Judicial Notice of Internet Evidence — Noticing Contents of Corporate Website for Fact of What Is Displayed — Contract Dispute Over Proper Use of Trade Name

Saint Laurie Ltd. v Yves Saint Laurent Am., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42621 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2015):

On September 26, 2013, Plaintiff Saint Laurie Ltd. ("Plaintiff" or "Saint Laurie") filed the present action. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on December 23, 2013, [*2]  against Defendants Yves Saint Laurent America, Inc., Yves Saint Laurent S.A.S. (collectively, "Defendants YSL"), Kering S.A. ("Kering"), Kering Americas, Inc. ("KAI"), and Luxury Goods International S .A. ("LGI") (collectively, "Defendants"). Saint Laurie asserted eight Claims against Defendants: (1) breach of contract; (2) trademark infringement, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125; (3) false designation of origin, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (4) trademark dilution, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c); (5) trademark infringement under New York common law; (6) trademark dilution, pursuant to New York General Business Law § 360 (1); (7) unfair competition under New York common law; and (8) unlawful deceptive acts and practices, pursuant to New York General Business Law § 349.

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The 1975 Agreement provided that a YSL store in New York, New York would have its sign altered to "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche" and that "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche" labeled men's clothing only could be sold [*5]  in Saint Laurent Rive Gauche stores. (1975 Agreement ¶ 3, Ex. 2.) The parties also agreed that YSL's advertisements and labeling pertaining to men's clothing sold under the Yves Saint Laurent or Saint Laurent Rive Gauche trademarks would state "Yves Saint Laurent" or "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche," respectively. (Id. ¶ 5.) The 1974 Defendants were prohibited from selling or advertising "men's clothing under the trade name 'Saint Laurent' alone." (Id. ¶ 35.) In return, Plaintiff agreed that "advertising and/or labelling by [Saint Laurie] in connection with French styled or modeled clothing [would] be accompanied by a prominent display of the name 'Saint Laurie Ltd.'" (Id. ¶ 9.) The 1975 Agreement was to remain in effect as long as Plaintiff sold men's clothing under the Saint Laurie trade name. (Id. ¶ 10.) Finally, the 1975 Agreement provided that "[a] party aggrieved by a breach of this agreement shall be entitled to specific performance as a remedy." (Id. ¶ 13.)

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2. Plaintiff's Purported Breaches of the Agreements

Defendants contend that Saint Laurie's claims for breach of contract and specific performance must be dismissed because Plaintiff has breached the 1975 Agreement and 1982 Agreement. Specifically, Defendants assert that Plaintiff's website violates the 1975 Agreement because Plaintiff advertises itself as "Saint Laurie" and "Saint Laurie-Merchant Tailors" without a prominent display of "Ltd."13 In the 1975 Agreement, Saint Laurie agreed,

   [A]dvertising and/or labelling by SL in connection with French styled or modelled clothing will be accompanied by a prominent display of the name 'Saint Laurie Ltd.' and will be done in such a manner so as not to be misleading as to the origin of the goods and not to be confusingly similar to Yves Saint Laurent and/or Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. [*23]

 (1975 Agreement ¶ 9.) Defendants do not contend that Plaintiff's website uses "Saint Laurie" in connection with French styled or modelled clothing. Rather, Defendants assert that the mere use of "Saint Laurie" constitutes a breach of the 1975 Agreement.

13   The Court takes judicial notice of Saint Laurie's website. See Magnoni v. Smith & Laquercia, LLP, 701 F. Supp. 2d 497, 501 (S.D.N.Y. 2010); see also Patsy's Italian Rest., Inc. v. Banas, 575 F. Supp. 2d 427, 443 n. 18 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) ("It is generally proper to take judicial notice of articles and Web sites published on the Internet."), aff'd, 658 F.3d 254 (2d Cir. 2011); ECF No. 23, Normand Decl. Exs. 27-28. In addition, the authenticity of the website and its printouts have not been challenged. The Court, however, will not take judicial notice of Andrew Kozzin's Declaration, (ECF No. 36, Rozzin Decl. ¶¶ 10-18), which attempts to explain the meaning of "French styled or modeled clothing." Novie v. Vill. of Montebello, No. 10 Civ. 9436, 2012 WL 3542222, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2012) (collecting cases finding that "it is improper for a court to consider declarations and affidavits on a motion to dismiss").

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