Dessert Beauty, Inc. v. Fox

568 F. Supp. 2d 416 (S.D.N.Y. 2008)

 

RULE:

To sustain a claim for tortious interference with a business relation or prospective economic advantage, a plaintiff must show that (1) it had a business relationship with a third party, (2) the defendant knew of and intentionally interfered with that relationship, (3) the defendant's interference amounts to wrongful means, and (4) the defendant's interference caused injury to the relationship.

FACTS:

Plaintiff beauty product company sought a declaratory judgment that it did not violate defendant trademark holder's LOVE POTION trademark, sought to cancel the trademark registration, and asserted a claim of intentional interference with business relations. The trademark holder asserted claims against third-party defendants for trademark infringement under the Lanham Act and California law. The parties cross-moved for summary judgment. The company's motion was granted to the extent that judgment was entered declaring that it did not engage in trademark infringement. The trademark holder's motion for summary judgment was granted to the extent that the company's claim that she intentionally interfered with its business relations was dismissed. The company's cancellation claim was dismissed, on consent.

ISSUE:

Was the tortious interference case supported by sufficient evidence? 

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

As a matter of law, however, these actions do not support a tortious interference claim because DBI has not identified any third party or any prospective business relation with which Fox interfered by making false statements about its use of her trademark. Instead, it argues that Fox spread "unfounded claims to the world" by issuing a press release and posting statements on her website. But the "public and customers at large are far too general to constitute a specific third party" for purposes of a tortious interference claim. Hence, Fox's summary judgment is granted with respect to DBI's tortious interference claim.

 

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