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Contributory infringement is a way by which secondary liability is imposed. Frida Kahlo Corporation filed a case of contributory infringement against Versa Licensing Corporation and Jaime Meschoulam.
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon is a world-famous Mexican artist. FKC a Panamanian Corporation is the owner of all of the rights, title, and interest to and derived from the “FRIDA KAHLO” and “FK” trademarks. Versa Licensing does business in the United States and represents major brand owners based in the U.S., including Coca-Cola, Sharper Image, and others.
In August 2018, at the Expo licensing LATAM held at the Grand Hyatt in Sao Paulo, Brazil Versa Licensing promoted it is attendance. The promotion represents the FKC trademark FK® without the consent of the Plaintiff. FKC lodged a complaint with the Expo Licensing LATAM organizer, elaborating that FKC owns the trademark rights in the FKC Trademarks, and the defendants have no authority to use it. The case is filed under the Lanham Act. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant has committed an offence under Act 15 Section 1125 (a).
FKC is the owner of dozen of trademarks related to Frida Kahlo. FKC owns the trademarks in Mexico, European Union, and other countries around the world. According to Mexico’s Industrial Property Law, Frida Kahlo's property right passed to Mara. In 2004, they joined the plaintiff to form FKC. In 2011 Mara and her daughter tried to undermine the validity of FKC through their company Familiar Kahlo. The plaintiff alleges that the company Familiar Kahlo has engaged the defendants to commit infringement. Thus, the plaintiff filed a case at United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Case No. 18-21826-cv-Scola, for inter alia, federal trademark infringement, unfair competition and related claims (the “Mara-Romeo Lawsuit”).
To avoid confusion FKC has posted an advertisement at the Expo Licensing LATAM explaining that FKC is the true trademark owner and lawful licensor. They also stated that FKC Trademarks are distinctive and popular. On June 3rd 2019 the case was filed. The plaintiff prayed for an Order declaring that Plaintiff is the owner of the FKC Trademarks and reward of compensatory damages in an amount greater than $75,000. The plaintiff also claimed the profits made by the defendants through the use of trademark FKC.