Counterfeit gages result in trade dress, trademark litigation

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The Plaintiff, Dwyer Instruments, is a manufacturer of industrial gages and controls headquartered in Michigan City. Plaintiff has used the registered trademark MAGNEHELIC since 1949.

The Defendants, a California manufacturer and Wal-Mart.com which lists the product, are accused of selling counterfeit gages with identical trade dress tp Plaintiff’s gages and a confusingly similar trademark, MAGRFHELIC.

Dwyer Instruments Inc v. Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00636-RLM-MGG
File Date: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Plaintiff: Dwyer Instruments, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Peter J. Shakula of Wood Phillips
Defendant: Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC, Tasharina Corp.
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Trade Dress Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, False and Misleading Representations, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.

Complaint: 

STOP THE DROP: Cell Phone Case vs. Seat Gap Filler…are you confused?

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This a declaratory judgment action for both non-infringement of trademark and copyright. The declaratory judgment Plaintiff is Loopy, which sells cell phone cases that include a finger grip on the back of the case.  Loopy uses the trademark STOPTHEDROP in association with its cell phone cases, which you can see have a finger loop to prevent drops.

The Defendant, Drop Stop LLC of Los Angeles, California (as seen on Shark Tank), has a U.S. trademark registration for STOP THE DROP in connection with “IC 12 – Automobile interior accessory, namely, durable and flexible wedge, which can be expanded or contracted, to fill gap between front seat and center console of an automobile preventing objects from dropping into gap.” In other words, a seat gap filler.

Drop Stop sent a trademark cease-and-desist letter demanding that Loopy stop all use of STOPTHEDROP. Instead, Loopy has filed the action in the Northern District of Indiana for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of Drop Stop’s trademark and copyrights. Stay tuned for updates.

While researching, I spotted a few other interesting uses of STOP THE DROP in the USPTO database:

Loopy Cases LLC v. Drop Stop, LLC

Court Case Number: 2:17-cv-00331-JVB-APR
File Date: Friday, August 4, 2017
Plaintiff: Loopy Cases LLC, John Wangercyn
Plaintiff Counsel: Peter J. Shakula of Wood Phillips
Defendant: Drop Stop, LLC
Cause: Declaratory Judgement of Trademark Non-Infringement, Declaratory Judgment of Copyright Non-Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Referred To: Andrew P. Rodovich

Complaint: 

Indiana brewery alleges rights in its CORN MAZE BEER FEST stolen by own marketing agency

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This trademark lawsuit arises out of a dispute over ownership of the term “Corn Maze Beer Fest.”

The Plaintiff, 450 North Brewing Co. of Columbus, Indiana, hosted an event under that name in 2016 in the fields surrounding their brewery.

The Defendant is an Indiana company specializing in marketing for craft beer events.

The parties had worked together (with only an unsigned agreement and oral contract) on the 2016 event but a dispute has arisen over ownership of the event name. Despite the parties terminating their business relationship in early 2017, Defendant appears to be moving forward with its own version of a CORN MAZE BEER FEST, still being actively promoted on the website that Plaintiff believes it should own.

Stay tuned for updates.

Brix Haus Brewing Inc. d/b/a 450 North Brewing Co. v. Indiana On Tap, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-02529-JMS-MPB
File Date: July 27, 2017
Plaintiff: Brix Haus Brewing Inc. d/b/a 450 North Brewing Co.
Plaintiff Counsel: Louis T. Perry, Amie Peele Carter of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Defendant: Indiana On Tap, LLC
Cause: False Designation of Origin, Common Law Unfair Competition, Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act, Deception, Conversion, Theft, Fraud, Tortious Interference with Economic Advantage
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Matthew P. Bookman

Complaint:

North American Van Lines sues North America Prime, trucking competitor started by a former officer

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The Plaintiff, North American Van Lines, has been providing transportation services since 1969. A former officer of Plaintiff started a competing transportation company called North America Prime Lines. Numerous cease-and-desist communications were sent but the parties weren’t able to resolve their differences.

However, there are numerous negative instances of consumer confusion (a few samples below) so this situation definitely requires resolution.

North America Van Lines, Inc. v. North America Prime Inc. et al.

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-00298-TLS-PRC
File Date: Friday, July 14. 2017
Plaintiff: North American Van Lines, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Siobhán M. Murphy of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
Defendant: North America Prime Inc., Ean Manning
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Theresa L. Springmann
Referred To: Paul R. Cherry

Complaint:

Indy’s COMFORT STAY INN sued for trademark infringement by owner of COMFORT INN

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The Plaintiff in this trademark lawsuit is one of the largest lodging franchisors in the world. Among its many well-known brands are COMFORT INN and COMFORT SUITES. Plaintiff has used its family of COMFORT trademark since at least 1984.

Defendant operates a hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana under the name “Comfort Stay Inn.” Defendant’s utilizes the domain name comfortstayinn.com.

Cease-and-desist coomunications from Plaintiff’s attorney were unsuccessful, hence this lawsuit. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant’s hotel name is confusingly similar and has irreparably damaged the value of the COMFORT family of marks.

Choice Hotels International, Inc. v. American Hospitality Solution, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-02402-TWP-DML
File Date: Friday, July 14, 2017
Plaintiff: Choice Hotels International, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Calvert S. Miller of Carson Boxberger LLP
Defendant: American Hospitality Solution, LLC
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Indiana Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Debra McVicker Lynch

Complaint:

adidas sued for violating Jackie Robinson’s right of publicity

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This lawsuit involves adidas’ alleged infringement of the right of publicity of deceased baseball player Jackie Robinson.

The plaintiff, CMG Worldwide Inc., headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the exclusive worldwide agent and representative for the estate of Jackie Robinson.

adidas allegedly, without authorization from Plaintiff, created and promoted merchandise based on the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first appearance as a Brooklyn Dodger. The products were promoted heavily by adidas and sponsored athletes on April 15, 2017…”Jackie Robinson Day.”

Plaintiff asks for an injunction against further sales, recovery for damages suffered, disgorgment of all of adidas’ profits and attorneys’ fees and costs, so there’s a lot on the line for adidas. Stay tuned for updates.

CMG Worldwide, Inc. v. adidas AG et al.

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-02356-TWP-DWL
File Date: Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Plaintiff: CMG Worldwide, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Theodore J. Minch of Sovich Minch, LLP
Defendant: adidas AG, adidas America, Inc.,  Does 1-10
Cause: False Endorsement, Unfair Competition, Violation of Right of Publicity, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Deception
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Debra McVicker Lynch

Complaint:

 

Harry’s Chocolate Shop sues University Spirit over unauthorized apparel sales

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Harry’s Chocolate Shop was founded in 1919 as the first and only soda fountain near Purdue University. Today it is a popular restaurant/bar, voted one of the best college bars in America.

Harry’s owns the following registered trademarks: GO UGLY EARLY, DRINK ‘EM PRETTY, DRINK ‘EM CUTE, and HOME OF “THE GREAT INDOORSMAN”.

Defendants operate a nearby retail store named University Spirit. The parties previously had a non-exclusive (oral) license agreement for University Spirit to produce and sell apparel bearing Harry’s trademarks. In 2012, the Defendants stopped making royalty payments and Harry’s brings this action seeking payment of royalties owed and an injunction against further sales.

Harry’s Chocolate Shop Incorporated v. Goldden Corporation et al

Court Case Number: 4:17-cv-000570-JVB-APR
File Date: July 6, 2017
Plaintiff: Harry’s Chocolate Shop Incorporated
Plaintiff Counsel: William A. McKenna of Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP
Defendant: Goldden Corporation, Gary E. Edmondson
Cause: Breach of Contract, Trademark Infringement and Counterfeiting, False and Deceptive Labeling, Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Joseph S. Van Bokkelen
Referred To: Andrew P. Rodovich

Complaint:

Jayco sues unauthorized dealer of ENTEGRA COACH motorhomes

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Plaintiff is an RV manufacturer based in Middlebury, Indiana. Defendants are accused of “flagrantly” using Plaintiff’s ENTEGRA COACH registered trademark in Texas. The Complaint (below) details a scheme by which an unauthorized dealer was surreptitiously arranging for sales of Plaintiff’s motorhomes. Plaintiff brought this lawsuit seeking an injunction against further sales to protect the contracted rights of its authorized dealers.

Jayco, Inc.v. National Indoor RV Centers, LLC

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00458-RLM-MGG
File Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Plaintiff: Jayco, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Louis S. Chronowski of Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Defendant: National Indoor RV Centers, LLC
Cause: Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Federal Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Texas Unfair Competition, Breach of Contract
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.

Complaint:

Two Indiana firework companies in dispute over BLACK WIDOW trademark

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This lawsuit involves a dispute over the use of the BLACK WIDOW trademark in connection with fireworks. The Plaintiff, based in Evansville, Indiana, owns a federal registration and has used their BLACK WIDOW trademark since as early as March 12, 2013.

The Defendants, from Washburn, Indiana, have allegedly begun selling similar products also under a BLACK WIDOW trademark.

Cease-and-desist communications from Plaintiff to Defendant were not successful, hence this lawsuit. Stay tuned for updates.

The Really Good Stuff, Inc. v. Sky Thunder, LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 3:2017-cv-00096-RLY-MPB
File Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Plaintiff: The Really Good Stuff, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Rowdy G. Williams of Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm, PC
Defendant: Sky Thunder, LLC, Michael A. Kimberling
Cause: Counterfeiting, Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Richard L. Young
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman

Complaint:

“Franchise Conversion Scheme” alleged against Community Newsletter publisher

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This lengthy complaint, with 17 (!) causes of action, details an alleged “Franchise Conversion Scheme” by the Defendants. The case was initially filed in Johnson County Superior Court but has been removed to the Southern District of Indiana.

Chilly Panda, LLC v. Britt Interactive LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-01544-LJM-DKL
File Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Plaintiff: Chilly Panda Media, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Matthew M. Cree of Law Office of Matthew M. Cree, LLC, P. Adam Davis of Davis and Sarbinoff, LLC
Defendant: Britt Interactive, LLC, Townepost Network, Inc., Tom Britt, Jeanne Britt, Josh F. Brown
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Copyright Infringement, Unfair Competition, Indiana Crime Victims Act, Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference, Breach of Fiduciary Duties, Defamation, Franchise Fraud, Actual or Constructive Fraud, Stored Communications Act, Accounting, Individual Liability, Declaratory Judgment, Preliminary Injunction, Permanent Injunction
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Larry J. McKinney
Referred To: Denise K. LaRue

Complaint: