When Expert Witnesses Do Not Attain Kolinahr

It truly is a no win scenario when a Judge excludes the expert witnesses of two adverse parties. How did this happen?

The case involved customs and the importation of mugs that infringed on certain trademarks. Apparently both experts testified that “the mugs and cups clearly have the same design characteristics including bright, bold colors and a round rim shape,” which the Court hammered as applying to countless other items not relevant to the lawsuit. G.G. Marck & Assocs. v. United States, 2015 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 66, *37-38 (Ct. Int’l Trade June 17, 2015).

Judge Richard Eaton stated the following on both experts’ testimony in footnote 18: Remarkably, each expert chose exactly the same words to express his opinion. No doubt, a human example of Vulcan mind meld. G.G. Marck, at *39, citing Star Trek: Dagger of the Mind (NBC television broadcast Nov. 3, 1966) [emphasis added].

The Court stated that a “person of usual discernment does not need the assistance of an expert to make a decision of whether dinnerware items are in the same pattern. Were this not the case, an expert would be needed to accompany each shopper that enters a housewares store.” G.G. Marck, at *39.

Judge Eaton held that the case did not need the testimony of the expert witnesses, due to the testimony being irrelevant and not useful. G.G. Marck, at *37-38.

What did we learn from this case? First, people do not go shopping for mugs with experts. Second, Judge Eaton is a Trekie. Always nice to see another Legal Geek.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, the ABA Web 100 for Best Legal Blog and Podcast categories, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.