Remark, LLC v. Adell Broadcasting Company

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trademarks
  • Date Filed: 09-20-2011
  • Case #: 10-12767
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; Before: Steeh
  • Full Text Opinion

Trademark infringement can only occur when the goods themselves confuse the public as to their origins, not when the copyrighted material therein is incorporated into a good.

For full opinion:
2011 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 106877
2011 WL 4374454

Opinion (Steeh): On December 13, 2010, Remark LLC (“Remark”), owner of the Detroit-area radio station WRIF, filed a complaint stemming from Adell Broadcasting’s (“Adell”), owner of the television station WADL, alleged incorporation of distinctive elements from Remark’s copyrighted commercial entitled “Remarkable Mouth.” After a cease and desist letter and failed settlement negotiations, Remark began this action, initially pleading a copyright claim before amending a claim for trademark infringement. Adell filed a motion to dismiss, stating that that Remark’s claim for trademark infringement was prohibited by the Lanham Act as a “backdoor” pleading of copyright infringement. Remark argued that all of their commercials have the same distinctive features that have become associated with Remark as the “origin of goods,” and Adell deceived the public by utilizing said distinctive features. The court found for Adell, noting that the Lanham Act only protected goods from being resold as if coming from the main supply, not the intellectual property therein, nor the incorporation of the copyrighted property in such a way that the WADL commercials would falsely suggested that Remark was the source of the WADL commercials. Therefore, the court GRANTED Adell’s motion to dismiss the trademark infringement claim.

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