Thursday, July 07, 2011

ACPA Claim Dismissed Where Def is True Common Law Trademark Owner: CRYSTAL ENTERTAINMENT & FILMWORKS, INC. v. Jurado

CRYSTAL ENTERTAINMENT & FILMWORKS, INC. v. Jurado, Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 2011
This appeal is from a judgment against an entertainment company that sued the current members of "Exposé," an American girl dance band, about the trademark name of the band. Crystal Entertainment & Filmworks, Inc., is the purported assignee of the trademark rights of Pantera Group Enterprises and Pantera Productions, Inc., which created the original Exposé band in 1984. The current members of Exposé, Jeanette Jurado, Ann Curless, and Gioia Bruno, replaced the original members of the band in 1986, and the current members, along with Kelly Moneymaker, have produced several albums and intermittently performed as Exposé since then. In 2006, in a written agreement with Crystal, the current members obtained a license to use the Exposé mark when the band resumed performing. Before the agreement expired, the members of the band ceased paying licensing fees to Crystal and informed Crystal that they planned to seek federal registration of the Exposé mark through their own company, Walking Distance Entertainment, LLC. Crystal filed a complaint for breach of contract and violations of federal [ACPA] and state statutes and sought damages and injunctive relief. The district court conducted a bench trial and determined that Jurado, Curless, Bruno, and Walking Distance were the common-law owners of the Exposé mark. Because the record supports the findings by the district court, we affirm.

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