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United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation, Inc. v. International Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Association

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

November 4, 2014

UNITED STATES SOO BAHK DO MOO DUK KWAN FEDERATION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL TANG SOO DO MOO DUK KWAN ASSOCIATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROBERT D. MARIANI, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Presently before the Court is a Motion for Partial Reconsideration (Doc. 91) filed by the Plaintiff in response to the Court's Memorandum Opinion of August 4, 2014 (Doc. 89) denying Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court's August 4 Opinion denied summary judgment on four separate counterclaims. ( See id. at 3, 14.) In the Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff only challenges the Court's decision on one of these: the claim for cancellation of Plaintiffs trademarks based on fraud. (Mot. for Recons., Doc. 91, at 1.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny that Motion.

II. Standard of Review

"The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985).

Accordingly, a judgment may be altered or amended if the party seeking reconsideration shows at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.

Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999)

III. Background

The factual background giving rise to Plaint frs Motion for Summary Judgment is discussed extensively in the Court's Memorandum Opinion denying the same. The Court relies on that previous statement for purposes of this Opinion, and will not restate the facts here.

In its previous Opinion, the Court denied summary judgment on the fraud counterclaim on the following bases:

First, following the issuance of this Opinion, the counterclaims of genericness and descriptiveness will still be left to be resolved at trial. But the crux of Defendants' fraud argument is that Plaintiff committed fraud by claiming proprietary ownership in words and marks that were generic or were descriptive of common terms in the martial arts world, given that the term Moo Duk Kwan and its associated logo allegedly existed in the public domain for hundreds of years, and that any representations to the contrary were knowingly false. ( See Doc. 55 at 19-20.) To determine the merits of this argument, the factfinder will first have to determine whether there is enough evidence to side with the Defendants on the genericness and/or descriptiveness counterclaims. But doing that will, at the very least, necessitate answering the disputed questions of material fact enumerated above, which cannot be decided on summary judgment.
Second, even if the trademarks were found to be invalid for genericness and/or descriptiveness, the factfinder would still need to determine whether Plaintiffs declarant knowingly represented the contrary. The declarant's subjective mental state at the time of application is clearly a disputed issue of fact which cannot be resolved at the summary judgment stage. Indeed, the Court is aware of no documents submitted to the record which demonstrate what the declarant thought at the time of application.

(Mem. Op., Aug. 4, 2014, Doc. 89, at 13.E

Plaintiff argues that this passage contains three clear errors of law and fact. First, by stating that "the term Moo Duk Koran and its associated logo allegedly existed in the public domain for hundreds of years, " Plaintiff argues that the Court committed an error of law because prior uses in foreign countries are irrelevant to a claim of fraud in a trademark application. (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Recon Doc. 92, at 2-4.) Second, Plaintiff argues that the Court committed an error of law when it relied on prior generic or descriptive uses of the term "Moo Duk Koran" and its associated logo to deny summary judgment, because, to sustain a claim for cancellation based on fraud, Defendants ...


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