SAN DIEGO — A federal judge in the Southern District of California has overruled Marketquest Group’s objection to a status order and reinstated motions in a fair use lawsuit against the BIC Corporation.
The case stems from Marketquest's trademark infringement claim regarding BIC’s use of “The Write Choice.” U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant’s April 12 ruling follows the court’s April 17, 2015 decision granting Norwood Promotional Products LLC and BIC USA Inc.’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of the fair use defense. The court “also terminated as moot all pending motions at the time,” including Marketquest’s motion for partial summary judgment. Marketquest appealed.
In July 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the court’s order granting summary judgment to the defendants in the trademark infringement suit regarding the use of Marketquest’s “All-in-One” and “The Write Choice” trademarks. The Ninth Circuit’s decision was formally mandated to the court in August 2017.
The court previously requested that the parties share their views on how the case should proceed. They then submitted a joint statement disagreeing over certain issues. The court subsequently issued a status order identifying the outstanding issues in the case.
Those issues include whether “the ‘Write Choice’ mark was obtained and maintained” by Marketquest through fraud, and whether the “All-in-One” mark and design has been abandoned by the plaintiff for lack of use. Another issue is whether summary judgment should be granted to BIC USA on the grounds that “there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding the likelihood of confusion” as to the use of “The Wright Choice.”
Marketquest raised an objection to those issues, saying they were outside the court’s purview. Bashant disagreed and overruled the objection. She also reinstated several motions that include Marketquest’s First Amendment Complaint, the defendants’ answer and counterclaims, and the parties' motions to exclude experts or non-retained witnesses.