Avon Products v. Moroccanoil

Intellectual Property

New York Law Journal


Judge George Daniels

California's Moroccanoil Inc. distributes hair and skin care products. Avon's Nov. 18, 2011, application before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office sought a trademark for a word mark including the term "Moroccan Argan Oil" (the '646 Application). Moroccanoil's April 2012 letter informed Avon of its Canadian trademark registration for the term "Moroccanoil" and charged the '646 Application's confusing similarity to Moroccanoil's Canadian marks. The letter did not mention any U.S. infringement or activity by Avon outside of Canada. District court dismissed, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Avon's complaint seeking declaratory judgment that its use of "Moroccan Argan Oil" constituted "fair use" under the Lanham Act and did not constitute infringement, dilution or unfair competition under the Lanham Act or New York's common law. District court found no case or controversy warranting declaratory judgment, noting that nothing showed that defendant Moroccanoil accused Avon of infringing its U.S. patents, nor that Moroccanoil intended to enforce its U.S. trademarks against Avon. District court concluded that the parties' dispute over Canadian trademark rights should be decided by Canadian courts.

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