General Motors has defeated all trademark infringement claims brought by DaimlerChrysler against GM's design of the front grille of the H2 Hummer.
On February 25, 2003, Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted summary judgment in GM's favor on all of DaimlerChrysler's trademark claims. On May 19, 2003, DaimlerChrysler agreed to entry of final judgment on that summary judgment order and agreed not to appeal or challenge it. On May 20, 2003, Judge Miller ordered that final judgment be entered in GM's favor and that the entire action be dismissed with prejudice and with no appeals.
Throughout the two-year litigation, DaimlerChrysler argued that GM was violating its alleged trademark rights in various Jeep grilles, including the Jeep Wrangler. In its Motion for Summary Judgment, GM argued that all intellectual property rights in the Hummer design, including the grille, were assigned to GM's predecessors by DaimlerChrysler's predecessors in a 1983 agreement, and that DaimlerChrysler therefore could not now challenge GM's use of the Hummer grille on any vehicle. The district court agreed with GM's position in its February 2003 Order, which DaimlerChrysler has now promised not to challenge or appeal.
General Motors' attorneys, John T. Hickey, Jr. and Paul R. Garcia of the Chicago office and Christopher Landau of the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis, successfully defended the design of the Hummer grille at every phase of the litigation.
On February 28, 2002, the district court denied DaimlerChrysler's motion for a preliminary injunction after a two-week hearing in a sweeping 76-page opinion. On November 18, 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously affirmed that ruling and adopted the district court's opinion in its entirety as its own. Earlier this year, the district court granted GM's Motion for Summary Judgment. With the stipulated dismissal of the action, all claims and counterclaims are resolved and the litigation is over.
Kirkland & Ellis is a 900-attorney law firm representing global clients in complex corporate and tax, workout, insolvency and bankruptcy, litigation, dispute resolution and arbitration, and intellectual property and technology matters. The Firm has offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco and Washington.
Case: AM General Corporation and General Motors Corporation v. Daimler/Chrysler Corporation (No. 3:01-CV-134 RM) (Order entered on May 20, 2003)
United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana - South Bend Division.