Monday December 14, 2020
SKV clients Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), Reverend Dang Pham, and Steven Dieu won an appellate victory before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, marking SKV’s second win this year on behalf of UBCV. In this week’s opinion and order, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a 2019 summary judgment dismissing eight trademark-related causes of action asserted against SKV’s clients in the Southern District of Texas. The Court, reviewing the summary judgment issues de novo, agreed with SKV that the plaintiff had failed to establish any public secondary meaning required for its asserted service marks to be enforceable against SKV’s clients. The Court therefore rejected the plaintiff’s efforts to monopolize the mark “UBCV” for itself. A copy of the opinion is here.
The underlying suit was only the latest chapter in a years-long attempt by a group of plaintiffs who have sought to frustrate UBCV’s religious activities in the United States through a variety of lawsuits in state and federal courts. This appellate victory follows SKV’s jury verdict win for UBCV earlier this year as well as SKV’s prior successes defeating other state law claims brought by related plaintiffs against UBCV.
SKV attorney Rex Manning wrote the successful brief on appeal, with assistance from Jarod Stewart and Hector Chavez, who have represented the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam for the last several years in state and federal trial courts.
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