Arent Fox Secures Victory in Trademark Dispute for Sabinsa Corporation
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15, 2010 - Arent Fox LLP recently secured a victory for long-time client Sabinsa Corporation in a trademark dispute with one of its direct competitors, Creative Compounds. Sabinsa uses the trademark ForsLean in connection with forskohlin, a plant extract used as an ingredient in weight-loss supplements.
The product is highly regarded within the industry, due in large part to Sabinsa’s clinical studies conducted under the strict standards applied to the pharmaceutical industry (a rarity in the world of nutritional supplements) and its extensive on-the-ground efforts in India introducing advanced farming techniques to increase productivity and profitability for local farmers. After these development efforts — combined with Sabinsa’s award-winning marketing campaign — had generated significant goodwill for the ForsLean mark, Creative Compounds began selling forskohlin under the mark Forsthin.
After a three-day trial in February 2008, the district court judge ruled against Sabinsa, finding no likelihood of confusion between the two marks. In an opinion issued last week, the Third Circuit reversed, adopting almost in toto the arguments presented by the Arent Fox appellate team of James Hulme and Eric Baxter.
The Third Circuit’s opinion is particularly significant for two reasons. First, the Court remanded for entry of judgment without a new trial, finding that Sabinsa’s proof of infringement was so overwhelming as to compel judgment in its favor. Second, the Court made this ruling despite noting that Sabinsa had no proof of actual confusion and had chosen not to submit survey evidence. The opinion emphasizes the protection that should be afforded strong marks against similar marks used on similar products, even where there is no evidence of actual confusion.
“This is actually a victory for all companies which invest significant resources in science and innovation,” said Sabinsa founder Dr. Muhammed Majeed. “Infringing on the intellectual property other companies have worked so hard to develop is illegal and immoral. The nutraceuticals industry runs on innovation and science, and without it growth would falter. If a company can’t benefit from their investment, there is no incentive to do so.”
The entire opinion can be read here.
About Sabinsa Corporation
Sabinsa's mission is to provide alternative and complementary natural products for human nutrition and well-being. Over the past 20 years, Sabinsa has brought to market more than 100 standardized botanical extracts and privately funded several clinical studies in conjunction with prestigious institutions in support of these products. With more than 100 full time scientists conducting ongoing research in India and the United States, Sabinsa continues to develop and patent phytonutrients for the world market. All products intended for human consumption are certified Kosher, with many certified Halal. For more information, visit www.sabinsa.com or www.sabinsacosmetics.com.
About Arent Fox:
Arent Fox LLP, with offices in Washington, DC, New York City and Los Angeles, is a recognized leader in areas including intellectual property, financial restructuring, real estate, health care, life sciences, and complex litigation. With more than 350 lawyers nationwide, Arent Fox attorneys have extensive experience in bankruptcy, trademark & copyright, corporate securities, government relations, labor and employment, finance, tax, corporate compliance, and the global business market. The firm represents Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, trade associations, foreign governments, and other entities. For more information, visit www.arentfox.com.