SAGAN v. APPLE COMPUTER, INC.
874 F.Supp. 1072 (1994)
United States District Court, C.D. California.
June 27, 1994.
14. Defendant has used Sagan's name throughout the United States, for its own financial gain and for the purpose of advertising, selling and soliciting purchases of Apple PC's.
(Complaint, ¶¶ 11, 12, 14.)
Ostensibly, Paragraph 14 satisfies the "in commerce" requirement of Plaintiff's first four claims. Nonetheless, Defendant argues that notwithstanding Paragraph 14, Paragraph 11 of the complaint acknowledges use of Plaintiff's name as a "code name," and because such a code name was used for internal business purposes before the product was advertised, marketed, or sold, the "in commerce" requirement is not satisfied. Furthermore, Defendant argues that the complaint can be read as asserting either that Defendant used Plaintiff's name internally as a code name or that Defendant used the name in commerce, and that such an ambiguity should be resolved in favor of Defendant by adopting the former interpretation.
Defendant's contention is based on a misreading of Paragraphs 11 and 12. Plaintiff does not assert that Defendant used Plaintiff's name as a "code name," but simply asserts that Defendant advised Plaintiff's attorneys that Defendant was using Plaintiff's name as a "code name" for an Apple PC. (Complaint, ¶ 10; emphasis added.) Therefore, the "code name" allegations found in Paragraphs 11 and 12 are not allegations of Plaintiff's belief as to the true state of affairs, but are allegations as to what Plaintiff was told by Defendant.3 Paragraph 14 of the complaint more properly characterizes Plaintiff's allegations, and these allegations are sufficient to satisfy the "in commerce" requirement. Furthermore, even if Paragraphs 11 and 12 can be read as contradicting Paragraph 14, such a contradiction would not make the complaint so vague and ambiguous that Defendant cannot be reasonably required to frame a responsive pleading. Furthermore, Defendant's contention that any ambiguity between Paragraphs 11 and 12, on the one hand, and Paragraph 14, on the other, should be resolved in favor of Defendant is antithetical
to fundamental principles of complaint interpretation.
Therefore, the Court hereby ORDERS that Defendant's motion for a more definite statement is DENIED.IV. Motion to Strike