Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pacquiao & Top Rank Back In Federal Court As Defendants In Lawsuit Filed by Grant Boxing

On September 24, 2010, Grant Boxing, Inc. filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against, inter alia, Top Rank, Inc. and Manny Pacquiao. 

As set forth in the complaint: 
Grant Boxing is a well-known manufacturer of boxing and training equipment, including but not limited to boxing gloves, head gear, punch mitts, heavy bags and speed bags, as well as apparel, clothing and accessories.  GB Licensing developed what it calls the “Punchy” logo in 2003. The Punchy logo is a distinctive pictograph of a boxer from the waist up delivering a roundhouse punch. The head and hands of the boxer are rendered as three ovals. The oval delivering the punch is not a perfect circle, giving it the appearance of movement. 
At this link to the Grant Boxing website you can see the two images at issue -- the first is on Klitschko's glove and the second is on Roy Jones, Jr.'s glove.

As alleged in the complaint, in or around November 2009, Grant first became aware that Pacquiao was allegedly misappropriating the Grant marks.  Specifically, the complaint provides as follows:
On November 14 2009, the date of a boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, Grant Elvis Phillips, founder and chief executive officer of Plaintiffs, received a call from a boxing equipment distributor asking if Grant Boxing had made a deal with MP Promotions, as he saw what he believed was the Punchy Trademark hanging above the boxing ring at the Pacquiao-Cotto fight. Mr. Phillips did not see the fight, but set about to investigate the allegations that his Punchy Trademarks had been misappropriated.  In the ensuing few months Mr. Phillips discovered the Punchy Trademarks had indeed been misappropriated and re-fashioned as a logo for Manny Pacquiao’s company, MP Promotions (the “Infringing Logo”). As can be seen from the example below, the Infringing Logo simply flips horizontally the pictographic portion of the Punchy Trademarks, maintaining the overall appearance of the mark.
Here is the allegedly infringing image as taken from the complaint:



According to the complaint, Grant sent a cease and desist letter to Mike Koncz on March 12, 2010.  Grant claims the letter was ignored and that Top Rank and Pacquiao allegedly continued to use the allegedly infringing image in connection with promoting the Margarito fight. 

Specifically, Grant alleges:
On September 1, 2010, a press conference open to the public, attended by Manny Pacquiao, among others, was held at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, in New York City. The Infringing Logo was prominently and repeatedly displayed on the press conference backdrop and on the press kits that were handed out. Top Rank’s website, www.toprank.com, contains numerous instances where the Infringing Logo is displayed in connection with the upcoming Pacquiao-Margarito fight.
Grant asserts claims for Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation Of Origin, Unfair Competition, False Advertising, Federal Trademark Dilution, Deceptive Trade Practices, and Trademark Dilution
I will continue to monitor.

Fight Lawyer