HealthOne of Denver, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Grp. Inc.

Decision Date30 May 2012
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 10-cv-01633-WYD-BNB
PartiesHEALTHONE OF DENVER, INC., a Colorado corporation; HCA-HEALTHONE LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, Plaintiffs, v. UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INCORPORATED, a Minnesota corporation, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Colorado

Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel


THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on January 6, 2012 by Defendant UnitedHealth Group Incorporated ["Defendant" or "UnitedHealth"]. A response was filed on March 13, 2012, and a reply was filed on April 3, 2012. The motion is thus fully briefed.

By way of background, Plaintiffs HealthONE of Denver, Inc. and HCA-HealthONE LLC [collectively "Plaintiffs" or "HealthONE"] filed their Verified Complaint and Jury Demand on July 9, 2010. The Complaint asserts claims of trademark infringement in violation of § 32 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114, unfair competition in violation of § 43 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), deceptive trade practices in violation of Colorado's Consumer Protection Act ["CCPA"], common law trademark infringement, and common law unfair competition.

The Complaint alleges that the lawsuit is "intended to stop United's unlawful use of HealthONE's trademarks and to recover damages for that unlawful use. United has used HealthONE's trademarks to benefit from HealthONE's reputation and good will as the preeminent provider of hospital and related healthcare services in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, which has caused irreparable harm to HealthONE's reputation and good will." (Verified Compl. ¶ 1.) HealthONE seeks injunctive and monetary relief against UnitedHealth. (Id. ¶ 2 and in "Relief Sought".)

UnitedHealth argues in its summary judgment motion that Plaintiffs' claims of trademark infringement and related claims fail because the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law for a reasonable jury to find a likelihood of confusion between the trademarks at issue. It also argues that the CCPA claim fails as a matter of law. HealthONE asserts in response that Defendant's motion fails because there exist substantial, albeit disputed, facts upon which a reasonable jury could, and likely will, find that there is a likelihood of confusion between the marks at issue as well as a violation of the CCPA.


I first note that the parties tendered voluminous facts and evidence in this case. I have not discussed every fact tendered by the parties, only those that are most material to my findings. I have, however, reviewed and considered all the facts and evidence in support of same. In so doing, I have construed the evidence in the light most favorable to HealthONE as the nonmoving party in connection with my review of Defendant's summary judgment motion. Anaya v. Crossroads Managed Care Sys., Inc., 195 F.3d584 (10th Cir. 1999). When I cite to a party's exhibit, I refer to it as "Def.'s Ex.___" or "Pls.' Ex. ___". Where the facts are unsupported by evidence, are argumentative and/or are conclusory, I have disregarded those facts. Also, where the facts are undisputed, I have not cited to the record.

Information about the Parties

HealthONE provides health care related services in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. (Def.'s Ex. 14 at 2-3.) It is not an insurer. (Pls.' Ex. 23, Dep. of Linda Kanamine ["Kanamine Dep."] at 151:19-22.) HealthONE currently operates seven hospitals, including approximately 13 ambulatory surgery centers, over sixty outpatient care facilities, and approximately 20 diagnostic imaging centers under the HealthONE mark. (Id.) All are in the Denver-metro area. It also provides preventative health and wellness education, conducts wellness screenings, and operates health fairs and other wellness programs. HealthONE asserts that it has numerous world renowned programs and affiliated physicians (Pls.' Ex. 27, Rule 30(b)(6) Dep. of Linda Kanamine at 18:7-19:11.)

As the largest hospital system in the Denver metropolitan area, HealthONE serves approximately 800,000 patients per year from all fifty states and internationally. On an average annual basis, HealthONE serves approximately 20,000 patients from outside Colorado. Under the terms of a managed care contract, UnitedHealth's insureds can obtain health care services from HealthONE. Indeed, one of UnitedHealth's subsidiaries, UnitedHealthcare, has designated two HealthONE facilities as "Premium Cardiac Speciality Centers."

HealthONE also provides services to patients in several surrounding states, including Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah. (Pls.' Ex. 22, Dep. Of HealthONE designated representative Linda Kanamine at 133:17-134:17; Pls.' Ex. 24; Ex. 25, Rule 30(b)(4) Dep. of Linda Kanamine at 41:13 to 42:13.) One of the ways in which HealthONE provides such services is through HealthONE Outreach Services, a volunteer-based program that offers education and clinical services, without charge, to rural and outlying communities. HealthONE Outreach Services operates in Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. Another way in which services are provided outside Colorado is through AirLife Denver, the emergency medical and critical care transport service of the HealthONE system. It serves a ten state region that includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Utah, and South Dakota.

In 2010 alone, HealthONE contributed more than $190.4 million in community benefits, which included uncompensated and charity care, health professional education, community building activities, community health education, cash donations to charities, research, and taxes. HealthONE provides financial support and sponsorship to numerous organizations such as Opera Colorado, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Project Cure, the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Rapids, and the Colorado Mammoth. In 2003, the Denver Business Journal named HealthONE the best large company to work for in Denver. Also, in 2010the Association of Air Medical Services named AirLife Denver the Air Medical Program of the year.

Defendant UnitedHealth is a publicly traded, diversified insurance and services company, offering numerous products and services through a large number of subsidiaries and affiliates. UnitedHealth cites its Annual Report in support of its assertion that health insurance represents approximately 93% of UnitedHealth's 2010 revenues (Def.'s Ex. 1 at 22, 24), although Plaintiffs deny this percentage. UnitedHealth's "Health Benefits" platform is known as "UnitedHealthcare," which includes its Employer & Individual insurance business. UnitedHealth provides health insurance coverage in two distinct ways: (a) "group policies," in which employees are insured through their employers; and (b) "individual policies", in which individual consumers purchase insurance for themselves and their families.

UnitedHealth presents evidence that the individual insurance products, marketed under the UnitedHealthOne mark, are designed for the self-employed, unemployed, or those whose employers do not offer group health benefits. (Def.'s Ex. 2, Decl. of Michael L. Corne ["Corne Decl."] at ¶ 3.) It also markets products branded with the UNITEDHEALTHGROUP name to a broader audience consisting of individuals under the age of 65 who do not have group health insurance in the state where those policies are sold, people who have insurance but want to switch to an individual plan, former customers of group insurance plans, and independent insurance brokers.

UnitedHealth's "Health Services" platform is branded as "Optum" and includes three diversified businesses: (a) OptumHealth, focusing on health management andwellness, clinical services and financial services; (b) OptumInsight, specializing in technology, consulting and business outsourcing solutions; and (c) OptumRx, providing pharmacy benefit management solutions. UnitedHealth presents evidence that its main competitors in the market for individual insurance products are HumanaOne, CoventryOne, Aetna, Anthem/Wellpoint, and Assurant, which Plaintiffs do not dispute. Plaintiffs point out, however, that those are not UnitedHealth's only competitors. (Def.'s Ex. 4, UnitedHealth's Trademark Registration).

According to Linda Kanamine, the Vice-President of Public Affairs, Marketing, and Government Affairs for HCA-HealthONE LLC, while UnitedHealth is an insurer and HealthONE provides services in health, wellness and education, the companies deal with the same topics and probably the same people. (Pls.' Ex. 14, Aff. of Linda Kanamine ["Kanamine Aff."] at ¶ 3; Pls.' Ex. 23, Kanamine Dep. at 151:12-15.) UnitedHealth also provides preventative health and wellness resource and education, and offers personal health assessments to improve risk areas and avoid future health problems. UnitedHealth asserts that it does not, however, provide these services under the UnitedHealthOne mark.

UnitedHealth, through various Optum subsidiaries, owns and operates medical groups, clinics, urgent care centers, and ambulatory surgery centers. Through its various subsidiaries, UnitedHealth employs physicians and more than 500 nurse practitioners who provide health care services. It also partners with 50,000 physicians in California. UnitedHealth admits these facts, but denies the implication that any of the patient care services are provided under the UnitedHealthOne mark.

Further, through various Optum subsidiaries, UnitedHealth owns and manages various physician networks. It also establishes, manages, contracts with physicians, and supplies technology to provide online health care services for health care clinics in retail settings such as Wal-Mart. Also through various subsidiaries, UnitedHealth contracts with providers and nurse practitioners to provide care for...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT