Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ThermoLife International LLC v. BPI Sports LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 18, 2019

ThermoLife International LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
BPI Sports LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable Steven P. Logan United States District Judge

         Before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6) (Doc. 15) and Request for Judicial Notice (Doc. 16). For the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted without prejudice and the Request for Judicial Notice will be denied.

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff is an Arizona-based company that owns several patents related to the use of amino acids combined with nitrates. (Doc. 1 at 4) Plaintiff licenses the patents for their use in dietary supplements. (Doc. 1 at 4) Defendant is a market leader in Branch Chain Amino Acid (“BCAA”) supplement sales. (Doc. 1 at 1-2) Defendant advertises that its products contain a unique “Oligopeptide-Enzymatic Technology, ” which is the result of using “peptide linked” BCAAs. (Doc. 1 at 2) On December 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Complaint, alleging that Defendant's products do not contain the peptide linked BCAAs as advertised on its packaging. (Doc. 1) Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant is a direct competitor in the sale of nitrate technology and that Defendant made false statements about its use of “peptide linked” BCAAs when advertising its products. (Doc. 1 at 18) The Complaint asserts three causes of action: 1) false advertising under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B) of the Lanham Act; (2) common law unfair competition; and (3) civil conspiracy. (Doc. 1 at 18-19)

         On March 8, 2019, Defendant filed the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15), arguing that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for relief and requesting that the Court dismiss the claims with prejudice. Plaintiff responded on April 15, 2019 (Doc. 22), and Defendant replied on May 13, 2019 (Doc. 23).

         II. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” so that the defendant is given fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). A court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory, or (2) insufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). When deciding a motion to dismiss, all allegations of material fact in the complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Daniels-Hall, 629 F.3d at 998.

         III. Discussion

         A. The Complaint

         Defendant argues that the Complaint must be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) because Plaintiff did not allege the requisite elements to establish each claim. (Doc. 15 at 2) Defendant further asserts that its motion should be granted with prejudice because granting leave to amend the Complaint would be futile. (Doc. 15 at 17) Defendant labels Plaintiff as “a patent troll that acquires and licenses patents in the sports nutrition and supplement industry and then files dozens of lawsuits against hundreds of alleged patent infringers and alleged competitors for false advertising.” (Doc. 15 at 2) Defendant cites to a similar lawsuit filed by Plaintiff in this District, ThermoLife Int'l, L.L.C. v. NeoGenis Labs, Inc., No. 2:18-cv-02980-HRH, 2019 WL 1438293 (Apr. 1, 2019), in support of its argument. (Doc. 23 at 6)

         In response, Plaintiff argues that the allegations in the Complaint sufficiently plead each of the three claims for relief. (Doc. 22 at 1-2) In the alternative, Plaintiff asserts that it should be granted leave to amend any deficiencies in the Complaint. (Doc. 22 at 12) Each count is reviewed below.

         1. False Advertising

         To state a cognizable claim for false advertising under the Lanham Act, plaintiffs must plead that their business interests fall within the “zone of interests” protected by the statute and that they have suffered a commercial injury proximately caused by the false advertising. Lexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 572 U.S. 118, 129 (2014). “[T]o come within the zone of interests in a suit for false advertising under § 1125(a), a plaintiff must allege an injury to a commercial interest in reputation or sales.” Id. at 131-32. In the Ninth Circuit, a commercial injury is “generally presumed . . . when defendant and plaintiff are direct competitors and defendant's misrepresentation has a tendency to mislead consumers.” TrafficSchool.com, Inc. v. Edriver Inc., 653 F.3d 820, 826 (9th Cir. 2011). But when the parties are not direct competitors, a plaintiff must plead a competitive injury with sufficient particularity to survive a motion to dismiss. See Merck Eprova AG v. Brookstone Pharm., LLC, 920 F.Supp.2d 404, 416 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).

         In addition to the NeoGenis Labs case cited by Defendant, two other recent decisions from the District of Arizona address the same causes of action asserted by Plaintiff against other defendants. See ThermoLife Int'l, LLC v. Compound Sol. Inc., No. CV-19-01473-PHX-SMM, 2019 WL 5448804 (July 30, 2019); ThermoLife Int'l, LLC v. Am. Fitness Wholesalers LLC, No. CV-18-04189-PHX-JAT, 2019 WL 3840988 (Aug. 15, 2019). In all three cases, the court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. NeoGenis Labs, Inc., 2019 WL 1438293, at *7; Compound Sol. Inc., 2019 WL 5448804 at *5; Am. Fitness Wholesalers LLC, 2019 WL 3840988 at *10. Each court found that Plaintiff failed to establish any direct competition with the defendant and that Plaintiff only asserted conclusory arguments regarding a competitive or commercial injury. NeoGenis Labs, Inc., 2019 WL 1438293 at *6-7; Compound Sol. Inc., ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.