In Not Dead Yet Manufacturing v. Pride Solutions, LLC, plaintiff brought a claim for false advertising under the Lanham Act, challenging defendant's advertising of its products as "The Original Quick Disconnect Stalk Stomper." Plaintiff argued that it actually sold stalk stompers before the defendant did. A stalk stomper is an attachment to a tractor that flattens cornstalks after they have been cut.
On summary judgment, the Northern District of Illinois found that defendant's statement "The Original Quick Disconnect Stalk Stomper" was ambiguous and, because plaintiff failed to provide any evidence of consumer confusion, ruled against plaintiff on its Lanham Act claim.
In a motion for reconsideration, plaintiff argued that whether a statement made in an ad is literally false is an issue of fact to be determined at trial, and therefore, the court erred in determining as a matter of law that the statements in defendant's ads were ambiguous and thus not literally false. The court disagreed, holding that "[e]ven if a dispositive issue is a question of fact, a court may still grant summary judgment if there is no genuine dispute about that fact -- that is, if the evidence (or lack thereof) would not allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party on that issue."