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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Ed Kalis Memorial Services, LLC v. McIntee Holdings, LLC

932 So. 2d 491 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2006)

Ed Kalis, Sr. ("Kalis") operated a funeral home called Kalis Funeral Home until McIntee acquired it in 1994.  Kalis signed a ten-year non-competition agreement with McIntee and he continued to work as an employee of the funeral home.  In 2004, after the ten years elapsed, Kalis opened a competing business called "Ed Kalis Memorial Services" approximately 100 yards from McIntee’s funeral home.  McIntee obtained a temporary injunction against Kalis’s use of the Kalis name.  After Kalis changed the name of his business to "Edwards Cremation & Funeral Services," Kalis requested clarification of the injunction regarding the ability to use his name with his new funeral home.  The modified injunction allowed Kalis to use his name and photograph on his website to “identify himself” as the licensed funeral director of the funeral home, but prohibited him from using “Kalis” in the URL of his website or on “any other signage” and "any other advertising and/or promotional materials."  Kalis appealed, and the appellate court found that the trial court’s restrictions on Kalis's right to use his name in identifying himself as the licensed funeral director were overly broad and represented an abuse of discretion.  The appellate court did agree with the trial court that “Kalis’s name should not be the predominant feature of the signage or in the advertisement.”  However, the appellate court held that Kalis's use of his name in identifying himself as the licensed funeral director, "whether on signage, in advertising, or on the internet," was not likely to cause consumer confusion.  The appellate court thus reversed the portions of the temporary injunction noted above and remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to enter a modified injunction consistent with the appellate court's opinion.