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Beats v. Yamaha - Order Denying MTD

Beats v. Yamaha - Order Denying MTD

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Published by slburstein
Beats v. Yamaha - Order Denying MTD
Beats v. Yamaha - Order Denying MTD

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Published by: slburstein on Apr 23, 2013
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTCENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIACIVIL MINUTES – GENERAL
Case No. SACV 13-00209-CJC(JPRx) Date: April 22, 2013 Title: BEATS ELECTRONICS, LLC V. YAMAHA CORPORATION OF AMERICA
PRESENT:
HONORABLE CORMAC J. CARNEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
 Michelle Urie N/ADeputy Clerk Court Reporter
ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFF: ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANT:
None Present None Present
PROCEEDINGS: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’SMOTION TO DISMISS
[filed 03/29/13]Having read and considered the papers presented by the parties, the Court findsthis matter appropriate for disposition without a hearing.
See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; LocalRule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing set for April 29, 2013,
 
at 1:30 p.m. is herebyvacated and off calendar.
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Plaintiff Beats Electronics, LLC (“Beats”) brought this action against Defendant Yamaha Corporation of America (“Yamaha), alleging federal and state law claims fortrade dress infringement, patent infringement, and unfair competition. (Dkt. No. 1[“Compl.”].) Beats alleges that Yamahas “Pro 300,” “Pro 400,” and “Pro 500headphones have a confusingly similar design and appearance to Beats’ “Studio,” “Solo,”and “Wireless” headphones. Yamaha now moves to dismiss the first, fourth, and fifth causes of action for tradedress infringement and unfair competition. Yamaha contends that the Complaint fails toplead the elements of the alleged trade dress with sufficient specificity and therefore failsto state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the followingreasons, Yamahas motion is DENIED.
Case 8:13-cv-00209-CJC-JPR Document 23 Filed 04/22/13 Page 1 of 3 Page ID #:120
 
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTCENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIACIVIL MINUTES – GENERAL
Case No. SACV 13-00209-CJC(JPRx) Date: April 22, 2013Page 2
ANALYSIS
A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legalsufficiency of the claims asserted in the complaint. In considering whether to dismiss acase for failure to state a claim, the issue before the Court is not whether the claimant willultimately prevail, but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support theclaims asserted.
Gilligan v. Jamco Dev. Corp.
, 108 F.3d 246, 249 (9th Cir. 1997). Whenevaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the district court must accept all material allegationsin the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-movingparty.
Moyo v. Gomez
, 32 F.3d 1382, 1384 (9th Cir. 1994). Rule 12(b)(6) is read inconjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires only a short and plain statement of the claimshowing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Dismissal of acomplaint for failure to state a claim is not proper where a plaintiff has alleged “enoughfacts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly
,550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).Here, Beats has alleged sufficient facts to state plausible claims for trade dressinfringement and unfair competition against Yamaha. To state a claim for trade dressinfringement under § 43 of the Lanham Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1125(a),
the plaintiff must allegethat the trade dress is (1) non-functional, (2) either “inherently distinctive or [has]acquired distinctiveness through a secondary meaning,” and (3) likely to be confusedwith the defendant’s product by the consuming public.
Disc Golf Ass’n, Inc. v.Champion Discs, Inc.,
158 F.3d 1002, 1005 (9th Cir. 1998). Beats alleges that it hastrade dress rights in the distinctive appearance of its headphones, consisting of “theoverall appearance of the shape and design of the headphones, including the size,proportion and curvature of the headband, yoke and earcups, as depicted in the collectionof products shown in Exhibits AC.” (Compl. ¶ 10.) Exhibits AC to the Complaintcontain photographs of the headphones that are the subject of Beats’ trade dress claims.(
See
Compl. Exhs. AC.) Beats alleges that the design of its headphones is non-functional in that the headphones are uniquely “highly stylized and sleek,” and because of the attractive design customers have begun “wearing the Beats Headphones around theirnecks as a fashion accessory even when not listening to music.” (Compl. ¶ 8.) Beats alsoalleges that its headphones have a “distinctive appearance” that consumers have come toassociate with Beats, and as a result of Beats’ extensive promotion, marketing, and saleof its headphones, including endorsements by performing artists and professional andcollegiate athletes, the trade dress of its headphones has developed secondary meaning
Case 8:13-cv-00209-CJC-JPR Document 23 Filed 04/22/13 Page 2 of 3 Page ID #:121

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