Northern California Record

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Rock bank RATT's general partnership wins dismissal of counterclaims in trademark infringement case


By Carrie Salls | Nov 30, 2018

Trademark 05

LOS ANGELES – A federal court has dismissed counterclaims in a trademark lawsuit involving a band known for the 1984 song "Round and Round."

A judgment was entered in favor of the rock band RATT’s general partnership in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed against WBS Inc. and original band member, partnership founding member and former WBS President Robert Blotzer, according to a Nov. 19 order of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The plaintiff's motion for summary adjudication and motion to dismiss some counterclaims were granted.

U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson said in the ruling three RATT trademark lawsuits have been filed amid disputes related to the ownership and use of the trademark and its alleged 2007 assignment to WBS.

According to the order, the partnership was formed in the 1980s, and it originally held four trademarks for the right to use the name RATT.

In addition to Blotzer, the original band members and partnership members included Juan Croucier and Stephen Pearcy.

In the first two complaints filed in connection with the ownership of the RATT trademarks, the court said “WBS alleged that Croucier and Pearcy infringed upon the RATT trademarks.”

Pregerson wrote the court found in the Croucier and Pearcy lawsuits that “no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the RATT partnership had assigned ownership of the RATT marks to WBS, and thus WBS could not show any ownership rights in the marks.”

After the court ruled in favor of Croucier and Pearcy in those lawsuits, the partnership filed the lawsuit that was the subject of the Nov. 19 ruling, claiming WBS and Blotzer were guilty of trademark infringement because they allegedly used the RATT name without permission.

In response, WBS and Blotzer filed counterclaims, accusing the partnership of false advertising and arguing that the trademarks were subject to common law treatment. The count dismissed counterclaims three through seven with prejudice.

Pregerson said in the ruling that “the RATT partnership contends that Blotzer and WBS already litigated, and lost, the issue of trademark ownership in the prior Croucier and Pearcy actions, and that defendants are therefore barred from contesting that issue again in this action.”

Pregerson agreed with the partnership’s argument.

“Although in the instant suit, defendants attempt to raise a new theory of ownership of the RATT marks, the issue of trademark ownership, even under common law theories, could have been, and was, litigated to final judgment in the prior actions,” the order said. “Defendants may not relitigate that question again here.”

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