Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Trademark
FN Herstal SA v. Clyde Armory Inc.
FN filed a trademark infringement action against Clyde Armory over the use of the marks "SCAR" and "SCAR-Stock" in the firearms industry. On appeal, Clyde Armory challenges the district court's partial grant of summary judgment for FN, its grant of FN's motion to strike Clyde Armory’s jury demand, its denial of Clyde Armory’s motion to amend the proposed pretrial order, and its entry of judgment against Clyde Armory following a bench trial. The court rejected Clyde Armory's contention that the district court erred by: (1) finding that FN used SCAR as a mark in commerce before Clyde Armory began using SCAR-Stock; (2) finding that FN’s SCAR mark acquired distinctiveness through secondary meaning before Clyde Armory began using SCAR-Stock; and (3) finding that Clyde Armory used the SCAR-Stock mark in bad faith to take advantage of the popularity of FN’s SCAR mark, thus divesting it of any rights in the mark that it otherwise might have obtained. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court on all issues raised on appeal. View "FN Herstal SA v. Clyde Armory Inc." on Justia Law
FIU v. FNU
FIU filed suit against FNU for infringement of FIU’s trademarks, asserting six claims for relief: (1) federal trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114; (2) federal unfair competition, also under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a); (3) Florida trademark dilution and injury to business reputation, Fla. Stat. 495.151; (4) Florida trademark infringement, Fla. Stat. 495.131; (5) Florida common law trademark infringement and unfair competition; and (6) cancellation of State of Florida trademark registration, Fla. Stat. 495.101. The district court entered final judgment in favor of FNU and FIU timely appealed. The court concluded that it was more accurate and better to view the district court’s decision in this case as the entry of judgment after conducting a bench trial. The court affirmed the district court's denial of FIU’s federal trademark claim where the district court reasonably concluded that FNU’s adoption of its new name and acronym did not and would not likely cause consumer confusion; FIU's federal unfair competition claim and false association theory of liability fail; the court affirmed the district court’s denial of its dilution claim for the same reasons as the likelihood of confusion claim; and the court affirmed the district court's denial of the Florida trademark infringement, common law infringement, and unfair competition claim as well. View "FIU v. FNU" on Justia Law
JYSK Bed’N Linen v. Dutta-Roy
Defendant appealed the district court's grant of an injunction requiring defendant to transfer to defendant four domain names he had registered in his own name and grant of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on defendant's counterclaims. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain defendant's appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1291, because there are still pending claims brought against defendant under sections 43(a) and (c) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a) and (c), and state law. The court concluded, however, that it has jurisdiction to review the district court's injunction under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1). The court held that the re-registration of bydesignfurniture.com constituted a registration under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. 1125, and that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its ACPA claim. Accordingly, the court concluded that the issuance of the preliminary injunction did not constitute an abuse of discretion and affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "JYSK Bed'N Linen v. Dutta-Roy" on Justia Law
Sovereign Military Hospitaller v. The Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers
This appeal stems from an intellectual property dispute between two religious organizations. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendant is infringing its registered service marks in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114, and Florida law. The district court granted judgment for defendant. In the first appeal, the court reversed in part and remanded for reconsideration of whether the parties' marks are likely to be confused. The court was also critical of disparaging comments that the district judge made about the parties. On remand, the court concluded that the district court misapplied several factors in its analysis of likely confusion, incorrectly assessed the Florida Priory’s defense of prior use, relied on historical testimony that the court previously deemed inadmissible, and misinterpreted the court's instructions about consulting facts outside the record. The court declined to order reassignment after balancing the three factors in United States v. Torkington. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Sovereign Military Hospitaller v. The Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers" on Justia Law
Tartell v. South Florida Sinus and Allergy Ctr.
After Dr. Paul B. Tartell and Dr. Lee M. Mandel split their practices, Dr. Mandel registered six domain names with variations of Dr. Tartell’s name. Dr. Tartell then filed a complaint against Dr. Mandel, his incorporated practice, and another corporation owned by Dr. Mandel for cybersquatting, false designation of origin, and unfair competition. The court concluded that the district court clearly erred by ruling that Dr. Tartell's name had acquired secondary meaning in the minds of consumers. Although Dr. Tartell produced some evidence relevant to the Conagra, Inc. v. Singleton factors, he failed to produce any substantial evidence of what his name denotes to the consumer; Dr. Tartell’s evidence about the use of his name in academic settings and evidence about his reputation among other medical professionals are not probative of whether his name had acquired secondary meaning; Dr. Tartell produced no substantial evidence to demonstrate the degree of actual recognition by the public; and Dr. Tartell’s remaining evidence says nothing about the perceptions of consumers. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment in favor of Dr. Mandel and his corporations. View "Tartell v. South Florida Sinus and Allergy Ctr." on Justia Law
Florida Virtual School v. K12, Inc., et al.
After certification to the Supreme Court of Florida, the Supreme Court of Florida answered the following question in the affirmative: Does the Florida Virtual School’s statutory authority to “acquire, enjoy, use, and dispose of . . . trademarks and any licenses and other rights or interests thereunder or therein,” and the designation of its board of trustees as a “body corporate with all the powers of a body corporate and such authority as is needed for the proper operation and improvement of the Florida Virtual School,” necessarily include the authority to file an action to protect those trademarks? Given the Supreme Court of Florida's ruling, Florida Virtual School has the authority, and the standing, to file an action to protect its trademarks. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of Florida Virtual School's trademark infringement suit against K12 and K12 Florida, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Florida Virtual School v. K12, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Trademark
Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Mosseri
Louis Vuitton filed a federal trademark infringement suit against defendant for operating websites that were selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags. On appeal, defendant challenged the district court's denial of his motion to vacate a default judgment entered against him. The court concluded that, under the unrebutted allegations and testimony, the district court in Florida did not violate the Due Process Clause by exercising personal jurisdiction over defendant for Louis Vuitton's trademark infringement claims. The district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to vacate the default judgment because the statutory and federal constitutional personal jurisdiction requirements were satisfied. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Mosseri" on Justia Law
Unique Sports Products, Inc. v. Ferrari Importing Co.
Unique filed a complaint against Ferrari for trademark infringement and false designation of origin under federal law; for deceptive trade practices under state law; and for violation of a final judgment. The district court held that Unique's light blue trademark was valid and enforceable but that Ferrari's blue gauze had not infringed upon that trademark. The clerk entered judgment for Unique on Ferrari's affirmative defense but for Ferrari on Unique's original charge of infringement. Ferrari appealed. At issue was whether a party could appeal on the merits from a decision in its favor, where a district court found against him as to one issue, nondispositive of the case. The court concluded that, although he may not challenge the district court's findings on the merits, he was entitled to vacatur of the portion of the district court's order adverse to him. Accordingly, on the facts of this case, the Supreme Court in Electrical Fittings Corp. v. Thomas & Betts Co. clearly prescribed vacatur of the district court's judgment on the question of validity as the legal consequence of an appeal by an otherwise-successful defendant in an infringement suit on the merits of that question. View "Unique Sports Products, Inc. v. Ferrari Importing Co." on Justia Law
Miller’s Ale House, Inc. v. Boynton Carolina Ale House
Miller's is a restaurant with a location in Boynton Beach, Florida, and Boynton Carolina is its competitor. At issue was whether Miller's has common law trademark rights in the term "ale house" and trade dress rights in the interior decoration of its restaurant, and if so, whether Boynton Carolina violated Section 43 of the Trademark Act of 1946 (Lanham Act), 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), and the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 106, when it adopted a name, decor, and a floor plan similar to Miller's own. The court held that the district court did not err in finding Miller's trademark infringement claim barred by issue preclusion, in finding Miller's trade dress not to be inherently distinctive, and in finding Miller's and Boynton Carolina's floor plans not to be substantially similar. View "Miller's Ale House, Inc. v. Boynton Carolina Ale House" on Justia Law
Sovereign Military Hospitaller v. Knights Hospitallers
Plaintiff, a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church that undertook charitable work internationally, filed suit against defendant, a charitable organization with an expressly ecumenical association, asserting infringement and false advertising claims under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., as well as state law claims for unfair competition and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), Fla. Stat. 501.201 et seq. The infringement claims were based on defendant's alleged use of marks that were confusingly similar to those for which plaintiff had obtained federal registrations. In the false advertising claim, plaintiff charged that defendant falsely claimed a historic affiliation with plaintiff going back to the eleventh century. The state law claims derived from these same litigations. Defendant counterclaimed, alleging that plaintiff committed fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in applying for its service marks due to plaintiff's failure to disclose its knowledge of the domestic presence of other organizations that used similar marks in commerce. The court concluded that the district court clearly erred in evaluating the claim that plaintiff committed fraud on the PTO and reversed the cancellation of the four word marks. Because the court was not presented with sufficient findings to review the Lanham Act infringement claims, the court vacated the district court's ruling on that issue and remanded. The court vacated the district court's ruling on the state law claims and affirmed the district court's finding on the Lanham Act false advertising claim in favor of defendant. View "Sovereign Military Hospitaller v. Knights Hospitallers" on Justia Law