Sughrue attorneys, Mack Webner, Leigh Ann Lindquist and Paul Higgins successfully defended Lipton Investments, Inc. in the Trademark Office, the Eastern District of Virginia and at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in two cases filed by Skippy, Inc. attacking the registration and use of the famous Lipton SKIPPY trademark for peanut butter.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in unreported decisions, affirmed the holdings obtained by the Sughrue attorneys in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissing both cases. In the first case, the Plaintiff, Skippy, Inc., continuing its decades long Quixotic effort to have a court terminate the 1948 SKIPPY trademark registration for peanut butter, filed yet another cancellation petition against the Lipton registration. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB") dismissed the petition for failure to state a cause of action under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6). Skippy, Inc. sought a de novo review by the United States District Court. The District Court affirmed the holding of the TTAB and also independently dismissed the complaint. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.
In an independent companion case, Skippy, Inc. sought to attack the peanut butter registration and named Lipton, Lipton’s attorneys and Skippy, Inc.’s own attorney in a 1980 law suit filed by Skippy, Inc. in its original effort to have the peanut butter registration cancelled. That complaint, alleging a conspiracy among the defendants and seeking cancellation of the Lipton registration, was also dismissed by the District Court under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) and that holding was also affirmed by the Fourth Circuit.