Northern California Record

Friday, February 28, 2020

Judge lifts stay on sale of California Guild name in grange dispute


By Payton Kuhn | May 26, 2019


SACRAMENTO – A judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California has lifted a stay on the sale of the name California Guild, which was purported to have been given up in a previous trademark lawsuit between plaintiff The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, a national fraternal agricultural organization, and a disaffiliated subgroup.

In a court order published on May 7, Judge William B. Shubb lifted a previous stay on the sale due to prolonged deliberations and arguments between the two parties. The plaintiff had filed the notice of sale.

In the order, Shubb lifted the stay unless the “defendant posts a cash supersedeas bond in the amount of $102,707.78.”

"The sale was scheduled to take place on April 18, 2019. On April 15, 2019, defendant filed an ex parte application to stay the sale of the name and plaintiff then filed an opposition to the application. The court issued an order temporarily staying the sale to allow time for the issues to be fully briefed and argued," the order states.

The ruling states that the plaintiff filed a supplement brief by the deadline but the defendant did not.

The order stems from a case that was finalized in August of last year in which the plaintiff was awarded summary judgment on the counts of false designation of origin and federal false advertisement and copyright infringement against the defendant, the California Guild (formerly the California State Grange).

After disputes arose in 2012 between the National Grange and the California State Grange, leading to the suspension and revoked membership of the latter, the subsidiary group continued to use the name that was trademarked by the plaintiff.

In the updated order, Shubb wrote the defendant had urged the court to “exercise its discretion and stay the sale of its name,” arguing that there were still pending appeals to be made in regard to the lawsuit. However, Shubb found that the defendant had not provided the court “with any reason why it cannot post a supersedeas bond,” among other failed arguments.

Shubb also denied the defendant’s request for sanctions and attorneys’ fees.

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