Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Rieke Corporation v. Riekes Packaging Corporation

Since as least as early as June 2000, Plaintiff, based in Auburn, Indiana, has continuously used the RIEKE PACKAGING SYSTEMS® trademark in connection with Plaintiff’s dispensing systems and closures. Around 2012, Defendant began using the RIEKES PACKAGING CORPORATION name in connection with glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic closures, caps, metalclosures, dispensing closures and systems. Plaintiff has brought this lawsuit seeking damages and injunctive relief.

Rieke Corporation v. Riekes Packaging Corporation

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00241-PPS-RBC
File Date: Thursday, August 07, 2014
Plaintiff: Rieke Corporation
Plaintiff Counsel: Kurt N. Jones of Woodard Emhardt Moriarty McNett & Henry LLP
Defendant: Riekes Packaging Corporation
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Liquid Palace v. E Liquid Palace

This is a dispute between two electronic cigarette distributors over the marks “Genie,” Liquid Genie” and “Electric Genie.” Both parties began using their respective trademarks in 2013 and have retail locations approximately six miles apart. This case was removed from the Circuit Court for Floyd County, Indiana.

Liquid Palace, LLC et al v. E Liquid Palace, LLC et al

Court Case Number: 4:14-cv-00051-TWP-WGH
File Date: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Plaintiff: Liquid Palace, LLC, Robert W. Kaiser, Jr.
Plaintiff Counsel: H. Kevin Eddins, Kevin J. Fiet
Defendant: E Liquid Palace, Austin Simon, Russell Simon
Defendant Counsel: Loren T. Prizant, Robert John Theuerkauf
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Intentional Interference with Prospective Business Advantage, Intentional Interference with Business Relationships, Unfair Competition, Injunctive Relief
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann, Jr.

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Harmony School Corporation v. School Reform Initiative

Harmony School Corporation v. School Reform Initiative, Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00870-TWP-TAB
File Date: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Plaintiff: Harmony School Corporation
Plaintiff Counsel: Constance R. Lindman of Smith Amundsen LLC, Robert S. Meitus, Matthew J. Clark of Meitus Gilbert Rose LLP
Defendant: School Reform Initiative, Inc.
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Roche Diagnostics GmbH v. Polymer Technology Systems

Plaintiff, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, has used the ACCU-CHEK trademark in connection with medical instruments and apparatus related to blood-glucose monitoring and diabetes management and education since as early as 1981. In March 2014, Defendant changed its company name to CHEK Diagnostics and began to promote a line of diabetes care products. Plaintiff maintains that the CHEK mark is confusingly similar to its ACCU-CHEK trademarks.

Roche Diagnostics GmbH et al v. Polymer Technology Systems Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00552-JMS-DKL
File Date: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Plaintiff: Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Roche Diagnostics Operations Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Jonathan P. Froemel, John R. Maley of Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Defendant: Polymer Technology Systems Inc.
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Declaratory Judgment
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Darryl D. Agler v. Westheimer Corporation

Alleged Infringing Product - Exhibit F to Complaint

Alleged Infringing Product – Exhibit F to Complaint

Plaintiff is a custom guitar-maker from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He has sold his high-quality guitars under the registered STRATOTONE trademark since 2007.

Plaintiff’s high-end guitars are “painstakingly hand-crafted from the wood of a customer’s choosing and features vintage hardware and pick-ups.” They generally retail for above $1,250. Defendant has allegedly flooded the market with lower quality, cheaper (between $200-400) guitars that bear the STRATOTONE Mark. Plaintiff discovered the infringing products at a NAMM show in 2010, where he confronted Defendant’s personnel.

Defendant, based in Illinois, attempted to file its own trademark application for STRATOTONE in December 2012 but was rejected based on Plaintiff’s registration. In response, Defendant has attempted to cancel Plaintiff’s registration and Plaintiff has brought this lawsuit.

Darryl D. Agler v. Westheimer Corporation

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00099
File Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Plaintiff: Darryl D. Agler
Plaintiff Counsel: Louis T. Perry, Amie P. Carter of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Defendant: Westheimer Corporation
Cause: Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Trademark Counterfeiting, Common Law Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Roger B. Cosbey

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Al Reasonover v. Solarium

This is a trademark dispute over the mark “Tiki Tan” as used in connection with tanning salons. Both Plaintiff and Defendant are located in Indiana.

Al Reasonover v. Solarium LLC et al

Court Case Number: 3:14-cv-00235-PPS-CAN
File Date: Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Plaintiff: Al Reasonover
Plaintiff Counsel: Frank J. Agostino – Attorney at Law
Defendant: Solarium LLC, Solarium Bittersweet LLC
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Injunctive Relief, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Swag Merchandising v. T.V. Store Online

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is manufacturing and selling unauthorized “Energy Dome Hats,” the headwear popularized by American New Wave band DEVO.

Plaintiff claims to be the exclusive licensing agent of DEVO’s intellectual property rights. The Complaint references a pair of federal trademark registrations for DEVO in connection with “entertainment services” and “sound and visual recordings.” The ultimate question for this case however, which is less clear in the Complaint, is whether DEVO owns the rights to manufacture and sell Energy Dome Hats, which are “red in color, circular, and including four tiers of the circular design, with each tier becoming larger in circumference from the top of the hat to the bottom of the hat.”

Swag Merchandising Inc. et al v. T.V. Store Online et al

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00127-TWP-DKL
File Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Plaintiff: Swag Merchandising Inc., Devo Inc. Corporation California
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore J. Minch of Sovich Minch LLP
Defendant: T.V. Store Online, Fred Hajjar
Cause: Violation of 1125(a), Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Counterfeiting, Dilution, Common Law Unfair Competition, Statutory Right of Publicity, California Right of Publicity Infringement, Common Law Right of Publicity, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

State Court Complaint:

Notice of Removal:

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Sprint Solutions et al v. Reginald Aldridge et al

Plaintiff Sprint accuses three defendants of profiting from the illegal acquisition and resale of new Sprint phones. The Complaint is lengthy, detailing both Sprint’s business model and the Defendants’ alleged “Bulk Handset Theft and Trafficking Scheme,” in addition to fourteen claims. Presumably, in addition to civil penalties, the actions alleged by the Plaintiffs could also result in criminal penalties for Defendants.

Sprint Solutions, Inc. et al v. Reginald Aldridge et al

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00128-TWP-DML
File Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Plaintiff: Sprint Solutions, Inc., Sprint Communications Company LP, Boost Worldwide, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Matthew B. Millis, John D. Waller of Wooden & McLaughlin LLP
Defendant: Reginald Aldridge, Arrice Aldridge, Damion Transou
Cause: Unfair Competition, Tortious Interference with Business Relationships and Prospective Advantage, Civil Conspiracy, Unjust Enrichment, Conspiracy to Induce Breach of Contract, Common Law Fraud, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Trafficking in Computer Passwords, Unauthorized Access, Unauthorized Access with Intent to Defraud, Federal Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, False Advertising, Contributory Trademark Infringement, Conversion
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Indiana Trade Dress Litigation Update – Patachou v. Crust

Here’s an interesting case involving the trade dress of two Indianapolis neopolitan pizzerias (i.e. “fancy pizza”). Broad Ripple-based Napolese, owned by the same restauranteur as popular local brunch spot Patachou, has complained that the new Crust Pizzeria Napoletana has copied the look and feel of Napolese. Crust is owned by another local restauranteur, Mohey Osman, of The Egyptian Cafe fame.

Images from Complaint

Images from Complaint

In case you haven’t read it in awhile, here’s the preeminent decision in this area, the Supreme Court ruling in Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana.

I won’t get into the facts of Two Pesos (read the decision) or of the current Complaint (see below) but I have the following thoughts:

1. Taco Cabana was a chain with 6 locations open for 7 years by the time of the lawsuit. Napolese has had one location in Broad Ripple for four years. Is the Napolese trade dress well known, much less famous (to support the dilution claim), outside of mid-Marion County suburbanites?

2. Trade dress infringement cases are almost always brought in federal court. The Napolese complaint was filed in Marion County Court with no federal claims. This surely wasn’t by mistake, and makes me think a few things:

a. Napolese doesn’t consider their trade dress to be very strong beyond the local level.

The Complaint relies heavily on the fame of the Patachou brand but is light on discussion of the strength of the Napolese trade dress specifically, although the Napolese trade is what is actually at issue).

b. Napolese doesn’t want the formalities and high legal costs associated with federal court.

Few do.

c. Napolese may not intend to follow through with the lawsuit.

It’s possible the Complaint may just be a cost-effective method (cheaper than advertising) to alert the public that Crust is not associated with Napolese and also expose the many similarities, making Crust look tacky in the process. Napolese may be gambling that media pressure on Crust will force some modifications and they can drop the lawsuit before they get too deep.

The reality is that defending a lawsuit (particularly with a prestigious firm like Woodard Emhardt as counsel) is much more expensive than changing your logo and menu colors. The trade dress of Napolese and Crust is probably similar enough to defeat any counterclaim that this is a “frivolous” complaint, which could entitle Crust to attorney fees, so Napolese has the upper hand to drive this litigation as far as they want it to go.

3. One more thing to consider is the similarity of the trade dress of other neapolitan pizzerias across the state/country. If neopolitan pizzerias frequently utilize the stone oven/shield logo/bar stool/whatever, that info could affect both the “distinctiveness” analysis for the Napolese trade dress and the “likelihood of confusion” analysis in comparing Crust trade dress. I don’t usually eat fancy pizza so I can’t comment here.

What are your thoughts on the Complaint? More info about the lawsuit is available in the Indianapolis Star. Stay tuned to this blog for updates.

Patachou, Inc. v. Mohey Osman d/b/a Crust, and Crust

Court Case Number: 49D12 13 10 CT 038659
File Date: October 18, 2013
Plaintiff: Patachou, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Jonathan G. Polak of Taft/
Defendant: Mohey Osman d/b/a Crust, and Crust
Defendant Counsel: Charles Meyer of Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry
Cause: Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trade Dress Infringement, Dilution, Forgery, Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief, Corrective Advertising Damages
Court: Marion County Court
Judge: TBD

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – North American Van Lines v. North American Master Lines

North American Van Lines Inc. v. North American Master Lines Inc.

Court Case Number: 3:13-cv-00792-PPS-JEM
File Date: Friday, August 02, 2013
Plaintiff: North American Van Lines Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Edward A. Sullivan III, Daniel Tychonievich of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Defendant: North American Master Lines Inc.
Cause: Cybersquatting, Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Common Law Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Chief Judge Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Magistrate Judge John E. Martin