Spectrum Pharma., Inc. v. Sandoz Inc.
In re: Morsa

Sovereign Military Hospitaller v. The Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers

This appeal is the second in a long-running intellectual property dispute between two religious organizations. The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta alleges that the Florida Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order is infringing its registered service marks in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114, and Florida law. After a bench trial, the district court entered judgment for the Florida Priory. See Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes & of Malta v. Fla. Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order (SMOM I), 816 F. Supp. 2d 1290, 1307–08 (S.D. Fla. 2011). In the first appeal, we reversed in part and remanded for the district court to reconsider whether the parties’ marks are likely to be confused. See Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes & of Malta v. Fla. Priory of the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, the Ecumenical Order (SMOM II), 702 F.3d 1279, 1297–98 (11th Cir. 2012). We were also critical of disparaging comments that the district judge made about the parties. On remand, the district court misapplied several factors in its analysis of likely confusion, incorrectly assessed the Florida Priory’s defense of prior use, relied on historical testimony that we previously deemed inadmissible, and misinterpreted our instructions about consulting facts outside the record. Because the district court erred again, we reverse again. But we deny the Sovereign Order’s request to reassign the case to a different district judge.

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