Leo Stoller
American businessman
Leo Stoller
Leo D. Stoller is an American self-styled "intellectual property entrepreneur" based in suburban Chicago, Illinois. Stoller controversially claimed rights to a large inventory of "famous" trademarks and engaged in the assertive enforcement of those alleged trademark rights, threatening infringement action against people and companies who attempt to use similar marks.
Leo Stoller's personal information overview.
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  • 2016
    Age 69
    Stoller was released from prison on May 20, 2016.
    More Details Hide Details A month after his release, the Seventh Circuit panel unanimously affirmed his conviction. On July 11, Stoller petitioned the Seventh Circuit for an en banc rehearing. His petition was denied on July 26.
  • 2014
    Age 67
    In December 2014, Stoller filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and the Court of Appeals referred the matter to Geraldine Soat Brown, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, to make a determination.
    More Details Hide Details The court granted the motion on March 5. Oral argument of the appeal was held on December 7, 2015 before circuit judges Joel Flaum, Ann Claire Williams, and Diane Sykes.
    On November 14, 2014, Judge Kendall sentenced Stoller to 20 months in a federal prison, to be served in a medical facility, as well as a $100 fine.
    More Details Hide Details He was ordered to surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on January 16, 2015. On November 24, Stoller gave notice that he was appealing the judgment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Seventh Circuit noted that "based on prior filings in which he made false representations about his indigency, appellant Leo Stoller is subjected to a filing restriction and is not permitted to proceed in forma pauperis in any federal court in this circuit," and, although the order did not apply to criminal cases, ordered that if Stoller were to attempt to proceed in forma pauperis, he would need to prove eligibility to a United States magistrate judge.
  • 2013
    Age 66
    On June 27, 2013, Stoller filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea.
    More Details Hide Details Judge Kendall denied the motion, calling it "frivolous", on October 9. The preliminary finding under the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines is a range of 30 to 37 months imprisonment, in addition to any court-imposed supervised release, fine or restitution. The prosecution has asked for Stoller to be sentenced to 37 months in prison, based on Stoller's "egregious and ceaseless abuse of the federal court system" and because there is "nothing about the defendant’s history and characteristics that suggests that he will not re-offend in the future." Stoller also agreed to pay restitution under to the bankruptcy estate according to a schedule to be set by the court.
  • 2011
    Age 64
    He was arraigned on January 12, 2011, and a public defender was appointed to represent him.
    More Details Hide Details On November 30, 2011, judge Virginia Kendall set a trial date of April 23, 2012. On April 13, Stoller entered into a plea agreement pleading guilty to "knowingly and fraudulently making a false statement under penalty of perjury in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding," in violation of. In September 2012, Judge Kendall was revealed to be among the candidates being considered for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, causing all of her criminal cases to be transferred to other judges to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. As part of the reassignment, Stoller's case was temporarily transferred to U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer; it was returned to Kendall on November 7 after the District Court's Executive committee determined she was no longer under consideration for the appointment. In addition, Stoller's counsel withdrew from representation, and new counsel was appointed. On October 26, Judge Pallmeyer struck the scheduled sentencing hearing and ordered a new status hearing for December 10, 2012 which has since been continued by Kendall.
  • 2010
    Age 63
    On December 15, 2010, Stoller was indicted on federal fraud charges related to his bankruptcy filings.
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  • 2007
    Age 60
    On August 8, 2007, the bankruptcy court approved an auction and sale under which Stoller's trademark assets were transferred to the Society for the Prevention of Trademark Abuse, LLC, the sole bidder in the auction, for $7,500.
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    The court noted, however, that Stoller remained subject to an order "directing that all federal courts in Seventh Circuit return unfiled any papers he submits directly or indirectly unless and until he pays a $10,000 fine we imposed against him in August 2007," and "he will have to pay the outstanding sanction or, as a practical matter, face certain default."
    More Details Hide Details On March 17, 2008, an entity calling itself the "Stoller Pension and Profit Sharing Plan" filed Application Serial No. 77/424,372 in the USPTO, claiming trademark rights to the word "Stealth" in the fields of boat accessories and various forms of sports equipment and apparel, with a first use in commerce dating back to 1981. This organization has filed a property tort suit against Countrywide Bank. Several jurisdictions have imposed sanctions against Stoller in response to the cases and motions he has brought, and his conduct in prosecuting them. On March 1, 1985, Stoller filed for Chapter 13 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Case No. 85-02729. On March 23, 1998, Stoller filed for bankruptcy in the Northern District of Illinois, Case No. 98-03288 (later withdrawn). In 2001, Stoller made a bankruptcy filing for his litigation entity, S Industries, Inc., that was filed during the appeal of the S Industries, Inc. v. Centra 2000 decision (N.D. Ill. 1998) that had levied sanctions against S Industries for oppressive litigation.
    Subsequently, on January 19, 2007, Google filed a suit against Stoller's companies alleging violations of the anti-racketeering RICO law.
    More Details Hide Details On April 2, 2008 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a judgment in favor of Google, on the ground that the case had been pursued using contradictory principles, both treating those companies as extensions of Stoller himself, and as separate legal entities. The case was remanded to the lower court for further action.
  • 2006
    Age 59
    In 2006, Stoller filed an opposition to Google's attempt at registering a trademark to the name "Google" in the category of exercise balls.
    More Details Hide Details Stoller claims that the "Google" mark has become generic, yet also claims that it infringes on prior alleged rights to the name held by Stoller's company. The case against the Google mark, however, was dismissed with prejudice at the instigation of Stoller's trustee in bankruptcy, who is empowered to take action in all cases in which Stoller and his companies are involved.
    Stoller filed an opposition with the TTAB in April 2006 to Target Stores bulls-eye logo.
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    During Stoller's 2006 bankruptcy proceedings (see below), Pure Fishing went back to the district court for entry of a Final Judgment.
    More Details Hide Details On October 4, 2006, a federal court in Chicago entered final judgment in Central Mfg. Co., et al. v. Pure Fishing, Inc., et al. The Court declared the case to be "exceptional" under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a) and ordered Central Mfg. to pay Pure Fishing’s costs, charges and disbursements, including a reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred in the action. The court further ordered that Stoller and his companies were "vexatious litigants" and barred them "from instituting any lawsuit or trademark opposition without prior leave of this Court pursuant to this Court’s authority under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a)." The court also cancelled the marks asserted in the Complaint. Stoller filed a Notice of Appeal from the October 4 judgment and has moved to stay the enforcement of the said judgment pending the appeals.
  • 2005
    Age 58
    The court entered a consent judgment and permanent injunction in favor of Columbia Pictures and against Stoller in November 2005.
    More Details Hide Details In December 2006, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of Stoller's counterclaims, and the case was closed in January 2007.
    When Columbia Pictures brought out the 2005 movie Stealth, Stoller attempted to force the movie studio to change the name of the movie or pay him royalties, but the studio responded by suing Stoller for declarative relief.
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    A case decided by summary judgment on September 30, 2005, Central Manufacturing Co. v. Brett, pitted a Stoller-owned company against Hall-of-Fame baseball player George Brett, whose company, Brett Brothers Sports International Inc., sells a bat under the name "Stealth".
    More Details Hide Details It was alleged in this case that the use of that name infringed upon Stoller's trademark rights. In its decision, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois determined that there was no likelihood of confusion where consumers would mistakenly regard Brett's bats as being from Stoller's company. The court also found that Stoller failed to provide adequate proof that his company and its licensees had even sold baseball-related merchandise at all. The court found likelihood of confusion in the opposite direction, found Brett's trademark rights to be senior, and hence canceled Stoller's (Central Manufacturing) registration. In the decision, the court described Stoller's tactics and enumerated dozens of unsuccessful infringement cases he had brought in that court. Chief Judge Charles P. Kocoras from the Northern District of Illinois then issued a citation to Stoller after reviewing his "filing history" having filed at least "49 lawsuits in this court, individually or through one of his many wholly owned corporations". "The Executive Committee (of the Northern District of Illinois) in its capacity as the supervisor of the assignment of cases, has directed that Leo Stoller inform this court of any claim by him why the Executive Committee should not impose reasonable and necessary restraints upon Mr. Stoller's ability to file civil cases in this District." After a thorough review of Leo Stoller's entire filing history the Executive Committee of the Northern District of Illinois issued a decision stating that "the committee will take no further action in this matter."
  • 2002
    Age 55
    In August 2002 the Illinois Attorney General filed suit against Stoller for illegally soliciting funds on behalf of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks via his web site giveagiftonline.com.
    More Details Hide Details Twelve charities Stoller listed said they never received any money from Stoller, despite assurances on the site that "100 percent of all donations" would be forwarded. He was accused of not being a licensed charitable organization and listing charities without their permission. Stoller paid a $2,000 fine and was barred from soliciting for charities in Illinois, but made no admission of wrongdoing.
  • 1996
    Age 49
    In 1996 S Industries, Inc. filed suit alleging that Centra 2000, a producer of data management software, infringed its/Stoller's "Sentra" trademark in violation of the Lanham Act.
    More Details Hide Details District Judge George W. Lindberg ruled in favor of Centra 2000, finding that S Industries did not hold a federal registration for the "Sentra" mark for use on computer hardware or software. Because S Industries' claims were, in the judge's view, completely unfounded and because its procedural maneuvering multiplied the cost of defending against the suit, Centra 2000 was awarded attorney's fees in July 1998. This was affirmed on appeal.
  • 1946
    Born on June 5, 1946.
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