Eat Right Foods Ltd. v. Whole Foods Market, Inc., No. 15-35524 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for Whole Foods in a trademark infringement action. The panel held that the district court impermissibly resolved disputed questions of material fact in favor of the moving party regarding Whole Foods' affirmative defenses of laches and acquiescence. Therefore, the panel vacated the district court's reasonableness finding and remanded for further proceedings. On remand, the district court should reevaluate the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party—i.e., as if ERF delayed filing suit because it was trying to settle its claims against Whole Foods. If the district court determined on remand that ERF delayed unreasonably in filing suit and this delay prejudiced Whole Foods, it must consider the extent and reasonableness of Whole Foods' reliance on ERF's affirmative representations before it reaches a finding on acquiescence.
Court Description: Trademark The panel vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in a trademark infringement case, affirmed the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment, and remanded with instructions. Eat Right Foods, which sold “EatRight”-branded cookies to Whole Foods for many years, alleged that Whole Foods infringed on its trademark by selling a variety of foods under the “EatRight America” mark. The panel concluded that disputed material facts establishing or defeating the affirmative defenses of laches and acquiescence had not been resolved. As to laches, the panel concluded that if the district court had credited Eat Right Foods’ evidence that it waited to file suit because it was attempting to resolve its claims against Whole Foods without litigation, then the court might have come to a