Utilitarian Chicken Feeder Trade Dress Not Protected: 4th Circ.

Law360 (March 27, 2020, 10:41 PM EDT) -- While livestock equipment manufacturer Hog Slat Inc. does not dispute that it copied CTB Inc.'s chicken feeder, CTB can't assert trade dress claims against its rival because its own expired patent acknowledged that the design is dictated by the feeder's utilitarian aims, the Fourth Circuit affirmed Friday.

In a unanimous, published decision, the three-judge panel backed Hog Slat's North Carolina federal court win, in which the lower court knocked out CTB's claims of trade dress infringement over an apparent knockoff of its C2 Plus chicken feeder.

After CTB's utility patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,092,274, expired, it got trade dress protection for...

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