, Static Control Components v. Lexmark Intl, involves a printer cartridge return program implemented by Lexmark in the late 1990s for laser printers sold primarily to medium and large businesses. The program provides a method for customers to return empty cartridges to Lexmark so that it can remanufacture or recycle them. Static Control, a parts supplier to the remanufacturing industry, is fighting the program and claims that Lexmark made false statements about the program.
If an appropriate test is determined for false advertising claims, it will result in fewer lawsuits and decrease the resources dedicated to defending those lawsuits on behalf of businesses. The argument put forth by Loy is that Congress intended for the Lanham Act to allow only a narrow class of plaintiffs to file suit, a position that has been adopted by the Supreme Court in antitrust decisions.
It will be late spring or early summer of 2014 before a decision is handed down.
“This is a global business issue because, if remote parties can bring federal false advertising lawsuits, then businesses will be burdened with unnecessary litigation costs and will be less likely to provide information to the marketplace for fear of facing multiple lawsuits,” Loy said. “We were honored to argue this case on behalf of Lexmark, and on a personal level, the opportunity to go before the Supreme Court is obviously a watershed moment in my life.”
Each year, the Supreme Court receives approximately 10,000 petitions to hear appeals. Out of those thousands, the Court accepts about 80 cases, most of which involve issues of broad public concern.
“Since Lexmark’s formation in 1991, Stoll Keenon Ogden has been a trusted advisor – consistently providing the company with astute counsel and legal advice,” said Robert J. Patton, Lexmark vice president, general counsel and secretary. “Lexmark had every confidence in Steven’s representation of our company. Throughout this litigation, including his advocacy at the U.S. Supreme Court, he has done an outstanding job in representing Lexmark.”
Following the argument, Loy, opposing counsel and others discussed the case and related Lanham Act matters in a panel discussion hosted by American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. Loy has practiced law with Stoll Keenon Ogden since 1994 and focuses on intellectual property, antitrust, and banking litigation.