SDNY: No Trade Dress In Advertising Lay-out (Laurel Road v Commonbond)

Plaintiff Laurel Road, a bank, ran an advertising campaign. A typical ad looked like this: A competitor, Commonbond, ran ads, one of which looked like this: Both banks ran outdoor display ads, sometimes in similar locales, such as the suburban rail-line, MTA North. Plaintiff brought a trade dress claim, alleging a trade dress that consists of: a color palette with a dark background;a statement in large, light-colored, sans serif font at the top of the advertisement;a “hierarchical” typography with smaller, sans serif font under the large typeface sentences;center or left-side alignment; anda colored line under a sub-set of words in the large typeface sentences.Plaintiff brought a motion for a preliminary injunction. Held: All of plaintiff’s claimed elements, ‘defined at a high level of generality’, can be readily found in other advertisements. In fact, Defendant showed that it had used most if not all of the claimed elements,…

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