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Bath Authority, LLC v. Aston Global Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

December 3, 2019

BATH AUTHORITY, LLC d/b/a DREAMLINE, Plaintiff,
v.
ASTON GLOBAL, INC., Defendant.

          FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          REBECCA RUTHERFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is an intellectual property dispute between competing sellers of shower doors in which Plaintiff Bath Authority, LLC d/b/a DreamLine (“DreamLine”) brings several causes of action against Defendant Aston Global, Inc. (“Aston”) alleging Aston's sale of certain French-door style shower doors infringes DreamLine's design patents and constitutes unfair competition. Pending before the Court is DreamLine's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Expedited Discovery (ECF No. 13). Because DreamLine has not established a substantial threat of irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted, the Motion should be DENIED.

         Background

         DreamLine markets and sells bathtub and shower doors and enclosures using a French branding theme. Am. Compl. 5, ¶ 20 (ECF No. 18). Most of the products in this “FRENCH line” are branded with the name of a river or town in France and the word “French.” Id. Among other products, DreamLine's FRENCH line includes: (1) the “French Linea Toulon;” (2) the “French Linea Avignon;” (3) the “French Linea Rhone;” (4) the “French Corner;” and (5) the “Unidoor Toulon.” See id. at 6, ¶ 25. DreamLine alleges the products in its FRENCH line have been subject to common law trademark protection since “at least March 2016” when they were introduced in the market. Id. at 10, ¶ 45. In February 2017, DreamLine obtained registration of the mark “French Corner” for bathtub enclosures, shower doors, and shower enclosures; and in December 2018, it obtained registration of the marks “Avignon” and “Toulon” for the same class of products. Id. at 5, ¶ 20; Pl.'s Ex. 1-6 (ECF No. 18-1). DreamLine refers to its general trademark protection earned by selling its French-themed shower doors as well as its registered trademarks collectively as its “FRENCH marks.” See Am. Compl. 5, ¶ 20.

         DreamLine also owns two relevant design patents: D816, 818 entitled “Shower Door and Panel” (“D818”) and D816, 814 entitled “Glass Shower Panel of Shower Enclosure” (“D814”). Id. at 7-9, ¶¶ 34-39; Pl.'s Ex. 63-73. D818 claims “[t]he ornamental design for a shower door and panel, as shown and described.” Pl.'s Ex. 63. It is depicted as double doors with 24 equally sized glass panes on each door-four columns and six rows each. See Id. The left-hand door has a pull handle positioned near where the two doors meet. See Id. The Unidoor Toulon product is a black-framed shower door, identical to the D818 drawings. Am. Compl. 13, ¶ 53; Pl.'s Ex. 63. The French Linea Toulon product is a single door identical to Unidoor Toulon's right-hand door. Am. Compl. 12, ¶ 50; Pl.'s Ex. 63. D814 also claims “[t]he ornamental design for a shower door and panel, as shown and described.” Id. at 70. It, however, is depicted as a single door with 12 equally sized glass panes-three columns and four rows. See id. It does not have a handle. See id.

         Figure 1: DreamLine's Patents - Drawings Pl.'s Ex. 63, 70.

         (Image Omitted)

         Figure 2: DreamLine's Products

         (Image Omitted)

         Am. Compl. 11, 13, ¶¶ 45, 53.[1]

         Aston sells four products online through Home Depot that DreamLine alleges infringe its intellectual property rights. Aston's “French Durance” is a single, black-framed door with 15 glass panes-three columns and five rows-and no handle. Pl.'s Ex. 59. Aston's “French Mayenne” is a single, black-framed door with 15 glass panes-three columns and five rows-with a pull handle positioned on the left-hand side of the door. Id. at 103. There is more than one model of Aston's “French Vienne.” One model is a black-framed shower enclosure. Id. at 80. Its narrower panel has 15 glass panes-three columns and five rows. Id. Its wider panel, which meets the narrower panel at a right angle, has 25 glass panes-five columns and five rows. Id. The wider panel has a pull handle positioned near where the two panels meet. Id. The other French Vienne model is identical to the enclosure model, but it is a standalone door rather than an enclosure-its only piece is the wider, handled door. Id. at 85, 90. Finally, the Aston “French Brienne” is black-framed double doors with 15 panes on each door-each with three columns and five rows. Id. at 75. It has a pull handle on the right-hand door positioned near where the doors meet. Id.

         (Image Omitted)

         Figure 3: Aston's Products

         (Image Omitted)

         Pl.'s Ex. 75, ...


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