Website development business sues canine trainer for copyright, trademark infringement

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We’re back! Due to the coronavirus, trademark and copyright filings have been fairly nonexistent for the last six months. But things are picking up again and the Indiana Intellectual Property Blog is back in action to monitor and review intellectual property filings in Indiana.

This case involves a dispute between co-owners of an online instruction course about canine behavior modification. The defendant, a well-known canine trainer, appears to be caught with the plaintiffs in a dispute over her percentage of profit for her contributions to the plaintiff’s series of online instruction courses and canine behavior modification manuals.

It’s always unfortunate when a closely-held business results in a legal controversy between co-owners. The copyright and trademark claims in this case seem to just be leverage for the plaintiffs toward getting their intended result rather than anything particularly interesting for intellectual property practitioners.

Stay tuned for updates.

Content & Commerce, Inc., Kevin DeTrude v. Donna Chandler, Show Colors, Inc., My K9 Behaves, LLC

Court Case Number: 1:20-cv-02488-JMS-DLP
File Date: September 25, 2020
Plaintiff: Content & Commerce, Inc., Kevin DeTrude
Plaintiff Counsel: B.J. Brinkerhoff, Hannah Kaufman Joseph of Jeselksis Brinherhoff and Joseph, LLC
Defendant: Donna Chandler, Show Colors, Inc.
Cause: Declaratory Judgement of Copyright Ownership, Copyright Infringement, Declaratory Relief as to Trademark Ownership, Trademark Infringement, Derivative Claim For Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Derivative Claim of Waste, Self-Dealing, Mismanagement and Misappropriation of Corporate Assets and Usurpation of Corporate Opportunities, Derivative Claim for Theft and Conversion, Direct Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Direct Claim of Waste, Self-Dealing, Mismanagement and Misappropriation of Corporate Assets and Usurpation of Corporate Opportunities, Direct Claim for Theft and Conversion, Breach of Contract
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane E. Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Doris L. Pryor

Complaint:

Copyright Lawsuit filed over Photograph of a Leaf in Water

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The Defendant in this copyright infringement lawsuit is alleged to have used Plaintiff’s photograph of “a leaf in water” without authorization. The Plaintiff is a German professional photographer and the Defendant is a corporation based in Elkhart, Indiana.

Stay tuned for updates.

Steeger v. Good Living Enterprises Inc.

Court Case Number: 3:19-cv-00877-PPS-MGG
File Date: October 5, 2019
Plaintiff: Paul Steiger
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard P. Liebowitz of Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC
Defendant: Good Living Enterprises Inc.
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.

Complaint:

Dean Potter’s estate sues LG Electronics for unauthorized use of Moonwalk footage

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An interesting right of publicity case involving the estate of the late extreme-sports athlete Dean Potter has been filed in the Southern District of Indiana. Mr. Potter’s estate is suing LG Electronics for unauthorized use of Mr. Potter’s likeness and appearance. In a commercial titled Listen. Think. Answer., LG uses footage from the movie Moonwalk, in which Mr. Potter traverses a highline tied to Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park as the full moon rises in the background, to advertise the LG OLED TV with AI.

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LG claims to have obtained a license to use the Moonwalk footage from Moonwalk’s director, Mikey Schaefer. However, the Complaint (below) asserts that Mr. Potter had signed a release for still photographs only, not video footage. Potter’s estate also maintains that Mr. Schaefer was not able to authorize licenses or sublicenses, meaning Schaefer could exploit the Moonwalk footage himself but not authorize third-party exploitation such as the LG commercial.

“Because Mr. Potter never consented to Mr. Schaefer’s trading in the invaluable equity of Mr. Potter’s likeness in Moonwalk, and/or his reputation as a highlining pioneer, to shill television sets, Mr. Schaefer could not license to Defendants Mr. Potter’s rights, including, inter alia, Potter’s publicity and common law trademark rights.”

This should be an interesting case to follow. Stay tuned for updates. RIP Dean Potter.

“Defendant’s advertisement of a product that enables a sedentary lifestyle, wherein material demands can be met without moving from the couch in the confines of one’s living room, is antithetical to what Mr. Potter stood for in life: an appreciation of the splendor of the outdoors and a celebration of the freedom to forge one’s own path in uncharted terrain.”

Dean Potter LLC v. LG Electronics USA, Inc.

Court Case Number: 1:19-cv-04085-JPH-TAB
File Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Plaintiff: Dean Potter LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: John Tehranian, Jenny S. Kim of ONE LLP
Defendant: LG Electronics USA, Inc.
Cause: Infringement of Right of Publicity, False Association, False Endorsement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Conversion, Deception, Violation of Indiana Crime Victims’ Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James Patrick Hanlon
Referred To: Tim A. Baker

Complaint:

Plan B Games files Answer in Great Western Trail Litigation

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Plan B Games has filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses in the “Great Western Trail” lawsuit filed by Stronghold Games.

The Answer is the standard cut-and-paste “Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations,” with just a few admissions to factual information.

The Affirmative Defenses, starting on Page 25,  challenge the Plaintiff’s rights in the GREAT WESTERN TRAIL trademark.

Stay tuned for updates.

Indie Game Studios, LLC v. Plan B Games, Inc et al.

Court Case Number: 1:19-cv-1492-SEB-MJD
File Date: Monday, April 15, 2019
Plaintiff: Indie Game Studios, LLC d/b/a Stronghold Games LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Patrick J. Olmstead, Jr., John Bradshaw
Defendant: Plan B Games, Inc., Plan B Games Europe GMBH
Defendant Counsel: Burton S. Ehrlich of Ladas & Parry LLP, Darlene Seymour
Cause: Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Conspiracy
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore

 

Three Floyds Brewing sues Floyd’s Spiked Beverages for Trademark Infringement

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Three Floyds Brewing is one of Indiana’s longest operating breweries, selling nationally-recognized delicious beers under the trademark THREE FLOYDS since 1996.

In 2018, the defendant Floyd’s Spiked Beverages began selling Spiked Lemonade and Spiked Ice Tea under the FLOYD’S trademark. The Defendants’ apparently lower quality beverages are sold within 20 miles of the Three Floyds brewery in Munster, Indiana. The Defendants also sell their product via a website at DrinkFloyds.com.

Three Floyds is already opposing one of Floyd’s trademark applications that claims “Alcoholic beverages, except beer.” The USPTO has refused Floyd’s other trademark application for “Beer-based coolers” based on a likelihood of confusion with Three Floyds’ registered trademarks.

The Complaint (below) spotlights several poor consumer reviews of the Defendants’ spiked beverages, but doesn’t mention any instances of actual consumer confusion.

Stay tuned for updates.

Three Floyds Brewing LLC v. Floyd’s Spiked Beverages LLC et al.

Court Case Number:  2:19-cv-00363
File Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Plaintiff: Three Floyds Brewing LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Glenn A. Rice, Esq., Carter S. Plotkin, Esq. of Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd.
Defendant: Floyd’s Spiked Beverages LLC, Lawrence Trachtenbroit
Cause
: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal False Designation of Origin, Federal Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: TBD

Complaint: