July 22, 2013

Viacom Denied Attorney's Fees in TM Dispute With Gibson Guitars

Gibson Guitar Corp. v. Viacom Inc'l, Inc., No. 12-cv-10870 (C.D. Cal. July 18, 2013) [Doc. 51].

Plaintiff owns a trademark for the "FLYING V" mark and sued Viacom for trademark infringement relating to SpongeBob Square Pants "alleging that Flying V SpongeBob SquarePants ukuleles have been advertised and distributed without Gibson's authorization".  The Court previously granted Viacom's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and Viacom moved for attorney's fees under the Lanham Act.  The Court denied the motion.  "The court finds that Gibson's case against Viacom is not 'exceptional' in the sense of the Lanham Act. The fact that allegations are insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss does not in itself render a complaint groundless under Lanham Act."