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Nextdoor. Com, Inc. v. Abhyanker

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 12, 2013

NEXTDOOR.COM, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RAJ ABHYANKER, Defendant.

ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANT ABHYANKER'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED ANSWER AND COUNTERCLAIMS; AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF NEXTDOOR.COM'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A SURREPLY (Docket Nos. 115, 122)

EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Nextdoor.com, Inc. ("Nextdoor.com"), brought an action against Raj Abhyanker, seeking a declaratory judgment that its use of the NEXTDOOR mark does not infringe any trademark rights of Abhyanker, and alleging causes of action for trademark infringement and cyberpiracy. In response, Abhyanker asserted numerous affirmative defenses and brought a counterclaim for misappropriation of trade secrets against Nextdoor.com; Prakash Janakiraman, a co-founder and vice-president of engineering at Nextdoor.com; Benchmark Capital Partners, L.P.; Benchmark Capital Management Co. LLC; Monsoon Enterprises, Inc.; and Sandeep Sood, president of Monsoon Enterprises (collectively, "Counter-Defendants").

Currently pending before the Court is Abhyanker's motion for leave to file a second amended answer and counterclaims (the "Motion"). Abhyanker seeks to add causes of action only against Nextdoor.com, for trademark infringement and unfair competition under California Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq. (the "UCL"). Also pending before the Court is Nextdoor.com's administrative motion for leave to file a surreply to Abhyanker's reply.

The Court GRANTS Abhyanker's Motion and DENIES Nextdoor.com's motion for the reasons set forth below.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Defendant Abhyanker submitted three versions of a second amended answer and counterclaims in conjunction with this Motion. See Docket Nos. 115, 121, 132. The following facts and discussion are based on the most recent version, Docket No. 132, Exh. A ("SAAC").

Nextdoor.com operates a neighborhood-based social network website with the eponymous domain name. SAAC ¶ 150. Abhyanker alleges that Nextdoor.com's use of the mark NEXTDOOR infringes his common law rights in the marks NEXTDOOR and FATDOOR, and his rights in the federally registered mark FATDOOR GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS. SAAC ¶¶ 161-163, 168, 171, 177.

This action began on November 5, 2012, when Nextdoor.com filed a complaint against Abhyanker, seeking, among other things, a declaratory judgment that its use of the NEXTDOOR mark does not infringe on any purported trademark rights held by Abhyanker in the marks NEXTDOOR, FATDOOR, and FATDOOR GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR. See Complaint ¶¶ 59, 63 (Docket No. 1). In response, Abhyanker asserted numerous affirmative defenses and brought a counterclaim for misappropriation of trade secrets against the Counter-Defendants. See Docket No. 59.

In this Motion, Abhyanker seeks to add three causes of action, only against Nextdoor.com: trademark infringement, infringement of unregistered trademark, and California unfair competition (violation of the UCL). During the hearing, Nextdoor.com clarified that it only opposes addition of the claim for infringement of unregistered mark as it pertains to the mark NEXTDOOR. No discovery deadlines or trial dates have yet been set.

In previous versions of the SAAC, Abhyanker had also sought to add a claim for patent infringement, but has since withdrawn the claim. The SAAC reflects this change. In support of the patent infringement claim, Abhyanker had attached documents to his reply. Docket No. 121. Nextdoor.com filed an administrative motion for leave to file a surreply, objecting to the documents. Docket No. 122.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Nextdoor.com's Administrative Motion for Leave to ...


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