United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
an action for trademark infringement, false designation of
origin, and unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act
and Tennessee common law. Because defendants have failed to
respond or otherwise defend this action, plaintiff is granted
a default judgment to include a permanent injunction.
filed its complaint on May 19, 2015 [R. 1]. Defendants were
served with the Summons and Complaint on May 21, 2015 [R. 4,
5], but have not filed an appearance or filed a responsible
pleading. The Clerk entered default against defendants on
July 6, 2015 [R. 7]. Plaintiff now moves the court for
default judgment against defendants in the form of a
permanent injunction [R. 9].
record shows plaintiff has owned the “AAA”
trademarks for decades and has used the AAA Marks to identify
and distinguish itself and its automobile club services.
Plaintiff enjoys goodwill and name recognition as a result of
its use of the AAA Marks, as well as its advertising and
promotion of the AAA Marks.
have used the AAA Marks in commerce without plaintiff's
permission or authorization. Specifically, defendants have
displayed the AAA Marks on their business name, advertising,
social media presence, signage, directory listings, licenses,
2014, plaintiff became aware of defendants' unauthorized
use of the AAA Marks. Plaintiff demanded that defendants
immediately and permanently cease and desist all use of the
AAA Marks and repeatedly notified defendants that
unauthorized use of the AAA Marks constitutes actionable
trademark infringement and unfair competition. Plaintiff
avers defendants' use of the AAA Marks is likely to
confuse and mislead consumers into believing defendants'
services are approved or endorsed by plaintiff.
seeking judgment by default must show the court: (1) when and
against what party the default was entered; (2)
identification of the pleading to which default was entered;
(3) whether the defaulting party is an infant or incompetent
person; (4) that the defendant is not in military service
such that the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act
does not apply; and (5) that notice has been served on the
defaulting party, if required by Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 55(b)(2). Disney Enterprises. v. Farmer,
427 F.Supp.2d 807, 815 (E.D.Tenn. 2006).
has satisfied the requirements for default judgment. First,
the Clerk entered default against defendants on July 6, 2015.
Second, plaintiff has submitted the affidavit of its counsel
Richard W. Smith, who states that he has communicated with
counsel for defendant Collins and he has no reason to believe
that Collins is an infant or incompetent person, or that
Collins is in military service. Finally, because defendants
have never entered an appearance in this action, the notice
requirement of Rule 55(b)(2) does not apply. Moreover, as a
result of the default, the factual allegations of the
complaint relating to liability are taken as true.
Skidmore v. Boilermaker-Blacksmith Nat'l Pension
Trust, 2009 WL 1362067 at *4 (E.D.Tenn. May 13, 2009).
record further shows defendants are likely to continue to use
the AAA Marks without authorization from plaintiff, and
consumers, potential customers, and members of the general
public are likely to be confused as to whether defendants are
authorized, sponsored, provided, or endorsed by, or
affiliated with plaintiff. Accordingly, the court finds that
a default judgment should enter against defendants.
disclaims the right to damages and seeks only a permanent
injunction against defendants. A court may grant an
injunction to prevent the infringement of a trademark under
the Lanham Act. See 15 U.S.C. § 1116. A
plaintiff seeking a permanent injunction must demonstrate
that it has suffered irreparable injury; there is no adequate
remedy at law; considering the balance of hardships between
the parties, a remedy in equity is warranted; and that it is
in the public's interest to issue the injunction.
Audi AG v. D'Amato, 469 F.3d 534, 550
(6th Cir. 2006).
case, the court finds plaintiff is entitled to the issuance
of an injunction. Plaintiff has asserted facts in its
Complaint sufficient to show that defendants' unlawful
continued use of the AAA Marks is causing and will continue
to cause irreparable harm and that there is no adequate
remedy at law. Thus, a remedy in equity is warranted and the
issuance of a permanent injunction is in the public's
interest. The court further finds that a permanent injunction
would cause no harm to defendants, as it would merely require
them to comply with federal law. Without a permanent
injunction, plaintiff faces hardship from consumer confusion
and loss of reputation. Finally, the court finds that issuing
an injunction enjoining defendants from using plaintiff's
AAA Marks would advance the purposes of trademark law ...