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 – James Dean v. Twitter

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 4.21.44 PMHere’s a potential Giant of a lawsuit.

Plaintiff, James Dean Inc., wants the @JamesDean Twitter handle. Somebody else has been using the Twitter handle since 2009 as a fan account for the Fairmount, Indiana-raised rebel movie icon. The @JamesDean account has more than 8,200 followers and has sent over 2,200 tweets. CMG Worldwide, the exclusive licensee of James Dean’s name and likeness, unable to convince Twitter to hand over the account, are now suing Twitter directly in federal court to force compliance. Twitter looks set to put up a full defense rather than subject themselves to an onslaught of username complaints.

Stay tuned for what will likely become a precedent-setting case for dead celebrity Twitter handles.

Court Case Number: 1:14-cv-00183-WTL-DML
File Date: Friday, February 07, 2014
Plaintiff: James Dean, Inc., John Doe, One, John Doe, Two, John Doe, Three, John Doe, Four
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore J. Minch of Sovich Minch, LLP
Defendant: Twitter, Inc.
Cause: Trademark Infringement, False Endorsement, Indiana State Statutory Right of Publicity, Common Law Right of Publicity, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge William T. Lawrence
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

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 – Leon Isaac Kennedy v. GoDaddy

Plaintiff is an actor, producer, and writer, best known for his performance as “Too Sweet” in 1979′s Penitentiary and its sequels. He is also a partner of a food company with Smokey Robinson, Smokey Robinson Foods.This lawsuit involves Plaintiff’s attempt to get the domain name leonisaackennedy.com from an alleged cybersquatter, via the registrar GoDaddy.

Leon Isaac Kennedy v. GoDaddy Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 1:13-cv-00876-RLY-DML
File Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Plaintiff: Leon Isaac Kennedy
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore J. Minch of Sovich Minch LLP
Defendant: GoDaddy Inc., Spirit Media, Arthur Phoenix, John Doe
Cause: Violation of 1125(a), Violation of 1125(d), Unfair Competition, Violation of Indiana Right of Publicity, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Richard L. Young
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch

Complaint (originally filed in Hamilton Superior Court):

Notice of Removal: 

Indiana Right of Publicity Litigation Update – The Estate of Bette Davis v. Erickson Beamon

The Estate of Bette Davis et al v. Erickson Beamon, Ltd.

Court Case Number: 1:12-cv-01687-JMS-DKL
File Date: Friday, November 16, 2012
Plaintiff: The Estate of Betty DavisCMG Worldwide, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore John Minch of Sovich Minch LLP
Defendant: Erickson Beamon, Ltd.
Cause: Indiana State Statutory Right of Publicity, California State Statutory Right of Publicity, Other Statutory and Common Law Rights of Publicity, Unfair Competition, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Denise K. LaRue

Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Net Pro Trading Card Company, LLC v. Ace Authentic Sports memorabilia, LLC

Net Pro Trading Card Company, LLC v. Ace Authentic Sports memorabilia, LLC et al

Interesting case. Plaintiff Net Pro was apparently the first company to make tennis trading cards way back in 1991. Defendant also makes tennis trading cards. As part of a recent promo series, Defendant has been packaging its own cards along with older, more valuable cards of Plaintiff (e.g. a Plaintiff 2003 rookie card of Rafa Nadal, etc.) Plaintiff feels Defendant’s actions have damaged its ability to sell its own stock of older cards. Kind of a flea-market, “first sale,” nominative fair use case. Despite Plaintiff including such colorful claims as “Deception” the “Indiana Crime Victims’ Act,” I don’t think this case is an easy slam…it could definitely go 5 sets with the proper defense.

Court Case Number: 1:10-cv-01236-JMS-TAB
File Date: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Plaintiff: Net Pro Trading Card Company, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore John Minch of Sovich Minch LLP
Defendant: Ace Authentic Sports memorabilia, LLC, John Reichel
Cause: Trademark Infringement, False Endorsement, False Advertising, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker