Fifteen page decision holds that evidence shows that Rooks and co-defendants "improperly used the mark and have attempted to lead the public to believe that they are the current owners of the mark" and "Rooks used the mark as part of an effort to sell securities to the public."
Online PR News – 03-March-2010 – – Los Angeles, CA - In December of 2008, Allied Artists International, Inc., the sole and exclusive owner and holder of the "Allied Artists" trade name and trademarks, filed suit against Robert N. Rooks, Darron Carr, Carlton Jinkins, Jammie Padilla, Mark Nolte and several corporations in connection with a scheme to impersonate Allied Artists by unscrupulously forming "Allied Artists Pictures Corporation." Under the direction of Rooks, the group then used the unlawfully formed "Allied Artists Pictures Corporation" to lure unsuspecting investors into purchasing virtually worthless stock.
Rooks has an enduring and spurious past, having been indicted in September of 2000 by the United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, on multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, aiding and abetting and money laundering, and subsequently being permanently enjoined from future securities violations by the United States District Court for the Central District of California. In the later action, brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, a Los Angeles federal court found that Rooks disseminated false and misleading information in 1996 that caused a publicly-traded company's stock price to skyrocket from $.13 to $4, or more than 3,000%.
Today's ruling by United States District Judge Gary A. Feess, held that Allied Artists International "owns the validly issued trademark, "Allied Artists." The court found that "in March and April 2008, Rooks formed California and Nevada corporations called 'Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.'" "At the time he formed these entities, Rooks knew that [Allied Artists International] was the rightful owner of the 'Allied Artists' trademark." The court further found that "[o]n or about March 27, 2008, Rooks and the other defendants registered the internet domain name 'alliedartistspicturescorp.com,' and listed International Synergy and Rooks as registrants. Websites constructed by [Rooks and his co-defendants] at the domain name used the term 'Allied Artists' and fraudulently claimed to be 'Allied Artists.'" The court noted that "in August 2008, International Synergy − at Rooks's direction − issued a press release, announcing that it had acquired the 'Allied Artists Pictures Corporation' entities formed by Rooks, and generally describing historical events associated with [Allied Artists International's] name." The "purpose of [Rooks] press release was to sell worthless securities to the public . . . by attracting and defrauding investors into believing that they were investing in [the real Allied Artists]. In summary, the court wrote: "The Defendants (that is, Rooks and all of his co-defendants in this case) have admitted that they conspired together in a scheme to defraud investors by knowingly infringing the 'Allied Artists' mark."
In its stinging rebuke of Rooks' false claim to own the original Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, the court said "[w]ithout any apparent appreciation for irony, Rooks then argues, out of the other side of his mouth, that this valuable and protectable mark belongs to him because he formed Allied Artists Pictures Corporation in 1976. This blatant falsehood is contradicted by Plaintiff's evidence. The Delaware-based 'Allied Artists Pictures Corporation' currently associated with Rooks only became associated with him when, in 2008, he 'paid all of Delaware AAPC's back taxes to the state of New York.'"
The court awarded damages to Allied Artists International and granted a permanent injunction against Rooks and each of his co-defendants from further infringement.
"This decision demonstrates our commitment to protect the value of the Allied Artists corporate and brand identity," said Robert Fitzpatrick, AAI's President, who went on to state "we will take all steps necessary to prevent Mr. Rooks, his co-defendants or any other would-be imposter from infringing on the Allied Artists trademarks."
The history of Allied Artists is long, varied and legendary. Throughout the years, the Allied Artists brand has been associated with such classic motion pictures as "Papillon," starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, "Cabaret," with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, "Tickle Me" starring Elvis Presley, and "The Man Who Would be King," starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer.