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Lodestar Anstalt v. Bacardi & Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 21, 2017

LODESTAR ANSTALT
v.
BACARDI & CO. LTD., ET AL.

          Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) - DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE (Dkt. 42, filed March 21, 2017)

         The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of April 24, 2017 is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On August 25, 2016, plaintiff Lodestar Anstalt (“Lodestar”) filed a complaint in against defendants Bacardi & Company Limited (“Bacardi & Co.”), Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. (“Bacardi USA”), and Bacardi Limited (collectively, “Bacardi”). Dkt. 1. (“Compl.”). Lodestar alleges four claims: (1) trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114, (2) unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1125, (3) unfair competition under Cal. Civ. Code §§ 17200 et seq., and (4) unfair competition in violation of California common law. Id.

         On March 21, 2017, Bacardi filed a motion to transfer this action to the Southern District of Florida pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Dkt. 42 (“Motion”). Lodestar filed its opposition on April 3, 2017, dkt. 46 (“Opp'n”), and Bacardi filed its reply on April 10, 2017, dkt. 47 (“Reply”).

         Having carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

         II. BACKGROUND

         Lodestar alleges the following facts.

         Lodestar is a Lichtenstein company with its principal place of business in Cyprus. Compl. ¶ 1. Lodestar owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4, 033, 238 for UNTAMED and design in International Classes 32 and 33 (the “'238 Mark”). Id. ¶ 8. This registration has a priority date of July 16, 2009 and a registration date of October 4, 2011. Id. Lodestar also owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4, 033, 239 for UNTAMED in International Classes 32 and 33 (the “'239 Mark”), which also has a priority date of July 16, 2009 and a registration date of October 4, 2011. Id. ¶ 9. The '238 and '239 Marks are referred to collectively as the “UNTAMED marks.” Id.

         Since 2009, Lodestar has used the UNTAMED marks for its Irish whisky, which has been imported and distributed throughout the United States. Id. ¶¶ 10, 11. Since 2014, Lodestar has used the UNTAMED marks on rum products in the United States. Id. ¶ 12.

         Bacardi Limited is located in Bermuda and is the parent company of subsidiaries Bacardi & Co. and Bacardi USA. Id. ¶ 4. Bacardi & Co. is a Lichtenstein company with its principal place of business in the Bahamas. Id. ¶ 2. Bacardi USA is a corporation organized under Delaware laws and maintains its principal place of business in Miami, Florida. Id. ¶ 3. Bacardi Limited purports to be “the largest privately held spirits company in the world.” Id. ¶ 15. Bacardi USA is the import, sales, and marketing arm of Bacardi Limited in the United States. Id. ¶ 3.

         According to Lodestar, Bacardi infringed Lodestar's “trademarks, goodwill, and entire back story, by initiating its own substantial marketing campaign featuring almost the identical mark, UNTAMEABLE, on the same or related alcohol products as Lodestar uses its UNTAMED marks, and with the very marketing and branding themes as Lodestar had used.” Id. ¶ 20. Lodestar avers that Bacardi Limited, with actual and constructive notice, filed a trademark application for the mark BACARDI UNTAMEABLE in International Class 33 for “alcoholic beverages except beers” and began a substantial marketing campaign using the mark. Id. ¶¶ 22-23. Lodestar further alleges that Bacardi's use of the mark BACARDI UNTAMEABLE to promote rum products is likely to result in consumer confusion and therefore constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition. Id. ¶ 20.

         III. ...


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