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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Trademarks Legal News

LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Trademarks Legal News

Headline Trademarks Legal News from LexisNexis®


9th Circuit Upholds Denial Of Attorney Fees In Trademark, UCL Case
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to declare a trademark dispute between operators of Thai restaurants in California "exceptional" under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1117(a), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 30 (Tritaporn Sirisup and Sirisup Inc. v. It's Thai LLC, et al., No. 16-55875, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 8119).

Lanham Act Claim Against Watchmaker, Jeweler Will Proceed In California Court
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on April 4 granted two defendants summary judgment on allegations that their use of a former astronaut's name, title, photo and voice in an advertisement without his permission represented a negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Colonel David Randolph Scott v. Citizen Watch Company of America Inc., et al., No. 17-436, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57672).

California Federal Judge: False Advertising Dispute Subject To Arbitration
SAN FRANCISCO - Although dismissing allegations by one plaintiff that Inc. violated the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., when it advertised itself as a non-practicing legal entity, a California federal judge on April 11 stayed identical claims by a co-plaintiff, in view of an arbitration agreement between the parties (LegalForce RAPC, et al. v. LegalZoom Inc., No. 17-7194, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60986).

Florida Federal Judge Reconsiders Ruling On Trademark Counterclaim
MIAMI - In two orders issued April 6, a Florida federal judge largely denied a defendant summary judgment on allegations of trademark misuse but also reconsidered her March 2 ruling that barred the defendant from seeking cancellation of the trademark in question on grounds of confusing similarity with two other previously registered marks (Royal Palm Properties LLC v. Pink Palm Properties LLC, No. 17-80476, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58997).

Inventor Seeks Dismissal Of Counterclaims Related To Glassware Feature Patents
SEATTLE - An inventor on April 10 moved in a Washington federal court to dismiss counterclaims asserted against him in which a company and its owners seek declarations that they did not violate California's unfair competition law (UCL), the Lanham Act and other laws in relation to allegedly copied patented designs (Elliot Kremerman v. Open Source Steel, LLC, et al., No. 2:17-cv-953, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171735).

Contributory Trademark Liability Question Certified For Appeal To 6th Circuit
DETROIT - Although indicating his disagreement with a defendant's interpretation of the relevant case law, a Michigan federal judge on March 27 nonetheless certified for interlocutory appeal his earlier ruling that the defendant - the operator of a consumer-based review website - can be held contributorily liable for alleged direct trademark infringement (Reliable Carriers Inc. v. MovingSites LLC, No. 17-10971, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49904).

11th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Karaoke Company's Lanham Act Case
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 13 found that a karaoke disc jockey's display of the "Sound Choice" service mark as part of his karaoke accompaniment tracks is unlikely to confuse consumers into believing that the DJ is associated or affiliated with the mark owner (Phoenix Entertainment Partners LLC v. Casey Road Food and Beverage LLC, et al., No. 17-13043, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6486).

6th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment For Coach In Counterfeiting Case
CINCINNATI - A Michigan federal judge did not err in granting summary judgment to Coach Services Inc. and others or in awarding statutory damages and a permanent injunction in a dispute over counterfeit Coach purses and wallets, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 15 (Coach Services Inc., et al. v. Source II Inc., et al., No. 17-1546, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6398).

Illinois Federal Judge Orders Cancellation Of 'Capsule' Trademark
CHICAGO - In a March 26 ruling, an Illinois federal judge deemed the "capsule" trademark for use in connection with "cases specifically adapted for protection and storage of consumer electronics, namely, cellular phones and mobile media players" merely descriptive and lacking secondary meaning (Uncommon LLC v. Spigen Inc., No. 15-10897, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48806).

California Federal Judge: Rule 9(b) Inapplicable To Trademark Infringement
SAN DIEGO - Although agreeing with a defendant that allegations of false designation of origin and false advertising under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1)(A-B), are inadequately pleaded pursuant to Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b), a California federal judge on March 28 stopped short of applying the heightened pleading standard to a related claim for trademark infringement (Julian Bakery Inc. v. Healthsource International Inc., No. 16-2594, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52248).

Omaha Steaks Appeals Rejection Of Trademark Opposition To Federal Circuit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A September 2017 final order by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that turned away Omaha Steaks International Inc.'s opposition to a trademark application for "Greater Omaha Providing The Highest Quality Beef" is at the center of a dispute before the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Omaha Steaks International Inc. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc., No. 18-1152, Fed. Cir.).

Default Judgment In 'DermaPen' Trademark Suit Argued Before 10th Circuit
DENVER - The Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 heard arguments from the parties in a dispute over U.S. rights to the "DermaPen" trademark, with arguments focusing on whether a trial court properly entered default judgment against the underlying defendants for failure to comply with a court order requiring them to retain counsel (Steve Marshall v. Derma Pen LLC, No. 17-4096, 10th Cir.).

High Court Asked To Clarify Sham Litigation In Intellectual Property Antitrust Suits
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Citing a competitor's purportedly baseless trade dress lawsuit that prevented it from entering the fiberglass utility body (FUB) market, a machine component firm filed a petition for certiorari March 26, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide what constitutes sham litigation to permit antitrust claims to proceed under an exception to the Noerr-Pennington doctrine (Industrial Models Inc. v. SNF Inc., et al., No. 17-1367, U.S. Sup.).

Band Members Argue Ownership, Infringement Of 'Ratt' Trademark In 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - The former bassist for Ratt defends his ownership rights in the band's trademarks in an April 6 cross-appellant brief, asking the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm a trial court's finding that the purported transfer of the marks' ownership was ineffective (WBS Inc. v. Juan Croucier, et al., No. 17-55973 and 17-56009, 9th Cir.).

In Issue Of First Impression, 11th Circuit Applies Octane In Lanham Act Case
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge did not err in awarding attorney fees to a defendant accused of false advertising, because the case qualifies as "exceptional" under the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 8 in what it deemed an issue of first impression (Edward Tobinick MD v. Dr. Steven Novella, No. 16-16210, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 5845).

New York Federal Judge Won't Reconsider Jurisdiction Ruling In Counterfeiting Case
NEW YORK - A Texas-based website accused of infringing the copyrights and trademarks of textbook maker McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings LLC and others was denied reconsideration on March 5 of an earlier ruling that rejected the website's assertion of lacking personal jurisdiction (McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings LLC, et al., v. Mehul Mathrani, et al., No. 16-8530, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35541).

California Federal Judge Sides With Ratt Founder In Trademark Dispute
LOS ANGELES - A purported assignment of the "Ratt" trademarks in 1997 was declared invalid March 6 by a California federal judge, in what marks a win for the original founding member of the famed 1980s heavy metal band (WBS Inc. v. Stephen Pearcy, No. 16-3495, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36640).

Trade Secret, Trademark And Copyright Claims Survive Dismissal Motions
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has shown that its competitor and its U.S. distributor in the automobile diagnostics industry stole certain of its trade secret and copyrighted source code and used the information to reverse-engineer its competing diagnostic tools in violation of state and federal law and illegally used Ford's trademarked logos in the process, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Feb. 26 in denying the defendants' motions to dismiss (Ford Motor Co. v. Launch Tech Co. Ltd., No. 17-12906, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29923).

Illinois Federal Judge Denies Summary Judgment In Mark Cancellation Dispute
CHICAGO - A plaintiff seeking review of a cancellation by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of three trademarks relating to cigarette rolling papers was denied summary judgment by an Illinois federal judge on March 12 (DRL Enterprises Inc. v. North Atlantic Operating Company Inc., et al., No. 16-8384, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40191).

Hacky Sack Champ's Lanham Act Claim Properly Dismissed, 7th Circuit Says
CHICAGO - In a March 9 summary order, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals turned away a challenge of an Illinois federal judge's rejection of Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1)(A), false endorsement claims stemming from the use by Wendy's International Inc. of his identity in a 2013 promotion (Johannes Martin v. Wendy's International Inc., et al., No. 17-2043, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 5988).

Formalwear Association Granted Default Judgment Over Counterfeiting Websites
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on March 9 deemed 15 websites that were selling counterfeit bridal and prom apparel to be in default for failing to respond to trademark infringement claims against them, leading her to grant default judgment, injunctive relief and damages to a plaintiff formalwear association (American Bridal & Prom Industry Association Inc., et al. v., et al., No. 3:17-cv-02454, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38898).

Jewelry Brand Asserts Infringement, UCL Claims In California Federal Court
LOS ANGELES - A California jewelry brand on March 9 sued numerous companies, asserting claims for trademark infringement and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), alleging that they are making and selling imitations of its jewelry pieces (Zenga Inc. v. K3 Jewelry, et al., No. 2:18cv1983, C.D. Calif.).

California Federal Judge Deems 'Major University' Claim False, Material
SAN DIEGO - A supplement maker's claim that clinical study results on Lipozene were derived from a "major university study" were false, according to a Feb. 21 ruling by a California federal judge, because the study was not affiliated with a university (Obesity Research Institute LLC v. Fiber Research International LLC, No. 15-595, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28025).

10th Circuit Says False Advertising Claim Properly Rejected By Kansas Judge
DENVER - A Kansas federal judge did not err in granting a defendant summary judgment on allegations that it committed false advertising when it warned customers that a competitor's in-car mobile surveillance system was potentially infringing of a patent, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 16 (Digital Ally Inc. v. Utility Associates Inc., No. 17-3092, 10th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3674).

Judge Refuses To Dismiss Support Wear Maker's UCL, Infringement Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 denied a maternity wear company's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that it would be premature to dismiss another company's claims for trademark infringement and that its claim for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) was not preempted (Blanqi LLC v. Bao Bei Maternity, et al., No. 3:17-cv-05759, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26069).

Restaurant 'Adequately Alleges' Infringement Threat In Franchise Case, Judge Says
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Feb. 20 denied a motion to dismiss a franchise dispute involving two restaurants because the plaintiffs' amended complaint "adequately alleges" a threat of imminent use of a trademark that would constitute infringement (Jgx Inc. v. Jon Handlery, et al., No. 17-cv-00287-BLF, N.D. Calif.; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27079).

Judge Permanently Enjoins Hot Sauce Makers From Infringing On Trademarks
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 27 granted a hot sauce maker's request for default ruling and permanent injunction against two individuals in relation to its claims for trademark infringement and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that without an injunction, the individuals will likely continue to infringe on the marks (Tapatio Foods LLC v. Ingrid Veronica Ponce, et al., No. 17-7530, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31864).

Judge Refuses To Grant Preliminary Injunction In Dispute Over Infringement Claims
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Feb. 21 denied a manufacturer insured's motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to require an insurer to pay its defense in an underlying copyright, trademark and patent infringement lawsuit brought by GoPro Inc. (360Heros, Inc. v. Mainstreet America Assurance Company, No. 17-549, N.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27443).

Ex-Band Member Denies 'Boston' Mark Infringement, Contract Breach
BOSTON - A former guitarist for the multiplatinum-selling band Boston tells the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Feb. 20 cross-appellant brief that he did not use the band's trademark beyond the guidelines of a 1983 settlement agreement and, therefore, he did not engage in breach of contract (David Thomas Scholz v. Barry Goudreau, No. 17-1264, 1st Cir.).

Cyprus Website Operator Claims Improper Service In Trademark Suit
SAN FRANCISCO - Disputing that it infringed the trademark of an American "sugar daddy" website operator, a Cyprus-based firm argues in a March 9 reply in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a trial court's entry of default judgment against it should be vacated for improper service (Reflex Media Inc. v. Apiriliaco Ltd., et al., No. 17-55505, 9th Cir.).

Citing Walden, 7th Circuit Says Jurisdiction Lacking In Trademark Case
CHICAGO - In a Jan. 31 holding, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed, on jurisdictional grounds, an Illinois federal judge's determination that a Florida corporation is liable for trademark infringement (Ariel Investments LLC v. Ariel Capital Advisors LLC, No. 17-1516, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2412).

Trade Dress Defendant Loses Bid For New Trial In Washington Federal Court
SEATTLE - In a Feb. 14 ruling, a Washington federal magistrate judge largely rejected efforts by a defendant to undo a December jury verdict of trade dress infringement, denying a request for a new trial but conditioning that denial upon a plaintiff's acceptance of a remittitur that would reduce damages in the case from $193,598 to $167,239 (National Products Inc. v. Arkon Resources Inc., No. 15-1553, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24436).

Federal Judge Enjoins Franchisee From Using IHOP Marks At 3 Restaurants
MOBILE, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Feb. 7 granted a motion by IHOP Restaurants LLC and IHOP Franchisor LLC for a preliminary injunction enjoining a franchisee from using its mark or any trademark that is confusingly similar to the IHOP mark at restaurants (IHOP Restaurants LLC, et al. v. Moeini Corp., No. 17-00570, S.D. Ala., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19707).

Federal Judge Enjoins Hot Sauce Maker From Infringing On Trademarks
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 12 entered a default judgment on claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and trademark infringement asserted by a maker of hot sauce and granted a permanent injunction in its favor, enjoining another hot sauce maker from making or selling certain products containing similar marks (Tapatio Foods LLC v. Isaac Granados, No. 17-7532, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23618).

Men's Salon Franchisor Sues Franchisee For Trademark Infringement
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A men's salon franchisor filed a complaint on Jan. 18 in a California federal court accusing one of its franchisees of improperly terminating its franchise agreement and continuing to use its trademarked items and confidential information while operating a salon under a different name (Ultimate Franchises, Inc., et al. v. Amyn Sachedina, et al., No. 18-97, C.D. Calif.).

NCAA Alleges Dealerships Violated UCL, Infringed On March Madness Mark
LOS ANGELES - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Jan. 26 sued the operators of vehicle dealerships in relation to the alleged use of its trademark, asserting causes of action for infringement and violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) (National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Ken Grody Management Inc., et al., No. 8:18-cv-00153, C.D. Calif.).

Counterclaim Of Copyright Invalidity Stricken As Redundant By Federal Judge
CHICAGO - A counterclaim seeking a declaration of copyright invalidity is "unnecessary" in light of affirmative defenses of fair use, first sale, acquiescence and license raised in response to allegations of copyright infringement, an Illinois federal judge ruled Jan. 23 (Maui Jim Inc. v. SmartBuyGlasses Optical Limited, No. 16-9788, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10093).

4th Circuit Vacates, Remands Dispute Over Redskins Trademarks
RICHMOND, Va. - Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2017 decision in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744, 1751 (2017), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 18 vacated and remanded to the Eastern District of Virginia a dispute over the registrability of six trademarks and logos belonging to the Washington Redskins professional football team (Pro-Football Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al., No. 15-1874, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1186).

Suit Over Sweeteners' Packaging In Franchise Network Survives Dismissal
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Jan. 18 denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the owner of Applebee's and IHOP restaurants of using artificial sweetener in its franchise network that's packaged in a yellow packet made to look like trademarked Splenda sweetener (Heartland Consumer Products LLC, et al. v. DineEquity, Inc., et al., No. 17-1035, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7983).

Jack Daniel's Wins Injunction, Judgment In Arizona Trademark Case
PHOENIX - Following a four-day bench trial in October 2017, an Arizona federal magistrate judge on Jan. 29 sided squarely with declaratory judgment defendant Jack Daniel's Properties Inc. in a trademark and trade dress dispute over a "Bad Spaniels" dog chew toy (VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel's Properties Inc., No. 14-2057, D. Ariz., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14432).

Missouri Federal Judge Dismisses Service Mark Claims By Karaoke Company
ST. LOUIS - Allegations of service mark infringement against four defendants were dismissed by a Missouri federal judge on Jan. 23, based upon findings that a karaoke licensing company is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims (Phoenix Entertainment Partners LLC v. Sports Legends LLC, et al., No. 17-1209, E.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10381).

Insurer Has No Duty To Pay For Independent Counsel In Copyright Suit, Panel Says
CHICAGO - An Illinois appeals panel on Jan. 22 affirmed a lower court's ruling that a commercial general liability insurer has no obligation to reimburse its insured for more than $16,000 in independent counsel fees incurred in an underlying copyright infringement dispute, rejecting the insured's contention that a conflict of interest entitled it to independent counsel (Bean Products, Inc. v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 1-17-0421, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 89).

Asian Food Firm Defends Fees Denial In Trademark Suit To 9th Circuit
SAN FRANCISCO - In a Jan. 22 appellee brief, an Asian foods maker tells the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a trial court has twice properly denied a defendant's motions for attorney fees in a trademark dispute, arguing that the correct "totality of the circumstances" standard was thoroughly considered (Anhing Corp. v. Viet Phu Inc., et al., No. 17-55851, 9th Cir.).

Hip Joint Maker Tells 10th Circuit Pink Trade Dress Is Protectable
DENVER - A trial court incorrectly found the pink trade dress of its hip joint components to be functional, a trademark holder argues in a Feb. 9 brief to the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, seeking reversal of a judgment deeming its color pink trademark registrations unprotectable and not infringed (C5 Medical Werks LLC, et al. v. CeramTec GmbH, No. 17-1173, 10th Cir.).

'Sealtight' Trademark Holder Tells 8th Circuit It Deserves Disgorgement Of Profits
ST. LOUIS - A fastener manufacturer argues in a Jan. 30 brief in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that an infringement verdict in its favor related to its "Sealtight" trademark should have resulted in an award of disgorgement of the infringer's profits, saying that the trial court improperly balanced the parties' equities in denying the award (B&B Hardware Inc. v. Hargis Industries Inc., No. 17-1570 and 17-1755, 8th Cir.).