Knobbe Martens Secures Appeals Court Victory for Big Funny in Trademark Infringement Case
Decision affirms district court dismissal of claim brought by Metamorfoza and concludes the nearly three-year case
IRVINE, CALIF., November 8, 2022 – A team from Knobbe Martens secured an appeals court victory for Big Funny, LLC when a U.S. District Court affirmed the dismissal of a trademark infringement claim brought by Metamorfoza, D.O.O. over Big Funny’s use of the name “Museum of Illusions.”
Following a de novo review of U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter’s Order dismissing Metamorfoza’s complaint without leave to amend, the Ninth Circuit found that the district court correctly dismissed Metamorfoza’s trademark infringement claim because it failed to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face” and that Metamorfoza “has not alleged any actionable similarity between its registered trademark and Big Funny’s trademarks that it alleges as infringing.”
Metamorfoza originally filed its complaint in the Southern District of New York in December 2019, where Big Funny moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. Big Funny’s motion was based, in part, on the fact that Big Funny was the first to use the name Museum of Illusions in the United States and that Metamorfoza’s registered design mark had disclaimed any exclusive rights to the words Museum Of Illusions.
The New York court elected to transfer the case to the Central District of California, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction over Big Funny under New York’s long-arm statute. In granting Big Funny’s motion, the New York court found that “it is clear from the face of the complaint that no trademark infringement has occurred here.”
In the Central District of California, Metamorfoza argued that Big Funny infringed its registered design mark, which included the disclaimed phrase “Museum of Illusions.” Big Funny moved to dismiss and Judge Walter granted Big Funny’s motion without leave to amend. Judge Walter found that “Metamorfoza fails to identify any part of Defendants’ MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS logo, other than the [disclaimed] words themselves” that are confusingly similar to Big Funny’s use of the Museum of Illusions name.
Metamorofoza appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit, which conducted a de novo review and affirmed Judge Walter’s dismissal of the action.
The Knobbe Martens team representing Big Funny in the case was led by partner Ali Razai. Commenting on today’s decision, Mr. Razai, said:
“The Ninth Circuit’s decision puts an end to Metamorfoza’s nearly three-year campaign of harassing Big Funny for using Museum of Illusions as the name of its museums. There was no dispute that Big Funny was the first to use Museum of Illusions in the United States, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision that there is no actionable similarity between Metamorfoza’s trademark registration for its design mark and Big Funny’s use of Museum of Illusions, except for the disclaimed phrase ‘Museum of Illusions.” The Ninth Circuit confirmed that Metamorfoza “cannot allege trademark infringement based solely on Big Funny’s use of the same words” that Metamorfoza had disclaimed.”
A copy of the Order can be found here.
About Knobbe Martens
Knobbe Martens is a highly respected intellectual property law firm, offering legal services in all aspects of intellectual property and technology law. The firm’s litigation group handles cases throughout the U.S. and coordinates strategy for disputes worldwide. Founded in California in 1962, the firm has about 300 lawyers and scientists based in offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. Knobbe Martens serves a diverse international client base, from multinational corporations to emerging businesses of all stages. More information about the firm can be found at www.knobbe.com.