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Echo Travel, Inc. v. Travel Associates, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
870 F.2d 1264 (1989)


Echo Travel, Inc. (Echo) (plaintiff) and Travel Associates, Inc. (Associates) are companies that sell travel tours, including tours to college students to Daytona Beach for spring break. In its 1985 campaign, Echo contacted Jiloty, Shipley & Associates (Jiloty), an advertising agency, to inquire about using some of Jiloty’s outtakes from a previous campaign. Jiloty sent Echo a photograph of a beach scene with three models staged in it. In 1986, Associates also contacted Jiloty for help with its campaign, and Jiloty sent Associates the same outtake photograph that had been sent to Echo. In January 1987, Echo sued Associates for unfair competition. Echo offered consumer testimony that the advertisements had acquired secondary meaning, but the consumers were not qualified. Associates filed for summary judgment, and the district court ruled in favor of Associates, dismissing the case. Specifically, the district court found that the photograph did not depict a distinct scene, Echo did not have exclusive ownership over the rights to the photo, and Echo could not show that the photo had acquired secondary meaning. Echo then appealed the district court’s decision and challenged the district court’s ruling that the photo had not acquired secondary meaning.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Flaum, J.)

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