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Metromedia Co. v. Cowan

United States District Court, Second Circuit

October 30, 2013

METROMEDIA COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD WADE COWAN, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, District Judge.

Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted, and Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction is denied as moot.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On June 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this action, alleging trademark infringement, false designation of origin, injurious falsehood, unfair competition and deceptive trade practice, and submitted an application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Defendant. The Court denied the application for a temporary restraining order. On July 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed the pending Motion for Preliminary Injunction. On July 19, 2013, Defendant filed the pending Motion to Dismiss. On August 15, 2013, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery concerning Defendant's income for the purpose of establishing personal jurisdiction. On August 26, 2013, Plaintiff served interrogatories upon Defendant. On September 7, 2013, Defendant responded to the interrogatories under penalty of perjury ("Response to Interrogatories"). On September 17, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a letter supplementing its Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss in which it alleged additional facts obtained from the interrogatories. On September 23, 2013, Defendant filed a response to the Supplemental Letter ("Supplemental Response").

BACKGROUND

The following facts were taken from the Complaint, Plaintiff's exhibits, Defendant's Response to Interrogatories and Defendant's Supplemental Response.

A. Plaintiff and the Metromedia Mark

Plaintiff Metromedia Company is a holding company that operates through its affiliates in the natural gas, electricity, software technology, restaurant, food production and medical research sectors. Since 1961, Plaintiff has used the "Metromedia" name in connection with a number of ventures. Plaintiff has used the Metromedia mark extensively and continually in the United States to identify its companies and services for more than 50 years. According to Plaintiff, the mark has acquired secondary meaning and substantial goodwill, has become famous, uniquely identifies Plaintiff's businesses and services and provides instant recognition and credibility for customers and businesses with which Plaintiff becomes associated. Plaintiff alleges that the mark is an asset of incalculable value as a symbol of the multibillion-dollar Metromedia family of companies.

Plaintiff has registered variations of the name and mark "Metromedia" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and owns several valid and subsisting registrations that incorporate the name and mark Metromedia.

B. Defendant's Alleged Fraud and Infringing Activities

In 1992, Defendant formed a company with Susan Conway, which was renamed "Metromedia, Inc." in December 2010. In February 2011, Conway converted Metromedia, Inc. from a corporation to a partnership named "Metromedia Company."

Defendant's LinkedIn page, which Plaintiff discovered in April 2013, states that from September 2010 to November 2011, he was CTO of "Metromedia" in New York City, Secaucus, NJ, and Mountain View, CA. With respect to Defendant's experience as CTO of Metromedia, Defendant's LinkedIn page states:

I've been instrumental in taking an historic old school TV, Radio and motion picture company, and creating a new mass audience network platform for the new and emerging digital age of broadcasting. My role when I arrived, was purely technical. The company had just lost it's [sic] Founder and was apparently at a "crossroad." I, on the other hand, was ...

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