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Wells Fargo & Co. v. ABD Ins. & Fin. Servs.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-03-2014
Case #: 13-15625
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Full Text Opinion: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202645221287/Wells-Fargo-
LexisNxis Link: 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3969
Westlaw Link: none

Trademarks: Intent to reuse is not evaluated when use is not actually terminated in determining whether a trademark has been abandoned.

Opinion (Gould): Wells Fargo, a bank, acquired ABD Insurance and Financial Services ("ABD") in 2007. The ABD trademark continued to be displayed to customers in presentations and solicitations.  Employees of ABD left the company in 2009 and created a new company called Insurance Leadership Network (“ILN”). ILN learned that Wells Fargo did not renew the ABD trademark at which time they used the former ABD name. In July 2012 Wells Fargo filed suit against ILN, the “New ABD”, for trademark infringement and other claims. After Wells Fargo filed for a preliminary injunction in 2013, the district court denied the motion. Wells Fargo now brings this appeal arguing that the district court abused its discretion when it denied the motion for preliminary injunction.According to Electro Source intent not to reuse a trademark is not determined unless its use is actually terminated. Any prospective intent to abandon is not indicative of whether the trademark is no longer in use. As such, this court found that the district court erred in concluding that Wells Fargo abandoned its trademark. The Court REVERSED the district court’s order and the case is REMANDED for reconsideration.