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:

USA Football asserts ownership of “U.S. National Team” trademark, loses governing authority

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This lawsuit involves ownership of the “U.S. National Team” trademark. Plaintiff USA Football, Inc., the official youth football development partner of the NFL, claims exclusive use of the “U.S. National Team” mark since 2011.

Defendant, the U.S. Federation of American Football, is working to organize its own football team to participate in The World Games 2017 (held in Wrocław, Poland from July 20 – July 30, 2017) as the “U.S. National Team.”

Complicating matters is the fact that Plaintiff has recently lost its standing as the national governing body of American football. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) withdrew recognition of Plaintiff’s authority in the USA due to “multiple, continuous and ongoing violations of the IFAF Anti-Doping Code.” With the expulsion of Plaintiff from IFAF, it’s not completely clear which, if any, organization is authorized to assemble a U.S. team for international competitions.

This case should get interesting so stay tuned for updates.

USA Football, Inc. v. U.S. Federation of American Football

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-01395-LJM-DKL
File Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Plaintiff: USA Football, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Louis T. Perry, Amie Peele Carter of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Defendant: U.S. Federation of American Football
Cause: Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Common Law Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Larry J. McKinney
Referred To: Denise K. LaRue

Complaint:

Garden Flag Manufacturer sues Former Reseller for Trademark Infringement, Cybersquatting

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This lawsuit involves a garden flag manufacturer and a former reseller that continued selling product without authorization, as well as registering various infringing domain names. The Defendants’ bad faith use of the domain names has already been deterring by a WIPO proceeding.

Toland Home Garden v. PH Technologies et al.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00336-PPS-MGG
File Date: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Plaintiff: Toland International Ltd. and Marketing Resource Group, Inc. d/b/a Toland Home Garden
Plaintiff Counsel: Todd Gale, Jennifer Fraser of Dykema Gossett PLLC
Defendant: PH Technologies, LLC, Philip S. Horvath
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, False Advertising, Unfair Competition, Federal Cybersquatting, Trademark Dilution, Injury to Business Reputation, Common Law Unfair Competition, Common Law Unjust Enrichment
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.

Complaint: 

 

National Veterans Memorial sues to prevent use of National Veterans Memorial & Museum trademark

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The Plaintiff in this trademark lawsuit operates a small museum called the National Veterans Memorial in Elberfeld, Indiana. Since 2008, Plaintiff has owned a federal registration for the NATIONAL VETERANS MEMORIAL mark in connection with “Promoting public awareness of the need for reconciliation and recognition of all veterans.”

Plaintiff is seeking to prevent the use of the name National Veterans Memorial & Museum by a new museum opening in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio museum began construction in 2015 and is set to open in 2018. The Defendant filed a federal “intent to use” application in October 2016, which has received an initial refusal by the Examining Attorney based on Plaintiff’s registration.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Henager Family Museum, Inc v. Columbus Downtown Development Corp.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00028-RLY-MPB
File Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Plaintiff: Henager Family Museum, Inc d/b/a National Veterans Museum
Plaintiff Counsel: Keith E. Rounder, Gary K. Price of Terrell, Baugh, Salmon & Born, LLP
Defendant: Columbus Downtown Development Corp.
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, False Designation
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Richard L. Young
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman

Complaint:

Klipsch sues Online Store for Unauthorized Sale of Speakers, Fake Serial Numbers

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Klipsch, an Indiana-based manufacturer of high-end audio speakers, is suing Concealedaudio.com, an online speaker store, for unauthorized sales of Klipsch speakers.

In addition to selling “new” Klipsch speakers at discounted prices, the Defendant is also accused of removing and replacing serial numbers, thus voiding any Klipsch warranty for the unwary end customer. Allowing an unauthorized distributor to continue with discounted sales undermines authorized distributors who must contractually maintain higher prices. Pressure from both authorized distributors and customers left without a warranty essentially forces legal action from Klipsch in this situation.

The Defendant’s Klipsch speaker sales appear to continue unabated. Stay tuned for updates.

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Klipsch Group, Inc. v. Concealedaudio.com

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-00034-TWP-MPB
File Date: Thursday, January 5, 2017
Plaintiff: Klipsch Group, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Dean E. McConnell of Indiano & McConnell LLC
Defendant: Concealedaudio.com
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Tanya Walton Pratt
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman

Complaint: 

Indiana Trademark Registration

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Clients often inquire whether they should register their trademarks at the State or Federal level.  Starting with the assumption that even small local businesses may encounter a challenge to their trademark in the future, I generally try to impress upon them the advantages of federal registration.  After all, many of my clients end up being very successful and seek to expand outside of Indiana’s borders. With the exponential growth of “e-commerce,” the Internet is providing opportunities for national and global expansion, even for the smallest Indiana businesses.  It is therefore important for businesses of all types and sizes to choose and protect their trademarks with care…often this can mean protection at BOTH the State and Federal level.

Here’s a quick primer on registration of a trademark in Indiana:

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Trademarks are registered with the Indiana Secretary of State.

Registration of a trademark with the Indiana Secretary of State creates a legal presumption of the registrant’s ownership of the mark and the registrant’s exclusive right to use the mark in Indiana commerce in connection with the goods or services described in the application.  (A federal registration would protect your trademark in all 50 states.)

The Indiana Trademark Act (IC 24-2) protects words, phrases, symbols or designs, or any combinations thereof when they are used to distinguish the source of the goods or services rendered by one party from the goods or services of another party. Marks are checked against other marks registered in Indiana, but not against corporate, fictitious, or assumed names.

Indiana trademark rights arise from actual use of the mark in commerce, i.e. no “intent-to-use” applications.

A mark cannot be registered until it has been used in Indiana. Indiana defines a mark being “used” when it is placed in any manner on the goods or their containers or on the tags or labels affixed thereto, or when it is used to identify the services of one person and distinguish them from the services of others, and such goods or services are sold, otherwise distributed, or rendered in this state.

So what are some of the main benefits of state registration over federal registration?  It’s cheaper (State: $10/class vs. Federal $325/class) and quicker.  I’ve seen turnaround of weeks, not years as with the USPTO.  It can be a good remedy for a purely local entity.  State registration provides an increased level of trademark protection…at least you can claim protection on your “home turf.”  However, in the long run, I’d recommend that any entity which anticipates expanding outside of Indiana, particularly via Internet “e-commerce,” should seek federal trademark registration to best protect their valuable trademark rights.

I look forward to hearing from proponents of State registration…how has an Indiana State registration uniquely benefitted either you or your clients?