A federal judge granted part of a motion filed by Aecom Energy & Construction Inc. to hold several parties in further civil contempt for trademark violations.
U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew of U.S. District Court for the Central District of California wrote the order on May 10 granting Aecom’s motion for attorney’s fees and denying in part their motions for civil contempt for what was alleged to be the defendants' “blatant and egregious violation of the court’s preliminary injunction order” by using a trademarked website domain name.
Aecom was granted a motion for preliminary injunction in August 2017, a month after their complaint against Morrison-Knudsen Company Inc., Morrison Knudsen Corp., Morrison-Knudsen Services Inc. and Morrison-Knudsen International Inc. for trademark violations. In November 2017, Aecom filed a motion to hold the defendants in civil contempt, and the court ordered the defendants to “change the names of their corporate entities to comply with the court’s preliminary injunction order” and pay a daily fine of $500 until they had filed a notice with the court outlining their compliance.
The defendants were also ordered to pay Aecom’s attorney fees within 21 days, which Lew noted that they failed to pay, and did not offer any explanation as to why they could not pay. The defendants finally changed their company names to Goodbrand in April 2018.
Aecom also learned that the defendants had created a website that was almost identical to one they had been ordered to take down, as well as another website. Both websites were taken down, but Lew noted his skepticism that the defendants were unaware of the websites as they claimed to be. “Such delay does not sit well with the court, and future unexplained delays will not be easily forgiven.”
Lew stated in the order that although “defendants’ delay in complying with the court’s orders regarding changing the corporate defendants’ names was inappropriate,” they were not found in civil contempt even though it took them six months to change the four names.
Lew stated that any further issues with the defendants “that are so clearly in violation of the court’s preliminary injunction order may result in harsh contempt sanctions, including, as plaintiff requests, the striking of defendants’ answer.”
The court ordered Aecom to file attorney’s fees and costs by May 18 with the court.
Aecom is represented by Yungmoon Chang and Diana M Torres of Kirkland and Ellis LLP.
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Case Number 2:17-cv-05398-RSWL-SS