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

Court Denies Summary Judgment on Trademark Infringement Claim Because of Dispute about Genuineness of Goods

In a September 11, 2015 ruling, Judge Vernon S. Broderick denied the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ trademark-related claims, finding issues of disputed fact about the genuineness of the goods at issue, and thus whether the sale of such goods could constitute trademark infringement. Judge Broderick noted that courts “in this district have characterized this principle – that the unauthorized resale of genuine goods, by itself, is not actionable under the trademark laws – as the ‘exhaustion doctrine’ or, by analogy to copyright law, the ‘first sale doctrine.’” The Court further noted that both he and the parties “have not identified any controlling Second Circuit authority that allocates the burden of proof on this issue,” but ruled that the burden was irrelevant to the parties’ motion because regardless of which party had the burden, the presence of disputed issues of fact about the genuineness of the goods at issue would defeat summary judgment.
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