Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Fortres Grand Corp. v. Warner Bros Entertainment

Here’s a fun case. Plaintiff, an Indiana corporation, has sold security software under the mark CLEAN SLATE since 2000. In Defendant Warner Bros’ latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman promises to obtain a software program called CLEAN SLATE that will erase a person’s criminal history from every computer database in the world. This has apparently caused hundreds of internet references for the fictional movie software, to which Plaintiff objects.

What do you think is the likely outcome of this case? Can it survive a Motion to Dismiss? Is Warner Bros really using CLEAN SLATE as a trademark?

It also shines a spotlight on that magic moment in the marketing department where an invention titled “Targeted Data Detection and Elimination Algorithm” becomes…CLEAN SLATE! [Note: The patent application is from movie promotional materials. It is not real.]

Fortres Grand Corporation v. Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

Court Case Number: 3:12-cv-00535-PPS-CAN
File Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Plaintiff: Fortres Grand Corporation
Plaintiff Counsel: Christopher R. Putt of May Oberfell Lorber
Defendant: Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein

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