Georgia Pacific Consumer Products, LP v. von Drehle Corp., No. 12-1444 (4th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
In a trademark infringement dispute between Georgia-Pacific and von Drehle involving paper towels and "touchless" paper towel dispensers, the court vacated the district court's award of summary judgment in von Drehle's favor, and remanded the case for a jury determination of whether von Drehle was liable for contributory trademark infringement. Over three months later, von Drehle sought for the first time to amend its answer to include affirmative defenses of claim preclusion and issue preclusion. The court subsequently held that the district court erred in vacating the jury verdict and in awarding judgment in von Drehle's favor because: (1) von Drehle waived the preclusion defenses by failing to assert them in a timely manner; and (2) the district court erred in alternatively considering the preclusion defense sua sponte. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's award of judgment in von Drehle's favor, and remanded the case to the district court with instructions to reinstate the jury's verdict in favor of Georgia-Pacific.