Richard Campfield, Ultra Bond owner and president, filed a motion in Ohio’s federal court seeking a summary judgement in certain aspects of Ultra Bond’s Lanham Act claim and Safelite’s counter claim in its lawsuit against Safelite Group, Inc., Safelite Solutions LLC, and Safelite Fulfillment, Inc. (Safelite). The court has yet to respond to Campfield’s request.
According to the court’s motion, Campfield believes a summary judgement should be granted in its Lanham Act claim for two main reasons:
- “Safelite’s organized marketing campaign promoted the dollar bill rule as an objective standard for windshield repair (as opposed to a Safelite company standard) constitutes “commercial advertising or promotion”; and
- Safelite’s self-described statements, and similar affirmative misrepresentations about the safety of repairing windshield cracks longer than six inches, made directly to insurers or end consumers as part of its organized marketing campaign are literally false and violate the Lanham Act.”
Campfield also contends that Safelite’s counter claims fail to stand in court.
“Safelite bases its Unfair Competition claim on allegations that Plaintiffs circulated false rumors regarding Safelite’s business practices and use of the dollar bill rule through its website and statements to members to the VGRR [vehicle glass repair and replacement] industry, in part, to generate attention for [Plaintiffs’] baseless Lanham Act lawsuit against [Safelite]. Safelite’s claim fails as a matter of law because there is no evidence that Plaintiffs made a false representation of fact; or even assuming arguendo that there was a false representation, that any such representation harmed Safelite,” a portion of Campfield’s motion reads.
“This case presents a text book example of an industry giant’s deployment of an organized marketing campaign to bury an industry standard that threatened its profits, and any competitor that dared to practice it—regardless of the admitted harm to consumers,” a portion of Campfield’s motion reads.
The lawsuit began in 2015 when Campfield alleged Safelite had misleading advertising that favors replacement of windshields rather than repairs of long cracks, which have “wiped out a large portion (if not most) of the market for Ultra Bond’s products and services.” Campfield claimed Safelite’s advertisements and statements were false and damaged his business, which according to court documents, does windshield repairs with long cracks.
Ultra Bond developed a method of repairing windshield cracks that exceeded six inches in length and announced “its breakthrough in windshield repair around the same time Safelite began advertising all windshields must be replaced if it has a crack with or exceeding six inches, according to court documents. Following Safelite’s requests to dismiss the lawsuit the court decided to partially dismiss certain allegations mentioned in Campfield’s amended complaint.
The Plaintiffs contends that three of Safelite’s common law causes of action—tortious interference with contract misappropriation of trade secrets, and conversion—are preempted by the Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act (OUTSA), and that others fail because they are barred by the statute of limitations, among other reasons.
The court also noted it was unable to find Safelite’s statements to be an influencing factor for its customers to buy its products and services.
Currently the Ohio court has yet to respond to Campfield’s motion for a summary judgement on the Lanham Act and Safelite’s counter claim. Look to a future edition for more updates on this suit.