Mineral Resources International says it has scored a point in its legal dispute with Trace Minerals Research over intellectual property.
The company said the US District Court for the State of Utah last week denied a motion for summary judgment submitted by Trace Minerals Research (TMR), which was seeking ownership of the international rights to certain trademarks.
In June of this year, TMR also claimed a victory in the case when the same court ruled that Mineral Resources International (MRI) had committed trademark infringement and unfair competition by continuing to use trademarks owned by TMR after the company allegedly terminated its license agreement.
"The decision vindicates TMR's intellectual property rights and we intend to vigorously pursue TMR's claims for damages against MRI and other parties that wrongfully used the TMR trademarks after the license was terminated in March 2005," said TMR's legal representative - Mark Callister of Callister, Nebeker and McCullough - at the time.
One of the trademarks at issue is for Concentrace, which TMR markets as "the most powerful natural health mineral supplements in the world".
The court ruled that MRI violated the license agreement "on several occasions" after TMR terminated its license for the supplement.
For over a year, the companies have engaged in litigation over trademark infringement, and breach of contract.
"We have adamantly maintained-and will continue to-that MRI owns the marks internationally," said MRI president and CEO Bruce Anderson. "The Anderson family and MRI established and, over several years, invested millions of dollars in cultivating international markets for MRI's products."
A motion for summary judgment is a request to the judge to rule in favor of the defendant, in this case TMR, asserting that the plaintiff, MRI, has no real case. The Utah court denied TMR's motion for summary judgment, which had sought ownership of the international trademarks as a matter of law.
"We now look forward to the opportunity to present the full case on its merits," said Bruce Anderson.
However, there are still more unresolved issues remaining as part of the lawsuit.
In addition, MRI said it is pursuing a separate, but related lawsuit against TMR's new supplier, Salt Lake Minerals.