United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Anthony J. DiMarino, III, Esq. Emmett S. Collazo, Esq. A.J.
DIMARINO, III, PC Counsel for Plaintiff
Michael N. Onufrak, Esq. Siobhan Katherine Cole, Esq. WHITE
& WILLIAMS, LLP Counsel for Defendant
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
patent infringement and unfair competition action, Plaintiff
Smart Vent, Inc. (hereinafter, “Plaintiff” or
“Smart Vent”) moves for partial summary judgment
and for a permanent injunction against Defendant Crawl Space
Door System Inc. (hereinafter, “Defendant” or
“CSD”), because Crawl Space “falsely”
advertises its flood vents as conforming to TB-1 and the NFIP
Insurance Manual. Thus, the primary issue addressed is
whether CSD falsely advertised its flood vents as TB-1
compliant. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's
motion for partial summary judgment and for a permanent
injunction will be granted.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court thoroughly described the relevant background of this
case in Smart Vent Products, Inc. v. Crawl Space Door
System, Inc., No. 13-5691, 2016 WL 4408818 2-*4 (D.N.J.
Aug. 16, 2016), and need not repeat it here. As relevant
here, the Court previously (1) granted Defendant's motion
for judgment on the pleadings to the extent it concerned
Plaintiff's allegations of FEMA and NFIP Compliance and
patent protection, and (2) denied it to the extent it
concerned Plaintiff's allegations of TB-1 Compliance and
the trademark related issues. Id. Now, Smart Vent
moves for partial summary judgment and for a permanent
injunction against Defendant Crawl Space Door System Inc.,
(hereinafter, “Defendant” or “CSD”)
because Crawl Space “falsely” advertises its
vents as conforming to TB-1 and the NFIP Insurance Manual. As
discussed herein, pursuant to the Court's previous
decisions,  the Court will only consider
Plaintiff's claims with regard to whether or not CSD
falsely advertises its flood vents as “TB-1
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate if “there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Alabama v. North
Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(a). Stated differently, “[w]here the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, ” the Court may grant
summary judgment. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view
the material facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and must make every reasonable inference in
that party's favor. See Scott v. Harris, 550
U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Halsey v. Pfeiffer, 750 F.3d
273, 287 (3d Cir. 2014). An inference based upon
“‘speculation or conjecture, '”
however, “‘does not create a material factual
dispute sufficient to defeat summary judgment.'”
Halsey, 750 F.3d at 287 (citations omitted). Rather,
the non-moving party must support each essential element with
concrete record evidence. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
Permanent Injunctive Relief Standard
permanent injunction is proper, where the prevailing
(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury;
(2) that the remedies available at law, such as monetary
damages, prove inadequate to compensate for that injury;
(3) that the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and
defendant favor equitable relief; and (4) that the public
interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
Chanel, Inc. v. Matos, 133 F.Supp.3d 678, 689
(D.N.J. 2015) (permanently enjoining Lanham Act violations)
Smart Vent's Unfair Competition Claim
Vent argues that the undisputed facts establish that CSD
falsely markets its louvered flood vents as conforming to
TB-1 and the NFIP Insurance Manual, and as
“Engineered” Flood Vents that allow reductions in
Flood Insurance Premiums. [Pl. Br. at 4-19.] Put differently,
Plaintiff argues that “since [Defendant's] louvered
flood vents fail to conform to the requirements and
guidelines set forth in TB-1 and the NFIP Insurance
Manual's Lowest Floor Guide, [Defendant's] marketing
statements that its louvered flood vents will allow consumers
to lower their flood insurance premiums are literally false
as a matter of law.” (Id. at 16.) In response
to Plaintiff's assertions, CSD generally argues that the
Court already rejected Plaintiff's central argument when
the Court found that “Crawl Space's approach to
certification . . . comports with the facial requirements for
certification under 44 C.F.R. § 60.3(c)(5), i.e., the
actual binding regulations underpinning the FEMA-administered
NFIP” [Def. Br. at 3.] (citing Smart Vent Prods. v.
Crawl Space Door Sys., Civil Action No. 13-5691
(JBS/KMW), 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108052, at *16-19 (D.N.J.
Aug. 15, 2016)). To the extent that Plaintiff's
assertions rest upon the false premise that CSD cannot market
its flood vents as “FEMA Compliant” because it