Published 09/17/2021 by CIONCA IP TEAM (SE)
Apple Corps Limited and Subafilm's Limited collectively owned trademarks for popular English rock band The Beatles. In their lawsuit, Apple Corps Limited claimed that the defendants Lockalita.com infringed on their trademarks by selling Beatles merchandise, which contained "Beatles" logos and "Yellow Submarine" imagery.
The lawsuit named nearly eighty different entities. It claimed that these sellers were counterfeiting, infringing, promoting items that consumer's believed were authentic, unfairly competing, and breaking joint trademark infringement. They were doing this by selling unauthorized Beatles merchandise.
The 77 entities that sold Beatles merchandise on Lockalita.com, however, never responded to the lawsuit. Because they failed to respond, Apple Corps asked for the court to provide a final judgment while also limiting the seller's actions in the future. Providing damages for the profit, Apple lost due to the counterfeit goods.
Apple Corps had several demands for the defendants that never appeared in court, including:
In return, the district court accepted all of Apple Corp's requests. This ruling came under the condition that they could prove that they held trademarks to the Beatles' property and that Lockalita had infringed on those rights.
As a result, Apple Corps was able to demonstrate the following points and win the case:
The court found that Apple Corps' arguments showed that the actions of Lockalita.com could confuse the general public and consumers. They also felt that a monetary award would not remedy the total damage Lockalita.com caused to Apple Corp's reputation and goodwill. Because the court believed that Apple Coups would continue losing sales and experience a loss of reputation, Lockalita.com was not allowed to continue its actions.
In addition to all the actions taken by the court to prevent Lockalita.com from continuing to infringe on Apple Corp's trademarks, they also provided a monetary award to Apple. The Lanham Act allows the court to award damages up to $2,000,000 per counterfeit mark whenever someone willingly counterfeits products.
Even though Lockalita and the 77 defendants never responded to the suit, the court felt it could award statutory damages without an evidentiary hearing based on Apple Corp's evidence. As a result, the court awarded damages of $1 million against each defendant, therefore bringing this case to a close.
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