Justia Trademark Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Cross Commerce Media, Inc. v. Collective, Inc.
CI owns the registered marks ʺCollective Network,ʺ ʺCollective Video,ʺ and ʺC Collective The Audience Engine,ʺ a stylized mark in which the word ʺCollectiveʺ appears most prominently. CCM operates under the name ʺCollective[i].ʺ This appeal arises from the software companies' dispute over trademarks containing the word "collective." In a series of three orders, the district court granted summary judgment to CCM on virtually all points in dispute and awarded attorneyʹs fees under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq. The court reversed or vacated all contested portions of the March Order, August Order, and December Order because: (1) the unregistered mark ʺcollectiveʺ is suggestive, not descriptive; (2) there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether CI used the unregistered mark ʺcollectiveʺ in commerce before CCM introduced its allegedly infringing marks; (3) the district court prematurely granted summary judgment as to CIʹs counterclaim for infringement of the registered marks, an action that neither party requested and the district court did not explain; and (4) there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether CI abandoned its registered marks ʺCollective Networkʺ and ʺCollective Video.ʺ Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cross Commerce Media, Inc. v. Collective, Inc." on Justia Law
Guthrie Healthcare Sys. v. ContextMedia, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging trademark infringement in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114, and other claims on the basis that defendant's trademark logo was confusingly similar to plaintiff's trademark. The district court granted permanent injunctive relief, prohibiting defendant from using its marks within plaintiff’s geographic service area (Guthrie Service Area), but held that defendant may continue to use its marks everywhere outside the Guthrie Service Area, as well as without restriction in Internet transmissions, on defendant’s websites and on social media. The court agreed with the district court’s liability determination that there is a likelihood of confusion between plaintiff’s and defendant’s trademarks. The court concluded, however, that, in restricting the scope of the injunction, the district court misapplied the law, and failed to adequately protect the interests of plaintiff and the public from likely confusion. The court concluded that it is correct that a senior user must prove a probability of confusion in order to win an injunction. But it does not follow that the injunction may extend only into areas for which the senior user has shown probability of confusion. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and expended the scope of the injunction, remanding for further consideration. View "Guthrie Healthcare Sys. v. ContextMedia, Inc." on Justia Law
Int’l Info. Sys. Sec. Certification Consortium, Inc. v. Security Univ., LLC
ISC filed suit against SU and Sondra Schneider, alleging that SU's use of ISC's certification mark violated the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., and constituted infringement under 15 U.S.C. 1114, false designation of origin and false advertising under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), and trademark dilution under 15 U.S.C. 1125(c), and that SU’s use of the mark constituted unfair competition under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42–110a et seq. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. The court held that nominative fair use is not an affirmative defense to a claim of infringement under the Lanham Act. In cases involving nominative use, in addition to considering the Polaroid factors, courts are to consider (1) whether the use of the plaintiff’s mark is necessary to describe both the plaintiff’s product or service and the defendant’s product or service, that is, whether the product or service is not readily identifiable without use of the mark; (2) whether the defendant uses only so much of the plaintiff’s mark as is necessary to identify the product or service; and whether the defendant did anything that would, in conjunction with the mark, suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the plaintiff holder, that is, whether the defendant’s conduct or language reflects the true or accurate relationship between plaintiff’s and defendant’s products or services. When considering these factors, courts must be mindful of the different types of confusion relevant to infringement claims. Because the district court failed to consider the Polaroid factors and because its consideration of the relevant nominative fair use factors was based on incorrect assumptions, the court vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the infringement claims. The court vacated the grant of summary judgment as to the false designation of origin and false advertising claims, and the CUTPA claims. The court affirmed as to the dilution claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "Int'l Info. Sys. Sec. Certification Consortium, Inc. v. Security Univ., LLC" on Justia Law
United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. v. Fendi Adele S.R.L.
After Ashley Reed sold counterfeit Fendi goods to Burlington and others, Fendi filed suit against Ashley Reed. USF&G, Ashley Reed's insurer, filed suit against Fendi and Ashley Reed, seeking a declaration that it owed no duty under the Policies to indemnify Ashley Reed with respect to the first underlying action. Fendi asserted a counterclaim seeking indemnification for the judgment entered against Ashley Reed in the First Action. Burlington was given permission to intervene to seek indemnification under the Policies for the judgment entered against Ashley Reed in the second underlying action. The court agreed with the district court's holding that the basis of Ashley Reedʹs liability ʺwas the sale - not the advertising - of counterfeit Fendi products,ʺ and therefore there was no basis for indemnification under the Policies. Because the losses were not the result of an advertising injury, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co. v. Fendi Adele S.R.L." on Justia Law
Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.
Apotex filed suit alleging that Acorda filed a sham citizen petition with the FDA to hinder approval of Apotex's competing formulation of a drug for treating spasticity, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2, and that Acorda violated the Lanham Act's, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1), proscription on false advertising. The district court ruled that the simultaneous approval by the FDA of Apotex’s drug application and its denial of Acorda’s citizen petition was by itself insufficient to support a Sherman Act claim. The district court then granted summary judgment and dismissed all of Apotex’s false advertising claims on the grounds that (with the exception of one graph) no representation was literally false or likely to mislead consumers. In regard to the graph, Apotex failed to show that the false depiction would meaningfully impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. The court concluded that, although precedent supports an inference that a citizen petition is an anticompetitive weapon if it attacks a rival drug application and is denied the same day that the application is approved, that inference has been undercut by recent FDA guidance. As to false advertising, the court agreed with the district court that no reasonable jury could have found that Acorda made literally false or misleading representations in its advertisements, with the exception of a single representation that Apotex has failed to show affected decisions to purchase. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law
Fed. Treasury Enter. Sojuzplodoimport v. Spirits Int’l B.V.
This case stemmed from rival claims to the “Stolichnaya” trademarks. FTE and Cristall alleged that defendants unlawfully misappropriated and commercially exploited the Stolichnaya trademarks related to the sale of vodka and other spirits in the United States. Control over the marks in the United States is currently exercised by defendants as successors in interest to a Soviet state enterprise. In a prior suit, FTE brought claims against SPI under section 32(1) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114, and the court dismissed the claims on the grounds that the Russian Federation itself retained too great an interest in the marks for FTE to qualify as an "assign" with standing to sue. FTE's non-section 32(1) claims were either dismissed or dropped during the course of that litigation. At issue principally in this appeal is whether FTE, an agency of the Russian Federation, has been endowed by that government with rights and powers that give it standing to pursue claims under section 32(1) of the Lanham Act. The court concluded that the district court erred in determining whether FTE’s asserted basis for standing was valid under Russian law. However, the court concluded that the district court correctly dismissed all of FTE's other claims as barred by both res judicata and laches. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Fed. Treasury Enter. Sojuzplodoimport v. Spirits Int’l B.V." on Justia Law