International Business Tag

ADA Website Accessibility Litigation Presents High Risk to Retailers

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Adam Michaels | amichaels@hballp.com

Summary

The number of US lawsuits filed by visually impaired and other disabled people targeting business websites for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has reached fever pitch. Recent court rulings have emboldened plaintiffs’ attorneys and a significant uptick in litigation is expected in 2018. New York has proven particularly welcoming to these cases, with nearly 300 ADA website lawsuits targeting retail, fashion, and financial institutions filed in New York’s federal courts in the first quarter of 2018.

Despite this explosion of activity, many businesses are still unaware of the legal risk and continue to operate websites that fall short of accepted accessibility standards, courting ADA claims. Although monetary damages are unavailable under the ADA, these cases are not easily dismissed and the defense costs can be significant. To help minimize the lawsuit risk, businesses should consider proactive measures to ensure their websites meet the current accessibility standard.

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Important Trademark Litigation Victory For HBA Client Affirmed on Appeal

Essentially concluding over five years of litigation, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on November 2, 2017 upheld the trial court’s determination that the sale of Clipps bag closures by Schutte Bagclosures Inc. (“Schutte”) did not infringe any trademark rights Kwik Lok Corporation (“Kwik Lok”). The court further upheld the lower court’s determination that Kwik Lok’s claimed trademark rights in the shape of bag closures were invalid because the shape was “functional” and that Kwik Lok’s trademark registration for that shape should be cancelled.
The same parties previously faced each other in court in the Netherlands, where the judge also ruled that Kwik Lok did not have valid trademark rights in their bag closures.

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HBA Litigation Group Secures Major Victory For Client In Trademark Lawsuit, Opening Up U.S. Market For Plastic Bag Closures

In a lengthy opinion resulting from nearly four years of litigation, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found on June 14, 2016 that Netherlands-based Schutte Bagclosures Inc. (“Schutte”) did not infringe any trademark rights Kwik Lok Corporation (“Kwik Lok”) held in connection with the shape of plastic bag closures.  The court further held that Kwik Lok’s claimed trademark rights were invalid because the shape of the closure was “functional” and therefore could not be claimed as a trademark by Kwik Lok.

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Luxury Law Summit

HBA Founding Partner Douglas Hand will speak at the Luxury law Summit in London on Tuesday May 17, 2016. The conference is being held at The Four Seasons Park Lane. He will be a part of a panel titled, “The art of the deal: routes to international growth” he will be join by Christopher Yu, Managing Director of United Perfumes and Robert Ferrell, Director of PMG Fashion & Brands.
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