Posted on Blog April 21, 2015
In a recent case, a federal district court ruled that a satisfactory showing on a federal trademark infringement claim the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1114, will also establish claims for common law trademark infringement and common law unfair competition under both California and New Jersey law. Century 21 Real Estate LLC v. Ed/Var Inc., No. 5:13-cv-00887 EJD, 2014 WL 3378278 (N.D. Cal. July 10, 2014). A Century 21 real estate brokerage franchise defaulted on its franchise agreement by failing to pay royalties and advertising fees. The court found that Century 21 owned registered marks, there was no question that Ed/Var continued to use the marks after Century 21 terminated the franchise agreement as a “holdover” franchisee, and that such use was likely to cause consumer confusion because the parties provided real estate brokerage services using the same external signage and utilizing internet websites to display their services. Century 21 was granted a permanent injunction against defendants’ continued use of the marks, and was granted nominal monetary relief.