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Dumbest Way To Lose A Lawsuit

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(File photo: Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - What’s the dumbest way to lose a lawsuit? Ask Paris Hilton.

Paris Hilton recently won almost $30,000 in a lawsuit against two perfume manufacturers. That ought to keep her in manicures for a couple of months.

She had sued the companies because she claimed that they infringed on her perfume trademarks. Her lawsuit wasn’t because the other perfume smelled like hers; rather, she claimed that the competitor’s perfume bottles looked so much like her perfume bottles, they were likely to confuse consumers into thinking that they were actually Paris Hilton Perfume and not a knockoff cheaper than Paris Hilton. Oh yeah, I see the confusion.

In any event, whether or not you believe that the general public is as dumb as she believes them to be, she won the case without having to prove it. Why? Because the competitors did something dumber than either making a Paris Hilton knockoff or buying a Paris Hilton knockoff. They just never answered the complaint. They didn’t respond at all.

So, the judge in the case issued what’s called a default judgment – a verdict that is the legal equivalent of winning by forfeit which is a great lesson.

If you get sued and don’t even bother to respond, you will lose. And boy does that stink.

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