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Amazing Spaces, Inc. v. Metro Mini Storage

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
608 F.3d 225 (2010)


Amazing Spaces, Inc. (Amazing Spaces) (plaintiff) was a self-storage business in Houston, Texas. Amazing Spaces trademarked a raised, five-pointed star set in a circle (“Star Symbol”) that it placed on the exteriors of three storage facilities. Amazing Spaces also used the Star Symbol to mark its facilities on maps and within other logos on advertising materials. Metro Mini Storage (Metro) (defendant) competed with Amazing Spaces in Houston. Metro decorated its storage facilities with a star set in a circle that was similar to the Star Symbol used by Amazing Spaces. Amazing Spaces sued Metro for trademark infringement. Metro argued that the Star Symbol was not distinctive enough to be a valid, enforceable trademark. Metro moved for summary judgment and provided evidence that a star in a circle was used by at least 63 industries and 28 self-storage companies. The district court concluded that the Star Symbol was too common to qualify as inherently distinctive. The district court also found no evidence that, standing by itself, the Star Symbol had acquired enough distinctiveness to give it a secondary meaning specific to Amazing Spaces. Because the Star Symbol did not have either inherent or acquired distinctiveness, the district court granted summary judgment for Metro. Amazing Spaces appealed.

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