May 8, 2012 4th Circuit published opinions

Belk, Inc. v. Meyer Corp.

Belk sold Meyer high end cookware then began selling a competitors cookware. Meyer alleged the cookware infringed their trade dress and other intellectual property rights. After trial, a jury agreed and the district court tripled the damages under North Carolina’s unfair business practices act. Belk did not file any postjudgment motions. The panel affirmed. It first held several claims by Belk were waived as they were not developed in the brief. The panel pointed to the lack of record citation as a ground for waiver. It further held the failure to file a written Rule 50(b) motion waived review for sufficiency of the evidence as counsel did not make an oral motion which compiled with the rule. Turning to preserved issues, the panel held Meyer’s expert witness was properly qualified and the trade dress survey was properly admitted into evidence and that the district court properly found the infringement of the unregistered trade dress to be deceptive and thus tripling the damages was appropriate.

United States v Edmonds

Based on three controlled buys and his confession, Edmonds was convicted of trafficking crack cocaine and conspiracy. Based on his drug dealing prior convictions, he was sentenced to life without parole. The panel affirmed holding the confession and other evidence in the record supported the conspiracy conviction. It also held that the sentencing judge properly considered statutory sentencing factors and that both of Edmond’s prior North Carolina drug convictions were felonies for purposes of the sentencing enhancement and affirmed the life sentence.

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