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Hybrid Athletics, LLC v. Hylete, LLC

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 10, 2018

HYBRID ATHLETICS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
HYLETE, LLC, Defendant.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending is a motion for leave to amend filed by Hybrid Athletics, LLC (“Hybrid” or “Plaintiff). Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 76. Hylete, LLC (“Hylete” or “Defendant”), has opposed the motion. Opp. to Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 82.

         For the following reasons, Hybrid's motion to amend is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         In the original Complaint, Hybrid, a fitness brand that sells products and offers fitness and health services, alleged that it extensively uses the following symbol as its logo:

         (Image Omitted)

         Compl. ¶¶ 10-12. Hybrid also alleged that it is owned by Robert Orlando, who “called himself a ‘hybrid athlete' as he trained and was a trainer in multiple methods of fitness, ” and is “responsible for all aspects of the business, including advertising, sales and finances.” Id. ¶¶ 11, 13. Hybrid alleges that it owns three federally registered trademarks identifying the logo and the title of the company, “Hybrid Athletics.” Id. ¶ 14.

         Hybrid alleges that the “current owners of Hylete were well aware of Hybrid Athletics and the Hybrid Marks since 2010[.]” Id. ¶ 38. Hybrid alleges that for several years before Hylete was formed, Hybrid “worked with a company called JACO which, for at least two years, produced shorts for Hybrid with the Hybrid Marks” on them. Id. ¶ 39. Hybrid alleges that “JACO, a small company of five to eight employees, was created and owned by the same person who created and now owns Hylete, Ron Wilson.” Id. ¶ 40. Hyrbid also alleges that “when Mr. Wilson left JACO to start his own company (later named Hylete), at least two JACO employees went with him: Matt Paulson (now the co-owner of Hylete) and Jennifer Null, ” who allegedly were the “two particular people that managed Hybrid's account.” Id. ¶¶ 41-42.

         Hybrid alleges that “JACO kept the Hybrid Marks saved on its computer system, ” in order to screen print them on the shorts that were purchased by and designed for Hybrid.” Id. ¶¶ 43-44. Hybrid alleges that “when Ron Wilson, Matt Paulson, and Jennifer Null left JACO to form Hylete, they contacted Mr. Orlando, due to his notoriety, requesting that he sign a co-branding deal ” Id. ¶ 45.

         Hylete allegedly manufactures, distributes, and sells athletic clothing, and its “target consumers are the same as Hybrid's.” Id. ¶ 48. Hybrid alleges that Hylete uses the following logo mark:

         (Image Omitted)

Id. ¶ 51. Hybrid also alleges that Hylete is the owner of three United States trademark registrations for its logos and the Hylete name. Id. ¶ 51-52.

         Hybrid alleges that “Hylete” is a “contraction of the term “Hybrid Athlete.” Id. ¶ 53. Hybrid also alleges that the goods that Hylete sells with its logo are “identical to the goods sold by Hybrid.” Id. ¶ 54. Hybrid alleges that Hylete's marks “are visually and linguistically similar to the Hybrid Marks” and that Hylete has used the mark since at least April 2012. Id. ¶¶ 55-59. Hybrid claims that, in April 2012, it “discovered Hylete's plans to promote, advertise, distribute, offer for sale, and sell clothing and apparel bearing a mark substnatially and confusingly similar to” Hybrid's marks, and “immediately contacted Hylete objecting to the use of the marks as confusingly similar to the Hybrid Marks.” Id. ¶¶ 61-62. Hylete allegedly continued to use the marks, and on October 16, 2013, Hybrid filed a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”). Id. ¶¶ 63-64. The TTAB allegedly sustained the objection, concluding that “Hybrid has priority over Hylete and that Hybrid demonstrated ...


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