Davidson Law Group Wins On Appeal For Melli Yellow Pages – Ninth Circuit Affirms $292,000 Attorney Fee Award Against Plaintiff Asserting Generic Marks

On May 8, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court for the Central District of California, which had found after a bench trial that Melli Yellow Pages did not infringe three alleged trademarks asserted by a competing yellow pages company, Ketab Corporation.

Affirming the District Court’s award of $292,000 in attorneys’ fees against the plaintiff, the Ninth Circuit held that “[i]t was not an abuse of discretion for the district court to find that Ketab pursued groundless, frivolous, and unreasonable arguments, especially after the court saw Ketab was unable to produce evidence of infringement during the bench trial.” Among other claims, Ketab had asserted infringement of phrases that were generic and that, to Iranians living in the United States, mean Iranian Yellow Pages and Iranian Information Center. The Court found no persuasive authority to support Ketab’s position that a term was protectable under trademark law because it involved a combination of two languages. Ketab Corp. v. Mesriani et al., No. 15-56753.

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