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Monster Energy Co. v. Jing

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 6, 2015

MONSTER ENERGY COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
MENG CHUN JING, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JORGE L. ALONSO, District Judge.

Before the Court are two motions: (1) plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and entry of a statutory damages award against defendants Meng Chun Jing and Meng Chun Lin a/k/a Anna Meng; and (2) plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and entry of a statutory damages award against defendant Ding You Cai a/k/a Tim Ding, which are granted for the reasons explained below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Monster Energy Company ("Monster"), sells energy drinks and owns several federally-registered trademarks, including "MONSTER ENERGY" and a "Claw Icon Mark, " which looks like a clawed-out letter "M." Monster uses its marks not only on beverages, but also on other products such as apparel, accessories, and sporting goods. It has brought this action for trademark infringement and counterfeiting, false designation of origin, and violation of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act ("IDTPA") against a number of defendants who are, according to the Second Amended Complaint, "online counterfeiters who trade upon [Monster's] reputation and goodwill by selling and/or offering for sale unauthorized and unlicensed counterfeit products featuring [Monster's] registered trademarks." (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 3.)

The Court has entered default judgment against most of the defendants, and plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed several others. The only remaining defendants are Meng Chun Jing and Meng Chun Lin a/k/a Anna Meng, who operate an online store called "Ulgen Accessories" ("Ulgen") and Ding You Cai a/k/a Tim Ding, who operates an online store called "Motorcycle Accessseries [sic] Market" ("Motorcycle")."[1] Plaintiff moves for summary judgment against them.

DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standards

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In considering such a motion, the Court construes the evidence and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Kvapil v. Chippewa Cnty., Wis., 752 F.3d 708, 712 (7th Cir. 2014). "Summary judgment should be denied if the dispute is genuine': if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Talanda v. KFC Nat'l Mgmt. Co., 140 F.3d 1090, 1095 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)); see also Bunn v. Khoury Enters., Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681-82 (7th Cir. 2014). The court will enter summary judgment against a party who does not "come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find in [his] favor on a material question." Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1167 (7th Cir. 2013).

B. Local Rule 56.1

Local Rule 56.1(a) requires a moving party to file a statement of material facts as to which the party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the party to a judgment as a matter of law and include within each paragraph "specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph." Local Rule 56.1(b) requires each party opposing summary judgment to submit "a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." "When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion." Cracco v. Vitran Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). The Seventh Circuit has "consistently held that a failure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission." Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). Although counsel have filed appearances and answers on defendants' behalf, defendants have failed to file anything in response to Monster's motions. Therefore, the Court deems admitted all of the facts set forth in Monster's Local Rule 56.1 statements, which are properly supported by evidence in the record.

C. Summary Judgment

To prevail on its trademark infringement, counterfeiting, and false designation of origin claims, Monster must establish that its marks are protectable and that the defendants' unauthorized use of the marks was likely to cause confusion among consumers. See CAE, Inc. v. Clean Air Eng'g, Inc., 267 F.3d 660, 673-74 (7th Cir. 2001). The analysis is the same for Monster's IDTPA claim. Persis Int'l, Inc. v. Burgett, Inc., No. 09 C 7451, 2012 WL 4176877, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 18, 2012).

Monster has submitted uncontradicted evidence that it has twelve federally-registered trademarks for "MONSTER ENERGY" and various permutations of its Claw Icon (the "Marks"). Those registrations are "prima facie evidence of the validity of the registered mark[s]... and of the registrant's exclusive right to use the registered mark[s]." See CAE, 267 F.3d at 673. Therefore, Monster has met its burden of showing that its Marks are valid and protectable.

As for unauthorized use, Monster has submitted uncontradicted evidence that without Monster's authorization, defendants sold and offered for sale into the United States on the web site AliExpress.com knockoff products featuring marks that are substantially indistinguishable from Monster's Marks. (R. 12, Decl. of Bruce Kingsland ¶¶ 13-14; R. 76, Pl.'s L.R. ...


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