Fashion firms are among the companies most consistently involved in trademark litigation cases from January 2009 through March 2016.
The data is compiled by legal analytics data firm Lex Machina, which just has completed it second annual trademark litigation year in review report. The report analyzed data from court filings from U.S. district courts.
Among its findings, Chanel was awarded the most damages in that period at nearly $1 billion, followed by Burberry Ltd. at $523.1 million and Burberry Ltd. U.K. at $416.6 million. Gucci America Inc. followed at $207.7 million. Also on the list were Coach Inc. at $180.3 million, Nike Inc. at $170.6 million and Converse Inc. at $166.2 million. The amounts are the aggregate totals based on awards mostly from default judgments or consent judgments, and where damages were from decisions on the case merits, the report noted that juries have awarded more damages than judges.
In terms of case filings, Coach was the leading plaintiff in trademark cases filed, with 676 cases. Chanel was second with 330 cases. Deckers Outdoor Corp. was high on the list, totaling 164 cases filed. Another fashion firm that made the top 16 was Louis Vuitton Malletier SA, which had 81 cases.
The top defendant in the cases filed was the National Football League at 548 cases. Also on the top defendants list were Amazon.com Inc. at 66 cases; Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 59 cases; Google Inc., 46; Target Corp., 43, and Nike Inc., 22.
The study also found that in cybersquatting cases, Chanel, Deckers, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Coach were the companies most likely to win relinquishment of a domain name.
While there has been an overall decline in trademark cases being filed since 2015, the data also showed that the Central District of California in Los Angeles has been the most popular federal district court for trademark filings, with 4.164 cases filed.
Brian Howard, coauthor of the report and Lex Machina’s data scientist, said the compilation of data began as a public interest project at Stanford University 10 years ago, and the operation is now part of LexisNexis. The data analysis can provide information on who is filing, how long the cases take and how they turn out, factors that can impact a company’s litigation strategy. “It’s important to defend your marks, but data can make sure it’s being done effectively and on budget,” Howard said.