Oakley sues So. Indiana Gas Stations over Counterfeit Eyewear


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The Defendants in this lawsuit, the owners of gas stations located in Batesville, Osgood, and New Point, Indiana, are accused of selling counterfeit Oakley and Ray-Ban sunglasses. The counterfeit products were observed for sale in the stores by Plaintiff’s representatives and are believed to originate from a common source, to be determined.

Stay tuned for updates.

Luxottica Group et al. v. Avni Petroleum, Inc. et al.

Court Case Number: 1:18-cv-0537-WTL-MJD
File Date: Friday, February 23, 2018
Plaintiff: Luxottica Group S.p.A., Oakley Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Brent H. Blakely, Jessica C. Covington of Blakely Law Group
Defendant: Avni Petroleum, Inc., Delaware BP, Pari, Inc. dba Batesville Food Mart, Rani Petroleum, Inc. dba Batesville Shell, SAI Petroleum Inc. dba New Point Food Mart, Does 1-10
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin and False Advertising, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: William T. Lawrence
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore


Indiana Trademark Registration


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:


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?

Avoiding Loss of Trademark Rights



You’ve spent time, energy and money developing and protecting your trademark …possibly even obtaining a federal trademark registration. Now what? Going forward, you need to be careful to avoid several pitfalls that can result in the loss of your valuable trademark rights. Set forth below are several important considerations you should think about to avoid losing your rights as you continue to use your trademark and enforce your trademark rights against third parties:

1. Failure to use the trademark. Since trademark rights are based on use, a trademark owner must continue to use the trademark properly in order to avoid forfeiture of rights by abandonment. Non-use occurs when a trademark owner stops using the mark and does not intend to resume use. Further, intention not to resume use may be inferred from a trademark owner’s failure to use the mark for three consecutive years. Once a mark is deemed abandoned, all rights to the trademark are lost.

2. Authorizing uncontrolled use of the trademark. Trademark rights can be lost if you license the trademark to others but don’t take adequate steps to monitor the style and quality of products or services associated with the trademark. After all, trademark law grants you exclusive use of the trademark in exchange for giving the consuming public a reliable indication of quality. If the level of quality falls below a certain level, you may be setting yourself up for cancellation of your trademark right.

3. Failure to enforce your rights against infringers. If you continually allow known infringers to violate your trademark rights, you effectively give up the right to challenge their use. While this might not result in cancellation of your registration, you are undermining your trademark by wilfully adopting a very narrow scope of protection.

4. Generic use. Generic use refers to the situation in which a trademark becomes so familiar that the distinction of the mark diminishes.  We’re all familiar with the following trademarks which were allowed to become generic over time: aspirin, escalator, linoleum. Rights to those trademarks were lost because appropriate steps were not taken to prevent the public from coming to regard the marks as generic products or services, rather than particular brand names.

If you have concerns about whether you are adequately protecting your trademarks, consider consulting a trademark professional who can help you implement procedures for maintaining and enforcing your rights.

Shoe retailer Shoe Carnival sues two counterfeit websites


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Shoe retailer Shoe Carnival brings this lawsuit against the owners of two domains, daretodreamwebdesign.com and afordrunning.com, which appear to be counterfeit Shoe Carnival websites.

I used to love shopping at Shoe Carnival. I remember the frequent sale announcements over the intercom and the booth for catching blowing cash.

SCLC, Inc. v. Kettering et al

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00193-RLY-MPB
File Date: November 22, 2017
Plaintiff: SCLC, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Keith E. Rounder, Gary K. Price of Terrell, Baugh, Salmon & Born, LLP
Defendant: Marie Kettering, Lanny Tyndall
Cause: Trade Dress Infringement, Unfair Competition, Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Richard L. Young
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman


Update 11/30/2017: 

Shoe Carnival has requested a Temporary Restraining Order for the purpose of ordering search engines to remove the offending websites.

Copyright lawsuit over movie script removed to Northern District of Indiana


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This lawsuit was removed from St. Joseph Circuit Court, Indiana, to the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division based on copyright preemption.

The Plaintiff alleges that he sent an original script and revisions to Defendant, which they used to create and sell a motion picture.

Jones v. Brioche and Mayo, LLC

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-00289
File Date: Friday, November 3, 2017
Plaintiff: William Jones
Plaintiff Counsel: Andrew B. Jones, Margaret Marnocha of Jones Law Office LLC
Defendant: Brioche and Mayo, LLC
Cause: Breach of Contract, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Unjust Enrichment
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: TBD
Referred To: TBD

Notice of Removal:

Project management company files trademark lawsuit against potential scam artists


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Plaintiff operates a project management training company called “Project Management Academy.” Plaintiff has used the trademark since 2009 and owns several related federal trademark registrations.

The Defendants are accused of operating a similar company (some call it a scam) using the “Project Management Academy” or “PMA” trademarks.

Educate 360, LLC v. Patchree Patchrint et al.

Court Case Number: 4:17-cv-00078
File Date: Friday, October 6, 2017
Plaintiff: Educate 360, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: William P. Kelley, David M. Stupich of Stuart & Branigin LLP
Defendant:  Patchree Patchrint a/k/a Patty Jones and Anthony Christopher Jones
Cause: Declaratory Relief, Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Cybersquatting, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Passing Off/Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: TBD
Referred To: TBD


Terre Haute Endocrinology Center sues competing medical center for not having an Endocrinologist in its “Endocrinology Department”


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The Plaintiffs in this lawsuit are an endocrinologist and his medical center in Terre Haute, Indiana, providing endocrinology care and services.

The Defendant is a competing medical center in Terre Haute. Allegedly, the Defendant lost its last board-certified endocrinology physician in 2014 but continues to advertise that it has an “Endocrinology Department.”

Per the Complaint (below):

“due to the use of ‘endocrinology’ in its advertising and representations to the public, patients and potential patients are led to believe that there is a physician practicing at Defendant’s facility that is board-certified in the specialty of endocrinology.”

To Plaintiff, which is a competing medical center in the area that does employ a board-certified endocrinologist, this constitutes false advertising and unfair competition.

The case was originally filed in Vigo Superior Court but removed to the Southern District of Indiana.

Pittman et al. v. Union Medical Group LLC

Court Case Number:2:17-cv-00393-JMS-MPB
File Date: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Plaintiff: Isaiah Pittman IV, MD, HPW Center For Diabetes, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Paul J. Jungers of Wagner, Crawford, Gambill and Jungers
Defendant: Union Medical Group LLC
Cause: False Advertising, Indiana Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman


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.


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


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