Low-cost carrier Cricket Communications has won a trademark infringement lawsuit against GSM Cellular, whose marketing implied that it was affiliated with Cricket.
Cricket was awarded summary judgment, a permanent injunction and about $77,000 in attorneys’ fees, ending a lawsuit filed by Cricket against GSM Cellular in 2008.
The lawsuit alleged that GSM Cellular flagrantly misled customers into thinking it was associated with Cricket by naming its business Kricket and prominently displaying the Cricket trademark and logo on signs, banners, posters, retail displays and store vehicles.
GSM Cellular also was accused of illicitly selling and distributing Cricket products, activating unauthorized phones on Cricket’s network and fraudulently accepting payments intended to compensate Cricket for providing wireless services.
Cricket said it had “repeatedly placed GSM Cellular on notice” that it was violating Cricket’s intellectual property rights and sent “multiple letters” to GSM Cellular attempting to resolve the dispute before filing its suit two years ago.
According to a statement by Cricket’s legal counsel at intellectual property law firm Fish & Richardson, GSM Cellular failed to appear at hearings, provided false testimony, failed to comply with discovery requests, did not follow local rules and attempted to extort money from Cricket over the course of the trial.
GSM Cellular could not be reached for comment.
Cricket’s attorneys were awarded the full $77,349.70 in compensation requested in Cricket’s motion, a move only allowed under federal law in “exceptional” trademark infringement cases when the district court finds that the defendant acted maliciously, fraudulently, deliberately or willfully.
The court found that Cricket proved this, saying “defendant’s behavior throughout the course of this litigation may certainly – at the very least – be considered deliberate, willful and fraudulent.”
Cricket attorney and Fish & Richardson principal Lisa Martens called the win a “significant victory for Cricket and for trademark law… The facts of this case were egregious and the findings of the Court may provide a test for determining what constitutes ‘exceptional’ in future cases.”