Trott’s took pictures of its cabinets to use in promotional materials. American Cabinet acquired these pictures from one of Trott’s former employees and used the photographs in their own sales brochures. Trott’s claimed false advertising and trademark infringement but failed to assert a claim for copyright infringement.
The court found no false advertising claim because there was no evidence consumers were deceived by the photographs. In fact, only a trained professional can distinguish the cabinets of one company from another. The court also found the cabinets themselves were generic and could not qualify for trademark protection. The court easily denied the TRO.
Trott’s had the right idea but brought the wrong claims. The photographs are copyrightable, and Trott’s likely would have been successful had it registered copyrights and asserted copyright infringement.