June 25, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

McAirlaids, Inc. v Kimberly–Clark Corporation

McAirlaids sued Kimberly-Clark alleging infringement of its trade dress in certain absorbent goods. The district court concluded the dot pattern claimed as trade dress was functional and granted summary judgment to Kimberly-Clark. The panel vacated and remanded. It held that McAirlaids patent did not identify the pattern as functional and thus it was not trying to apply trade dress protection to the feature declared functional in the patent. As there was conflicting evidence as to whether the dot design was functional or trade dress and this evidence must be weighed and credibility determinations also made, the case was remanded for a jury trial.

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