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Philips Oral Healthcare, LLC v. Shenzhen Sincere Mold Technology Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 11, 2019

PHILIPS ORAL HEALTHCARE, LLC Plaintiff,
v.
SHENZHEN SINCERE MOLD TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD; SHENZHEN VBATTY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.; SHENZHEN HIGH SIDA TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD; SHENZEHN HERSHELLY TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD.; and ZHONGSHAN BESTCLEAN BRUSH CO., LTD., Defendants.

          DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION

          THOMAS S. ZILLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Honorable Thomas S. Zilly Plaintiff, Philips Oral Healthcare, LLC (“Philips”) sued the named Defendants for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq., Washington state law, and common law. Due to Defendants' default, the Court takes as true the well-pleaded facts in Plaintiff's Complaint. The Court now orders the entry of default judgment and a permanent injunction. This judgment and permanent injunction are effective only as to the named parties in this action.

         Findings of Fact[1]

         Philips filed this action on July 13, 2018, for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq., Washington state law, and common law. Complaint, docket no. 1. Philips completed service on each of the named defendants listed below (the “Defaulting Defendants”) in accordance with the Court's order authorizing electronic service. Order, docket no. 21.

• Shenzhen Sincere Mold Technology Co., Ltd (“Sincere Mold”);
• Shenzhen Vbatty Technology Co., Ltd (“Vbatty Technology”);
• Shenzhen High Sida Technology Co., Ltd (“High Sida”);
• Shenzhen Hershelly Technology Co., Ltd. (“Hershelly Technology”); and
• Zhongshan BestClean Brush Co., Ltd (“BestClean”).

         Affidavits of Service, docket nos. 22-26; Declaration of Laura McClafferty in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment and Permanent Injunction (“McClafferty Decl.”), docket no. 33, ¶¶ 3-6, 12-16, 21-23, 28-30, 35-36.

         On December 13, 2018, the Clerk entered default against the Defaulting Defendants pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), as such defendants failed to plead or otherwise defend against the allegations in the Complaint. Order, docket no. 29.

         Philips offers a variety of oral health care products, including replacement toothbrush heads, electric toothbrushes, brush charging docks, and brush cases, under its SONICARE brand. Complaint, docket no. 1, ¶ 12. One of Philips' toothbrush heads within its SONICARE product line is the SimplyClean replacement toothbrush head. Id.

         Philips purports to own common law trademark product configuration rights in the overall appearance of its SimplyClean toothbrush head (the “SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration”). Id. ¶ 13.

         The SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration has been used for brush heads sold by Philips since at least 2007. Id. ¶ 15. Philips originally sold those brush heads only under the name ProResults. Id. After 2014, Philips sold, and continues to sell, those brush heads under the names SimplyClean and ProResults, differing only by the bristle colors. Id.

         Prior to Defendants' infringing activities, and for over ten years, Philips alleges that it has has promoted and sold replacement toothbrush heads comprising the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration. Id. ¶ 16. Philips claims that it has exclusively used the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration continuously and extensively in interstate commerce, including in Washington. Id.

         According to Philips, since 2012 U.S. customers purchased over 30 million units of Philips toothbrush heads comprising the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration, with more being exposed to the SimplyClean configured toothbrush head through advertising and promotion. Id. ¶ 17. During that same time, sales of Philips toothbrush heads comprising the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration generated revenue exceeding $130 million dollars. Id.

         Philips alleges that it has invested substantial resources and money in promoting its toothbrush heads comprising the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration through various media outlets, including the Internet. Id. ¶ 18. The SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration has been and continues to be publicized throughout the U.S. Id.

         For purposes of this litigation, the Court takes as true Philips' allegation that Philips' SimplyClean replacement brush heads have a unique and distinctive design. Id. ¶ 14.

         Philips claims that the Defaulting Defendants, without any authorization or license from Philips, knowingly and willfully used, and continue to use, the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration in connection with the manufacturing, advertising, offering for sale, and sale of infringing replacement toothbrush heads in the U.S. and Washington over the Internet. Id. ¶ 20. Each Defaulting Defendant has manufactured and then sold and shipped infringing products into this Judicial District. Id.

         According to Philips, the Defaulting Defendants facilitate infringing sales by designing their websites and/or marketplace listings so that they appear to potential purchasers to be authorized high-volume manufacturers and distributors of genuine Philips products. Id. ¶ 21. All the Defaulting Defendants' ship to Washington and sell to purchasers in Washington and the U.S. generally. Id. ¶ 22. Most of the Defaulting Defendants do not list addresses on their websites and/or marketplace listings. Id. ¶ 23. To the extent addresses are listed, those addresses appear to be inaccurate, inconsistent, or incomplete. Id.

         Philips has alleged that the Defaulting Defendants are knowingly and willfully manufacturing, importing, distributing, offering for sale, and/or selling large quantities of replacement toothbrush heads comprising the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration beginning long after Philips first sold toothbrush heads in the same configuration. Philips further alleges that Defaulting Defendants' use of a copy of the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration has caused and is likely to cause confusion; has damaged Philips, its reputation, as well as the goodwill in and value of the SimplyClean Trademark Product Configuration; and gives the Defaulting Defendants an unfair competitive advantage.

         CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         Because the Defaulting Defendants failed to answer Philips' Complaint, the facts alleged by Philips are deemed admitted for purposes of this litigation. See Getty Images (US), Inc. v. Virtual Clinics, No. C13-0626JLR, 2014 WL 358412, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 31, 2014) (“At the default judgment stage, well-pleaded factual allegations, except those related to damages, are considered admitted and are sufficient to establish a defendant's liability.”) (citing Geddes v. United Fin. Grp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977)).

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court concludes that it has subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1338, and 1367, since the core of Philips' claims arise under federal law. See Complaint, docket no. 1, ¶ 10 (“This action arises under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq.”).

         A court has personal jurisdiction over a defendant who has been served in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. See Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Brenneke, 551 F.3d 1132, 1135 (9th Cir. 2009). If a party receives adequate notice of the complaint, “Rule 4 is to be liberally construed to uphold service.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Personal jurisdiction, whether general or specific, must also comport with due process. Vosk Int'l Co. v. Zao Gruppa Predpriyatij Ost, No. C11-1488RSL, 2012 WL 1033535, at *4 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 27, 2012). Absent an applicable federal statutory basis for jurisdiction, a federal court must apply the personal jurisdiction laws of the state in which it sits. Panavision Int'l, L.P. v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998). As “Washington's long-arm statute extends jurisdiction to the limits of federal due process, ” a court has jurisdiction so long as defendants have sufficient “minimum contacts with the forum state such that the assertion of jurisdiction does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Vosk Int'l. Co., 2012 WL 1033535, at *4 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

         1. The Court Has Specific Jurisdiction over the Defaulting

         Defendants The Ninth Circuit uses a three-prong test to determine whether a non-resident defendant is subject to specific personal jurisdiction:

(1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; (2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.

Amazon.com, Inc. v. Nat'l Ass'n of Coll. Stores, Inc., 826 F.Supp.2d 1242, 1253 (W.D. Wash. 2011) (citing Mavrix Photo, Inc. v. Brand Techs., Inc., 647 F.3d 1218, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004))). Philips has alleged facts-deemed admitted by the Defaulting Defendants- sufficient to establish personal ...


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