Friday, July 02, 2004

It's un-bear-able! The Vermont Teddy Bear Company sued Robert M. Schwimer upon finding that Schwimer was using its BEARGRAM mark in the marketing of his products, asserting various intellectual property and related state law tort claims. The Company moved for summary judgment, and, despite having received notice, Schwimmer failed to oppose the motion. The district court granted the summary judgment motion simply by endorsing the notice of motion and adopting, with slight modifications, the Company's proposed order as judgment. The order contained no reasoning. Schwimer appealed.

On July 1, 2004, the Second Circuit vacated and remanded. It wrote "to clarify the procedure to be followed when a motion for summary judgment is unopposed." The Court held that Rule 56 does not embrace default judgment principles and even if a summary judgment motion is unopposed, the district court still has to decide whether the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. It took no position as to whether summary judgment was appropriate in this case, but remanded the case to the district court for a reasoned determination on that issue.

The decision in Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-200 Beargram Co. can be found here.

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