The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANLEY A. WEIGEL
Plaintiff is a Delaware Corporation which operates a chain of grocery stores. Plaintiff's servicemark, a distinctive script rendition of the name "Lucky," is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Plaintiff's advertising slogan, "The Low Price Leader. Every Day," is registered with the State of California Secretary of State's Office.
Defendants are unincorporated labor organizations which advocate a boycott against Plaintiff. In that effort, Defendants have produced, displayed, and circulated a variety of printed materials which incorporate Plaintiff's servicemark and parody Plaintiff's advertising slogan. These materials have been distributed in California Lucky Stores' parking lots and entrances.
Upon learning of Defendants' use of Plaintiff's marks, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging violation of federal trademark and false designation of origin laws, and of state unfair competition, trademark, and business libel laws. Plaintiff moves for a preliminary injunction to prohibit Defendants' use of the phrase "The Low Life Leader," and misleading uses of the scripted "Lucky" servicemark.
A. The Norris-LaGuardia Act
The Norris-LaGuardia Act provides that federal courts lack jurisdiction to issue injunctions in cases "involving or growing out of a labor dispute." 29 U.S.C. § 101;
Burlington N. R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, 481 U.S. 429, 437, 95 L. Ed. 2d 381, 107 S. Ct. 1841 (1987).
The term "labor dispute" includes "any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment." 29 U.S.C. § 113(c). See also Marine Cooks & Stewards v. Panama, 362 U.S. 365, 369, 4 L. Ed. 2d 797, 80 S. Ct. 779 (1960) ("The [Norris-LaGuardia] language is broad because Congress was intent upon taking the federal courts out of the labor injunction business . . . .").
Although Plaintiff has characterized this controversy as a trademark matter, the case "grows out of a labor dispute" within the meaning of the Norris-LaGuardia Act. The basic controversy between the parties arises from their failure to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The allegedly infringing materials were produced to generate support for Defendants' boycott efforts. Because Defendants' allegedly infringing activities are inextricably linked with the underlying labor dispute, this court lacks jurisdiction to consider Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. See Marriott Corp. v. Great Am. Serv. Trades Council, 552 F.2d 176 (7th Cir. 1977) (Norris-LaGuardia Act deprives district court of jurisdiction to issue preliminary injunction in trademark case); CNA Fin. Corp. v. Local 743 of Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of Am., 515 F. Supp. 942 (N.D. Ill. 1981) (same); Senco Prods., Inc. v. International Union of Elec., Radio and Machine Workers, 311 F. Supp. 590 (S.D. Ohio 1970) (same).
B. The National Labor Relations Act
Defendants assert that their use of Plaintiff's marks is protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), and that therefore this court lacks jurisdiction over the entire case. Section 7 of the NLRA guarantees the right of employees "to engage in . . . concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection." 29 U.S.C. § 157. To ensure uniform enforcement of Section 7, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate conduct ...