Ruling made in Glidewell lawsuit against Keating Dental Arts, Inc.

June 13, 2013

Keating Dental Arts, Inc. (KDA), a full-service laboratory in California recently announced that it has prevailed in a two-year trademark dispute brought against KDA by Glidewell Laboratories, a Calif.-based provider of dental products and services. Glidewell has also announced that a judge has upheld the validity of their BruxZir trademark.

Keating Dental Arts, Inc. (KDA), a full-service laboratory in California recently announced that it has prevailed in a two-year trademark dispute brought against KDA by Glidewell Laboratories, a Calif.-based provider of dental products and services. Glidewell has also announced that a judge has upheld the validity of their BruxZir trademark.

In 2011, Glidewell sued KDA over its use of the name “KDZ Bruxer,” which Glidewell claimed was an infringement on its “BruxZir” product name. KDA brought several counterclaims, including a claim that Glidewell’s registered trademark was invalid. In February 2013, a judge ruled that there was no trademark infringement on the part of KDA, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California also issued an order concerning cross-motions.

“The lawsuit came as a shock due in large part to the frequent use of the common dental term, bruxer or bruxism, which refers to tooth clenching and grinding,” said Shaun Keating, founder of Keating Dental Arts. “We were lucky to have the resources to fight this battle. The lawsuit was a scary and expensive battle for a lab of our size. We felt we had to fight it, not just for us, but for other small labs out there.”

Based on the particular facts before it, the judge ruled in KDA’s favor on the issue of infringement, stating that the company had not infringed on the BruxZir trademark. In addition, the Court also granted Glidewell’s motion validating Glidewell’s BruxZir trademark and granting, in part, the company’s motion to dismiss counterclaims for affirmative relief brought against Glidewell by KDA.

Glidewell reported that the Court unconditionally upheld the validity of the registered BruxZir trademark as a matter of law, ruling that the mark is “suggestive” rather than generic and is therefore "inherently distinctive” and “automatically entitled to protection."

Glidewell Laboratories’s General Counsel, Keith Allred, stated that "while we are disappointed with the Court’s ruling on infringement, we are certainly pleased that the Court ruled that the BruxZir mark is valid as a matter of law and dismissed Keating’s counterclaims for affirmative relief. We always felt certain that we had a strong mark with the BruxZir name. Over 200 dental laboratories provide BruxZir Brand Crowns and Bridges to their clients."

KDA said they are poised for growth, despite the financial impact of the lawsuit. What began as a small family owned lab 10 years ago has grown to more than 100 employees today. With the lawsuit behind them, the company has recently invested in the advanced training and equipment needed to support its continued expansion.