HOLDINGS: -Plaintiffs’ Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and declaratory relief claims were barred by res judicata because it involved the same primary right as previously litigated, both plaintiffs and defendant were parties to all previous actions as well as the current litigation, and the prior judgments were all final judgments on the merits; -To the extent that claim preclusion barred relitigation of plaintiffs’ Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claim, it also barred plaintiffs’ California Unfair Competition Law claim; -Where plaintiffs sought to amend their complaint to add a second defendant, claim preclusion to not bar suit against the second defendant because the link between defendant and the second defendant was not sufficiently clear to find privity.
Motion to dismiss granted. Motion to amend complaint granted. Appellant was represented by a business attorney.
Plaintiff, a company that provided royalty tracking services, filed a motion for summary adjudication as to likelihood of confusion in its action against defendant, a producer of Christian music products, for trademark infringement, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1114, trade name infringement, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 14402, and unfair competition, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the likelihood of confusion issue.
Plaintiff marketed database applications and management services to the music industry. Plaintiff also marketed digital audio and video to the public at large over the Internet as well as music content on CDs, CD-ROMs, and cassettes. Defendant was an artist-based independent Christian music company that distributed audio and video recordings featuring Christian music. The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that no reasonable jury could conclude that there was a likelihood of forward or reverse confusion between defendant’s Christian music products and the music products and business services of plaintiff. The court found that defendant’s recordings would not be classified as the same genre as plaintiff’s products. In making its decision, the court considered the Sleekcraft factors separately as they pertained to general consumers and the record industry. The only factor that weighed in favor of plaintiff was similarity of marks. In considering defendant’s request for attorney fees, the court found that plaintiff’s suit was not groundless, unreasonable, vexatious, or pursued in bad faith.
The court denied plaintiff’s motion for summary adjudication. The court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The court denied defendant’s request for attorney fees.