MIAMI – How far is too far when it comes to violating a trademark? The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is set to answer this question after a lawsuit was filed on May 29.
Plaintiff Bella Quinces & Photography Hilaleah Inc. filed a lawsuit against Beauty Gowns Inc. claiming the defendant violated the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, false advertising, trademark infringement, and unfair competition via the Lanham Act.
According to court documents, the dustup occurred after Bella Quinces’ founder Alexis Fernandez bought the domain bellaquinces.com in 2011 and repurchased in 2012. The domain lapsed in 2017. The lawsuit alleges the defendant Beauty Gowns and its owner, Juan Hernandez Rodriguez, illegally purchased bellaquince.com, in hopes of getting attention from Fernandez.
The plaintiff also alleges Rodriguez was fully aware Bella Quinces did business less than two miles from his company. Rodriguez added fuel to the fire when he allegedly advertised the initial domain was owned by Beauty Gowns and Photography before he implemented a similar store layout as the plaintiff.
“Rodriguez actively and knowingly caused the unlawful use of Bellaquinces marks in connection with the advertising and marketing of identical retail and photography services offered and sold by Bellaquinces,” the plaintiff stated in the lawsuit.
Bella Quinces added the defendant strained its name after the plaintiff gained national recognition via a reality show Sweet 15: Quinceanera and features in publications like PEOPLE, that has the potential to confuse customers.
The plaintiff alleges six causes of action: defendants' willful violation of the anti-cyberprivacy act in relation to the domain, defendants' willful infringement of the plaintiff Bellaquince’s federally registered trademark for number 4807992, defendants' willful infringement of the plaintiff Bellaquince’s federally registered trademark for number 4903946, defendants' violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act under the Lanham Act, defendants' violation of the Florida Unfair Trade Practices Act, and accounting for profits as to Beauty Gowns, BGP, and Rodriguez.
The plaintiff requested the court grant it preliminary and permanent injunctive relief enjoining defendants from practicing trademark infringement and using BELLAQUINCES trademark, an entry of order causing defendants and Rodriguez to pay the plaintiff for any revenue and damages, statutory damages against the defendants for the unfair and deceptive practices, as well as $100,000 for the bellaquince.com domain. The plaintiff also requested attorney’s fees and related legal costs.