Court dismisses lawsuit over Genera name in trademark dispute
San Juan Superior Court Judge Anthony Cuevas-Ramos has dismissed a lawsuit that local firm GenEra, L3C filed earlier this year against Genera PR LLC for trademark infringement.
GenEra, founded in March 2020, said it filed the complaint after attempting to resolve the issue directly with Genera PR, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy that was contracted for 10 years through a public-private partnership to operate the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s power generation system.
GenEra filed its trademark-infringement lawsuit on May 9 against Genera PR. It claimed, among other things, that Genera PR began offering similar services in the energy generation sector and has been unlawfully using GenEra’s trademarks, causing “significant damage” to its business reputation and potential economic losses. It also claimed the similar name could confuse clients.
“It is disappointing, frustrating and also painful that the laws of our [island] aren’t enforced when it comes to applying them to powerful companies and large interests,” said GenEra, L3C founder Saúl González-Mendoza. “It is another obstacle that adds to the long list of setbacks that small and medium-sized Puerto Rican business people experience when we try to prosper, to contribute to our [island’s economy]. It is infuriating.”
He also said GenEra, L3C and its legal team believed they had the evidence to seek a preliminary injunction under the Trademark Law to prevent irreparable damages due to Genera PR’s use of “Genera.”
However, in his decision, Cuevas-Ramos noted that the evidence presented during several hearings did not contain specific damages that GenEra suffered.
“During the presentation of evidence, it was only established that the defendant received several communications congratulating … and asking about [the] relationship with the plaintiff. [The plaintiff] did not present proof of any damage suffered,” the judge said in his decision.
“In effect, a judgment is issued rejecting the claim filed because there is no probability of confusion, and irreparable damage has not been demonstrated,” the judge stated.
González-Mendoza said, “The short-, medium- and long-term impact is very difficult to pinpoint as GenEra, L3C is not aware of all the times that confusion can [arise] in the consumer’s mind, nor can it reasonably have the resources to be able to clarify in each of those instances. Mere confusion is irreparable harm itself.”