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Rann Pharmacy, Inc. v. Shree Navdurga LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 6, 2017

RANN PHARMACY, INC. Plaintiff,
v.
SHREE NAVDURGA LLC d/b/a RAMSRX PHARMACY, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Schiller, J.

         Last November, this Court enjoined Lakshmi Ramesh Kommineni and Shree Navdurga LLC, d/b/a Rams Pharmacy from using the service mark RAMS PHARMACY because it was likely to cause confusion with the service mark RANN PHARMACY. Kommineni responded by changing the name of his pharmacy to RAMSRX PHARMACY. Believing this change insufficient, Rann Pharmacy again sued Lakshmi Ramesh Kommineni and Shree Navdurga LLC, d/b/a RamsRX Pharmacy (together, “Defendants”[1]), again alleging service mark infringement. Rann Pharmacy moves to preliminarily enjoin Defendants from using the mark RAMSRX PHARMACY. Because Rann Pharmacy has failed to present evidence of irreparable harm, the Court will deny the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Rann Pharmacy, Rams Pharmacy, and the 2016 Infringement Lawsuit

         Rann Pharmacy is an independent pharmacy owed by Greg Segner and located at 377 Main Street in Harleysville, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 2.) The pharmacy has operated under the name RANN PHARMACY since 1982. (Id. ¶ 8.) In June 2016, Rann Pharmacy applied for service mark registration for RANN PHARMACY from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”), receiving application number 87, 077, 542. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         In March 2016, Defendants opened Rams Pharmacy at 801 West Main Street in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, approximately six miles away from Rann Pharmacy. (See Id. ¶ 12.) After several health care providers confused the two pharmacies, Rann Pharmacy sued Defendants in September 2016, alleging infringement under the Trademark Act of 1946, as amended, Pub. L. No. 79-489, 60 Stat. 427, otherwise known as the Lanham Act. Two months later, the Court concluded that the mark RAMS PHARMACY violated the Lanham Act because it is likely to cause confusion with the mark RANN PHARMACY, and enjoined Defendants from using the mark RAMS PHARMACY at the pharmacy located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

         B. The 2017 Infringement Lawsuit Against RamsRX Pharmacy

         In late 2016, Defendants changed the name of their pharmacy to RAMSRX PHARMACY. Defendants documented the name change with numerous records: an updated license from the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs; acknowledgement letters from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations; a billing statement from Utica National Insurance Group for RamsRX Pharmacy; a rebate check from Surescripts for RamsRX Pharmacy; Google search results for RamsRX Pharmacy; and Medicare.gov search results showing RamsRX as one of sixteen pharmacies operating near Lansdale. (Answer Ex. A); see also Rann Pharmacy, Inc. v. Shree Navdurga LLC, Civ. A. No. 16-4908, 2017 WL 2423800, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 2, 2017) (listing other records documenting the name change).

         In April 2017, Rann Pharmacy filed a new service mark infringement lawsuit against RamsRX Pharmacy. Rann Pharmacy claimed that between December 22, 2016, and January 31, 2017, eight prescriptions meant for four different patients of RamsRX Pharmacy were mistakenly sent to Rann Pharmacy. (Compl. ¶¶ 19, 21-24.)[2] The allegedly erroneous prescriptions were all sent electronically from health care providers. (Id. ¶¶ 21-24.)

         In their Answer, Defendants denied that the name RAMSRX is likely to cause, or has actually caused, confusion among pharmacy consumers. (Answer ¶¶ 17-19, 25-27, 29-32.) They specifically denied that any of the allegedly erroneous prescriptions were actually sent erroneously. (Id. ¶¶ 21-24.) Instead, they asserted that all four patients chose to use Rann Pharmacy as new patients, and supported their allegations with two patient affidavits and a prescriber letter. (Id.; id. Exs. D & E.) Defendants also provided records showing that the doctors in question had previously sent prescriptions to RamsRX Pharmacy, which indicated that they had previously been able to distinguish between the two. (Id. ¶¶ 21-24; id. Exs. C, D, E, & F.)

         C. Rann Pharmacy's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

         Rann Pharmacy moves for a preliminary injunction against Defendants' use of the mark RAMSRX PHARMACY. (Pl.'s Mot. TRO/Prelim. Inj.) In support of its likelihood of success on the merits, Rann Pharmacy claims to have an incontestable and registered mark. (Id. at 3.) Rann Pharmacy also claims that trademark infringement amounts to irreparable injury as a matter of law (Id. at 3-4.) Rann Pharmacy further argues that forcing Defendants to change their name will not hurt Defendants because they are a new and unestablished business, and that the public interest favors the imposition of a preliminary injunction. (Id. at 4-5.) Defendants object to these arguments and conclusions in all respects. (Defs.' Mot. in Opp'n.)

         The Court held a hearing on the motion on May 31, 2017. Notable to the resolution of the motion, Rann Pharmacy presented no evidence of any irreparable injury that would result if the Court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction.

         II. ...


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