District Judge Nina Gershon


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North Carolina firm Cree Inc. makes and sells light-emitting diodes (LEDs), LED bulbs and lighting products, and LED components. It holds trademarks for the CREE and XLAMP word marks and four Cree design marks. It also has an application pending for registration of the XM-L word mark. Cree’s Lanham Act suit against Chen and his co-defendants alleged their infringement on Cree’s trademarks by selling infringing flashlights, head lamps, and bicycle lights. Defendants allegedly imported such infringing products from a non-party Chinese manufacturer, in packaging identifying the firm owned by defendant Wu—for which Chen was president—as the sender. Despite dismissing Cree’s claims premised on the unregistered XM-L mark and the XLAMP mark—Cree alleged nothing supporting its claim defendants sold products bearing the XLAMP mark—the court denied dismissal of Cree’s false designation of origin and trademark infringement claims. Balancing the Polaroid factors, the court concluded that under the totality of the Polaroid factors Cree alleged a likelihood of confusion between the parties’ similar trademarks. That the parties sold the same products was enough to allege that their products were in close proximity to one another.