SW Legal Educational Publishing

Second Maker of Laminated, Foldable Maps Did Not Infringe on Originator
Description Appeals court upheld rejection of a claim of trademark and copyright violation brought against a firm, Streetsmart, which made laminated, foldable maps similar to those of the originator, Streetwise.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Infringement, Copyright, Trademark
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts In 1984, VanDam began to produce maps called "Unfolds," that where pop-up street maps of cities. The next year, Streetwise began to produce laminated street maps that folded, under the trademark "Streetwise." In 1995, VanDam began to sell "StreetSmart" laminated street maps that folded, but used a different folding pattern than Streetwise. Streetwise sued VanDam for copyright, trademark, and trade dress infringement. District court dismissed the suit with prejudice. Streetwise appealed.
Decision Affirmed. To support a finding of trademark infringement, a probability of confusion, not a mere possibility, must exist. A probability of confusion may be found when a large number of purchasers likely will be confused as to the source of the goods in question. "Streetwise" is a suggestive mark that is not particularly strong. Its publisher did not show there was confusion with "StreetSmart." The copyright violation claim fails because the only material in a map capable of copyright protection is original material. Streets, bodies of water, and the like are physical facts; VanDam used a different color scheme than Streetwise in reporting the facts.
Citation Streetwise Maps, Inc. v. VanDam, Inc., 159 F.3d 739 (2nd Cir., 1998)

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