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Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page1 of 91

No. 14-4748
In the United States Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit
C & L INTERNATIONAL TRADING INC., and KAM NG,
Plaintiffs-Appellants,

K & C INTERNATIONAL TRADING INC.,


Plaintiff,
v.

AMERICAN TIBETAN HEALTH INSTITUTE, INC., CHUNG KEE (USA)


INTERNATIONAL INC., YAT CHAU (USA) INC., TUNG REN TANG, RON FENG
TRADING INC., YONG LONG SUPERMARKET INC., KANG LI TRADING INC., and PO
WING HONG FOOD MARKET INC.,
Defendants-Appellees,

FARGO TRADING INC.,


Defendant.

On appeal from the Amended Opinion and Injunction dated December 3, 2014,
entered by the Honorable Louis L. Stanton, United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York in Civil Actions Nos. 13-cv-2368 and 13-cv-2763

APPELLANTS BRIEF
MITCHELL M. WONG
Counsel of Record
ASHMASONS LLP
Forty Wall Street, Floor 28
New York, New York 10005
(212) 671-1068
mitchell.wong@ashmasons.com
Counsel for Appellants

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page2 of 91

CORPORATEDISCLOSURESTATEMENT

PursuanttoFederalRuleofAppellateProcedure26.1,

AppellantC&LInternationalTradingInc.disclosesthatitisnot
apubliclyheldcorporation,hasnoparentcorporation,andno
publiclyheldcorporationowns10%ormoreofitsstock.

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TABLEOFCONTENTS

CORPORATEDISCLOSURESTATEMENT

TABLEOFCONTENTS...............................................................................i

TABLEOFAUTHORITIES........................................................................iv

PRELIMINARYSTATEMENT...................................................................1

STATEMENTOFJURISDICTION............................................................8

STATEMENTOFRELATEDCASES........................................................9

STATEMENTOFTHEISSUES................................................................11

STATEMENTOFTHECASE...................................................................12

STATEMENTOFFACTS..........................................................................16

A. FactualBackground..............................................................16

B. RelevantTrademarkRegistrations.....................................19

C. ProceedingsBelow................................................................21

SUMMARYOFARGUMENT..................................................................24

STANDARDOFREVIEW........................................................................25

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ARGUMENT...............................................................................................26

I. TheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
cannotbemonopolizedasatrademark
forTibetanherbalteas..........................................................26

A. TheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
translatesintoTibetanherbaltea..........................26

1. Thedistrictcourtimplicitlyfound

thatthetermbaicaomeansherbal..........26

2. ThisCourtcanalsotakejudicial
noticefrompopularliteratureand
freeinternettranslatorsthatthe
termbaicaomeansherbal.........................34

3. Inrelatedproceedings,theU.S.
Patent&TrademarkOfficehas
determinedthatthetermbaicao
meansherbal.................................................37

4. EvenATHIimplicitlyhad
acknowledgedthattheterm
baicaomeansherbal..................................42

B. TheadjectiveTibetancannotbe
trademarkedherebecauseitis
descriptiveoftheTibetanherbalteasat
issue...............................................................................45

C. Thefreedomtousegeographictermsas
descriptiveproductnamesisespecially
importantforteas........................................................50
ii

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II. ThecatchallprovisionsofParagraphs1
and9donotstatetheactsenjoinedwiththe
specificityrequiredbyFed.R.Civ.P.65(d).........................55

A. TheactsthatParagraph9seekstoenjoin
arenotadequatelyspecified,nornarrowly
tailoredtotheissuestriedbelow..............................55

B. TheactsthatParagraph1seekstoenjoin
arenotadequatelyspecified,nornarrowly
tailoredtotheissuestriedbelow..............................63

III. EveniftheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
couldbetrademarked,thedistrictcourt
shouldhavedeniedinjunctivereliefonthe
doctrineofuncleanhands....................................................66

IV. Theissuesraisedonthisappealcanbe
remedieddirectlybyvacaturwithout
furtherproceedings...............................................................76

CHARTSUMMARIZINGTRANSLATION
ISSUESOVERTIBETANBAICAOTEA.............................................80

CONCLUSION...........................................................................................81

CERTIFICATEOFCOMPLIANCE

CERTIFICATEOFSERVICE

iii

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TABLEOFAUTHORITIES

StatutesandCodes:

15U.S.C.1052(e)(2).............................................................5,47,49

15U.S.C.1115(b)(4).............................................................5,47,50

15U.S.C.1125(a)(1)..................................................................5859

FED.R.CIV.P.65(d)(1)(B)..................................................................56

FED.R.CIV.P.65(d)(1)(C)..................................................................56

FED.R.EVID.201(b)(2).................................................................34,37

Cases:

BowmanTransp.,Inc.v.
ArkansasBestFreightSystem,Inc.,

419U.S.281(1974)...........................................................32,34

CanalCo.v.Clark,

80U.S.(13Wall.)311(1872)............................5,4547,50,54

ChaseManhattanv.AmericanNat.Bank,

93F.3d1064(2dCir.1996)...................................................77

CityofNewYorkv.MickalisPawnShop,LLC,

645F.3d114(2dCir.2011)........................6,57,6061,63,66

iv

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DesignStrategy,Inc.v.Davis,

469F.3d284(2dCir.2006)...................................................25

Hirschv.ArthurAndersen&Co.,

72F.3d1085(2dCir.1995)...................................................35

Kingv.Commissioner,

458F.2d245(6thCir.1972)..................................................77

Linebackv.SpurlinoMaterials,LLC,

546F.3d491(7thCir.2008)...........................57,6061,63,66

Malev.CrossroadsAssociates,

469F.2d616(2dCir.1972)...................................................77

Malletierv.BurlingtonCoatFactoryWarehouseCorp.,

426F.3d532(2dCir.2005)...................................................25

Meccanov.Wanamaker,

253U.S.136(1920).................................................................25

PeregrineMyanmarLtd.v.Segal,

89F.3d41(2dCir.1996).....................................67,59,6263

Register.com,Inc.v.Verio,Inc.,

356F.3d393(2dCir.2004)...................................................25

RosemontEnterprises,Inc.v.RandomHouse,Inc.,

366F.2d303(2dCir.1966)...................................................67

Rothmanv.Gregor,

220F.3d81(2dCir.2000).....................................................35

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page8 of 91

Schmidtv.Lessard,

414U.S.473(1974).................................................................56

StarbucksCorp.v.WolfesBoroughCoffee,Inc.,

588F.3d97(2dCir.2009).....................................................25

Stetsonv.HowardD.Wolf&Assocs.,

955F.2d847(2dCir.1992)...................................................77

SecondaryAuthorities:

Dictionary.com(entryfordefinitionofTibetan),
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tibetan?s=t
(lastvisitedFeb.24,2015)............................................................48

HELENSABIERI,TEA,AGLOBALHISTORY
(ReaktionBooks2010)..................................................................51

ZHIGANGSHA,TAOII:THEWAYOFHEALING,
REJUVENATION,LONGEVITY,ANDIMMORTALITY
(AtriaBooks2010)..........................................................8,37,6768

DAVIDA.TAYLOR,GINSENG,THEDIVINEROOT
(Algonquin2006)...........................................................................52

9ACHARLESA.WRIGHT&ARTHURR.MILLER,FEDERAL
PRACTICEANDPROCEDURE2577(2ded.1994)........................77

vi

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PRELIMINARYSTATEMENT
Thisappealconcernsatrademarkdisputebetweentwosetsof
competingteamerchants.
TheAppellantsareteamerchantsheadquarteredinNewYork
(hereinafter,NewYorkmerchants).TheAppelleeATHIisa
competingteabusinessheadquarteredinCalifornia.
BothsetsofteamakerssellherbalteasformulatedinTibet.
BothsetsofteamakersalsodescribetheirTibetanherbalteasusing
thesameEnglishlanguageandChineselanguageexpressions.
Specifically,bothteamakersusetheexpressionTibetanBaicaoTea,
aswellasthatexpressionsChineseequivalent().
Thesecompetingenterprisesbroughttheactionsbelowtocontest
theirrespectiverightstotheseexpressions.

Thetrialcourtinitiallyenteredapermanentinjunctionagainst

theNewYorkmerchants,forbiddingtheNewYorkmerchantsfrom
usingtheexpressionsbaicao,1baicaotea,2andTibetanbaicao

A90A919,13&14.
1

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tea.3Theinjunctionfurtherenjoinedtheuseoftheseexpressionsin
anylanguage,includingbutnotlimitedtoEnglish,Chinese,or
Tibetantransliterations.4

TheNewYorkmerchantsobjectedtothescopeofthe

injunction.Specifically,theNewYorkmerchantspointedoutthat
theenjoinedtermbaicaowasthepinyinRomanizationoftheChinese
charactersforherbsorherbal.Thus,theinjunctionbarredthe
NewYorkmerchantswhomadetheirlivingsellingherbalteasin
theChinesecommunityfromusingtheeverydayChinesewordsfor
herbal(baicao),herbaltea(baicaotea),andTibetanherbal
tea(Tibetanbaicaotea)inanylanguage,includingbutnotlimited
toEnglish,Chinese,orTibetan.5

TheNewYorkmerchantsinvitedthedistrictcourttoconfirm

baicaostranslationsimplybycopyingthetwoChinesecharactersfor

3
4
5

A91at12.
A90at7.
A91at14.
A91at14.
2

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baicao()intoeitherGooglesfreeinternettranslator6or
Microsoftsfreeinternettranslator7.
Incontrast,ATHIarguedthattheinjunctionoughtnotbe
amendedatall.8DespitetheGoogleandMicrosofttranslations,
ATHIvehementlydeniedanysuchtranslation:[C]ertainlytheterm
herbalactuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall.9
Instead,ATHIclaimedthatthetermbaicaodoesntmean
anything,10andwasafancifultermthat[ATHIspresident]came
upwith11approximatelysixyearsagoonApril8,200912.ATHIs
argumentsechoedthestatementstheyrepeatedlymadebeforethe
U.S.TrademarkOfficethat[t]hewordingBAICAOhasnomeaning
inaforeignlanguage.13

8
9
10
11
12
7

13

http://translate.google.com/
http://www.bing.com/translator/
A145,atlines89.
A143A144,atlines7:258:1.
A144,atline12.
A144,atlines1719.
A59(ATHIclaimingdateofitsFirstUseofthetermbaicaoas
Apr.08,2009).
A59(Translationstatement),A28(same)&A30(same).
3

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Afterconductingseveralhearingsontheissue,thedistrictcourt
amendedtheinitialinjunctiontostrikeallreferencestobaicao(i.e.,
herbal)orbaicaotea(i.e.,herbaltea).14However,thedistrict
courtnonethelessmaintainedthattheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
wasstillprotectable.Thedistrictcourtthuscontinuestobar
permanentlytheNewYorkmerchantsfromusingthetermTibetan
baicaoteainEnglishoranyforeignequivalent.15
Achartsummarizingthetranslationissuesinthiscaseappears
onPage80nearthebackofthisbrief.Fromtheamendedinjunction,
theNewYorkmerchantsnowappealonthreegrounds.
First,thedistrictcourterredinbelievingthattheadditionofthe
geographicadjectiveTibetantotheotherwiseunprotectableterms
baicaotea/herbalteaimbuedthecollectivetermTibetanbaicaotea

14

15

CompareA90A9110&1214(originalJuneinjunctions
provisionsforbaicaoandbaicaotea)withA185A186at
19(Decemberamendedinjunctionsprovisions).
A186at7.
4

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withtrademarkrights.16BoththeTrademarkAct17andtheSupreme
Court18unambiguouslyteachthatthenamesofgeographiclocations
canneverserveasatrademarkwhenthosetermsareusedtodrawa
geographicconnection.
Second,thedistrictcourterredbyinsertingParagraphs1and9
ascatchallprovisionsintendedtoregulateallpotentialfuture
interactionsbetweenATHIandtheNewYorkmerchants,including
interactionsunrelatedtothisaction.ThesetwoParagraphsare
defectiveunderFed.R.Civ.P.65(d)forthreereasons:

16

17

18

A149,atlines2225(Itseemstomethatthetruevisionofthe
situationisthatthetrademarkisTibetanBaicaoTea,and
thatswhatshouldbeprotected,otherthananysinglewordin
thegroup.).
15U.S.C.1052(e)(2)(authorizingTrademarkOfficetorefuse
registrationforanymarkwhichisprimarilygeographically
descriptive;15U.S.C.1115(b)(4)(establishingdefenseagainst
infringementformarksusedtodescribegeographicoriginof
goodsorservices).
CanalCo.v.Clark,80U.S.(13Wall.)311,32425(1872)
(geographicnamespointonlyattheplaceofproduction,not
totheproducer,and[if]they[could]beappropriated
exclusively,theappropriationwouldresultinmischievous
monopolies).
5

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(A) Paragraph9wascouchedinlanguagealmostverbatimto
thetrademarkstatute,inviolationoftherulethatan
injunctionmustprovidemoredetailthanjustan
exhortationtoobeythelaw.19
(B) Paragraph9sprovisionscoveredallATHIgoods
includingcountlessATHIgoodsthatwerenotthesubject
oftheunderlyingactionsinviolationoftherulethat
injunctionsshouldbenarrowlytailoredtocoveronlythe
subjectmatterofthelitigation.20

Similarly,Paragraph1scommandthattheNew

YorkmerchantsnotrunafoulofATHIsproduct
brandingorpackaging21wasinappropriatelyoverbroad

19

20

21

PeregrineMyanmarLtd.v.Segal,89F.3d41,51(2dCir.1996)
([A]ninjunctionmustbemorespecificthanasimple
commandthatthedefendantobeythelaw.).
CityofNewYorkv.MickalisPawnShop,LLC,645F.3d114,
144(2dCir.2011)([I]njunctivereliefshouldbenarrowly
tailoredtofitspecificlegalviolations,andthatthecourtmust
mouldeachdecreetothenecessitiesoftheparticularcase.)
(collectingcases)(citationsomitted).
A185at1.
6

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wherethedistrictcourthadruledexplicitlythatthe
issueslitigated[we]rethewords[Tibetanbaicaotea]22
andnotthepictures23thatcomprisedtheproduct
brandingorpackagingthatParagraph1soughtto
regulate.
(C) Finally,bydescribingtheactstobeenjoinedbyreference
tohowothersmightreacttotheNewYorkmerchants
futureactions,Paragraph9doesnotdetailtheenjoined
actswithsufficientcertainty.24
Third,inviewoftheobjectivelyunreasonablestancestakenby
ATHIinconnectionwiththetermbaicao,thedistrictcourtshould
havedeniedanyinjunctivereliefunderthedoctrineofunclean
hands.InviewofGooglestranslation,Microsoftstranslation,and

22

23
24

A160,atlines1016.
A160,atlines1016(emphasisadded).
PeregrineMyanmar,89F.3dat51(2dCir.1996)(Injunction
requiringlitiganttotakeallotherreasonablyneedfulactions
tofacilitateplaintiffsresumptionoftheirmanagement
authorityin[twobusinesses]wasalsoheldtoviolateRule65
becausetherewasnowayforthelitiganttoknowwhatall
otherreasonablyneedfulactionsmean[t].).
7

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mostdamningly,aNewYorkTimesbestsellersbookspecifically
identifyingthetermbaicaoasfamous[and]ancient,25ATHIs
argumentthatithadinventedthetermbaicaoapproximatelysixyears
agoonApril8,200926wassoobjectivelyunreasonablethatit
amountedtotheworkofuncleanhands.
Forthesereasons,theNewYorkmerchantsrequestthatthis
Courtvacatethedistrictcourtsamendedinjunction.

STATEMENTOFJURISIDCTION
ThisCourtisauthorizedtoexerciseappellatejurisdiction
pursuantto28U.S.C.1292(a)(1).Subjectmatterjurisdictionover
theunderlyingclaimsisprovidedby28U.S.C.1331&1367.

25

26

ZHIGANGSHA,TAOII:THEWAYOFHEALING,REJUVENATION,
LONGEVITY,ANDIMMORTALITY21(AtriaBooks2010)
[hereinafter,SHA,TAOII].
A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
8

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STATEMENTOFRELATEDCASES

Therearefourproceedingsrelatedtothisappeal:

(1) AsacknowledgedbythedistrictcourtinParagraph927ofthe
originalJuneinjunction,onApr.3,2013,AppelleeATHIfiled
U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/894,301withtheU.S.
Patent&TrademarkOffice(USPTO)forthemark
[ChineseforTibetanBaicaoTea].Pursuantto
37C.F.R.2.67andTMEP716.02(a),(c)(d),onJanuary30,
2014,theUSPTO,actingonitsowninitiative,suspended
considerationoftheapplicationpendingtheterminationofthe
underlyingactions.28
(2)

AsacknowledgedbythedistrictcourtinParagraph1029ofthe
originalJuneinjunction,onMay22,2013,AppelleeATHIfiled
U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/939,652withthe

27

28

29

A90at9.
SuspensionNoticefromU.S.TrademarkExaminerCurtis
French,U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/894,301
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85894301&do
cId=SUL20140130173508#docIndex=0&page=1>(Jan.30,2014).
A90at10.
9

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USPTOforthemarkBaicaowiththeU.S.Patent&Trademark
Office(USPTO).Pursuantto37C.F.R.2.67andTMEP
716.02(a),(c)(d),onJanuary30,2014,theUSPTO,actingon
itsowninitiative,suspendedconsiderationoftheapplication
pendingtheterminationoftheunderlyingactions.30
(3)

OnNovember21,2013,AppelleeATHIcommencedacivil
actionintheSupremeCourtoftheStateofNewYork,New
YorkCounty,styledAmericanTibetanHealthInstitutev.K&C
IntlTradingInc.,No.654038/13,seekingcancellationof
DefendantK&CIntlTradingInc.sNewYorktrademark
registrationforitsteapackaging.ThisNewYorkStateactionis
currentlypending.

(4) OnSeptember8,2014,AppelleeATHIfiledaPetitionfor
Cancellation,No.92059991,withtheUSPTOofAppellantMs.
NgsU.S.TrademarkRegistrationNo.4,247,693[Tibetan

30

SuspensionNoticefromU.S.TrademarkExaminerCurtis
French,U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/939,652
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85939652&do
cId=SUL20140130173453#docIndex=0&page=1>(Jan.30,2014).
10

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BaicaoTea].OnFebruary9,2015,theTrademarkTrialand
AppealBoardsuspendedproceedingspendingaresponsefrom
Ms.Ng.31

STATEMENTOFISSUES
1.

CanaretailerofTibetanherbalteaspreventcompeting
merchantsfromusingtheexpressionTibetanherbaltea(in
Englishoranyforeignequivalent)tomarketTibetanherbal
teas?

2.

DothecatchallprovisionsembodiedbyParagraphs1and9
oftheAmendedInjunctionstatetheactstobeenjoinedwiththe
degreeofspecificityrequiredbyFed.R.Civ.P.65(d)?

3.

ShouldtheAppelleesobjectivelyunreasonableargumentsin
thedistrictcourtandtheTrademarkOfficeconcerningthe

31

DecisionoftheUnitedStatesTrademarkTrialandAppeal
BoarddenyingATHIsMotionforDefaultJudgmentat3
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/caseviewer/pdf?caseId=4247693&docInd
ex=1#docIndex=1>(Feb.9,2015)(Pendingaresponsetothis
orderfromRespondent,thecancellationproceedingis
SUSPENDED.)(emphasisinoriginal).
11

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meaningofthetermbaicaobarequitablereliefunderthe
doctrineofuncleanhands?

STATEMENTOFTHECASE

Thisappealarisesoutoftwoseparateactionsbroughtby

competingteabusinesses.TheAppellantsareteamerchantsfrom
NewYork,andtheAppelleeisateacompanyfromCalifornia.

Thelitigantsbroughtduelingactionsagainsteachotherinthe

U.S.DistrictCourtfortheSouthernDistrictofNewYorkovertea
descriptionscontainingtheChinesepinyintermbaicao.The
separateactionswereconsolidatedbeforeTheHonorableLouisL.
Stanton,andATHImovedforapreliminaryinjunction.

Thedistrictcourtconsolidatedthepreliminaryinjunction

hearingwithalimitedjurytrialunderFed.R.Civ.P.65(a)(2).Atthe
limitedtrial,onlytwoquestionswereputtothejury:(1)whichofthe
partieshadmadefirstuseofthemarkswiththebaicaoterm;and(2)

12

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whetherATHIhadabandoneditsmarkwhenATHIstoppedusing
themarkfor10months.32

ThejuryfoundinfavorofATHIonboththesequestions:the

juryconcludedthatATHIusedthebaicaocontainingnamesfirst,and
thatATHIhadnotabandonedthemarks.33Uponthesefindings,on
June25,2014,thedistrictcourtissuedapermanentinjunction
prohibitingtheNewYorkmerchantsfromusingthetermbaicao34or
anyphrasecontainingtheexpressionbaicaoinconnectionwiththe
saleofherbalteas.35

TheNewYorkherbalteamerchantsimmediatelyobjectedto

thescopeoftheinjunction.Specifically,theNewYorkmerchants
pointedoutthatthetermbaicaomeansherbsorherbalin
Chinese.TheNewYorkmerchantsinvited36thedistrictcourtto

32

33
34
35
36

A179.
A179.
A90at10&14.
A90at7,9&1213.
A142A143,atlines6:257:4(ThetermBaicaoisnecessarily
understoodtobeherbal.Itcanbeverifiedbytypingitinto
GoogleTranslateorMicrosoftssearchengine.Wecanallsee
13

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confirmthistranslationsimplybycopyingandpastingthetwo
Chinesecharactersforbaicao()intoreliableandfreeinternet
translationservicessuchasGoogleTranslate37orMicrosoftsBing
Translator38.Underthesetranslations,theinjunctionwouldtherefore
havegivenATHIamonopolyoverthecommondescriptiveterms
herbal,herbalteaorTibetanherbaltea,whichare
unprotectableundertrademarklaw.

InresponseATHIclaimedthatthetermbaicaodidnotinvolve

descriptivetermsatall.AccordingtoATHI,thetermbaicaod[id]nt
meananything,39butrather,wasafancifulterm40thatATHIs

37

38
39
40

thatittranslatesfromChineseintoEnglishasherbal.);A153,
atlines1518(Idohavecopiesoftheprintoutsfromboth
GoogleTranslateandfromMicrosoftBingshowingyouthat
theexpressionBaicaoinfactdoestranslateintotheword
herbalorherbs.).
http://translate.google.com/
http://www.bing.com/translator/
A144,atline12.
A144,atlines1719.
14

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presidentinventedonApril8,200941.[C]ertainly,ATHIasserted,
thetermherbalactuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall.42

Afterconductingseveralhearingsontheissue,thedistrictcourt

concludedthatthetermbaicaodidindeedhavemuchbroaderand
separatemeanings.43OnDecember3,2014,thedistrictcourt
thereuponamendedtheoriginalJune25,2014Injunctiontoremove
allprotectionsforbaicao(i.e.,herbal)andbaicaotea(i.e.,
herbaltea).44

However,thedistrictcourtmaintainedthatTibetanbaicaotea

(i.e.,Tibetanherbaltea)stillcouldproperlybetrademarked.Thus,
undertheAmendedInjunction,theNewYorkmerchants,whosell
Tibetanherbalteas,remainbarredfromusingtheexpression
Tibetanherbalteatodescribetheirproducts.45

41

42

43
44
45

A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
A143A144,atlines7:258:1.
A146,atlines2223.
A178A187.
A185A186at28.
15

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FromtheAmendedInjunction,theNewYorkmerchantsfileda

timelyNoticeofAppealonDecember26,2014.NeithertheJune25,
2014OpinionandInjunctionnortheDecember3,2014Amended
OpinionandInjunctionarereported.

STATEMENTOFFACTS
A. FactualBackground

TheAppellantsaretwoteamerchantsinNewYork.The

AppelleeATHIisacompetingteacompanyfromCalifornia.

Around2009or2010,boththeNewYorkmerchantsand

ATHIbegansellingherbalteasconnectedwithTibet.Bothsets
ofbusinessesusedthenameTibetanbaicaoteatomarket
theirproducts.[Emphasesadded.]

ItisundisputedthatthetermbaicaoinTibetanbaicao

teaisthepinyinRomanizationoftwoChinesecharacters:
.ItisalsoundisputedthatthesetwoChinesecharacters
()arethethirdandfourthcharactersintheChinese

16

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languageversionofTibetanBaicaoTea()
(emphasisadded).

WhenthetwoChinesecharactersforbaicao()are

copiedandpastedintoreliablelanguagetranslationwebsites,
suchasthosepoweredbyGoogle46orMicrosoft47,the
Chinesecharacterstranslateintoherbs.Inotherwords,the
nameTibetanBaicaoTeatranslatesasTibetanHerbalTea.

ATHIdisputesthetranslationsprovidedbyGoogleand

Microsoft.ATHIpersiststhatcertainlythetermherbal
actuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall.48Instead,
accordingtoATHI,thetermbaicaowasafancifultermthat[its
president]cameupwith49approximatelysixyearsagoon
April8,200950.

46

47
48
49
50

http://translate.google.com/
http://www.bing.com/translator/
A143A144,atlines7:258:1.
A144,atlines1719.
A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
17

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Byanuncannycoincidence,bothsetsofcompetingtea

companiesinitiallyengagedthesameteapackagingcompany
toboxtheirteas.Theteapackagingcompanyfurnishedthe
sameboxdesigntobothsetsofteamerchants.Thus,for
severalmonthsin2009,apparentlyunbeknownsttoeithersetof
merchants,bothsetsofcompetingmerchantsmarketedtheir
teasusingthesameboxdesign.

InDecember2009,however,theNewYorkmerchants

changedthedesignoftheirpackagingsuchthatitnolonger
resembledtheoriginalbox.Theonlydesignelementsnow
commontotheoriginalboxandthenewpackagingarethe
wordsTibetanBaicaoTeainEnglishandinChinese.

ATHIspackagedesigncanbeseenintheAppendixat

pagesA68A69,andtheNewYorkmerchantspackagedesign
canbestbeseenatA76A81.(TheexhibitreproducedatA76
A81isaclearcolorimageofaPACERfilingthatwasdifficultto

18

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read.Intheinterestsofcompleteness,theoriginalPACER
filinghasbeenreproducedatA70A75.)
B. RelevantTrademarkRegistrations

Bothsidesalsosoughttrademarkregistrationfortheir

productnames.In2011,oneoftheNewYorkmerchants(Ms.
Ng)registeredthedesignofherproductpackagingasaNew
YorkStatetrademark,andin2012,shealsoregisteredthename
TibetanBaicaoTeaasafederaltrademark51.

Meanwhile,in2012,ATHIsoughttrademarkregistration

fortheexpressionsBaicao,52TibetanBaicaoTea,53andthe
ChinesetranslationofTibetanBaicaoTea()54.
Additionally,in2013,ATHIobtainedU.S.copyright
registrationforitsproductpackaging.

Thetrademarkapplicationsweredistinguishableinat

leastoneverymaterialrespect.IntheNewYorkmerchants

51

52
53
54

A52.
A59A61.
A57.
A53A55.
19

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trademarkapplications,shecandidlydisclosedthattheword
baicaomeantherbal,andthattheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
translatedintoTibetanherbaltea.Specifically,shedeclared
that[t]henonLatincharactersinthemarktransliterateto
Tibetanbaicaotea,andthismeansTibetanherbalteain
English,andthat[t]heEnglishtranslationofbaicaointhe
markisherbs.55

Incontrast,inATHIstrademarkapplicationsforthe

termsbaicao,Tibetanbaicaotea,andthefiveChinese
charactersforTibetanbaicaotea,ATHIrepeatedlytoldthe
U.S.TrademarkOfficeduringtheexparteapplication
proceedingsthatThewordingBAICAOhasnomeaningina
foreignlanguage.56

55

56

A52.
SeerespectivelyA59(certifyingthatThewordingBAICAO
hasnomeaninginaforeignlanguage.);A57(certifyingthat
Theword(s)baicaoha[ve]nomeaninginaforeign
language.)&A53(certifyingthatThewordingBAICAOhas
nomeaninginaforeignlanguage.).
20

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C. ProceedingsBelow

AfterobtainingitstrademarkregistrationforTibetan

BaicaoTea,theNewYorkmerchantdiscoveredlocalsalesoftea
usingtheTibetanBaicaoTeaname.Relyingonthe
TrademarkOfficesapprovalofhertrademarkregistrationas
anindicationthatshenowenjoyedfederalprotectionforthe
mark,onApril22,2013,theNewYorkmerchantsbrought
actionagainstthelocalretailersfortrademarkinfringementin
theSouthernDistrictofNewYork.TheNewYorkmerchants
lateraddedATHIasadefendanttotheactionaswell.

ThreedaysaftertheNewYorkmerchantsinitiatedsuit,

onApril25,2013,ATHIcountersuedbybringingaseparate
actionagainsttheNewYorkmerchants,alsointheSouthern
DistrictofNewYork.ATHIscountersuitwasbased
substantiallyonitsownTibetanBaicaoTearegistration,

21

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whichhadbeenprocuredwiththecertificationthatThe
word(s)baicaoha[ve]nomeaninginaforeignlanguage.57

Bothcaseswerethenconsolidated,andATHImovedfor

apreliminaryinjunction.PursuanttoFed.R.Civ.P.42(b),the
trialcourtconsolidatedATHIspreliminaryinjunctionmotion
withaseparatetrialontwoissues:(1)whichpartymadefirst
useofitsmarkincommerceintheUnitedStates,and(2)if
ATHIwerethefirstuser,whetherATHIlaterabandonedthe
mark.

AjurytriedthesetwoissuesfromMarch24to27,2014,

andrenderedaverdictinfavorofATHIonbothissues:thejury
foundthatATHIwasthefirstuser,andthatATHIdidnot
abandonthemark.

OnJune25,2014,thedistrictcourtenteredapermanent

injunction.58TheinjunctioninitiallybarredtheNewYork

57

58

A57.
A82A94.
22

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merchantsfromusingthetermsbaicao,59baicaotea,60and
Tibetanbaicaotea.61

TheNewYorkmerchantsobjectedthatthetermbaicao

meantherbal,andtheJune25injunctionthereforeforbade
them(asmerchantsofTibetanherbalteas)fromusingthe
wordsherbal,herbalteaandTibetanherbaltea.

OnDecember3,thedistrictcourtthereuponamendedthe

injunction,strikingallprotectionsforthetermsbaicao(i.e.,
herbal)andbaicaotea(i.e.,herbaltea).62However,the
districtcourtleftinplacetheprohibitionagainsttheNewYork
merchantsfromusingtheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea(i.e.,
Tibetanherbaltea).63

59

61
62
63
60

A90A919,13&14.
A9112.
A907.
A178A187.
A185A18628.
23

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FromtheDecember3,2014amendedinjunction,theNew

YorkmerchantsfiledatimelyNoticeofAppealonDecember
26,2014.

SUMMARYOFARGUMENT
1.

TheexpressionTibetanbaicaoteawhetherinEnglishor
anyforeignequivalent,64oritsChineseequivalent65is
descriptiveofTibetanherbalteasandthereforecannotbe
trademarked.

2.

ThecatchallprovisionsofParagraphs1and9donotstate
theactstobeenjoinedwiththespecificityrequiredby
Fed.R.Civ.P.65(d),andwerenotnarrowlytailoredtotheissues
triedbelow.

3.

Inviewoftheobjectivelyunreasonablerepresentations
concerningthemeaningofthetermbaicao,thedoctrineof

64

65

A186at7.
A187at2.
24

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uncleanhandsshouldhaveprecludedATHIfromenjoyingany
injunctiverelief.

STANDARDOFREVIEW

Adistrictcourtsdecisiontograntaninjunctionisreviewedfor

abuseofdiscretionandalsowhetherthegrantwascontraryto
someruleofequity.66Toconstituteanabuseofdiscretion,the
districtcourtsdecisionmusthaverestedonanerroroflawora
clearlyerroneousfindingoffact.67Inassessingwhetherthe
injunctionrestedonanerroroflaw,areviewingcourtgive[s]no
deferencetothedistrictcourtsconclusionsoflaw,whichitreview[s]
denovo,68alongwithmixedquestionsoflawandfact69

66

67

68

69

Register.com,Inc.v.Verio,Inc.,356F.3d393,423(2dCir.2004)
(citingMeccanov.Wanamaker,253U.S.136,141(1920)&Coca
ColaCo.v.TropicanaProducts,Inc.,690F.2d312,315(2dCir.
1982)).
Malletierv.BurlingtonCoatFactoryWarehouseCorp.,426F.3d
532,537(2dCir.2005).
Register.com,356F.3dat423(2dCir.2004).
StarbucksCorp.v.WolfesBoroughCoffee,Inc.,588F.3d97,
105(2dCir.2009)(citingDesignStrategy,Inc.v.Davis,469F.3d
284,300(2dCir.2006)).
25

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Applyingtheseprinciplestothecaseatbar,thequestionof

whetherATHIsTibetanbaicaotearegistrationwastoodescriptive
toreceivetrademarkprotectionisrevieweddenovo.Thequestionof
whetherParagraphs1and9satisfiedFed.R.Civ.P.65(d)isalso
revieweddenovo.Thequestionofwhetherthedistrictcourtgranted
theinjunctiondespiteATHIsuncleanhands,isreviewedforabuseof
discretion.
ARGUMENT

I.

TheexpressionTibetanbaicaoteacannotbe
monopolizedasatrademarkforTibetanherbalteas.

A. TheexpressionTibetanbaicaotea
translatesintoTibetanherbaltea.

1. Thedistrictcourtimplicitlyfoundthat
thetermbaicaomeansherbal.

Atthedistrictcourt,theNewYorkmerchants
arguedthatthetermbaicaomeantherbal,and
invited70thedistrictcourttoconfirmthistranslation

70

A142A143,atlines6:257:4(ThetermBaicaoisnecessarily
understoodtobeherbal.Itcanbeverifiedbytypingitinto
26

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simplybycopyingandpastingthetwoChinese
charactersforbaicao()intoreliableandfree
internettranslationservicessuchasGoogle
Translate71orMicrosoftsBingTranslator72.

Incontrast,ATHIarguedthatthetermbaicao

doesntmeananything.73Rather,ATHIclaimed
thatbaicaowasafancifultermthat[ATHIs
president]cameupwith74onlysixyearsagoonor
aboutApril8,2009.75[C]ertainlythetermherbal

71

72
73
74
75

GoogleTranslateorMicrosoftssearchengine.Wecanallsee
thatittranslatesfromChineseintoEnglishasherbal.);A153,
atlines1518(Idohavecopiesoftheprintoutsfromboth
GoogleTranslateandfromMicrosoftBingshowingyouthat
theexpressionBaicaoinfactdoestranslateintotheword
herbalorherbs.).
http://translate.google.com/
http://www.bing.com/translator/
A144,atline12.
A144,atlines1719.
A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
27

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actuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall,ATHI
advisedthedistrictjudge.76

Thedistrictcourtthereuponheldseveral

hearingsinwhichthemeaningofbaicaowas
discussed.Ateachofthesehearings,thedistrict
courtexpresseditsviewthatthetermbaicaodidnot
deserveprotection.AttheJuly22hearing,the
Courtobservedthatthewordbaicaoisbeing
stretchedintoatrademark,whichstandingaloneit
isnot77:
Ofcourse,this[injunction]wasdrafted
by[AppelleeATHI]andsoIhopeyou
willconveymyviewofit,thatits
overreachingalittlebit.AndIwould
notregretitsabsencefromthis
injunction.Itseemstomethemost
glaringofthesituationswheretheword
baicaoisbeingstretchedintoa
trademark,whichstandingaloneitis
not.SoIraisethatasperhapsthemost,

76

77

A143A144,atlines7:258:1(emphasisadded).
A127,atlines45.
28

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tomymind,leadingcandidatefor
amendment.

Andthereareotherplaceswherethe
descriptionofthetrademarkshouldbe
mademorepreciseandmorenarrow.
Forexample,innumber12,paragraph
12,itreferstoanyproductnamed,
marked,orlabeledorotherwise
identifiedasTibetanBaicaoTeaor
baicaotea.Itseemstomethattheor
baicaoteacouldwellbedeletedifits
identifiedasTibetanBaicaoTea.Weare
dealingwiththetrademarkasexpressed
inthepleadingsandinthepresentation
ofthecase.Andtheremaybeothers
thatcanbeeasilyclarifiedbyan
identificationsomewhereearlyinthe
injunctionoftheprotectedelementas
TibetanBaicaoTea.Anditseemstome
simplyfromaneutralpositionthat
thosemightbedecentclarificationsto
whichwhatevertheproceduralniceties,
the[NewYorkmerchants]deserve.78

Then,onOctober24,2014,thedistrictcourtagain
declaredthatthetermBaicao,...hasmuch
broaderandseparatemeanings79:

78

79

A126A127,atlines32:2533:19(emphasisadded).
A146,atlines2223.
29

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Itseemstomethatwhatwe
oughttodoiseverywherewithinthe
presentinjunctionthatitsaysBaicao,
thewordBaicaostandingaloneorany
otherabridgmentoranyaddition,such
asorBaicaoTea,thoseadditions
shouldberemoved,andintheirplace
thereshouldbesubstitutedthephrase
TibetanBaicaoTea,nomore,noless.

ThatfollowstextuallyandIthink
correctlyonthisrecordfromthe
amendedcomplaint.Itavoidsthe
problemsarisingoutoftheword
Baicao,whichhasmuchbroaderand
separatemeanings,anditisclearand
definable.80

Finally,onDecember3,2014,theCourt

amendeditsoriginalJune25injunctioninwritingto
removeprotectionforthetermsbaicaoorbaicao
tea.81Achartsummarizingthetranslationissues
inthiscaseappearsonPage80nearthebackofthis
brief.

80

81

A146,atlines1423.
A178A187.
30

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Althoughthedistrictcourtruledthatthe

termBaicao,...hasmuchbroaderandseparate
meanings,82thedistrictcourtdidnotexplicitly
articulatewhatbaicaosbroaderandseparate
meaningswere.

However,itisplainfromthedistrictcourts

rationalethatthetermBaicao,...hasmuch
broaderandseparatemeanings,83thatthedistrict
courthadsquarelyrejectedATHIsargumentthat
thetermbaicaodoesntmeananything.84Because
theonlydefinitionofbaicaoprofferedinthis
litigationwasherbsorherbal,werespectfully
submitthatthedistrictcourtsrulingthattheterm
baicaohadbroaderandseparatemeanings85
shouldbeconstruedtosignifyafindingthatthe

82

83
84
85

A146,atlines2223.
A146,atlines2223.
A144,atline12.
A146,atlines2223.
31

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termbaicaomeantherbsorherbal,eventhough
thedistrictcourtdidnotexplicitlysayso.86

Thedistrictcourtsacceptanceofbaicaos

translationasherbsorherbalcanbeconfirmed
furtherbythemannerinwhichthedistrictcourt
amendedtheoriginalJuneinjunction.

Therewerefourparagraphsintheoriginal

Juneinjunctionwhichreferencedbaicaoorbaicao
tea.Paragraph10forbadetheNewYork
merchantsfrominfringingATHIssuspendedU.S.
TrademarkApplicationNo.85/939,652,which
claimedexclusiverightstothetermbaicao.87
Paragraphs13and14forbadetheNewYork
merchantsfrommarketingproductsbearingthe

86

87

Cf.BowmanTransp.,Inc.v.ArkansasBestFreightSystem,Inc.,
419U.S.281,286(1974)(areviewingcourtshouldupholda
decisionoflessthanidealclarityiftheagencyspathmay
reasonablybediscerned).
A90at10.
32

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Baicaomarkorthetermbaicaorespectively.88
Finally,Paragraph12barredtheNewYork
merchantsfrommarketinganyproductswiththe
termbaicaotea.89

Thedistrictcourtomittedeachofthese

provisionsintheamendedDecemberinjunction90
withoutreplacingthemwithanynewprovisions
regardingbaicaoorbaicaotea.Thus,itisclear
thatthedistrictcourtfoundthetermsbaicaoand
baicaoteatobeundeservingofprotection.In
combinationwiththedistrictcourtsstatementson
therecordregardingtheseterms,thereisample
basisforthisCourttoconcludethatthedistrict

88

90
89

A91at1314.
A90at12.
CompareA9010&1214(paragraphsforbaicaoorbaicao
teafromoriginalJuneinjunction)withA185A18619
(termsfromamendedDecemberinjunction).
33

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courthad,infact,construedbaicaotomeanherbs
orherbal.91
2.

ThisCourtcanalsotakejudicialnoticefrom
popularliteratureandfreeinternettranslatorsthat
thetermbaicaomeansherbal.

Evenifthedistrictcourtspronouncements

andactionswerenotsufficientlyclearthattheterm
baicaomeansherbal,thisCourtindependentlycan
takejudicialnoticeofbaicaosundisputable
translationsimplybyusingfreeinternettranslation
servicesmaintainedbyeitherGoogle92or
Microsoft93.

FederalRuleofEvidence201(b)(2)entitlesthis

Courttotakejudicialnoticeoffactsthatcanbe
accuratelyandreadilydeterminedfromsources

91

92

93

Cf.BowmanTransp.,419U.S.at286(areviewingcourtshould
upholdadecisionoflessthanidealclarityiftheagencyspath
mayreasonablybediscerned).
http://translate.google.com/
http://www.bing.com/translator/
34

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whoseaccuracycannotreasonablybequestioned,
andthisCourthaspreviouslytakenjudicialnotice
ofsuchmatteronotherappeals.94

Itisundisputedthatthetermbaicaoisthe

pinyinRomanizationofthethirdandfourthChinese
charactersinthefivecharacterChineselanguage
mark.ThefivecharacterChineselanguagemarkis
shownherewiththetwoChinesecharactersfor
baicaounderlined:.Whenthetwo
Chinesecharactersforthetermbaicao(i.e.,)
arecopiedandpastedintoGoogleTranslate95,the
termtranslatesasherbs.Thesameistrueonthe

94

95

E.g.,Rothmanv.Gregor,220F.3d81,9192(2dCir.2000)
(takingjudicialnoticeofproceedingsinothercourts);Hirschv.
ArthurAndersen&Co.,72F.3d1085,1095(2dCir.1995)(we
maytakejudicialnoticethatbothGoogelandSistipledguilty
tomultiplefeloniesarisingfromtheirinvolvementinColonials
activities).
http://translate.google.com/
35

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MicrosoftBingTranslator96:whenthesametwo
ChinesecharactersareinputtedintoMicrosofts
translator,thetermalsotranslatesasherbs.

Thetranslationofthetermbaicaotomean

herbalisadditionallyconfirmedbycommon
usage.Indeed,arecentbookbyNewYorkTimes
bestsellingphysicianDr.ZhiGangShadescribed
thetermbaicaoasanancientandfamous
termfromChinesefolklore:
Thereisafamousancientstatement:
Shennongchangbaicao....Chang
meanstasteoreat.Baimeansone
hundred;itrepresentsalloreveryin
Chinese.Caomeansherbs.Shen
Nong(saintfarmer)isthefatherof
Chineseagriculture.Fivethousand
yearsago,hetastedhundredsofherbs
toevaluatetheirhealingcharacteristics.
Hewroteanencyclopediaofhis
findings,whichincludesnotonlyherbs,
plantsandflowers,butalsoallkindsof
mineralsandanimalparts....Tothis

96

http://www.bing.com/translator/
36

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day,ShenNonghasbeenreveredasthe
founderoftheChineseherbssystem.97

Inviewoftheconsistenttranslationsfrom

multiplesourceswhoseaccuracycannot
reasonablybequestioned,98theNewYork
merchantsrespectfullyrequestthat,ifthisCourt
foundthedistrictcourtspronouncementstobe
insufficientlyclearonthemeaningoftheterm
baicao,thisCourtshouldtakejudicialnoticeofthe
factthatthetermbaicaomeansherbal.
3.

Inrelatedproceedings,theU.S.Patent&
TrademarkOfficehasdeterminedthattheterm
baicaomeansherbal.

IntheparallelUSPTOproceedingscitedby

thedistrictcourtinitsoriginalJune2014
injunction,99theUSPTOalsodeterminedthatthe

97

98
99

SHA,TAOIIat21.
FED.R.EVID.201(b)(2).
A90at9&10;seealsoStatementofRelatedCases,supra.
37

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termbaicaomeansherbalandthattheexpression
TibetanBaicaoTeameansTibetanHerbalTea.

Forinstance,inATHIsapplicationNo.

85/939,652100fortrademarkregistrationoftheterm
baicao,theU.S.TrademarkOfficeissuedaJul.7,
2013,OfficeActionrefusingATHIsapplicationfor
trademarkregistrationofthetermbaicao.Inits
denial,theTrademarkOfficesquarelyrejected
ATHIsrepresentationsthatthetermbaicaohadno
meaning:

Applicantseekstoregistertheproposed
markBAICAO.Theregisteredmark
consistingofthewordingTIBETAN
BAICAOTEAandfiveChinesecharacters
thattransliteratetoTibetanBaiCaoTea,
andthismeansTibetanHerbalTeain
English.101

100

101

SeeA90at10.
OfficeActionfromU.S.TrademarkExaminerCurtisFrench,
U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/939,652
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85939652&do
cId=OOA20130717223514#docIndex=3&page=1>(Jul.17,2013).
38

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TheTrademarkOfficefurtherobservedthatthe
termbaicaobearsalogicalrelationshiptothe
goods/servicesprovidedbytheapplicant....[and]
appearstomeanherbalandiscommonlyusedin
theindustrytodescribeatypeofteaoriginating
fromTibet:

Theapplicantappliedtoregisterthemark
BAICAO.Theproposedmarkmerely
correspondstowordingwhichisnot
arbitrary,butbearsalogicalrelationshipto
thegoods/servicesprovidedbythe
applicant.ThetermBAICAOappearsto
meanherbalandiscommonlyusedinthe
industrytodescribeatypeoftea
originatingfromTibet.Pleaseseeattached
articlesillustratingthepopularityandwide
useofthewordingBaicaoorherbalteato
describeteasfromTibet.
ThetermBAICAOismerelydescriptive
oftheapplicantsgoods/services,namely,
herbalteacalledBaicaooriginatingfrom
Tibet.Themarkimmediatelynamesthe
exactnatureofthegoods/servicesanddoes
nothingelse.Accordingly,themarkis
refusedregistrationonthePrincipal
Register....

39

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Onthesameday,theU.S.TrademarkOffice

issuedananalogousrefusaltoregisterATHIs
applicationtotrademarkthefiveChinesecharacters
makingupTibetanBaicaoTea(i.e.,
).Onceagain,despiteATHIs
representationsthatthetermbaicaohadno
meaning,theTrademarkOfficefoundthatthefive
ChinesecharacterstranslatedfromChineseinto
EnglishasTibetanHerbalTea:
Applicantseekstoregistertheproposed
markconsistingofFiveChinesecharacters
thattransliteratetoTibetanBaiCaoTea.
Theregisteredmarkconsistingofthe
wordingTIBETANBAICAOTEAandfive
Chinesecharactersthattransliterateto
TibetanBaiCaoTea,andthismeans
TibetanHerbalTeainEnglish.102

102

OfficeActionfromU.S.TrademarkExaminerCurtisFrench,
U.S.TrademarkApplicationSerialNo.85/894,301
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85894301&d
ocId=OOA20130717223752#docIndex=3&page=1>(Jul.17,2013)
40

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Additionally,citingonlinesources,the

TrademarkOfficefurthernotedthattheexpression
TibetanBaicaoTeawascommonlyusedinthe
industrytodescribeatypeofteaoriginatingfrom
Tibet:

Theproposedmarkmerelycorresponds
towordingwhichisnotarbitrary,but
bearsalogicalrelationshiptothe
goods/servicesprovidedbytheapplicant.
ThetermTibetanBaiCaoTeaiscommonly
usedintheindustrytodescribeatypeof
teaoriginatingfromTibet.[Emphasis
added.]

TheTrademarkOfficethereforeconcludedthatthe
expressionTibetanBaicaoTeawastoo
descriptiveforregistrationonthePrincipal
Register:
ThewordingcomprisedoffiveChinese
charactersthattransliteratetoTibetan
BaiCaoTeaismerelydescriptiveofthe
applicantsgoods/services,namely,
herbalteafromTibetororiginatingin
Tibet.Themarkimmediatelynamesthe
exactnatureofthegoods/servicesand
41

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doesnothingelse.Accordingly,themark
isrefusedregistrationonthePrincipal
Register.[Emphasisadded.]

TheopinionsoftheU.S.TrademarkOffice

regardingtheregistrabilityoftermsrelatedtobaicao
nonethelessshouldbegivensubstantialpersuasive
weightinviewoftheOfficesexclusiveagency
mandatetoexaminetheregistrabilityofall
proposedtrademarksintheUnitedStates.

Here,theU.S.TrademarkOfficerepeatedly

concludedthatthetermbaicaomeantherbal,and
refusedtoregisterAppelleeATHIsbaicaorelated
marks.Theagencysconsideredopinionsshould
thusbeaccordedappropriateweightinthisCourts
considerationofthemeaningofthetermbaicao.
4.

EvenATHIimplicitlyhadacknowledged
thatthetermbaicaomeansherbal.

Finally,inatellingstrategicslipinthedistrict

courtproceedingsbelow,evenATHIacknowledged
42

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thatthetermbaicaomeansherbal.103Afterthe
districtcourtissueditsoriginalJuneorderenjoining
theNewYorkmerchantsfromusingtheexpression
Tibetanbaicaotea,theNewYorkmerchants
rebrandedtheirproductsasTibetanherbaltea.

ATHIthencomplainedtothedistrictcourt

thattheNewYorkmerchantsuseofthewords
Tibetanherbalteastillranafoulofthedistrict
courtsinjunctionagainstTibetanbaicaotea:
THECOURT:Isshesellingtheproductinthe
meantime?Yousaytoa
diminishingextent.
MR.LEE: Shehaschangedthepackaging
thatIknowofandsellingthis.
THECOURT:Isee,theNewYellowTibetan
HerbalTea.
MR.LEE: Yes.ButinsideinEnglishitsays
TibetanHerbalTea.Shehasstill
usedthesamefontassheusedfor
theTibetanBaicaoTea,butthey
didchangetheBaicaowordinto
acoupleofdifferentcharacters
calledxenbao,whichtomeisa

103

A168,atlines414.
43

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madeuptermthatshemadeup
forit.ButtheEnglishtermisstill
TibetanHerbalTea.104

Inotherwords,ATHIcomplainedthat

packaginglabeledTibetanHerbalTeaviolated
theinjunctionagainstTibetanBaicaoTea.
However,thissyllogismisonlytrueifTibetan
baicaoteameantTibetanherbaltea,whichin
turn,wouldnecessarilymeanthattheexpression
baicaomeantherbal.Otherwise,ATHIs
argumentthatpackagingmarkedTibetanherbal
teaviolatedtheinjunctiononTibetanbaicao
teawouldmakenologicalsense.

ATHIsslipisarevealingone:ATHIsaysthat

baicaomeansherbalwhenattemptingto
expandthereachoftheinjunction,butthentellsthe

104

A168,atlines414(emphasesadded).
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courtthatbaicaodoesntmeananything105when
thedescriptivenessofthebaicaorelatedmarkis
raised.ATHIcannothaveitbothways:eitherbaicao
meansherbal,orbaicaodoesntmean
anything.106ATHIcannotshiftthetranslationof
thetermbaicaofromonemeaningtoitsdiametric
oppositedependingontheproceduralposturein
whichthetermisbeingconsidered.

ATHIssliprevealedtheundeniable

translationofbaicaoasherbal,andthis
translationshouldbemaintainedconsistently
throughouteveryaspectofthiscase.
B. TheadjectiveTibetancannotbetrademarkedhere
becauseitisdescriptiveoftheTibetanherbalteasat
issue.

SincetheSupremeCourts1872decisioninCanal
Co.v.Clark,ithasbeenwellsettledinAmerican

105

106

A144,atline12.
A144,atline12.
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jurisprudencethattrademarkprotectionisunavailablefor
geographicalnamesbecausegeographicnamessignify
onlytheplaceofproduction,not[]theproducer,and[if]
they[(i.e.,geographicterms)could]beappropriated
exclusively,theappropriationwouldresultin
mischievousmonopolies:
[T]hesamereasonswhichforbidtheexclusive
appropriationofgenericnamesorofthosemerely
descriptive...applywithequalforcetothe
appropriationofgeographicalnames,designating
districtsofcountry....Theypointonlyattheplace
ofproduction,nottotheproducer,andcouldthey
beappropriatedexclusively,theappropriation
wouldresultinmischievousmonopolies.[If]such
phrases,asPennsylvaniawheat,Kentuckyhemp,
Virginiatobacco,orSeaIslandcotton,[could]be
protectedastrademarks;[if]anyone[could]
preventallothersfromusingthem,orfromselling
articlesproducedinthedistrictstheydescribe
underthoseappellations,itwouldgreatly
embarrasstrade,andsecureexclusiverightsto
individualsinthatwhichisthecommonrightof
many....Nothingismorecommonthanthata
manufacturersendshisproductstomarket,
designatingthembythenameoftheplacewhere
theyweremade.107

107

CanalCo.v.Clark,80U.S.(13Wall.)311,32425(1872).
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TheveryprinciplesarticulatedinCanalCo.arealso

codifiedfromtheTrademarkActatseveralplacesinthe
UnitedStatesCode.Forinstance,Section1052(c)(2)of
Title15forbidstheregistrationoftrademarkswhichis
primarilygeographicallydescriptiveoftheapplicants
goods:
15U.S.C.1052(e)(2)
Notrademarkbywhichthegoodsofthe
applicantmaybedistinguishedfromthe
goodsofothersshallberefusedregistration
ontheprincipalregisteronaccountofits
natureunlessit
...
(e)Consistsofamarkwhich...(2)when
usedonorinconnectionwiththegoodsofthe
applicantisprimarilygeographically
descriptiveofthem.[Emphasisadded]

AdifferentpartoftheTrademarkAct,codifiedat15

U.S.C.1115(b)(4),furtherexemptsfromliabilitytheuse
ofexpressionsusedtodescribethegoodsorservices...
ortheirgeographicorigin:

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[T]herighttousetheregisteredmarkshall
be...subjecttothefollowingdefensesor
defects:
....
(4) Thattheuseofthename,term,or
devicechargedtobeaninfringementisause,
otherwisethanasamark,ofthepartys
individualnameinhisownbusiness,orofthe
individualnameofanyoneinprivitywith
suchparty,orofatermordevicewhichis
descriptiveofandusedfairlyandingood
faithonlytodescribethegoodsorservicesof
suchparty,ortheirgeographicorigin.
[Emphasisadded.]

Incommonusage,thewordTibetanisan

adjectiveunderstoodtomeanoforrelatingtoTibet,its
inhabitants,ortheirlanguage.108Thus,theterm
Tibetanisundeniablyageographicmodifier.The
recordshowsthatboththeNewYorkmerchantsand
ATHIusedthetermTibetaninTibetanBaicaoTeato
signifyageographicconnectionbetweentheirrespective
teasandTibet.

108

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/tibetan?s=t(definition
ofTibetan)(lastvisitedFeb.24,2015).
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Attrial,oneoftheNewYorkmerchantstestified

thatherteablendwasdevelopedbyastudentwhowas
learningtheTibetanmedicine.109ATHItestifiedthatits
competingteablendwas[m]adeinTibet[].110Thus,
boththeAppellantandtheAppelleeusedtheterm
TibetantocommunicatetheconnectionbetweenTibet
andtheirrespectiveteas.

ItisthereforeplainthattheadjectiveTibetan

usedtodescribethepartiesherbal/baicaoteaisis
primarilygeographicallydescriptiveof111therespective
teasmarketedbytheAppellantsandtheAppellee.Itis
equallyplainthatthetermTibetaninTibetanbaicao
teaalsodescribe[s]thegoodsorservices[]geographic
origin.112

109

110
111
112

A67,atlines711.
A65,atlines16.
15U.S.C.1052(e)(2).
15U.S.C.1115(b)(4).
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Assuch,bothCanalCo.andtheTrademarkAct

precludeATHIfrompreventingcompetingmerchantsof
TibetanherbalteasfromusingtheexpressionTibetan
baicaoteaoranyforeignlanguageequivalent,suchas
TibetanherbalteaortheChinesecharactersforTibetan
herbal/baicaotea.

C. Thefreedomtousegeographictermsasdescriptive
productnamesisespeciallyimportantforteas.

Theavailabilityofgeographicnamesasdescriptive
adjectivesisespeciallyimportantfortea,where
geographictermsareuniversallyrecognizedasshorthand
forconveyingthepropertiesofateatoeveryday
consumers.Anyonewhohasstrolledthrougha
supermarketwouldlikelyhaveencounteredboxesof
Darjeeling,Ceylon,Assam,orevenPuerhteas;theseteas
arenamedfortheirplacesofgeographicorigin,
respectively,theIndiandistrictofDarjeelinginWest
Bengal,theformerterritoryofBritishCeyloninthe
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nationofSriLanka,theIndianstateofAssam,andthe
ChinesecityofPuerhinYunnanProvince.113

Inthecontextofherbalteaswithperceived

medicinalproperties,thegeographicnameassociated
withtheteaisparticularlycritical.Forinstance,ginseng
teasarenamedbyregion(American,Asian,
Chinese,Japanese,SiberianandWisconsin)to
denotemedicinalpropertiesandcultivationstatus:
Wildginsengcommandsthehighestprice,
andislimitedtotheplantsnativerange.For
Americanginseng(Panaxquinquefolius),that
basicallymeansmountainseastofthe
MississippiRiver....WildAsianginseng
(Panaxginseng)isfoundonlyinnortheastern
China,KoreaandpartsofSiberia.
Otherginsengrelativesare:Panaxnotoginseng,
foundinChinaassanchiortienchiginseng;
Panaxjaponicum,orJapaneseginsengand
foundonlyinJapan....Eleutherococcus
senticsus,sometimescalledSiberianginseng,
isnottrueginseng,butarelativeinthesame
plantfamily...andlabelingrulesnow

113

HELENSABIERI,TEA,AGLOBALHISTORY1617(ReaktionBooks
2010).
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prohibititfrombeingmarketedunderthe
nameginseng.

Cultivatedginsengisthefarmgrownversion
...Forgenerationsitwascultivatedin
Wisconsin.114

Mistakingthegeographicoriginofonetypeof

ginsengforanothercould,infact,producetheopposite
physiologicaleffectthatonemightwishtoelicit:Asian
ginsengandAmericanginsengadapteddifferentlyto
theirrespectivehomes,withsubtlevariationsin
chemistry...theAsianastimulant,theAmericana
relaxant...115

Inthecaseatbar,bothsetsofteamakerstestifiedto

acommonbeliefthatherbalmedicinalteasfromTibet
exhibitedantiallergicandantiinflammatoryproperties.
ATHIspresidenttestifiedthatherTibetanherbaltea
help[s]torelievethesinusandallergyandcan

114

115

DAVIDA.TAYLOR,GINSENG,THEDIVINEROOT9(Algonquin
2006)[hereinafterTAYLOR,GINSENG].
TAYLOR,GINSENGat13(emphasisadded).
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functionasadetoxificationagent[and]releasetheheat
inthebody:
[T]histeacanrelievetiredness,functionasa
detoxificationagent.Itcanreleasetheheatin
thebody.Itisalsoveryspecialifyoudrink
morewaterwithit,itcancleanseupyour
intestin[]eandyourbowel.
...
...[T]hisparticularteacanenhance
immunizationofthebodyandhencehelpto
relievethesinusandallergy.116

Similarly,theNewYorkmerchanttestifiedthat

Tibetanbaicaoteawasgoodfor...theallergy,and
couldalsotreatinflammatoryconditionssuchasgoutand
bonepain:
OnestudentwhowaslearningtheTibetan
medicine....saiditwasgoodforthegate
[sic:gout]andthebonepain,andalsoforthe
allergy.117

Regardlessofwhetherthereisanyclinicalmeritto

thesebeliefs,itisatleastclearthatmanypeople

116

117

A63A64,atlines32:1733:1.
A67,atlines11&2021.
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(includingthepartiestothislitigation)perceiveTibetan
herbalteatohavespecificmedicinalqualities.Inthe
samewaythatconsumersusethetermsDarjeelingor
Ceylontoconnoteflavor,orthetermsAmerican
ginsengorChineseginsengtoconnotemedicinal
effectbothpartiesusedthetermTibetanasshorthand
toconveythehealthbenefitsoftheirparticularherbal
teas.

Theimportanceofgeographictermsindescribing

teasillustratesthewisdombehindtherulesarticulatedby
theTrademarkActandtheSupremeCourtsCanalCo.
decisionagainstallowinggeographictermstobe
monopolized.

Here,theNewYorkmerchantshavefollowedthe

standardconventionofdescribingtheirTibetanherbaltea
asTibetanherbal/baicaotea,andtheiruseofthis

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descriptivetermtomarketTibetanherbalteasshouldnot
bedeniedundertrademarklaw.

II. ThecatchallprovisionsofParagraphs1and9donot
statetheactsenjoinedwiththespecificityrequiredby
Fed.R.Civ.P.65(d).

Paragraphs1and9oftheAmendedInjunctionshouldbe
vacatedbecausetheyarenotsufficientlyspecificunder
Fed.R.Civ.P.65(d).Foreaseofconsideration,weaddress
Paragraph9first.
A. TheactsthatParagraph9seekstoenjoin
arenotadequatelyspecified,nornarrowly
tailoredtotheissuestriedbelow.

Initsentirely,Paragraph9reads:

Makinganystatementorrepresentation
whatsoever,orusinganyfalsedesignationof
originorfalsedescription,orperformingany
act,whichmayorislikelytoleadthetradeor
public,orindividualmembersthereof,to
believethatanyproductsmanufactured,
imported,distributed,orsoldbyDefendants
areinanymannerassociatedorconnected
withAmericanTibetHealthInstitute,Inc.,or
aresold,manufactured,licensed,sponsored,
approvedorauthorizedbyATHI.
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Fed.R.Civ.P.65(d)requiresallinjunctionstostate

itstermsspecifically118anddescribeinreasonable
detailandnotbyreferringtothecomplaintorother
documenttheactoractsrestrainedorrequired119:
[T]hespecificityprovisionsofRule65(d)are
nomeretechnicalrequirements.TheRulewas
designedtopreventuncertaintyand
confusiononthepartofthosefacedwith
injunctiveorders,andtoavoidthepossible
foundingofacontemptcitationonadecree
toovaguetobeunderstood.Sincean
injunctiveorderprohibitsconductunder
threatofjudicialpunishment,basicfairness
requiresthatthoseenjoinedreceiveexplicit
noticeofpreciselywhatconductis
outlawed.120

Rule65(d)issatisfiedonlyiftheenjoinedparty

canascertainfromthefourcornersoftheorderprecisely
whatactsareforbiddenorrequired.Rule65(d)issaidto
servetwogeneralpurposes:topreventuncertaintyand

118

119
120

FED.R.CIV.P.65(d)(1)(B).
FED.R.CIV.P.65(d)(1)(C).
Schmidtv.Lessard,414U.S.473,476(1974).
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confusiononthepartofthosetowhomtheinjunctionis
directed,andtoensurethattheappellatecourtknows
preciselywhatitisreviewing.121

WithinthemeaningofRule65(d),[a]ninjunction

isoverbroadwhenitseekstorestrainthedefendants
fromengaginginlegalconduct,orfromengagingin
illegalconductthatwasnotfairlythesubjectoflitigation.
...[A]ninjunctionisoverbroadifitresultsina
likelihoodofunwarrantedcontemptproceedingsforacts
unlikeorunrelatedtothoseoriginallyjudged
unlawful[.]122

Paragraph9failstosatisfytherequirementsofRule

65(d)inatleastthreeindependentrespects.First,
Paragraph9scoreproscriptionprecludingAppellants

121

122

CityofNewYorkv.MickalisPawnShop,LLC,645F.3d114,
144(2dCir.2011)(collectingcases)(citationsomitted).
MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat145(2dCir.2011)(quoting
Linebackv.SpurlinoMaterials,LLC,546F.3d491,504(7thCir.
2008)).
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usinganyfalsedesignationoforiginorfalsedescription
...whichmayorislikelytoleadthetradeorpublic...to
believethatanyproducts...by[Appell]antsare...
associatedorconnectedwithAppelleewaslifted
almostverbatimfromtheTrademarkAct.

Assuch,Paragraph9isnothingmorethanabare

commandtoobeythetrademarklaw.Thelanguageof
Paragraph9isacatchallprovisioncopiedfromthe
generalizedlanguageof15U.S.C.1125(a)(1).The
operativelanguageofParagraph9usinganyfalse
designationoforiginorfalsedescription...whichmay
orislikelytoleadthetradeorpublic...tobelievethat
anyproducts...byDefendantsare...associatedor
connectedwithAppelleeisvirtuallyidenticaltothe
languagefromthestatuteus[ing]anyfalsedesignation
oforigin,false...description...which...islikelyto

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causeconfusion,or...mistake...astotheaffiliation,
connection,orassociation.

AsthisCourthasexplained,aninjunctionmustbe

morespecificthanasimplecommandthatthedefendant
obeythelaw.123ParaphrasingthelanguageofSection
1125(a)(1)andinsertingtheAppelleesnameintothe
paraphrasedstatutedoespreciselywhatFed.R.Civ.P.
65(d)andthisCourtsprecedentsprohibit,andthis
Paragraphthereforeshouldbevacated.

Second,Paragraph9sscopecoveringallproducts

sold,manufactured,licensed,sponsored,approvedor
authorizedby[theAppellee],124impermissiblyreaches
farbeyondthesingleherbalteaproductthatwaslitigated

123

124

PeregrineMyanmarLtd.v.Segal,89F.3d41,51(2dCir.1996).
A186at9.
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belowtoencompassproductsnotfairlythesubjectof
litigation.125

Ithasbeentheconsistentandfirmteachingofthis

Courtthatinjunctivereliefshouldbenarrowlytailored
tofitspecificlegalviolations,andthatadistrictcourt
mustmouldeachdecreetothenecessitiesofthe
particularcase.126

TheunderlyinglitigationrelatessolelytoTibetan

herbalteas.However,Paragraph9coversmuchmore
thanjusttheTibetanherbalteasthatwerethesubjectof
theunderlyinglitigationParagraph9precludesthe
Appellantfrommarketinganythingwhichmightbe
confusedwithanyproductssold,manufactured,
licensed,sponsored,approvedorauthorizedby[the

125

126

CityofNewYorkv.MickalisPawnShop,LLC,645F.3d114,
145(2dCir.2011)(quotingLineback,546F.3dat504(7thCir.
2008)).
MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat144(2dCir.2011)(collecting
cases)(citationsomitted).
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Appellee],includingthehundredsoreventhousandsof
theAppelleesproductswhichwerenotfairlythe
subjectoflitigation.127

Third,andfinally,Paragraph9isinadequately

specificbecauseitconditionscomplianceuponhowother
personsmightreacttotheNewYorkmerchantsactions.
TheinjunctionprohibitstheNewYorkmerchantsfrom
performinganyactswhichmayorislikelytolead
otherstobelievethattheNewYorkmerchantsgoodsare
somehowconnectedwithATHI.

Thereisinherentuncertaintyinpegging

compliancetohowsomeoneelsemayorislikelyto
reactinthefuture.Thus,forinstance,thisCourthasheld
thatanorderenjoiningalitigantfromtryingto
intimidateplaintiffsofficers,directors,employeesand
agentsintheexerciseoftheirdutieswiththreatsof

127

MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat145(2dCir.2011)(quoting
Lineback,546F.3dat504(7thCir.2008)).
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spuriouslawsuits128didnotcomportwithRule65(d)
becauseitwillbeimpossiblefor[thelitigant]anon
lawyertoknowinadvancewhichthreatenedlawsuits
arespuriousandwhicharenot129.

Similarly,anordertotakeallotherreasonably

needfulactionstofacilitateplaintiffsresumptionoftheir
managementauthorityin[twobusinesses]wasalsoheld
toviolateRule65(d)becausetherewasnowayforthe
litiganttoknowwhatallotherreasonablyneedful
actionsmean[t]130:
ThereissimplynowayforSegaltoknow
whatallotherreasonablyneedfulactions
means.Thephraseisundefined.Underthis
paragraph,Segalriskscontemptifsheguesses
wrongaboutwhatconstitutesareasonably
needfulaction,orifshefailstoaccedeto
whateverdemandstheplaintiffsmaymake
uponherinthefuturetofacilitatethe
exerciseoftheirmanagementauthority.As
plaintiffscounseladmittedatoralargument,

128

129
130

PeregrineMyanmarLtd.v.Segal,89F.3d41,49(2dCir.1996).
PeregrineMyanmar,89F.3dat51(2dCir.1996).
PeregrineMyanmar,89F.3dat51(2dCir.1996).
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thisparagraphisnothingmorethanacatch
all.Theparagraphmustthereforebevacated
asinconsistentwithRule65(d).131

Asacatchallprovision,Paragraph9wasplainlynot
mould[ed]...tothenecessitiesofth[is]particular
case,132andtheParagraphshouldthusbevacated.
B. TheactsthatParagraph1seekstoenjoin
arenotadequatelyspecified,nornarrowly
tailoredtotheissuestriedbelow.

Paragraph1alsodoesnotmeetthespecificity

standardsofFed.R.Civ.P.65(d)insofarasParagraph1
alsoattemptstoaddressmattersthatwerenotfairlythe
subjectoflitigationbelow.133

Paragraph1prohibitstheNewYorkmerchants

fromclaim[ing]ownershipofordisparag[ing]ATHIs

131

132

133

PeregrineMyanmar,89F.3dat52(2dCir.1996).
MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat144(2dCir.2011)(collecting
cases)(citationsomitted).
MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat145(2dCir.2011)(quoting
Lineback,546F.3dat504(7thCir.2008)).
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productbrandingorpackagingbyreferringtoitasold,
former,orequivalent.134

However,theinjunctionhadnotbeenheardonthe

questionofATHIsproductbrandingorpackaging,135
whichParagraph1seekstoremedy.Asthedistrictcourt
pointedout,thecoretrademarkissueinthecaserevolved
aroundthewordsTibetanbaicaoteaandnotthe
picturesfromtheproductbrandingorpackaging:
WhatisalwaysatissueisTibetanBaicao
Tea....Ithinkthecoretrademarkinthe
senseofwhatisatrademarkarethewords,
notthepictures.136

Indeed,thedistrictcourthadrefusedATHIsrequeststo
insertotherprovisionsconcerningproductbrandingor
packaging137becausetheissueofthepicturedesignson
thepackagingwasaseparate[]issue,anditwasonly

134

135
136
137

A185at1.
A185at1.
A160,atlines1016(emphasisadded).
A185at1.
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theTibetanbaicaoteaphrasewhichATHIallegedhad
beenabusedandwhichwassoughttobeprotected138:
Iwasleftwiththeimpressionthatthewords
TibetanBaicaoTeacouldbeusedseparately
fromanyhorse,scroll,orwhatever....And
thereforethey[thehorseandscrollproduct
designsandpackaging]werentanecessary
partoftheprotectableunit.They[thehorse
andscrollproductbrandingandpackaging]
mightcomeandtheymightgo,butitwasthe
phraseTibetanBaicaoTeawhichhadbeen
abusedandwhichwassoughttobeprotected,
andthattheywerelessimportant.139

Byreachingouttoaddressproductbrandingor

packaging,140eventhoughtheissueslitigated[we]re
thewords[Tibetanbaicaotea]141andnotthe
pictures142thatcomprisedproductpackagingand
branding,Paragraph1impermissiblyregulatesmatters

138

140
141
142
139

A158,atlines78.
A158,atlines19.
A185at1.
A160,atlines1016.
A160,atlines1016(emphasisadded).
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thatwerenotfairlythesubjectoflitigation,143andthe
Paragraphshouldthereforebevacated.

III. EveniftheexpressionTibetanbaicaoteacouldbe
trademarked,thedistrictcourtshouldhavedenied
injunctivereliefonthedoctrineofuncleanhands.

Evenassuming,arguendo,thatTibetanBaicaoTeawere
avalidtrademark,thetrialcourtshouldstillhavedeniedATHI
aninjunctionunderthedoctrineofuncleanhands.The
positiontakenbyATHIwithrespecttothemeaningofbaicao
wassoobjectivelyunreasonablethatATHIshouldnothave
beenentitledtoenjoythebenefitsofequitablerelief.

ItisafoundationaltenetofAngloAmerican

jurisprudencethatequitywillevadethegraspofalitigantwho
reachesforinjunctivereliefwithuncleanhands.Acourt
thereforeshoulddenyinjunctivereliefwherethepartyseeking
theinjunctionhasnotacquitteditselfwiththemeasureof

143

MickalisPawnShop,645F.3dat145(2dCir.2011)(quoting
Lineback,546F.3dat504(7thCir.2008)).
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equitythatpartyseeks.144Inthecaseatbar,ATHIsarguments
concerningthelackofmeaningofthetermbaicaowereso
pervasiveandobjectivelyunreasonablethatATHIis
undeservingofanyequitablerelief.

Asnotedabove,Googlesfreeinternettranslatorand

MicrosoftsfreeBingtranslatorbothagreedthattheterm
baicaomeansherbs.Thisinformationwasandremainsfreely
andreadilyavailabletoanyonewithinternetaccess.Moreover,
asrecountedinthepopularbookbybestsellingphysicianDr.
Sha,145thetermbaicaohasbeenusedforthousandsofyears.

Yetdespitetheundeniabletranslationsofbaicaotomean

herbsorherbal,inapplyingfortrademarkregistrationof
thebaicaomarksinthislitigation,ATHIneverdisclosedbaicaos

144

145

RosemontEnterprises,Inc.v.RandomHouse,Inc.,366F.2d
303,313(2dCir.1966)(Lumbard,C.J.,&Hays,J.,concurring)
(Theplaintiffsconductinthistransactionwasnotconsistent
withtheequityitseeks;itcameintocourtwithuncleanhands.
This,ofitself,wassufficientreasonwhythedistrictcourt
shouldnothavegrantedthepreliminaryinjunction.).
SHA,TAOIIat21.
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meaningtotheTrademarkOffice.Tothecontrary,ATHI
activelydeniedthatbaicaohadanymeaningatall.

Initsapplicationtoregisterthetermbaicao,ATHI

assuredtheU.S.TrademarkOfficethat[t]heword[]BAICAO
hasnomeaninginaforeignlanguage.146ATHIrepeatedthe
sameassurancestotheU.S.trademarkOfficeinordertowin
registrationforTibetanBaicaoTea,147andagaininapplying
fortheChinesecharacterversionofTibetanBaicaoTea148.

EvenwhenconfrontedwiththeGoogleandMicrosoft

translations,ATHIobduratelyinsistedthat[C]ertainlytheterm
herbalactuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall.149ATHI
thenproceededtoembellishthestatementsithadmadeinthe
TrademarkOfficebyclaimingthatbaicaoafamous[and]
ancient150termfromthedawnofChinesecivilizationwas,in

146

148
149
150
147

A59.
A57.
A53.
A143A144,atlines7:258:1(emphasisadded).
SHA,TAOIIat21.
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truth,afancifultermthat[ATHIspresident]cameupwith151
onlysixyearsagoonoraboutApril8,2009.152

Throughitsabsurdpositionontheoriginsoftheterm

baicao,ATHIinitiallypersuadedthedistrictcourttoissuean
injunctionforbiddingtheNewYorkherbalteamerchantsfrom
usingthetermsbaicao(herbal)153andbaicaotea(herbal
tea)154.Thiswrongfulinjunctionremainedinforceagainstthe
NewYorkmerchantsforalmostsixmonths,duringwhich
ATHIaggressivelyresistedamendmentoftheinjunction.155

ATHIsjawdroppingaccountofhowanancientChinese

phrasehad,infact,beeninventedbyitspresidentonlysix
yearsago156,coupledwithATHIsmaintenanceofaninjunction

151

152
153

155
156
154

A144,atlines1719.
A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
A90A91at10&1314.
A90at12.
E.g.,A145,atlines89.
A59(allegingdateofFirstUseofthetermbaicaoasApr.08,
2009).
69

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page78 of 91

thatATHIknewtobeimpermissiblyoverbroad,makesATHI
anunsuitablebeneficiaryforequitablerelief.

Theuncleanhandsissueinthiscaseisnotsimplyabout

retrospectivelypunishingATHIforitspastactions.The
uncleanhandsdoctrinealsoinherentlyaddressestheconcernof
whether,prospectively,alitigantthattriessoaggressivelyto
seizetrademarkrightsoverauniversallyknownexpression
couldbeentrustedtowieldresponsiblythepotentcoercive
powerofafederalinjunction.Wherealitiganthasso
vexatiouslymaintainedanobjectivelyuntenablepositionin
litigation,thatlitigantoughtnotbeentitledtoenjoythebenefits
ofinjunctiverelief,andthetrialcourtshouldthereforehave
withheldinjunctivereliefaltogetherunderthedoctrineof
uncleanhands.

Thecaseforemployingthedoctrineofuncleanhandsto

barATHIfromallinjunctivereliefonmattersconsideredbelow

70

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isparticularlystronghereifthisCourtfindstheexpression
TibetanBaicaoTeatobetoodescriptivetowarrantprotection.

SevenoutofthenineparagraphsintheAmended

InjunctionrelatespecificallytotheTibetanBaicaoTeamark
(Paragraphs2through8).AndasarguedinPartIIabove,the
remainingtwoparagraphs(Paragraphs1and9)arecatchall
provisions,whichdonotaddressanyspecifictrademarkor
violation.

IfthistribunalagreesthatTibetanBaicaoTeaistoo

descriptivetowarrantprotection,thenParagraphs2through8
wouldneedtobecurtailedorvacated.Howeverwithoutthese
sevencoreparagraphs,theAmendedInjunctionwouldbe
significantlydiminished,andasapracticalmatter,theremnant
Paragraphs1and9wouldlackanyrealpotencyinregardto
theissuesinthisaction(assumingthattheyevensatisfythe
Fed.R.Civ.P.65(b)narrowtailoringandspecificity
requirementsdiscussedinPartIIabove).

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However,thefactthattheremnantparagraphsmightno

longerformaspotentaninjunctiondoesntmeanthata
studiouslyabusivelitigantcouldnotmakevexatioususeofthat
diminishedinjunction.Forinstance,anaggressivelitigant
mightchoosetousetheremnantinjunctiontocowretailersinto
avoidingtheNewYorkmerchantsproducts.Orthelitigant
mightattempttosowconfusionbytellingothersthatthe
SecondCircuitaffirmedtheinjunction.

Thesearenotmerelyacademicorabstractconcerns;they

haveallactuallyhappenedinthiscase.Evennow,ATHI
continuestothreatenlocalretailerswithlawsuitsiftheycarry
anyoftheNewYorkmerchantsbaicaoherbaltea,evenwhen
theherbalteaisnotlabeledTibetanbaicaotea.

Moreover,intheparallelcancellationproceedings,inan

efforttolifttheUSPTOsstayofproceedingspendingthe
outcomeofthislitigation,ATHIhadincorrectlyrepresentedto
theUSPTOthatthedistrictjudgesJuneinterlocutory

72

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page81 of 91

injunctionwasajudgmentandfinalopinionfromwhich
[n]oappeal...hasbeenfiled,157eventhoughtheAppellants
had,infact,alreadyfiledrequestswiththedistrictcourtfor
posttrialrelief,andtheundersignedcounselhadalready
appearedintheactiontoparticipateposttrialandappellate
proceedings.158ATHIsinaccuraterepresentationscreated
unnecessaryproceedingsattheUSPTO,whichthenrequired

157

158

Registrant[ATHI]sMotiontoResumeat3(The[district]
courtgrantedjudgmentonthemeritsinATHIsfavoronits
claimofinfringementofitsTIBETANBAICAOTEAmark
againstKamNgasthecourtpermanentlyenjoinedKamNg
fromusingtheTIBETANBAICAOTEAmarkshownin
RegistrationNo.4,330,569inallgeographicareasoftheUnited
States.Noappealofthecourtsopinionandinjunctionhasbeen
filed.Theverdictandfinalopiniondefinitivelyestablishonthe
meritsthatATHIhaspriorityandsuperiorrightsinits
TIBETANBAICAOTEAmarkoverKamNg.)
<http://tsdr.uspto.gov/caseviewer/pdf?caseId=4330569&docInd
ex=14#docIndex=14>(Jul.15,2014).
Compareid.(ATHIsJuly152014MotiontoResumetoUSPTO
statingthatdistrictjudgesJuneinterlocutoryinjunctionwasa
judgmentandfinalopinionfromwhich[n]oappeal...
hasbeenfiled)withA17A18(districtcourtdocketsheet
showingmultiplefilingsmadebetweentheJune25,2014date
oftheinitialinjunction,andtheJuly15,2014dateofATHIs
MotiontoResume).
73

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Appellant(Ms.)KamNgtodevotetimeandresourcesto
undoingATHIsrepresentations.

Naturally,ifthisCourtfindsthatATHIslitigation

strategyconcerningtheoriginsofthewordbaicaowas
disingenuous,thenplainlythedoctrineofuncleanhands
shouldbarATHIfromenjoyinganyequitablerelief.However,
underthecircumstancesofthiscase,thisCourtneednotfind
thatATHIactedwithactualdishonestyinordertodenyATHI
equitablerelieftounderthedoctrineofuncleanhands.

Here,despiteoverwhelmingcontraryevidencefrom

internettranslators,publishedbestsellersandeventheUSPTO,
ATHIhasobstinatelymaintainedthatcertainlytheterm
herbalactuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall,159andthat
thetermbaicaowasafancifulterm160thatd[id]ntmean
anything161andsomehowwasinventedbyATHIspresident

159

160
161

A143A144,atlines7:258:1.
A144,atlines1719.
A144,atline12.
74

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inApril2009162.TheobjectiveunreasonablenessofATHIs
advocacydemonstratesadegreeofinequitythatshould
disqualifyATHIfromobtaininganyequitablerelieftowhichit
mightotherwisehavebeenentitled.ATHIsdecisionto
prolonglitigationoverthisfarcicalissuefurtherweighsagainst
ATHIonthispoint.

TherecklessaggressivenesswithwhichATHIpressedits

untenablehistoryofthetermbaicaoservesasapredictorfor
howATHImightcomportitselfwithanyinjunctioninhand,no
matterhowdiminished.Alitigantwhohasnocompunctions
aboutclaimingthatitinventedthetermbaicaoasanew
Chinesephrasein2009wheninfact,thatphrasehadbeenin
useformillenniacannotbecountedontodutifullyexercise
animplementasdangerousasafederalinjunction,evenifthe
injunctionismild.Theofficeoftheuncleanhandsdoctrine

162

A59(ATHIclaimingdateofitsFirstUseofthetermbaicaoas
Apr.08,2009).
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ensuresthatinjunctivedecreesarenotentrustedtolitigants
whobelievethatitisreasonabletolitigateinsuchafashion.

IfthisCourtfindsthatATHIisnotentitledtoTibetan

baicaotea,themarginalbenefitsofretainingthetworesidual
catchallparagraphsaresubstantiallyoutweighedbythe
likelihoodformischief,asdemonstratedbythehistoryofthis
case.

IV. Theissuesraisedonthisappealcanberemedied
directlybyvacaturwithoutfurtherproceedings.

Noneofthegroundspresentedonthisappeal,if
accepted,requirearemandforfurtherproceedings.

Aremandisrequiredonlyifthetrialcourtwouldbeina

superiorpositiontoresolveanyremainingissuesfromthe
appeal.Areviewingcourtneednotremandacausetothe
districtcourtifthematterisconclusivelyresolvedbythe
appellatejudgment:
Anappellatecourthasthepowertodecidecases
onappealifthefactsintherecordadequately
76

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supporttheproperresult,oriftherecordasa
wholepresentsnogenuineissueastoanymaterial
fact.(Theappellatecourtwilldeterminetheappeal
withoutmoreif...theonlycontentionsraisedbythe
partiesonappealdonotturnonfindingsoffact.).
Thus,ifwefindthatapartymustprevailasa
matteroflaw,aremandisunnecessary.163

Remandsareparticularlyunnecessarywhere,ashere,the
issuesaredecidedpurelyondocumentaryevidencewithout
requiringthecredibilityofwitnessestobeweighed.164

163

164

ChaseManhattanv.AmericanNat.Bank,93F.3d1064,1072
(2dCir.1996)(emphasisadded)(quotingStetsonv.HowardD.
Wolf&Assocs.,955F.2d847,850(2dCir.1992);Kingv.
Commissioner,458F.2d245,249(6thCir.1972);and9A
CHARLESA.WRIGHT&ARTHURR.MILLER,FEDERALPRACTICE
ANDPROCEDURE2577,at52226(2ded.1994)).
Malev.CrossroadsAssociates,469F.2d616,620n.4(2dCir.
1972)(Wheretherecordconsistsentirelyofdocumentary
evidenceexhibits,affidavits,answerstointerrogatories,and
depositionsweareascompetentasthedistrictcourtto
determineifagenuinefactualdisputeexists.).
77

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page86 of 91

A. IftheexpressionTibetanbaicaoteacannot
betrademarked,thisCourtcandirectlyvacate
Paragraphs28oftheAmendedInjunction
withoutremand.

InPartIabove,theNewYorkmerchantsargued
thattheexpressionTibetanbaicaoteawastoo
descriptivetobetrademarked.

SevenoutofthenineparagraphsintheAmended

InjunctionrelatesolelytotheexpressionTibetanbaicao
tea.Specifically,thesesevenparagraphsareParagraphs
28.165IfthisCourtconcludesthattheexpression
Tibetanbaicaoteacannotbetrademarked,theseseven
paragraphscanbevacateddirectlywithoutfurther
proceedings.
B. IfParagraphs1and9lackthespecificity
requiredbyFed.R.Civ.P.65(d),thisCourtcan
vacatethoseParagraphswithoutremand.

InPartIIabove,theNewYorkmerchantsargued
thatParagraphs1and9oftheAmendedInjunction

165

A185A186at28.
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lackedthespecificityrequiredbyFed.R.Civ.P.65(d).If
thisCourtconcludesthatthesetwoparagraphsdonot
satisfyFed.R.Civ.P.65(d),thesetwoparagraphscanbe
vacateddirectlywithoutfurtherproceedings.
C. IfthisCourtdeterminesthattheinjunctionwas
procuredbyuncleanhands,thisCourtcan
vacatetheentireinjunctionwithoutremand.

InPartIIIabove,theNewYorkmerchantsargued
thatATHIseffortstoobtaininjunctivereliefwas
thoroughlycontaminatedbyobjectivelyunreasonable
representationsconcerningthemeaningandoriginsof
thetermbaicao,andthatnoinjunctivereliefshouldhave
beengrantedasaconsequence.IfthisCourtconcludes
thatATHIhad,indeed,actedwithuncleanhands,the
entireinjunctioncanbevacateddirectlywithoutfurther
proceedings.

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ChartSummarizingTranslationIssues
OverTibetanBaicaoTea

1
EnglishMark
ChineseMark
Undisputed
Transliteration

2
Tibetan

4
Baicao

5
Tea

Bai

Cao

Appellants
Translation

Tibet/Tibetan

Herbs/Herbal166

Tea

Appellees
Translation

Tibet/Tibetan

[Nomeaning]167

Tea

Pleasesee
footnote.168

DistrictCourts
Opinion

166

167

168

SeeArgument,supra,PartsI.AB.
SeeA143A144,atlines7:258:1([C]ertainlythetermherbal
actuallydoesnottranslatetoBaicaoatall.);A144,atlines12
19(Baicaodoesntmeananything....ThetermBaicaoisa
termthatourclientcameupwithtodescribethenameofthe
tea....Itisafancifultermthatshecameupwith.);A53&A57
&A59(threecertificationsthatTheword[]BAICAOhasno
meaninginaforeignlanguage.).
SeeA126,atlines46([T]hewordbaicaoisbeingstretched
intoatrademark,whichstandingaloneitisnot.);A146,at
lines2223([T]hetermBaicao,...hasmuchbroaderand
separatemeanings.);A149,atlines2225(Itseemstomethat
thetruevisionofthesituationisthatthetrademarkisTibetan
BaicaoTea,andthatswhatshouldbeprotected,otherthan
anysinglewordinthegroup.).
80

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CONCLUSION

Fortheforegoingreasons,theAppellantsrespectfullyrequest

thatthisCourtvacatetheAmendedInjunctioninitsentirety.

Dated:February27,2015

NewYork,NewYork

Respectfullysubmitted,

/s/MitchellM.Wong
____________________________
MitchellM.Wong
AshmasonsLLP
FortyWallStreet,Floor28
NewYork,NewYork10005
Tel.:
(212)6711068
Fax:
(212)2024756
mitchell.wong@ashmasons.com

CounselforAppellants

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Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page90 of 91

CERTIFICATEOFCOMPLIANCE

Iherebycertifythat,incompliancewithF.R.A.P.32(a)(7)(B),the
withinbriefcontains12,005words(ascalculatedusingtheword
countingfeatureofMicrosoftWord)in14pt.proportionalfont,
exclusiveofcorporatedisclosurestatement,tables,andcertifications.

Dated:February27,2015

/s/MitchellM.Wong.
MITCHELLM.WONG

Case 14-4748, Document 52, 02/27/2015, 1448646, Page91 of 91

CERTIFICATEOFSERVICE

MITCHELLM.WONGcertifiesasfollows:

(1) Onthisdate,IcausedAppellantsBriefandAppendixtobe
electronicallyfiledandserveduponallcounselofrecordvia
theECFfilingsystem.

(2) Onthisdate,IcausedsixhardcopiesofAppellantsBriefand
Appendix,andsixhardcopiesoftheAppendix,tobesentvia
courierto:

CatherineOHaganWolfe,
ClerkofCourt
UnitedStatesCourtofAppealsfortheSecondCircuit
ThurgoodMarshallUnitedStatesCourthouse
40FoleySquare,NewYork,NewYork10007

Icertifyunderpenaltyofperjurythattheforegoingstatementsare
trueandcorrecttothebestofmyknowledge.

/s/MitchellM.Wong.
MITCHELLM.WONG

Dated:February27,2015