LAS VEGAS – Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, announced today that the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an Order granting Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment regarding Federal claims of Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition against Total Fighting Alliance (“TFA”) and Todd Meacham Promotions.
The Court also issued a permanent injunction against TFA prohibiting TFA from any use of the Octagon™ competition mat, the Octagon™ cage and/or the Octagon™ logo in promoting mixed martial arts events, its website or merchandise. The Court found as a matter of law that the octagonal-shaped competition mat and fighting enclosure are distinctive trademarks and trade dress, have acquired secondary meaning and are inextricably linked with Zuffa and the UFC brand in the marketplace.
The Court further determined that it was indisputable as a matter of law that TFA and Todd Meacham’s unauthorized and unlicensed use of an octagon-shaped cage and logo constituted Federal trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of Zuffa’s rights.
Dana White, UFC President, stated he is pleased with the court’s decision.
“Everyone in this business knows that we vigorously defend our intellectual property rights,” said White. “We gave the TFA organization every opportunity to resolve this matter outside of Federal court, but Todd Meacham chose to invite high-cost litigation and burden our Federal courts with baseless defenses that were quickly disregarded by the District Court.” White added, “This strong and decisive victory for Zuffa sends a message that anyone attempting to illegally pass themselves off as being associated with the UFC, or that improperly uses our intellectual property, will be sued.”
In May 2006, Zuffa brought federal and state claims against TFA for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition. On August 14, 2006, Zuffa also sought and received a preliminary injunction enjoining TFA from using an octagonal chain linked fence, an octagonal competition mat and from using an octagonal logo in the promotion of its events and merchandising. On July 2, 2007, Zuffa filed the instant Motions for Summary Judgment and for a Permanent Injunction against TFA, both of which were granted.
It should be noted that Summary Judgment is not granted lightly by the courts. In this instance, the District Court decided that, as a matter of law, the defendants’ use of the octagonal mat and logo created a likelihood of confusion among MMA consumers that TFA events were somehow affiliated with, sponsored by or licensed by Zuffa or otherwise related to the UFC brand.
The octagonal competition mat and cage design are registered trademarks and/or trade dress of Zuffa, LLC and are symbolic of the highest quality mixed martial arts events presented under the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand name. In 1993, UFC events were the first to feature an eight-sided competition configuration which has become known worldwide as “the UFC Octagon” trademark.
The UFC Octagon trademark has become inherently associated with Zuffa and the UFC brand name among mixed martial arts consumers, other mixed martial arts organizations and the national media. The UFC Octagon is regularly featured on UFC Pay-per-view events, UFC® Fight Night™ and The Ultimate Fighter® reality TV series. The UFC Octagon configuration creates a neutral arena to showcase the skills of UFC mixed martial arts athletes.
The UFC® organization has established a reputation for providing the maximum safety to the fighters with state athletic commission-approved ring structures, canvas, and all safety padding and fences. Zuffa makes major investments to ensure the safety of competitors in the UFC Octagon ring – as a result, when people see “the Octagon” they associate it with the reputation and quality delivered only by Zuffa at UFC events.
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