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Rawlings Sporting Goods Company Inc. v. Easton Diamond Sports, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri

August 31, 2017

RAWLINGS SPORTING GOODS COMPANY INC., Plaintiff,
v.
EASTON DIAMOND SPORTS, LLC. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 4). After reviewing the Verified Complaint, Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and the Memorandum in Support thereof, and having heard the arguments of counsel and being fully advised in the premises, the Court hereby denies Temporary Restraining Order as follows:

         1. Plaintiff Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. ("Rawlings") is a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods, including baseball bats, in the United States. In 2009, Rawlings introduced a series of high-end baseball bats under the distinctive trademark "5150".[1]

         2. Defendant Easton Diamond Sports, LLC ("Easton" or "Defendant"), a leading manufacturer of baseball and softball equipment, is introducing a baseball bat for its 2018 line with the model "SI50." Easton's SI50 is a relatively "low-end" model, meant to provide a cheaper alternative to other bats.

         3. Rawlings argues that Easton's use of the designation "SI50" on its baseball bats is likely to cause confusion and mistake and will dilute the distinctive quality of Rawlings's "5150" trademark in violation of state and federal law.

         Standard of Review

         4. "The Lanham Act prohibits the unauthorized use of another's registered trademark without the registrant's consent in a manner that is 'likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive.'" Buffalo Wild Wings Int'l, Inc. v. Grand Canyon Equity Partners, LLC, 829 F.Supp.2d 836, 842 (D. Minn. 2011) (citing 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)(a)). Such unauthorized use gives rise to liability and may be enjoined. Id. § 1116(a).

         5. The Eighth Circuit has consistently used the following six factors, sometimes referred to as the "SquirtCo factors, " to evaluate the likelihood of confusion in trademark cases:

(1) the strength of the owner's mark;
(2) the similarity of the owner's mark and the alleged infringer's mark;
(3) the degree to which the products compete with each other;
(4) the alleged infringer's intent to "pass off its goods as those of the trademark owner;
(5) incidents of actual confusion; and
(6) the type of product, its costs, and conditions of ...

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