No Trademark? No Problem

No Trademark? No Problem | Mark Kaufman

An interesting case was recently decided in the Southern District of New York called Charisma World Wide Corp v. Avon Products. It appears to be a case over intellectual property rights, but decided without relying on intellectual property law. The case was over a technical analysis as to whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction to even listen to the complaint. It hinged on the court’s analyzing whether the conduct that the plaintiff was complaining about had a substantial effect on domestic (that is, U.S.) commerce. Charisma World Wide Corp. (Charisma) is a Panamanian company that sells “renowned products” in Panama under the trademark “Charisma.” America’s own Avon, of door-to-door sales, fame, had been selling similar products in Panama, also called “Charisma.” Both products are cosmetics and, to a casual observer, seem like exactly the same thing.

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