Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Reserve Media, Inc. v. Efficient Frontiers, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 14, 2017

RESERVE MEDIA, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
EFFICIENT FRONTIERS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF'S THIRD MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. 305]

          DEAN D. PREGERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the court is Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant Reserve Media, Inc.'s (“Reserve”) Third Motion for Partial Su mmary Judgment. After considering the parties' submissions and hearing oral argument, the court adopts the following Order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts, which have been set forth more fully in the court's prior partial summary judgment orders. (Dkts. 235, 296.) In brief, Efficient Frontiers, Inc. (“EFI”) is a company that offers software products to companies in the hospitality industry. (First Amended Counterclaim (“FAC”) ¶¶ 4, 15-17.) EFI's products assist with catering and event-management, restaurant table management, and dining reservations. (FAC ¶¶ 17-19.) Reserve Media, Inc. (“Reserve”) is a startup company focusing on restaurant technology, which was founded in 2014. (Dkt. 296 at 2.) According to the founders, the company aims to compete with consumer-facing software companies that facilitate restaurant reservations. (Id.) The company offers products and services using the mark “Reserve.”

         This suit arises out of a trademark dispute between EFI and Reserve. After learning about Reserve's business, EFI sent Reserve a cease-and-desist letter for attempting to use a mark that infringes on EFI's marks “Reserve Interactive and its variations.” (Id.) The parties attempted to negotiate their trademark dispute but Reserve ultimately filed for declaratory relief seeking a determination that its use of the “Reserve” mark does not infringe on EFI's trademark rights. (Complaint ¶ 14.) EFI responded with a counterclaim asserting federal and state causes of action for trademark infringement and unfair competition. (FAC ¶¶ 34-60.)

         At issue in this litigation were ten EFI trademarks. Prior summary judgment motions addressed whether there were triable issues as to eight of the ten trademarks. (See Dkts. 235, 296.) In prior Orders, the court concluded that six of EFI's marks were not valid and protectable as a matter of law because they were descriptive and lacked secondary meaning. (Id.) The court also concluded that there was no triable question as to Reserve's willful infringement for any mark. The two trademarks that were not addressed in either Order were EFI's RESERVE Q marks. Given the basis for the prior summary judgment orders, the court determined that the best use of judicial resources would be to direct the parties to file summary judgment briefs regarding these remaining marks so as to ensure that there were triable issues warranting a jury trial. See Portsmouth Square Inc. v. Shareholders Protective Comm., 770 F.2d 866, 869 (9th Cir. 1985) (noting that, even as late as the final pretrial conference, the district court has authority to sua sponte enter summary judgment if no material facts are at dispute in order to “conserves scarce judicial resource”). In order to ensure the parties had adequate notice and a “full and fair opportunity to ventilate the issues, ” see Norse v. City of Santa Cruz, 629 F.3d 966, 972-73 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Greene v. Solano Cnty. Jail, 513 F.3d 982, 990 (9th Cir. 2008)), the court set a briefing schedule for a third successive summary judgment motion.

         At issue in this motion are EFI's two RESERVE Q marks. The first RESERVE Q mark was registered in October 2012 and is a standard word mark for “computer software for database management used in the hospitality industry.” (Carter Decl., Ex. 1.) The second mark was registered in March 2013 and is a standard service mark for “design, development, implementation and maintenance of software for others in the hospitality industry.” (Id., Ex. 2.) These marks are used in connection with EFI's “Reserve Q” online hospitality management software. (Carter Decl. ¶ 5.) ReServe Q is a web-based software application that allows business in the hospitality industry to “leverage reservations, waitlists, and marketing opportunities.” (Id. ¶ 14, Ex. 11.) The question at issue in the instant motion is whether the RESERVE Q marks are valid and enforceable as a matter of law and, if so, whether there is a triable issue of fact as to likelihood of confusion under the Sleekcraft analysis. Finally, as in the prior motions for partial summary judgment, there is a question of whether Reserve is entitled to summary judgment on EFI's damages theories for the RESERVE Q marks.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying those portions of the pleadings and discovery responses that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). All reasonable inferences from the evidence must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 242 (1986). If the moving party does not bear the burden of proof at trial, it is entitled to summary judgment if it can demonstrate that “there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party opposing the motion, who must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. Summary judgment is warranted if a party “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. A genuine issue exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” and material facts are those “that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. There is no genuine issue of fact “[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         It is not the court's task “to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Keenan v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1278 (9th Cir. 1996). Counsel has an obligation to lay out their support clearly. Carmen v. San Francisco Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001). The court “need not examine the entire file for evidence establishing a genuine issue of fact, where the evidence is not set forth in the opposition papers with adequate references so that it could conveniently be found.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         “To prevail on [a] trademark infringement claim, ” a party must show that “(1) it has a valid, protectable trademark, and (2) that [the other party's] use of the mark is likely to cause confusion.” Applied Info. Sciences Corp. v. eBay, Inc., 511 F.3d 966, 969 (9th Cir. 2007). The court addresses each of these issues in turn.

         A. Distinctiveness of RESERVE Q Marks

         This is the court's third inquiry into whether EFI's RESERVE marks are distinctive, and thus protectable, as a matter of law. See Zobmondo Entm't, LLC v. Falls Media, LLC, 602 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2010). In each of the prior instances, the operative question was whether the marks were descriptive, and thus required a showing of secondary meaning, Zobmondo, 602 F.3d at 1113, or suggestive, and thus automatically entitled to federal trademark protection as “inherently distinctive, ” id.; see also Two Pesos, Inc. v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.