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Tapatio Foods, LLC v. Ponce

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 27, 2018

Tapatio Foods, LLC.
v.
Ingrid Veronica Ponce, et al.

          Present: Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District Judge

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         Proceedings (In Chambers): GRANTING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANTS INGRID VERONICA PONCE, MARIO MENDIZABAL, AND DORIAN HUERTA AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION [27]

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Tapatio Foods, LLC.'s (“Tapatio”) Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Defendants Ingrid Veronica Ponce, Mario Mendizabal, and Dorian Huerta and Permanent Injunction, filed on January 17, 2018. (the “Motion”) (Docket No. 27). The Court has read and considered the Complaint and the papers filed in connection with the Motion and held a hearing on February 26, 2018.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Application is GRANTED as to Defendants Mendizabal and Huerta only. Tapatio has satisfied all procedural and substantive requirements for a default judgment against those Defendants. In light of the fact that Defendant Ponce appeared at the hearing, the Court declines to enter default judgment against her at this time. To the extent Ponce wishes to participate in this lawsuit and avoid a default judgment being entered against her, she must answer the Complaint by no later than March 12, 2018.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Complaint contains the following allegations, which are accepted as true for purposes of the Application. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b)(6); NewGen, LLC v. Safe Cig, LLC, 840 F.3d 606, 617 (9th Cir. 2016) (“[U]pon default the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         Tapatio is a California limited liability company with its principal place of business in Vernon, California. (Complaint ¶ 1). Tapatio is in the business of making, selling, and distributing hot sauce. (Id. ¶ 14). The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has issued to Tapatio at least 3 trademark registrations covering their name, seasonings, and other products (collectively, the “Tapatio Marks”). (Id. ¶ 9-12). Tapatio has expended significant time, effort, and money marketing, advertising, and promoting the Tapatio Marks throughout the United States. (Id. ¶ 14-17). Through these efforts, Tapatio has established significant name recognition and goodwill among consumers. (Id.).

         Below is an image of the design for one of the Tapatio Marks:

(Image Omitted.)

(Id. ¶ 12).

         Defendants are California residents. (Id. ¶ 2-4). Defendants started manufacturing, selling, advertising, and distributing their own hot sauce and other related products bearing confusingly similar marks to the Tapatio Marks. (Id. ¶ 18). Defendants' hot sauce bears the label “Trapatio.” (Id. ¶ 21). The font that Defendants use for their hot sauce labels is also very similar to the font use in the Tapatio Marks. (Id. ¶ 24). The images featured on Defendants' hot sauce labels are also confusingly similar to the images in the Tapatio's Marks. (Id. ¶ 26).

         Below is an image of the label that Defendants affix to their products:

(Image Omitted.)

(Id. ΒΆ ...


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