Ultimate Living Int’l, Inc. v. Miracle Greens Supplements, Inc., 2007 WL 14258 (N.D. Tex. Jan 3, 2007) (full-text).
Factual Background Edit
Plaintiff sold nutritional supplements under the mark GREEN MIRACLE since 1996 and federally registered its mark in 1997. Defendant sold nutritional supplements under the MIRACLE GREENS mark since 1997 and operated a website at “miraclegreens.com” since 2001. Plaintiff sued for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and cybersquatting.
Trial Court Proceedings Edit
Defendant moved for summary judgment on all counts and plaintiff sought summary judgment on its infringement claim. Regarding cybersquatting, defendant disputed that it had a bad-faith intent to profit from plaintiff’s mark, noting plaintiff’s failure to address any of the nine ACPA bad-faith factors.
Plaintiff argued that an issue of fact existed when defendant became aware of plaintiff’s mark because defendant had constructive knowledge of the mark based on plaintiff’s registration. The court held, however, that plaintiff must prove that defendant learned of the mark before it adopted its domain name. But the record reflected that defendant only learned of the mark after it adopted its domain name in 2001.
The court also found unpersuasive plaintiff’s argument that defendant’s continued use of the MIRACLE GREENS mark after learning of plaintiff’s mark evinced a bad-faith intent to profit from the mark. Examining the nine ACPA bad-faith factors, the court held that the majority favored defendant — defendant used the domain name to market its own product, showed no intent to divert consumers from plaintiff’s website, never offered to sell or transfer the domain name, did not provide misleading or false contact information when applying for the domain name, and did not “cybersquat” any other domain names.
Given the timing of defendant’s registration of its domain name in terms of when it learned of plaintiff’s mark, and absent any precedent or argument to the contrary, the court held that defendant’s continued use of the “miraclegreens.com” domain name by itself was “insufficient as a matter of law to establish bad faith intent.” Accordingly, the court granted summary judgment on the cybersquatting claim in favor of defendant.
The court also granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s dilution by tarnishment claim because plaintiff failed to present any evidence substantiating its claim that defendant’s products were of a “shoddy quality.” Finally, the court denied the parties’ motions regarding plaintiff’s infringement, unfair competition, and dilution by blurring claims due to genuine issues of material fact.
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