The Minnesota Supreme Court: “We are persuaded by the reasoning of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the trend of other courts in concluding that trademark infringement falls within the plain and ordinary meaning of ‘infringement of title.'” [Editorial aside: isn’t “plain and ordinary meaning of ‘infringement of title'” either a paradox or an oxymoron?]
The Court also found coverage under the insurer’s Commercial Umbrella Liability (CUL) Policy: “[W]e conclude that ‘hobbit’ was used as an ‘advertising idea,’ [the coverage term in the CUL, and]… find coverage in the CUL policy….”
Finally, an issue not covered in this decision but something Minnesota litigators might want to consider: Is it attorney malpractice in Minnesota not to raise the potential of insurance coverage with your client? Do you really want to find out? Probably better to raise the issue, the earlier the better.
General Casualty Co. of Wisconsin v. Wozniak Travel, Inc., d/b/a Hobbit Travel, Court File No. A08-321. (certified question from the U.S. District Court (D. Minn.))