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Anti-Monopoly, Inc. v. General Mills Fun Group, Inc.

684 F.2d 1316 (1982)

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Anti-Monopoly, Inc. v. General Mills Fun Group, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

684 F.2d 1316 (1982)

Facts

In 1935, General Mills Fun Group, Inc.’s (General Mills) (defendant) corporate predecessor Parker Brothers registered a trademark for a board game called Monopoly. In 1973, Anti-Monopoly, Inc. (plaintiff) began selling a board game called Anti-Monopoly. After General Mills claimed the Anti-Monopoly game infringed its Monopoly trademark, Anti-Monopoly sought a declaratory judgment that the Monopoly trademark was invalid because it was generic and sought cancellation of the trademark on that basis. General Mills brought a counterclaim, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief validating its trademark. The district court ruled in favor of General Mills. The Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded for further consideration of, among other things, validity and infringement. On remand, the district court considered consumer surveys presented by the parties. Anti-Monopoly submitted surveys indicating that (1) 80 percent of respondents who were familiar with a game in which players buy, sell, and mortgage properties would specifically ask for Monopoly if they were to look for such a game in a store (the Thermos survey) and (2) 65 percent of respondents who recently purchased or intended to purchase Monopoly did so or would do so because they were motivated to play the game Monopoly while only 32 percent of such respondents were motivated by their like of Parker Brothers games (the motivation survey). General Mills submitted a survey that explored whether respondents considered Monopoly to be a brand name (the brand-name survey) and a survey indicating that 68 percent of respondents who purchased or intended to purchase Tide detergent did so or would do so because they were motivated by their like of Tide detergent (the Tide survey). The district court issued a finding of fact that Monopoly is not generic because it primarily denotes its producer (Parker Brothers/General Mills) and thus the trademark is valid. The district court further ruled that Anti-Monopoly infringed the Monopoly trademark. Anti-Monopoly appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Duniway, J.)

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