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Hard Rock Cafe Licensing Corp. v. Concession Services, Inc.

955 F.2d 1143 (7th Cir. 1992)

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Hard Rock Cafe Licensing Corp. v. Concession Services, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

955 F.2d 1143 (7th Cir. 1992)

Facts

Hard Rock Cafe Licensing Corp. (Hard Rock) (plaintiff) had registered the “Hard Rock” trademark for use on numerous clothing items. Concession Services Incorporated (CSI) owned three flea markets that rented space to vendors to sell goods. Vendors operated under limited rules, and CSI only posted a sign prohibiting the sale of illegal goods. There was some limited supervision by two security officers. CSI stated that it had a policy of cooperating with any trademark holder who informed CSI of the sale of counterfeit goods, but there is no evidence that such cooperation had ever occurred. Hard Rock hired investigators to seek out examples of trademark infringement. These investigators discovered a vendor’s selling counterfeit Hard Rock shirts at a CSI flea market. Hard Rock sued CSI. The district court found that CSI had been willfully blind to the violations occurring at its markets and that this was sufficient to find a violation of the Lanham Act. Specifically, the district court stated that CSI did not take reasonable steps to prevent or detect trademark infringement at the markets it owned. Furthermore, because of CSI’s role in advertising, selling admission tickets, and supervising the market assigned, it did not matter that CSI was not the direct seller of the infringing products. CSI appealed this decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cudahy, J.)

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