Burlington Pizza Shop sued over Piracy of UFC Fight



A Burlington, Indiana pizza shop has been sued in the Northern District of Indiana over the alleged piracy of a UFC fight. The defendants are alleged to have aired a Conor McGregor UFC fight in their pizza shop in January 2020 without the proper license. The Complaint (below) details a common scheme by which commercial locations purchase a cheaper individual license not intended for public commercial use rather than the more expensive commercial license. However, if the defendants had any type of license for the McGregor fight, I would also expect the Complaint to include some “breach of contract” claims, which it is lacking.

The Complaint does not mention when the plaintiff became aware of the alleged infringement, which is important because there is a 3-year statute of limitations for copyright infringement. The alleged infringement occurred over 3 years ago, but it’s not apparent when the plaintiff discovered the infringement. The statute of limitations for Satellite and Cable Piracy is even shorter, just 2 years in Indiana. If the Burlington restaurant doesn’t know already (via a “cease and desist” letter or subsequent communications), I’d expect the “discovery of infringement” date to be one of the first inquiries by the defendants should the lawsuit proceed to the discovery phase.

The trend for these types of cases is to see no defense thus leading to an eventual default judgment amount far greater than the cost of any UFC fight commercial license. Restaurants have no incentive to drag out the proceedings, unless they actually did not show the fight in question.

Stay tuned to this blog to find out if the Burlington pizza shop decides to put up a legal defense.

Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. LNH, LLC d/b/a Burlington Pizza/The Barn

Court Case Number: 2:23-cv-00177
File Date: May 24, 2023
Plaintiff: Joe Hand Promotions, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Ryan R. Janis, Esq. of Jekielek & Janis
Defendant: LNH, LLC d/b/a Burlington Pizza/The Barn, Neal D. Harmon, Loriann Harmon
Cause: Satellite and Cable Piracy, Copyright Infringement
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Referred To:


Muncie Fire Captain sued over EMT Exam Cheating Scheme


, ,

Here’s a lawsuit straight out of Bayside High School. The lawsuit involves a Muncie, Indiana Fire Captain who allegedly has been providing test questions to individuals before they take their tests. The problem is these aren’t 9th grade English tests, but rather important emergency medical technician (EMT) examinations, meaning unqualified cheaters could be made responsible for saving the lives of the public. This is unfair to everyone, including the creators of the test, who have to rewrite the compromised examinations, and unqualified EMTs, who are advanced to a position where they might not be able to properly carry out their duties. It is most unfair to the endangered public, who could receive unqualified medical treatment and possibly die as a result.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), which creates the EMT examinations, is now suing the Fire Captain, along with two accomplice test memorizers, for copyright infringement, breach of contract, and trade secret claims. The two test memorizers would allegedly take the examinations, memorize the questions, and then report back to the Fire Captain, who would use that information to train fire department recruits. The test policies specifically forbid such actions.

The “years-long scheme” was reported by a whistleblower in March 2023, leading to an investigation and now this lawsuit. The whistleblower paints a portrait of more than just an overzealous instructor, claiming that the Fire Captain forced his employees to cheat on NREMT examinations “through abuse of power and harassment.”

Stay tuned for updates.

The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians v. Dulaney et al.

Court Case Number: 1:23-cv-00840-JRS-MJD
File Date: May 15, 2023
Plaintiff: The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians
Plaintiff Counsel: Kandi Kilkelly Hidde, Cameron S. Trachtman of Frost Brown Todd LLP
Defendant: Troy Delaney, Jacob Sutton, Adam Burk
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Breach of Contract, Violation of the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James R. Sweeney II
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore


Ivy Tech sued for $2 million over use of BLACK COLLEGE EXPO trademark


, , , , , ,

The National College Resources Foundation (“NCRF”) is a California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit and purported owner of the registered BLACK COLLEGE EXPO trademark.

Ivy Tech Community College (“Ivy Tech”), a two-year community college serving over 75 Indiana communities, allegedly used the phrase “Black College Expo” to describe an enrollment event held on its South Bend campus in January 2023. NCRF’s counsel sent a cease-and-desist in December 2022 and Ivy Tech promptly agreed to stop using the phrase but did not do so, apparently using it again in a January 9 Instagram post.

Apparently not satisfied with Ivy Tech’s response (notably during a holiday period when many college employees would not be working or even checking email), NCRF now brings a federal trademark lawsuit against Ivy Tech seeking $2,000,000 as well as punitive damages.

The BLACK COLLEGE EXPO registration is actually owned by a California individual named Theresa Price, apparently the founder and CEO of the National College Resources Foundation. The unsigned Complaint (see below) does not reference any license between Mrs. Price and the organization but presumably that does exist. The registration also includes a disclaimer of the descriptive term “EXPO.”

Should this lawsuit go far enough, I’d expect Ivy Tech and the other defendants to assert that they were not using “BLACK COLLEGE EXPO” as a source-identifying trademark and rather simply as a non-source-identifying descriptive term. However, it’s more likely that the community college (via instructions from its insurance provider) will back down and pay some nominal settlement amount to quickly resolve the lawsuit. The Complaint also includes as defendants two organizations connected to the Ivy Tech event, Mentoring Moments and The Strong Friend. I’m guessing both of those organizations have better ways to spend their funds than fighting a federal lawsuit.

Stay tuned for updates.

National College Resources Foundation v. The Strong Friends LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 3:23-cv-00367-JD-MGG
File Date: May 4, 2023
Plaintiff: National College Resources Foundation
Plaintiff Counsel: Justin A. Smith, Esq. of National College Resources Foundation
Defendant: The Strong Friends LLC, Mentoring Moments, LLC, Ivy Tech Community College
Cause: Federal Trademark Counterfeiting, Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, False Descriptions and Representations, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.


May 2023 Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation Update


There were several interesting filings in intellectual property litigation in Indiana over the last month. Just one new lawsuit was filed and several lawsuits were dismissed, so we may have a shorter list next month for a change. Read on for updates on all pending Indiana trademark and copyright litigation.

Sears Authorized Hometown Stores, LLC v. Lynn Retail, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 6/4/2021) – The settlement deadline has been extended by motion to June 26, 2023.

Noble Roman’s, Inc. v. AMI Stores Management, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 6/6/2021) –  No update this month.

Forest River, Inc. v. inTech Trailers, Inc. (ND, filed 8/31/2021) – On May 4, 2023, the Defendant filed several documents, including a Response Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Partial Motion for Summary Judgment, a Response to Statement of Material Facts, and Additional Material Facts. The submitted information gives much more context to the dispute.

Thomas v. ooShirts, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 9/24/2021) – A telephonic status conference was held on May 3, 2023 to discuss discovery status and another is scheduled for June 1, 2023. 

Gabet et al. v. Amazon.com. Inc. et al. (ND, filed 1/20/2022) – On May 8, 2023, the Plaintiff filed Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint. Amazon promptly challenged with a Motion to Strike, claiming “gamesmanship” by the Plaintiff’s attorney, along with failure to comply with the Court’s electronic filing policies, which prohibit converting a usable electronic document into an unusable version and then filing the unusable version. Amazon has requested monetary sanctions against the Plaintiff’s attorney.

The Evolutionary Level Above Human, Inc. v. Havel et al (ND, filed 5/18/2022) – On April 27, 2023, Defendant Bartel filed a Motion to Add Evidence Regarding the True and Factual ‘Known Place of Business’ of Plaintiff. The Plaintiff filed its Response on May 12, 2023.

Schwartz v. Kilroy’s North America, LLC et al (SD, filed 8/5/2022) – The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on April 18, 2023.

Oakley, Inc. v. Batter’s Box Training, LLC et al (SD, filed 8/11/2022) – No update this month. 

Honest Abe Roofing franchise, Inc. v. DCH & Associates, LLC et al. (SD, filed 9/7/2022) –  No update this month. 

Phoenix USA RV, Inc. v. Hoosier Custom Cruisers LLC et al. (ND, removed 10/7/2022) – The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on May 3, 2023.

MaddenCo Inc. v. Reed et al. (SD, filed 10/31/2022) – A Settlement Conference was held on May 5, 2023. The parties have been ordered to provide an update on settlement discussions by May 22, 2023, and every 14 days thereafter.

The Center for Gestalt Development, Inc. v. Bowman (SD (11/09/2022) – Witness lists were filed by both parties, but no other updates this month.

1.4G Holdings, LLC v. North Central Industries, Inc. et al. (SD 1/05/2023) – On May 5, 2023, the parties filed a Joint Motion for Protective Order. The Plaintiff files its Preliminary Witness and Exhibits Lists on May 12, 2023.

Stross v. Lynn Boolman Auto Sales Limited Liability Company et al. (ND 1/25/2023) –  Defendant Carsforsale.com filed its Answer on April 20, 2023. The Answer includes just one affirmative defense, that any alleged infringement on the part of Carsforsale.com was innocent and without intention.

A Preliminary Pretrial Conference is scheduled for May 23, 2023.

Albert’s Diamond Jewelers, Inc. v. AaLand Diamond Jewelers LLC (ND 2/01/2023) – On May 4, the Court granted a Stipulated Protective Order.

Delta Faucet Company v. Watkins et al. (SD 2/01/2023) – On April 18, 2023, Delta Faucet filed a Renewed Motion for Alternative Service of Process, which the Court granted on April 26, 2023. Delta Faucet can now serve the Defendant Watkins via electronic means.

USA Football, Inc. v. Flag Football World Championship Tour, LLC et al. (SD 2/13/2023) – On May 3, 2023, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge M. Kendra Klump. The new case number is 1:23-cv-00274-TWP-MKK. The Defendant’s time to answer the Complaint has been extended by motion to May 22, 2023.

Freedom Mortgage Corporation v. Freedompoint, LLC (SD 2/14/2023) – The lawsuit has been settled and was dismissed with prejudice on May 11, 2023.

Roller Ready, LLC v. LA Systems, LLC d/b/a Monkey Rung et al. (ND 2/14/2023) – Summons were issued on May 8, 2023. No other updates.

Taylor Shaye Designs LLC v. Shein Distribution Corp. (SD 4/11/2023) – Defense counsel have filed their appearances and a notice of extension of the response deadline.

HealthSmart Foods, Inc. v. Sweet Nothings, Inc. et al. (SD 4/13/2023) – No update yet.

Sak Group, Inc. v. Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc. (ND 4/25/2023) – No update yet.

April 2023 UpdatesMarch 2023 Updates – February 2023 Updates – January 2023 Updates

December 2022 Updates –  December 2021 Updates

Buttermilk Café vs. Buttermilk Pancake House…are you confused?


, , , , , , , , ,

The plaintiff in Indiana’s latest trademark lawsuit owns three restaurants called Buttermilk Café in the Chicago metropolitan area, along with a federal trademark registration for BUTTERMILK CAFE (Reg. No. 5,888,702) claiming “restaurant services, in International Class 43,” with a date of first use in 2011. Notably, it is a concurrent use registration with another restaurant called Buttermilk Kitchen, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since at least 2019, the defendant has operated a restaurant called Buttermilk Pancake House in Munster, Indiana.

The Complaint (below) doesn’t mention any actual instances of consumer confusion. You might think if Buttermilk Café and Buttermilk Kitchen can co-exist, then surely there’s room in the marketplace for a Buttermilk Pancake House, particularly in a crowded field like restaurants, with over 1,000,000 operating restaurant locations in the U.S. However, Munster, Indiana is about 30 miles from Chicago, so proximity may be the plaintiff’s greatest concern in this situation. That’s close enough that both parties’ restaurants would inevitably show up in a map search for either restaurant. It’s close enough that consumers might think the “Pancake House” is an offshoot of the nearby “Café.” The Munster restaurant utilizes a different color and font for “Buttermilk” and “Pancake House” on their exterior signage, a marketing practice often used with a “family mark” and a new descriptive product/service name. This could arguably lead consumers to believing that there is a connection between the parties. However, other than use of a similar name, there’s no other evidence in the Complaint (e.g. similar logo, menu, interior design, color scheme, etc.) that the Munster restaurant is intentionally misrepresenting itself to be connected with the plaintiff’s restaurant.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sak Group, Inc. v. Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc.

Court Case Number: 2:23-cv-00142-PPS-JPK
File Date: April 25, 2023
Plaintiff: Sak Group, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Michael E. Tolbert, Shelice R. Tolbert, Candace C. Williams of Tolbert & Tolbert, LLC
Defendant: Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc.
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Passing Off, Federal Unfair Competition, Trademark Dilution, Violation of the Indiana Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Joshua P. Kolar