LOS ANGELES – The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted in part and denied in part motions in a company’s trademark infringement case against a similarly named company on Jan. 8.
U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II also granted International Aero Products (IAP) a leave to amend the complaint.
IAP sued Aero Advanced Paint Technology (AAPT) over allegations of infringement of a federally registered trademark. AAPT responded with a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of subject matter jurisdiction. It also argued that the plaintiff didn’t properly state a claim where relief can even be given.
AAPT argued IAP does not have standing because it doesn’t have ownership of the trademark in question and because IAP failed to state an actual injury it allegedly suffered because of defendants’ actions.
The ruling states that the trademark in question was registered to a California limited liability company and the plaintiff is a Delaware limited liability company. The plaintiff alleged this was a typo made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the trademark registration and that the USPTO has corrected the error.
Wright determined AAPT was correct on this argument because the plaintiff, in its first amended complaint, described itself as a Delaware corporation. The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss with giving IAP the chance to change its complaint and include a revised trademark registration.
Wright did decide the plaintiff properly stated injuries and has standing. He said IAP properly stated a claim and was able to establish that confusion was very likely among customers.
IAP was granted its trademark for Aero and Design in 2012. IAP later acquired four more trademarks with the word “Aero.” In 2016, IAP promoted its products at a Las Vegas trade show where the defendant was present as well. The ruling states AAPT said consumers were confused at the show about the two different businesses.
AAPT sued IAP in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in April 2018 over allegations of trademark infringement, false designation of origin and false descriptions; non-infringement, unenforceability; and cancellation and unfair competition and trade practices.
IAP filed an amended complaint the following month and identified itself as a Delaware company with its main place of business being in California, not a California limited liability company. That is when AAPT filed its motion to dismiss or transfer for lack of personal jurisdiction, which the court denied in June 2018.
AAPT followed it up with a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim in September 2018.