Advance Watch Analysis Rejected by Michigan State Court

Hayes Specialties, Inc. adv. American States Ins. Co., No. 97-020037 CK 4, 1998 WL 1740968 (Mich. Cir. Ct. March 5, 1998) (The court rejected the narrow definition of the "misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business" as limited to forms of common law misappropriation and not encompassing trademark claims articulated in Advance Watch Company v. Kemper National Ins. Co., 99 F.3d 795 (6th Cir. (Mich.) 1996). The Advance Watch analysis was inconsistent with Michigan law and unlikely to be adopted by any Michigan court of appeals or supreme court. The claimant Kransco alleged that Hayes marketed and sold a "Game Footbag" which duplicated the unique physical appearance of the Kransco products through its use of a "sinuous seam," causing confusion in the minds of consumers as to the source of the product in violation of its trademark. The pertinent offense was implicated where a product's shape, appearance or ornamental features were specifically designed so that its exhibition or display acts as advertising. In such instances, unauthorized copying of unique and identifying features, which causes consumer confusion and dilutes the injured party's trade dress, thus falling within the "misappropriation" offense.)