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Ray Communications, Inc. v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-08-2012
Case #: 11-1050
King, Gregory, Davis
Full Text Opinion: http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/111050.P.pdf

Trademarks: Laches may bar relief, but not automatically; a showing of “plus” factors must be presented for laches to bar relief.

Opinion (Davis): Ray Communications Inc. (“Ray”) alleged that Clear Channel Communications Inc. (“Clear”) infringed on Ray’s trademark “AGRINET”. Clear began using the term “AGRINET” to describe some of its radio programs, without Ray’s permission. Ray had allowed some of Clear’s predecessors to use the term “AGRINET”. As a result, the district court granted summary judgment to Clear because of its affirmative defense of laches and Ray appealed. On appeal, Ray only claims infringement to the continued use of the term “AGRINET” by Clear, not the past use. The Court agrees that laches may bar relief but it is not automatic and Ray correctly pointed out that the district court did do not do the analysis that would show why laches should give relief to Clear. VACATED and REMANDED.