Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. (plaintiff) manufactured computer tables that had one leg on each side. Each leg was attached to the tabletop with a V-shaped brace. From 1990 to 1997, Bretford was the only manufacturer of this type of table. Smith System Manufacturing Corporation (defendant) was a competitor of Bretford and decided to incorporate a similar brace into its tables. Smith met with the Dallas school system to discuss a bulk purchase of its tables. However, Dallas asked for a sample of the table, and Smith’s prototype was not ready. As a result, Smith made a sample using a tabletop manufactured by Smith and a leg assembly manufactured by Bretford. Bretford sued Smith for violating the Lanham Act. Bretford asserted that the V-shaped brace constituted Bretford’s trade dress and that Smith was guilty of “reverse passing off.” The district court ruled in favor of Smith. Bretford appealed.