Indiana publication Rough Notes sues over “plaque” solicitations

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Most professionals will be familiar with the type of solicitation involved in this lawsuit.

Defendant, based in Connecticut, sells customized plaques for people and companies that have been featured in newspapers or magazines. Defendant promotes its product by directly emailing (repeatedly) the individuals featured in the magazine/newspaper with a solicitation to purchase a customized plaque featuring the article. (See examples in the photo and Exhibit C below.) Defendant’s products consist of a scanned copy of the article and publication’s title inserted into an acrylic, wood or aluminum frame. Defendant has allegedly sold over 200,000 plaques.

Plaintiff, a long-standing Indiana publication focused on insurance agents, is one target of Defendant’s activities. Notably, Plaintiff also provides its own free high-quality reprint plaques to individuals profiled in its magazine. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit against Defendant based on the unauthorized use of its trademark and copyrighted materials, among other claims.

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The Rough Notes Company, Inc. v. That’s Great News, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:2016-cv-00319
File Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Plaintiff: The Rough Notes Company, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: David J. Carr, Paul C. Sweeney, Jana E. Harris of Ice Miller LLP
Defendant: That’s Great News, LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Federal Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Federal Trademark Dilution, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore

Complaint:

Exhibit C (Sample e-mail solicitations):

Nebraska Home Designer Files Copyright Lawsuits Over Misappropriated Architectural Drawings

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Design Basics, LLC, an Omaha, Nebraska-based home plan designer, has filed several copyright lawsuits against Indiana home builders involving misappropriated architectural drawings. All home builders should know that architectural drawings are protected by copyright law.

Design Basics, LLC v. Lancia Homes, Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:2016-cv-00047
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Lancia Homes, Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Theresa L. Springmann
Referred To: Susan L. Collins

Design Basics, LLC v. Carriage Place Homes, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 1:2016-cv-00048
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Carriage Place Homes, Inc. et al
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Susan L. Collins

Design Basics, LLC v. Culver Construction, Inc. et al

Court Case Number:  1:2016-cv-00049
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Culver Construction, Inc. et al
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Susan L. Collins

Design Basics, LLC et al v. Quality Crafted Homes Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:2016-cv-00050
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Quality Crafted Homes Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Susan L. Collins

Design Basics, LLC v. Windsor Homes, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 1:2016-cv-00051
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Windsor Homes, Inc. et al
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Theresa L. Springmann
Referred To: Susan L. Collins

Design Basics, LLC v. Big C Lumber Co Inc.

Court Case Number: 3:2016-cv-00053
File Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Plaintiff: Design Basics, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Big C Lumber Co Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Christopher A. Nuechterlein

Representative Complaints:

Texas Roadhouse Trade Dress Lawsuit Comes to Indiana

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A long-standing trade dress/trademark beef between Texas Roadhouse and Texas Corral/Amarillo Roadhouse has been transferred to Indiana.

Background on the lawsuit, first filed in August 2013, is here: Texas Roadhouse alleges trademark infringement against other steakhouse operators

Stay tuned for updates as the case proceeds in Indiana.

Texas Roadhouse Complaint

Texas Roadhouse, Inc. et al v. Texas Corral Restaurants, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 2:16-cv-00028-JVB-PRC
File Date: Monday, January 25, 2016
Plaintiff: Texas Roadhouse, Inc
Defendant: Texas Corral Restaurants, Inc.; Switzer Properties, LLC; Texcor, Inc.; Texas Corral Restaurant II, Inc.; T.C. of Michigan City, Inc.; T.C. of Kalamazoo, Inc.; Chicago Roadhouse Concepts, LLC; Paul Switzer; Victor Spina; and John Doe Corp.
Cause: Trade Dress Infringement, Federal Trademark Infringement, Michigan Trademark Infringement, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Copyright Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Referred To: Paul R. Cherry

Complaint:

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Barrington Music Products v. Guitar Center Stores

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This trademark dispute involves Plaintiff’s registered VENTO trademark and an allegedly infringing VENTUS mark, both used in connection with wind instruments.

Barrington Music Products Inc v. Guitar Center Stores, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-02031-TWP-TAB
File Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016
Plaintiff: Barrington Music Products
Plaintiff Counsel: John D. LaDue, Sean J. Quinn of LaDue | Curran | Kuehn
Defendant: Music & Arts Centers, Guitar Center Stores, Inc., Eastman Music Company
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Federal Trademark Dilution, Trade Name Infringement under Indiana Common Law, Passing Off
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein

Complaint:

Piston Ring Manufacturers Litigate Alleged Violation of Nondisclosure Agreement

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Precision Rings, Inc. v. Wrightspeed, Inc.

Court Case Number:1:15-cv-01957-SEB-DML
File Date: Friday, December 11, 2015
Plaintiff: Precision Rings, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: George A. Gasper, Mark R. Alson of Ice Miller LLP
Defendant: Wrightspeed, Inc.
Cause: Declaratory Judgment, Injunctive Relief, Breach of Contract
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Complaint:

Defendant’s Brief in Support of Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss:

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Ellsworth v. Mission 22

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Defendant is alleged to have created an unauthorized derivative work – a sculpture – based on Plaintiff’s painting of the silhouettes of 22 soldiers and related woodblock prints.

Ellsworth v. Mission 22 AKA Elder Heart Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-02031-TWP-TAB
File Date: Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Plaintiff: Angela Ellsworth
Plaintiff Counsel: Thomas A. Herr, Jeremy N. Gayed of Barrett McNagny LLP
Defendant: Mission 22 AKA Elder Heart Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker

Complaint:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit E:

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Indiana Botanic Gardens v. Vitalmax Vitamins

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This trademark dispute involves the ACCU HEAR and ACCU-HEAR trademarks, both used in connection with nutritional supplements.

Screenshot from Complaint

Indiana Botanic Gardens, Inc. v. Almark Products, Inc d/b/a Vitalmax Vitamins

Court Case Number: 2:15-cv-00457-JVB-APR
File Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Plaintiff: Indiana Botanic Gardens, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: David C. Brezina, Boris Umansky of Ladas & Parry LLP
Defendant: Almark Products, Inc d/b/a Vitalmax Vitamins
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich

Complaint:

Indiana Trade Dress Litigation Update – Forest River v. Winnebago Industries

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This lawsuit involves the popular RPOD travel trailer, sold by Plaintiff since 2009, and an allegedly infringing DROP trailer, sold by Defendant since September 2015.

It will be interesting to see what trade dress rights can be protected for a small travel trailer. Importantly, trade dress cannot be functional. Specifically, the Complaint references “the exterior shape, the total visual image, the interior layout, interior fabric patterns and colors, and model numbers.”

RPOD Complaint Comparison

Forest River Inc v. Winnebago Industries Inc et al

Court Case Number: 3:15-cv-00609-RLM-CAN
File Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Plaintiff: Forest River, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Jonathan P. Froemel, Georgina D. Jenkins of Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Defendant: Winnebago Industries, Inc., Winnebago of Indiana, LLC
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Trade Dress Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, False and Misleading Representations, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trade Dress Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein

Complaint:

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – All Star Heating & Cooling v. All Star Air

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Defendant’s use of “All Star Air” has allegedly caused instances of actual confusion (“in the form of misled customers and confused vendors”) with Plaintiff’s trademark, All Star Heating & Cooling. Both parties provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning services and are located just 30 miles apart.

Defendant never responded to Plaintiff’s demand letters, hence this lawsuit.

All Star Heating & Cooling, Inc. v. Quality Heating and Air Inc. d/b/a All Star Air, and Richard Cusick

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-01941-WTL-DKL
File Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Plaintiff: All Star Heating & Cooling, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Nicholas E. Plopper of Plopper & Partners, LLP
Defendant: Quality Heating and Air Inc. d/b/a All Star Air, Richard Cusick
Cause: Federal Unfair Competition, State and Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge William T. Lawrence
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

Complaint:

Indiana Copyright Litigation Update – Brick Shirt House v. Indiana On Tap

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The Brick Shirt House, LLC v. Indiana On Tap, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:15-cv-01919-TWP-DKL
File Date: Friday, December 4, 2015
Plaintiff: The Brick Shirt House, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Andrea Lynn Ciobanu, Alex Maurice Beeman of Ciobanu Law
Defendant: Indiana On Tap, LLC
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

Complaint:

Brick Shirt HouseOld Indiana On Tap Logo

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