Lack of quantifiable damages dooms IP complaint

BVWireIssue #244-1
January 11, 2023

intellectual property
damages, IP ownership, trademark infringement, trademark, cryptocurrency, blockchain

In a California case concerning intellectual property (IP), the defendant asked the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint alleging violations of the state’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and asking for damages. To seek relief under the UCL, the plaintiff must show that there must be an “injury in fact and [that the plaintiff] has lost money or property as a result of the unfair competition,” the court wrote. “Although ‘the issue here is only the threshold matter of standing … [and] a specific measure of the amount of [the alleged] loss is not required,’ some detail as to the general value of the alleged injury is still necessary to allege damages under a UCL claim.” The plaintiff had not done this, and, therefore, the motion to dismiss was granted.

This case “should point out to attorneys and BV professionals alike that, even at the preliminary level, it is important that there be some clarity on at a minimum a range of damages or demonstration of a process that will determine that there are indeed damages,” writes BVLaw editor Jim Alerding (Alerding Consulting) in a case digest. “I have been involved in cases where the attorneys have come to me after the filing of a complaint and asked me to tell them whether there are quantifiable damages. In at least one case, there were not, and the complaint was withdrawn.”

The case is Zamfir v CasperLabs, LLC, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194566; 2022 WL 14915618, and a case analysis and full court opinion are available on the BVLaw platform.

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