A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Declines to Dismiss Trademark Infringement Declaratory Judgment Action on Subject Matter Jurisdiction Grounds

In an April 15, 2014 ruling, Judge P. Kevin Castel denied defendant Eveready Battery’s motion to dismiss Gelmart Industries’ declaratory judgment action over the trademark “Skintimate” based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Judge Castel imported the Rule 12(b)(6) standard under which a complaint must state a claim that is plausible on its face. Noting that even though Gelmart was not yet in the market with its product, Eveready had sent two cease and desist letters, and opposed Gelmart’s application to register “Skintimate,” the Court wrote:
Here, the Complaint and its annexed exhibits allege the existence of adverse legal interest between the parties, with sufficient immediacy to allege a case of actual controversy under the Declaratory Judgment Act. First, Eveready’s own statements in its cease-and-desist letter and its public filing with the USPTO establish ‘adverse legal interests’ under the Declaratory Judgment Act. . . . While stopping short of using the words “infringement” and “dilution,” Eveready has, in sum and substance, asserted that the proposed Gelmart mark is infringing and dilutive. . . .
Judge Castel rejected Eveready’s contention that the action was not ripe because Gelmart was not yet in the market, finding it “sufficient that Gelmart has alleged that it solicited retailers, designed branding materials, is capable of commencing manufacture of products within weeks, and was ‘poised’ to commence a product launch before Eveready asserted infringement.
The general information and thoughts posted to this blog are provided only as an informational service to the web community and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. Nothing on this blog is intended to create an attorney-client relationship and nothing posted constitutes legal advice. You should understand that the posts by the author, who is an attorney at U.S. law firm Allegaert, Berger & Vogel, may or may not reflect the views of that firm and that the author of this blog is only authorized to practice law in the jurisdictions in which he is properly licensed to do so. For additional information, click here.