Monday, February 6, 2017

Case of the Day: Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte Int'l Am. Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12246 (D.N.J. Jan. 30, 2017)


Plaintiff is a Japanese cookie company that manufactures and sells "Pocky" cookies. Defendant is the U.S. subsidiary of a Korean cookie company that manufactures and sells "Pepero" cookies. Defendant is a New Jersey corporation with a principal place of business in Irvine, California. Plaintiff sued the defendant in the District of New Jersey, claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. 

Defendant moved to transfer the case to Central District of California. The court denied the motion, finding that trademark infringement claim did not have a greater nexus in California, and the convenience factor was equal for New Jersey and California, because both corporations are ultimately foreign multinationals.


Here is an interesting counterexample to the general trend, where foreign plaintiffs' choice of forum merits little to no weight. At least in case where the defendant is also foreign, the plaintiff's choice of forum receives some deference.

On a miscellaneous note: many Asian American snackers have wondered how Pepero is not some kind of intellectual property violation of Pocky. Well, wonder no more--that's why we are having a lawsuit.

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