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Deckers Outdoor Corp. v. J.C. Penney Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 8, 2014

DECKERS OUTDOOR CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
J.C. PENNEY COMPANY INC.; DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants

Page 1182

For Deckers Outdoor Corporation, a Delaware Corporation, Plaintiff: Brent H Blakely, Cindy W Chan, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Blakely Law Group, Manhattan Beach, CA.

For J.C. Penney Company Inc., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant: Arash Beral, Todd M Lander, Freeman Freeman & Smiley LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Jane Ann R Neiswender, PRO HAC VICE, Derek B Lipscombe, JC Penny Corporation Inc, Plano, TX.

Page 1183

ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PARTIAL LEAVE TO AMEND [25]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Deckers Outdoor Corporation makes the famous UGG® Bailey Button Boots. It owns two United States Design Patents, which cover the Bailey Button designs. After discovering that Defendant J.C. Penney Company Inc. was selling boots with similar designs, Deckers brought this action, alleging trade-dress infringement, false designation of origin, federal unfair competition, patent infringement, and state-law unfair competition.

JC Penney moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, arguing that Deckers failed to state a valid claim for relief. The Court agrees with most of JC Penney's arguments and accordingly GRANTS IN PART JC Penney's Motion to Dismiss with PARTIAL LEAVE TO AMEND.[1] (ECF No. 25.)

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Deckers is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Goleta, California. (FAC ¶ 4.) Deckers produces footwear under the well-known UGG® trademark and other federal trademarks. ( Id.; ¶ 8.) Deckers distributes its UGG footwear through authorized retailers and online. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 8-9.)

In 2009, Deckers introduced one of its most widely recognizable product lines: the " Bailey Button" style of sheepskin boots. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 9, 13.) The Bailey Button boots are made of suede and feature overlapping front and rear panels, curved top edges on the overlapping panels, exposed fleece-type lining, and one or more buttons depending on the height of the boot placed on the lateral side of the boot shaft. ( Id. ¶ 9.)

Deckers owns several United States Design Patents for its Bailey Button boot styles, including Nos. D599,999 for the Bailey Button Single boot and D616,189 for the Bailey Button Triplet boot (" Bailey Button Design Patents" ). ( Id. ¶ 16.)

Deckers alleges that JC Penney has offered for sale " knock-off" UGG boots, which infringe upon the Bailey Button trade dress and design patents. ( Id. ¶ 19.) Deckers has pointed to at least two boot styles offered by JC Penney called Arizona Carmen Girls Boots and Arizona Crescent Casual Suede Boots. ( Id. ¶ 19-20; Ex. 2.) Deckers has not licensed or otherwise authorized JC Penney to use the Bailey Button trade dress or design patents. ( Id. ¶ 22.)

On April 4, 2014, Deckers filed this action against JC Penney. (ECF No. 1.) Deckers later filed a First Amended Complaint, alleging claims for trade-dress infringement, false designations of origin and false descriptions, federal unfair competition, patent infringement, and unfair competition under California law. (ECF No. 18.) On August 6, 2014, JC Penney moved to dismiss Deckers's First Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Deckers timely opposed. That Motion is now before the Court for decision.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts pleaded to support an otherwise cognizable legal theory.

Page 1184

Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To survive a dismissal motion, a complaint need only satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)--a short and plain statement of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). The factual " allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). That is, the complaint must " contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a ...


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