Court Denies Taylor Swift’s Motion to Dismiss Lucky 13 Suit
A California district court denied Swift’s motion to dismiss a trademark infringement suit over ‘Lucky 13’ brought by Blue Sphere, Inc. last May. Blue Sphere, an Orange county-based company, does a business as ‘Lucky 13’ and sells a wide range of products including clothing and has sued over Swift’s use of the phrase ‘Lucky 13’and selling via internet t-shirts bearing the phrase without the company’s authorization. Additionally, the suit named American Greetings as one of the defendants for running the online promotion of a “Lucky 13 Sweepstakes.”
Rebutting Blue Sphere’s allegations based on consumer confusion, common law misappropriation, and trademark dilution, Swift filed a motion to dismiss in August. However, in denying Swift’s motion to dismiss, the court found that Blue Sphere’s allegations, taken as true, suggest a possibility of consumer confusion. Because Blue Sphere sells its ‘Lucky 13’ products online and through various licensing partners, it claims to have accumulated significant goodwill. Moreover, both Blue Sphere and Swift also sell t-shirts bearing the phrase ‘Lucky 13’ online, and American Greetings promoting the ‘Lucky 13’ contests online. The court determined that Blue Sphere plausibly alleged facts to show a likelihood of consumer confusion and to establish their trademark infringement, unfair competition, and common law misappropriation claims.
The court further held that Blue Sphere sufficiently pled facts to support its claim of trademark dilution, which means “the lessening of the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish goods or services.” The company showed that it has invested substantial resources to develop and promote products in connection with the registered mark as early as 1992. In addition, Lucky 13’s international presence generates millions of dollars in annual sales while garnering consumer goodwill in doing so. These facts, the court found, sufficiently allege that the mark is famous.