Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stone Creek v. Omnia Italian Design (9th Cir. - July 11, 2017)

Tons of fun stuff in this tiny little trademark dispute.  Regarding, as Judge McKeown's opinion puts it (tongue in cheek), "the high-stakes world of furniture sales."

Some snippets:

"The facts are somewhat unusual: the alleged infringer, leather furniture manufacturer Omnia Italian Design, Inc. (“Omnia”), admits that it blatantly copied and began selling the same goods branded with the mark of its (now ex) business partner, retail furniture company Stone Creek, Inc. (“Stone Creek”)."

Well now.  That should make the case relatively easy, no?

Actually, no.  Since the district court below found in favor of the defendant.  Albeit in a decision reversed by today's Ninth Circuit opinion.


"To its credit, Omnia was candid. In an email from the Vice President of Sales, Omnia unequivocally admitted to selling furniture under the STONE CREEK mark. In a move not recommended when litigation is certainly impending, the email observed: 'In this day of internet shopping and surfing, it is unfortunate and probably a nuisance for you that your stores are receiving inquiries regarding these products due to the similar name.'”

Yeah.  Kind of unusual to see that type of honesty.  Refreshing.  But given that the honest party loses in the Ninth Circuit, that's not likely to encourage its repetition, I imagine.

Read the whole thing for a romping good time.  (If you're heavily into IP, anyway.)