Benedict v. Super Bakery (Fed. Cir. 2011)
by Dennis Crouch
Mr. Benedict from British Columbia holds the U.S. trademark registration for the mark G THE GOODYMAN – U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,966,255, granted on July 12, 2005.
Super Bakery holds U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,930,398, granted on March 8, 2005 for the word mark GOODY MAN. Both marks are registered in International Class 30 with Benedict specifying, inter alia, “cookies, cakes, tarts, rice cakes, strudels, and donuts” and Super Bakery specifying “bakery products, namely cupcakes.”
In 2007, Super Baker filed a petition with the TTAB for cancellation of Benedict’s mark. During discovery, Super Bakery requested a number of documents and Benedict (acting pro se) failed to either object or provide the documents. Super Baker then filed a motion to compel discovery that went unopposed, followed by a motion for default judgment. Based upon Benedict's failure to comply, the TTAB awarded Super Bakery a default judgment and cancelled Benedict's mark.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed. Writing for the unanimous court, typically pro-applicant Judge Newman agreed that "The remedy of default judgment was within the Board’s discretion in view of Benedict's repeated failures to comply with established and reasonable procedures orders.”
Although the Board did give some leeway to Mr. Benedict as a pro se applicant, Judge Newman agreed that the rules can only bend so far. "The possession of a trademark registration places a routine obligation on the possessor [even a pro se trademark owner] to participate in reasonable procedures concerning rights or interests affected by that registration." Here, default judgment and cancellation was appropriate based upon Benedict's "repeated failures to comply with established and reasonable procedures orders."