What is the appropriate framework to determine standing in a false advertising action under the Lanham Act?
Petitioner Lexmark International, Inc., a major producer of laser printers, developed a microchip for its toner cartridges to restrict third-party businesses from replacing Lexmark cartridges. Respondent Static Control Components, Inc. replicated that microchip, thereby allowing third parties to refill and resell used Lexmark cartridges. Lexmark responded by telling businesses that the use of Static’s replicated microchips would infringe Lexmark’s patent. In a 2004 lawsuit, Static brought false advertisement claims against Lexmark under the Lanham Act. The district court dismissed those charges, concluding that Static lacked standing. The Sixth Circuit reversed that dismissal, reasoning that Static had a cognizable business interest that was harmed by Lexmark’s remarks; therefore, Static had standing and qualified for protection under the Lanham Act. The Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will resolve a circuit split over the proper framework for determining prudential standing in false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. Accordingly, this case will determine who can assert false advertising claims under the Lanham Act.
Whether the appropriate framework for determining a party’s appropriate standing for a cause of action for false advertising under the Lanham Act is (1) the test established in Associated General Contractors of California, Inc. v. California State Council of Carpenters as used by the Third, Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits; (2) the categorical test, allowing suits only by an actual competitor, used by the Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits; or (3) a more expansive “reasonable interest” test, applied by both the Sixth Circuit lower decision below, and also the Second Circuit?
- Electronic Frontier Foundation, Lexmark v. Static Control Case Archive
- Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, Justices agree to hear Lexmark false advertising case (June 3, 2013).