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Decision Vital Pharm

Decision Vital Pharm

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Published by mschwimmer
decison in prelim injunction re muscle milk v muscle power
decison in prelim injunction re muscle milk v muscle power

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Published by: mschwimmer on May 13, 2009
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1UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA----oo0oo----CYTOSPORT, INC.NO. CIV. S-08-2632 FCD/GGHPlaintiff,v.MEMORANDUM AND ORDERVITAL PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.,Defendant.----oo0oo----Plaintiff CytoSport, Inc. (“plaintiff” or “CS”) brings thisaction against Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“defendant” or “VPX”)for trademark and trade dress infringement, unfair competitionand false advertising under federal and state law. (Second Am.Compl., filed Mar. 19, 2009.) This matter is before the court onplaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, enjoining VPX frommarketing, selling, advertising or promoting a liquid protein-based nutritional supplement using the name MUSCLE POWER® or anyother trademark confusingly similar to plaintiff’s MUSCLE MILK®trademark. Plaintiff also seeks to enjoin VPX, in conjunctionwith these activities, from using a trade dress that is
 
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2confusingly similar to the trade dress associated with MUSCLEMILK. VPX opposes the motion, arguing its registered MUSCLEPOWER® trademark does not infringe plaintiff’s MUSCLE MILK®trademark, which is a weak, descriptive mark, and VPX’s MUSCLEPOWER trade dress does not infringe plaintiff’s MUSCLE MILK tradedress since the two trade dresses have numerous, specificdifferences in both color and layout, and VPX has been using itsdress trade consistently across all its product lines for almostten years.The court heard oral argument on the motion on May 1, 2009.By this order, it now renders its decision on the motion. Forthe reasons set forth below, plaintiff’s motion for preliminaryinjunction is GRANTED. Plaintiff has demonstrated a reasonablelikelihood of success in demonstrating that defendant’s use ofits MUSCLE POWER® trademark and trade dress infringes plaintiff’sMUSCLE MILK® trademark and trade dress, that plaintiff is likelyto sustain irreparable harm to its reputation and customergoodwill absent preliminary relief, the balance of equities tipsin plaintiff’s favor in light of its longstanding reputation inthe community and use of the MUSCLE MILK® trademark, and thepublic is served by issuance of the requested injunction whichseeks to avoid customer confusion in the marketplace and permitsplaintiff to control its products’ reputation.
BACKGROUND
This is a trademark and trade dress infringement action inwhich plaintiff seeks to enjoin defendant from further marketingand selling a nutritional supplement beverage due to defendant’salleged infringement of plaintiff’s trademark and trade dress.
 
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3Plaintiff is in the business of manufacturing and marketingvarious nutritional and dietary supplement products. (Pl.’s Mem.of P. & A. in Supp. of PI Motion [“PI”], filed March 2, 2009,¶ 1; Declaration of Roberta White [“White Decl.”], filed March13, 2009, ¶ 4.) In addition to a powdered nutritional supplementdesigned to be mixed in beverages, plaintiff offers a premixed,ready-to-drink (“RTD”) liquid protein product sold in connectionwith the MUSCLE MILK® trademark. (PI, 2.) Plaintiffdistributes its MUSCLE MILK® products through specialty healthand nutrition stores, grocery chains, convenience stores, andwarehouse outlet stores, and plaintiff maintains its RTDnutritional product is the best-selling RTD nutritional beverageon the market. (Id. at ¶¶ 3-4; White Decl., 7.) Plaintiffholds three trademark rights to the mark MUSCLE MILK®, including(1) use of the mark in connection with “powdered nutritionalsupplement[s] containing milk derived ingredients for adding tofood and drink,” (2) use of the mark in connection with “mealreplacement drinks; meal replacement and dietary supplement drinkmixes; protein based, nutrient-dense meal replacement bars; andpre-mixed nutritionally fortified beverages,” and (3) use of themark in connection with “nutritional supplements.” (PI, ¶¶ 5-7.)Defendant was founded over fifteen years ago and is also inthe business of manufacturing and marketing various nutritionaland dietary supplement products. (Declaration of John Owoc[“Owoc Decl.”], filed
under seal
April 16, 2009, 3.) Similarto many companies in the nutritional supplement market, defendantproduces and sells an RTD nutritional product. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-5.)Both plaintiff’s and defendant’s products are sold in liquid

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