Hugunin v. Land O’Lakes, Inc.

Hugunin first sold fishing tackle in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin, in 1997. Hugunin’s manufacturing enterprise now sells fishing tackle to retailers in several states. In 2000 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registered LAND O LAKES as the trademark of his fishing tackle. A large agricultural cooperative named Land O’ Lakes is based in Minnesota and sells dairy products throughout the United States. It has used LAND O LAKES trademark since the 1920s. In 1997 the dairy company became the official dairy sponsor of a sport-fishing tournament and began advertising its products in fishing magazines. Three years later, having learned that Hugunin had registered LAND O LAKES as a trademark, the dairy company wrote him that he was infringing its trademark. He refused either to apply for a license or to give up the trademark. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceeding was suspended pending the outcome of litigation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of Hugunin’s suit, stating “It’s hard to believe that a giant dairy company wants to destroy or annex Hugunin’s tiny fishing-tackle business, or that Hugunin’s tackle sales are being kept down by Land O’ Lakes’ having an identical trademark.” View "Hugunin v. Land O'Lakes, Inc." on Justia Law