In IP dispute over ladder technology, Gorilla wins over Little Giant
The US District Court, District of Minnesota, recently awarded Tricam Industries, Inc. summary judgment on claims of false advertising under the Lanham Act and the Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practices Act brought by its competitor, Wing Enterprises.
The dispute was over Tricam’s multi-position Gorilla Ladders, which are sold nationwide at Home Depot stores and online. Wing also sells multi-position ladders under the brand name Little Giant. Wing filed suit in May 2017, alleging patent infringement and false advertising. The parties resolved the patent-related claims, but Wing maintained that Tricam falsely advertised its ladders as compliant with voluntary ANSI standards for portable metal ladders, developed by the American Ladder Institute. The Court ultimately determined that Wing failed to provide any evidence that Tricam’s ANSI compliance statements were likely to influence consumer purchasing decisions. The Court dismissed the false advertising case with prejudice, avoiding a costly jury trial and potentially seven figures of damages for Tricam.