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TWO PESOS, INC., PETITIONER v. TACO CABANA, INC.
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
; 112 S. Ct. 2753; 120 L. Ed. 2d 615; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4533; 60 U.S.L.W.
4762; 23 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1081; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 5571; 92 Daily Journal
DAR 8910; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 643
April 21, 1992, Argued
June 26, 1992, Decided
As Amended July 2, 1992
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE
932 F. 2d 1113, affirmed.
Certiorari was granted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in
order to decide whether inherently distinctive trade dress was protectible under § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S.
§ 1125(a), without a showing that it had acquired secondary meaning.
Respondent had several restaurants with a certain theme. Several years later petitioner opened up his
chain of restaurants copying the same theme of respondent. Respondent filed suit against petitioner for trade dress
infringement. At trial, the jury found that respondent's trade dress was inherently distinctive, but that the trade dress had
not acquired a secondary meaning. The appellate court correctly rejected the argument raised by petitioner, the alleged
trade dress infringer, that a finding of no secondary meaning contradicted a finding of inherent distinctiveness. The
court held that proof of secondary meaning was not required to prevail on a claim under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125(a), where
the trade dress at issue was inherently distinctive. Specifically, there was no persuasive reason to apply to trade dress a
general requirement of secondary meaning which would be at odds with the principles generally applicable to
infringement suits under 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125(a). Moreover, adding a secondary meaning requirement could have
anticompetitive effects, creating particular burdens on the startup of small companies.
The court affirmed the judgment.
trade dress, secondary meaning, trademark, distinctive, inherently, Lanham Act, designation,
distinctiveness, descriptive, restaurant, symbol, unregistered, unfair competition, infringement, registered, producer,
falsely, dress, consumer, user, commerce, functional, false advertising, suggestive, common-law, geographic, fanciful,
unfair, Lanham Act, common law