Stanislaus Custodial Deputy Sheriffs’ Association v. Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Stanislaus, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21729 (E.D. Cal. 2010).
Plaintiff, a nonprofit collective bargaining association, sued Defendant, an educational nonprofit, for infringement of its trade name. Although most claims arose under state law, Plaintiff included a claim for misappropriation of trade name under the Lanham act and brought suit in Federal court. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. The court granted the motion with leave to amend.
The decision revolved around whether defendant’s use of plaintiff’s name both affects interstate commerce and is used in a commercial or competitive context. Although plaintiff established used of its mark in interstate commerce via its web presence, plaintiff failed to allege that defendant’s infringement affected interstate competition. Additionally, plaintiff failed to allege that defendant’s use was commercial or competitive with plaintiff’s use.