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Posts Tagged: "unfair competition"

Complete Genomics Sues Illumina for Antitrust and Unfair Competition Violations

Complete Genomics, Inc., BGI Americas Corp., and MGI America’s Inc. (Complete Genomics) have filed suit against Illumina, Inc. alleging violation of federal antitrust statutes and California unfair competition laws in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The January 11 complaint contends that Illumina obtained at least three of the patents Illumina has asserted against Complete Genomics in an unlawful, anticompetitive manner. The complaint argues that two of the patents asserted by Illumina are invalid based on fraud on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and that there was no basis for asserting infringement with respect to the third patent.

Greta Thunberg Does Not Need a Trademark Registration

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is reportedly planning to register her name as a trademark based on her fears that third parties will exploit her identity for commercial gain. While registering a trademark has many advantages under U.S. law, she can likely accomplish her goal of protecting her name without the cost, delay, and uncertainty associated with the trademark registration process. As an initial matter, a trademark does not exist in the abstract. It is only protectable in connection with particular identified goods and services. Consequently, her trademark (or service mark) application would need to identify the goods or services she offers or intends to offer under the mark. To obtain registration, she would ultimately need to provide specimens showing technical trademark (or service mark) use. 15 U.S.C. § 1051.

Eight Tips to Protect Your Trade Secrets with Effective Restrictive Covenant Agreements

Trade secret theft is often an inside job. Employees who know they’re about to leave for a competitor or start their own competing business will sometimes try and get an unfair head start by taking their employer’s confidential information—customer lists, strategic plans, etc.—as they head out the door. A necessary tool for preventing the misappropriation and use of a company’s valuable trade secrets is a well-crafted employee restrictive covenant agreement. Having employees under at least some form of such an agreement is important for two reasons. First, both state and federal trade secret statutes require employers to take reasonable steps to protect the secrecy of information sought to be protected under those statutes. Second, restrictive covenant agreements provide employers contractual remedies, over and above the statutory trade secret protections, that can be used to prevent theft and use of a company’s confidential information.

Facebook Sued by FinTech Company Over Calibra Logo

Facebook is being sued by online banking company, Finco Services, Inc., which operates as Current, for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin relating to Facebook’s controversial subsidiary, Calibra, which plans to launch the digital currency Libra by 2020. Current’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 10, says that the company hired Character, a branding and design agency, in 2016 to develop a logo and branding strategy for Current’s banking services and mobile app. The resulting logo, and iterations thereof, have been used by the company since at least as early as 2016.

Patagonia Case Cautions Against Rule 12 Motions to Dismiss Dilution Claims

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California recently issued a decision in the closely watched Patagonia, Inc. v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC, 19-CV-02702 case. Here, the clothing company Patagonia sued the beer company Anheuser-Busch for trademark infringement, unfair competition, dilution of a famous mark, and cancellation of Anheuser-Busch’s various PATAGONIA trademark registrations. Anheuser-Busch moved to dismiss certain claims, including the dilution claim, for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). The court issued a decision finding that Patagonia had adequately pled its dilution claim. The case provides trademark practitioners with insight into early case strategies when asserting and defending against a trademark dilution claim.

Monster Energy Appeals to Ninth Circuit Following District Court Denial of Injunction Against ISN

In the most recent development in a case between energy drink brand Monster Energy Company and maker of automotive tools Integrated Supply Network, LLC (ISN), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on July 2 denied Monster’s request for a permanent injunction against ISN. Monster appealed on July 3 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and ISN cross-appealed on July 12. The district court found that Monster did not offer evidence demonstrating that ISN’s infringement had actually caused a loss of control over its business reputation leading to irreparable harm and loss of prospective customers. Additionally, the court reasoned that evidence regarding consumer confusion does not necessarily demonstrate irreparable harm. Even where ISN had not ceased infringing activity, Monster still had not proven irreparable harm as required to justify a permanent injunction, said the court.

China Court Delivers First Judgment in Favor of a Foreign Company Under Anti-Unfair Competition Law

British automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has been engaged in a multi-jurisdiction battle against Chinese automaker Jiangling Motors (Jiangling) over JLR’s assertions that Jiangling copied distinctive design features of JLR’s RANGE ROVER Evoque (EVOQUE) in the LANDWIND X7 vehicle. JLR previously successfully took action in Brazil and the European Union, resulting in injunctions against the sale of Jiangling’s LANDWIND vehicle in those jurisdictions. JLR’s latest efforts has yielded additional success against Jiangling’s sale and production of the LANDWIND X7 in China, Jiangling’s home base. On March 13, the Beijing Chaoyang District Court in China found Jiangling liable for unfair competition in connection with the sale and manufacturing of the LANDWIND X7, finding that certain design features of the LANDWIND vehicle are “essentially identical” to JLR’s distinctive design features for the EVOQUE. This decision is the first case under China’s 2017 Anti-Unfair Competition Law to find in favor of a foreign company in the auto industry.

International Trademark Lessons from the Bayer-Belmora FLANAX Trademark Fight

A closely watched cross-border trademark case finally has been resolved, and the results of the case have implications for global trademark holders. A  U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia granted Bayer AG’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing rival Belmora’s claims to the trademark FLANAX. In Mexico, Bayer uses the FLANAX mark for the popular pain medication known elsewhere as Aleve (naproxen), and successfully blocked Belmora’s attempt to market its own naproxen product under the mark FLANAX in the United States. The ruling also affirms a U.S. Trial and Appeal Board ruling that cancelled Belmora’s U.S. trademark for FLANAX, which the company secured in 2005. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had previously determined that the Lanham Act authorized Bayer’s claims against Belmora for unfair competition under §43(a) and its cancellation action under §14(3).

Luxury Goods Brand Alfred Dunhill Wins Major Trademark Ruling in China

In early October, the British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill announced that it had secured a major victory in a long-running trademark battle in Chinese courts against a domestic menswear firm. Alfred Dunhill was awarded 10 million RMB ($1.47 million USD) by the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court, Guangdong Province, against Chinese menswear brand Danhouli for infringing upon Alfred Dunhill’s well-known…

Alibaba Files U.S. Trademark Infringement Suit Against Cryptocurrency Firm Alibabacoin

Alibaba alleges that defendant Alibabacoin (ABBC) Foundation has engaged in an unlawful scheme to misappropriate the Alibaba name in order to raise over $3.5 million in cryptoassets from investors. The complaint alleges that scheme was a part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that is neither registered nor approved by U.S.

Craft Beer vs. Big Beer Trademark Suit May Test 9th Circuit’s ‘Irreparable Harm’ Standard

A resounding en garde was declared by California craft beer brand Stone to MillerCoors, the second largest beer company in the United States, over the alleged taking of their brand recognition. On February 12, 2018 Stone Brewing filed a federal complaint alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and California unfair competition. The complaint requests preliminary and permanent injunction, declaratory relief, and both actual and treble damages on the basis of willful trademark infringement by MillerCoors… A particularly interesting factor in this case is likelihood of irreparable harm. MillerCoors may find room for defensive maneuvers due to recent shifts in the standard for proving irreparable harm.

Colgate-Palmolive Files Trademark Suit Over Use of ‘360’ Branding on Toothbrushes, Oral Care Products

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement in the Southern District of New York against Grand Rapids, MI-based oral healthcare company Ranir LLC. At issue in the case are toothbrushes being sold by Ranir which allegedly infringe upon the “360°” trademark, which is owned by Colgate… Since releasing the 360° branded line of toothbrushes and oral care products, Colgate has pursued federal trademark registrations to cover the use of the brand in commerce.

CAFC sides with Sandoz, Amgen’s state claims preempted by BPCIA

Originally filed in October 2014, the long-running and high-stakes battle between two powerhouse companies, Amgen and Sandoz, continues to lay out the ground rules for a growing biosimilar industry. State law claims are preempted by the BPCIA on both field and conflict grounds, which means only remedy available against biosimilar applicants refusing to engage in the patent dance is filing for a declaration of infringement, validity, or enforceability of a patent that claims the biological product or its use. Notably, this must be done before receiving manufacturing information from the biosimilar company. Patent lawsuits are notoriously costly so, in the short term, the decision will have the greatest impact on innovator start-ups with limited financial resources. In the long term, relying on costly litigations to keep biosimilar drugs off the market will likely increase the consumer price for any biologic drug.

Trump Administration to open probe into deceptive intellectual property policy in China

Plans are being made by the Trump administration to open a probe into deceptive Chinese trade practices by invoking Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974… Where joint venture tech transfer rules are concerned, however, the Trump administration may well find out that the Chinese government is enabling practices that do violate international treaties. Foreign entities who want to operate in the Chinese market are typically forced to do so as joint ventures with domestic entities and the transfer of intellectual property assets from the foreign entity to the domestic one is often enforced. That policy runs afoul of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

View from the Courtroom: What to Expect When You Try to Get a TRO in Your Unfair Competition Case

Experience shows that most unfair competition or trade secret theft issues can be resolved without the need for litigation; often, an exchange of letters between the parties’ respective attorneys is sufficient to resolve the matter. However, litigation is sometimes unavoidable, and when it occurs, the employers involved are often surprised by how fast an unfair competition case can move to a practical conclusion, and how little time there might be to prepare for the crucial court hearing… The TRO hearing is often the be-all and end-all of unfair competition litigation because, if it is granted, the unfair competitive activities are immediately stopped, any stolen trade secrets are returned, and the competitive damage to the plaintiff-employer is contained or stopped. The case is usually thereafter resolved by a settlement. Essentially, if the TRO is granted, there typically is not much else of consequence to litigate between the parties.