Covered Slogans for Christmas Lights Include New Technology

Santa's Best Craft, LLC, et al. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., No. 04 C 1342, 2004 WL 1730332, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14760 (N.D. Ill. (E. Div.) July 28, 2004) (Slogans "New Technology"; "worry-free lighting") (The court found four distinct slogans, including the two referenced above. These included: "Patent-pending ‘Stay-On' feature keeps bulbs lit" and "String Stays Lit even if a bulb is loose or missing!" The unfair competition claims premised on the improper use of these slogans articulated in various counts, including causes of action for false advertising and false designation of origin, did not fall within the scope of the intellectual property exclusion. In any event, they were within the exception to that exclusion. The "infringement of slogan" claims did not fall within the exception for "trademarked slogans" where the term "slogan" was defined as "a phrase that others use and intend to attract attention in their advertising." The court rejected arguments that the slogans were mere components of the trade dress infringement claim, emphasizing that " ‘[the court] give[s] little weight to the legal label that characterizes the underlying allegations. Instead, [the court] determine[s] whether the alleged conduct arguably falls within at least one of the categories of wrongdoing listed in the policy.' Lexmark Intern., Inc. v. Transportation Ins. Co., 327 Ill. App. 3d 128, 135-36 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2001).")