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Philippe Charriol International Limited v. A'Lor International Limited

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 31, 2013

PHILIPPE CHARRIOL INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
A'LOR INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER; DENYING APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE WHY A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION SHOULD NOT ISSUE; DENYING APPLICATION FOR A SEIZURE ORDER; DENYING APPLICATION FOR A SUBSTITUTE CUSTODIAN ORDER; DENYING EXPEDITED DISCOVERY ORDER [Doc. No. 3]

MICHAEL M. ANELLO, District Judge.

On May 30, 2013, Plaintiff Philippe Charriol International Limited ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint against Defendant A'lor International Limited ("Defendant") alleging trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, and other related claims. [Doc. No. 1.] Plaintiff also filed an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") seeking, inter alia, to enjoin Defendant from manufacturing and distributing jewelry which infringes Plaintiff's trademarks. [Doc. No. 3.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's ex parte TRO motion. Accordingly, the Court also DENIES all accompanying requests.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Philippe Charriol International Limited is the owner of the worldwide luxury brand, CHARRIOL, which creates and sells distinctive watches, jewelry, leather goods, and accessories sold in more than 60 countries. Since its inception in 1984, CHARRIOL has used cable as a distinctive element of its jewelry design, finding inspiration from, among other things, Celtic art. Plaintiff has trademarked several cable and metallic nautical rope designs, and is actively engaged in expanding its cable design jewelry throughout the world.

Defendant A'lor is a California corporation and is Plaintiff's exclusive jewelry distributor in the United States and Canada (the "Territory"). The parties' relationship is defined by an October 1, 2010 Exclusive Jewelry License Agreement. Under the Jewelry Agreement, Defendant is charged with designing jewelry collections and presenting them for Plaintiff's approval, and then producing the collections and distributing the jewelry to Defendant's network of dealers for sale to consumers. A'lor maintains its own jewelry line in addition to distributing Plaintiff's jewelry.

Various restrictions were placed in the Jewelry Agreement which, according to Plaintiff, were intended by the parties for Plaintiff to exercise tight and unfettered control over how the CHARRIOL cable design, name, appearance, image, and brand was used and promoted by A'lor, and to prevent A'lor, a putative competitor with its own jewelry line and products, from selling under the A'lor name. However, Plaintiff alleges that rather than fulfilling its duties under the Jewelry Agreement, Defendant A'lor has instead undertaken increasingly aggressive steps to build and develop its own line of "Alor" jewelry at the expense of the strength of the CHARRIOL name and brand. Plaintiff alleges to have recently discovered that Defendant A'lor has engaged in harmful commercial activity that has damaged and will continue to harm the CHARRIOL name and brand, and create considerable confusion in the mind of consumers about the differences between A'lor's jewelry and the CHARRIOL brand. Specifically, Plaintiff cites the following acts:[1]

• A'lor's website passes-off CHARRIOL Products as A'lor products; that is, www.alor.com displays CHARRIOL Products as A'lor products. Such passing-off even includes A'lor marketing and selling CHARRIOL cufflinks which include the A'lor logo and symbol.
• A'lor knocking-off CHARRIOL Products outside the United States and Canada, for instance, in Australia and Kazakhstan. Plaintiff alleges that it just discovered that A'lor has started selling rebranded CHARRIOL Products in Australia through Acacia Agencies, an Australian-based jewelry wholesaler. Each of these CHARRIOL knock-off jewelry items are 18kt gold jewelry licensed under the Jewelry Agreement, and are composed of CHARRIOL designs approved by PCI to be manufactured and distributed by A'lor only in the U.S. and Canada. Plaintiff does not yet know, but suspects that A'lor is selling the same CHARRIOL jewelry as A'lor jewelry in Kazakhstan.
• Alor's passing-off and trading upon CHARRIOL's name within Alor's own media advertising.
• A'lor's passing-off on Facebook, by prominently inserting the A'lor name within the CHARRIOL Facebook page, or displaying CHARRIOL jewelry on the A'lor Facebook page, purporting that it is A'lor jewelry.
• Alor's use of the phrase "Cable & 18kt Gold Jewelry" in a manner that (1) misrepresents and confuses consumers that A'lor has an exclusive for such jewelry; and (2) is unapproved by Plaintiff as required under the Jewelry Agreement.

Based on these and other incidents, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant A'lor is violating Plaintiff's trademarks as well as breaching the parties' Jewelry Agreement. As a result, Plaintiff filed the instant action, alleging nine separate causes of action. Presently, Plaintiff requests that the Court grant a TRO against Defendant based on the actions alleged in the complaint. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks a TRO to enjoin Defendant A'lor from:

1. displaying, selling, offering for sale, or distributing jewelry depicted as "Alor" jewelry inside and outside the United States and Canada that is actually CHARRIOL jewelry designed ...

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