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

Court Permits Withdrawal of Deemed Admitted Responses to Requests for Admission

 In an April 4, 2014 ruling, Judge Denise Cote granted the defendants’ motion to withdraw and amend their deemed admissions under Rule 36 in the plaintiffs’ trademark and copyright infringement action. The defendants did not respond to the plaintiffs’ RFA’s until more than a month after the responses were due, and offered only “inadvertence” as an excuse. The Court ruled:
Here, there is no question that permitting withdrawal and amendment of the deemed admissions would “promote the presentation of the merits of the action,” Fed. R. Civ. P. 36(b), as the deemed admissions go to the “ultimate issues” in this litigation and may well be dispositive of the action. . . . In particular, defendants are deemed to have admitted that the Accused Products are “counterfeit” and infringe plaintiffs’ trademarks and copyright, that defendants knew of this when selling them, and that any of defendants’ rights with respect to its Isis Cross Design were abandoned. No meaningful “presentation of the merits” of this action concerning infringement of intellectual property rights would be possible unless these admission are withdrawn and amended by the [deemed admitted responses].
Judge Cote rejected the plaintiffs’ claims of prejudice, noting that “plaintiffs requested so many admissions of ultimate liability in this case, despite knowing defendants had denied these requested admissions in their answers, underscores that plaintiffs’ RFAs were largely made “in the hope that [defendants] w[ould] simply concede essential elements” or would miss the 30-day deadline to respond.”
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