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Stone Creek, Inc. v. Omnia Italian Design, Inc. - 875 F.3d 426 (9th Cir. 2017)

Rule:

Placing an identical mark on identical goods creates a strong likelihood of confusion, especially when the mark is fanciful.

Facts:

Plaintiff filed a trademark infringement action against defendant and former business partner Omnia under the Lanham Act after the latter copied and began selling the same goods branded with its mark. The district court ruled in favor of the defendant. Plaintiff appealed.

Issue:

Does the Tea Rose-Rectanus doctrine protect defendant Omnia from the infringement action?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court held that there was evidence of actual confusion, the holder and the manufacturer were simultaneously marketing and selling under the mark in the Midwest, and the mark was adopted and used with full knowledge of the holder's senior use. The Tea Rose-Rectanus doctrine, which provides that the use of a mark is protected when the use is in good faith, does not apply because defendant had knowledge of its previous use by plaintiff.

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