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Sunearth, Inc. v. Sun Earth Solar Power Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 23, 2013

SUNEARTH, INC.; and THE SOLARAY CORPORATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
SUN EARTH SOLAR POWER CO., LTD.; NBSOLAR USA, INC.; and DOES 1-10, Defendants.

ORDER AWARDING ATTORNEYS' FEES IN CONNECTION WITH PLAINTIFFS' SECOND MOTION FOR CONTEMPT (Docket No. 90) AND. DENYING PLAINTIFFS' THIRD MOTION FOR CIVIL CONTEMPT (Docket No. 113)

CLAUDIA WILKEN, District Judge.

Plaintiffs SunEarth, Inc. and The Solaray Corporation move, for the third time, to hold Defendants Sun Earth Solar Power Company, Limited (SESP) and NBSolar USA, Inc. in civil contempt for violation of the preliminary injunction entered in this case. Defendants oppose Plaintiffs' motion. Having considered the arguments presented by the parties in their papers and at the hearing, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' motion. The Court also GRANTS Plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees and costs incurred to bring their second motion for contempt, which was previously granted.

BACKGROUND

On October 11, 2011, Plaintiffs initiated this trade name and trademark infringement action, alleging that Defendants have misappropriated and infringed upon Plaintiffs' "Sun Earth" trademark, service mark and trade name.

On February 2, 2012, the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, generally enjoining Defendants from using the "Sun Earth" name and mark within the United States during the pendency of this action. Docket Nos. 60, 63. The initial preliminary injunction went into effect on February 17, 2012 upon Plaintiffs' payment of a $5, 000 bond. Docket No. 67. At the time, instead of enjoining Defendants' use of the Sun-earth.com, SunEarthpower.com, and SunEarthpower.net domain names, the Court ordered the parties to attempt to reach an agreement on this issue, or to move for a modification to address it, along with one other issue. Docket No. 63, 37-38.

On February 24, 2012, Defendants filed a motion to amend the preliminary injunction, among other things, to add terms addressing the use of the domain names. Docket No. 69.

On March 6, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a motion to hold Defendants in civil contempt for continuing to use the "Sun Earth" name and mark on its websites. Docket No. 77.

On March 13, 2012, the Court granted in part Defendants' motion to modify the initial preliminary injunction and entered a modified preliminary injunction, which took effect immediately. Docket Nos. 79, 80. The modified preliminary injunction provided, in part, that Defendants were enjoined

1. From using or continuing to use the words "SUN EARTH" (with or without a space or capitalization or hyphen), either alone or in conjunction with any other words or symbols, or any phonetically or visually similar words or symbols in any combination, as a trademark, service mark or trade name within the United States, its territories or possessions (the "Territory"), provided that:
A. for goods branded as NBSolar rather than Sun Earth, Defendants shall be permitted to identify SESP as the manufacturer, importer or seller of the goods to the minimum extent necessary as required by law or ordinary business customs to operate within the United States under the NBSolar name; and
B. for equipment purchased by Defendants from sellers within the United States for export to SESP in China, Defendants shall be permitted to identify SESP as the buyer of the equipment, to the minimum extent necessary as required by law or ordinary business customs.
C. Under subsections A and B above, wherever possible, Defendants shall identify themselves as NBSolar and/or an acronym, such as SESP, that avoids the use of the words "SUN EARTH" (with or without a space or capitalization or hyphen). Where Defendants do use the words "SUN EARTH" under the terms of these subsections, Defendants shall not display the words "SUN EARTH" in a distinctive manner of presentation that makes them stand out in any way from other words on the relevant document and shall not use the "Sun Earth" logo.
...
4. From importing into the Territory any goods upon which the words "SUN EARTH" (with or without a space or capitalization or hyphen), either alone or in conjunction with any other words or symbols, or any phonetically or visually similar words or symbols in any ...

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