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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Allows Suit Over Coffee Marks to Continue

(CN) - A federal judge refused to toss a trademark infringement case against a Florida-based gourmet coffee company.

In a federal complaint filed in May, JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting, LLC, of Lilburn, Ga. claimed OpenGateFarmFl LLC, more popularly known as "Genesis Coffee Roasters," was using a "mark that is nearly identical" to its own, causing confusion in the marketplace.

JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting says that it is known as "an artisanal, small batch provider of roasted coffee and related products" and that it has developed goodwill in the marketplace over a number of years.

It complains that the "[d]efendant maintains a website with a domain name of www.genesiscoffeeroasters.com, though which it promotes and sells its coffee products that are substantially similar to those offered by Plaintiff."

" Thus, Defendant has benefitted from, continues to benefit from, and intends to benefit from the goodwill and name recognition associated with JavaGenesis's Marks," the complaint said.

The case was summarily dismissed by a federal judge who characterized JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting's filing as an "impermissible 'shotgun pleading,' meaning that it purported to incorporate factual allegations from prior paragraphs via reference."

"They had filed a complaint and a district judge dismissed it before we even got around to it," said Mike Addison of Tampa-based Addison & Howard, who represents the defendant.

JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting then submitted an amended complaint.

In response, the defendant filed a two-and-a-half page motion to dismiss, contending the new filing was "a mere 'Band-Aid' to the original Complaint."

"This time they didn't incorporate by reference anything," said Addison. "Each cause of action is standing out there naked. It's supposed to be addressed and judged based on what it alleges, which it does not do."

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Philip Lammens denied the defendant's motion, saying in his order last week that the plaintiff "remedied the deficiencies previously noted by the court" and the complaint "does not fall within the Eleventh Circuit's definition of a 'shotgun' complaint."

JavaGenesis seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

It is represented by Paden Woodruff, of Woodruff & Black in Tallahassee, and Thomas Tate, of Andersen, Tate & Carr, of Duluth, Ga. Neither responded to a request for comment from Courthouse News.

Representatives of JavaGenesis told Courthouse News they did not want to comment.

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