California Court of Appeal

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Franklin Mint Co. v. Manatt, Phelps & Phelps, LLP, B190482

In an action for malicious prosecution against a law firm and an attorney, who had represented the executors of the estate of Diana, Princess of Wales and the trustees of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, arising from the law firm's suit against the company for using Princess Diana's name and image in connection with merchandise it advertised and sold, a grant of the law firm's motion for directed verdict is reversed and remanded where: 1) there was no probable cause to prosecute the false advertising claim as no reasonable attorney could find tenable the false advertising claim as it was alleged and litigated in the underlying action; and 2) there was no probable cause to prosecute the trademark dilution claim because no reasonable attorney could conclude that the claim could satisfy two fundamental, long-standing principles of trademark law.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 05/03/2010
  • Published 05/03/2010


  • WILLHITE, Acting P.J.


  • California Court of Appeal


  • For Appellant:
  • Loeb & Loeb, Andrew S. Clare, Lawrence B. Gutcho; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, William A. Norris, Edward P. Lazarus, L. Rachel Helyar, Michael C. Small and Rex Heinke for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Horvitz & Levy, David M. Axelrad, John A. Taylor, Jr., Frederic D. Cohen; Munger, Tolles & Olson, Michael R. Doyen and Brad D. Brian for Defendant and Respondent Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP., Hill Farrer & Burrill, Kevin H. Brogan, Neil D. Martin and Dean E. Dennis for Defendant and Respondent Mark S. Lee.
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