The Ninth Circuit recently held that sporadic negotiations, cancellation petitions after four years, and the defendant's growing business do not bar the laches defense. The court also awarded fees to the defendant since it appeared that the plaintiff was slow walking the case as settlement leverage.
Once again, the Ninth Circuit assumed the laches period was four years. This leaves open the question raised in the Fitbit case on whether the laches period in California could be as short as two years.
Thru argues that its tardiness is excused, but the district court correctly concluded that Thru’s excuses were unreasonable. Thru claims that it was actively negotiating with DBX about the trademark rights, but Thru’s communications with DBX do not rise to the level of active negotiation that we have required to excuse such delay. Cf. Eat Right Foods, 880 F.3d at 1117–19. Thru contacted DBX sporadically during the six-year period and did not make any proposals to DBX that would escalate the communications to active settlement negotiations.