Bill's Birds v. Trademarketing Resources

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Antitrust

New York Law Journal

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Judge Leonard Wexler

Bill's Birds makes and sells aftermarket replacement automotive decorative trim pieces. In 2009 it advertised products for Demon, Swinger and Plymouth. Through licensing agent Trademark Resources Inc. (TRI), Chrysler Group accused Bill's Birds of trademark infringement. Emails in 2010 reiterated Chrysler's rights to the Plymouth, Demon and Swinger marks, and other heritage model names. Bill's Birds alleged Chrysler's monopolization of the aftermarket replacement decorative trim market, and sought to restrain TRI and Chrysler from threatening it in a manner restraining trade contrary to the Sherman Act. Among other things, the court dismissed claims grounded on alleged violation of §1 of the Sherman Act. Discussing Fuchs Sugars & Syrups v. Amstar and Belfiore v. New York Times it found TRI not separate and distinct from Chrysler, but rather furthered Chrysler's interests. In dismissing antitrust claims under §2 of the Sherman Act the court concluded Bill's Birds failed to allege a plausible relevant market or the existence of monopoly power. As Bill's Birds' products are substitutes for Chrysler's products once the Chrysler piece needs replacement, there was no allegation that the products competed in the same market.

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