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McDonald's Corp. v. Druck & Gerner, D.D.S., P.C. - 814 F. Supp. 1127 (N.D.N.Y. 1993)

Rule:

Under the Lanham Act § 32(1)(a), 15 U.S.C.S. § 1114(1)(a); as well as the Lanham Act § 43(a), 15 U.S.C.S. § 1125(a), defendants are liable for infringement if their use of the name is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake or to deceive typical consumers into believing some sponsorship, association, affiliation, connection or endorsement exists between a plaintiff and defendants.

Facts:

Plaintiff McDonald’s Corporation sought to permanently enjoin defendants from further use of "McDental" alleging trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, and 1121. Defendants asserted that there was no likelihood of confusion between plaintiff and defendants' marks; and, since plaintiff had notice of the use of "McDental" in 1981, the action was barred under the doctrine of laches.

Issue:

By using “McDental,” did the defendant infringe plaintiff’s mark?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court held that the strength of plaintiff's mark, evidence of confusion, similarity of the marks, and lack of good faith on the part of the individual defendants in choosing their name together supported a finding of trademark infringement that warranted the issuance of an injunction, absent a finding of laches, which defendants failed to prove. In particular, defendants offered no basis upon which the court could find prejudice, other than anticipated minimal expenses associate with changing the name on its signage and stationary.

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