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The Plaintiff in this action for declaratory judgment of non-infringement is a yet-to-open rock climbing gym in Indianapolis, Indiana. More specifically, the planned gym will provide a venue for “bouldering,” a type of rock climbing low enough to the ground to be done without safety ropes.

The Defendants operate similar “bouldering” facilities in Washington (State), Texas, and Minneapolis. As admitted in the Complaint (see Complaint, Section 10, below), “For a brief period of time in late 2020, one of Plaintiff’s members used content from one of Defendant’s websites as placeholder text during the website design process. This text was removed after two weeks of being publically available, and has been replaced by Plaintiff’s current website: https://www.northmassboulder.com/.”

The Defendants contacted the Plaintiff via counsel in December 2020, at which time the “infringing” content was removed from Plaintiff’s website. Nonetheless, dialogue between the parties’ counsel was apparently unproductive and it became clear that Defendants were going to sue Plaintiff. As such, the Indianapolis-based Plaintiff seized the initiative and filed a declaratory judgment action to prove their lack of infringement.

Declaratory judgment actions are always interesting as they flip the usual filing paradigm (i.e. the infringed filing against the infringer). There is an admitted temporary use by Plaintiff of some of the Defendant’s online content but other issues like trade dress and trade secrets are raised in the Complaint and will be interesting to follow to resolution. Stay tuned for updates.

Indianapolis Bouldering, LLC v. BP Holdings Company, LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 1:21-cv-00344-JMS-JMD
File Date: February 11, 2021 
Plaintiff: Indianapolis Bouldering, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Jonathan G. Polak, Steven T. Henke of TAFT STETTINIUS & HOLLISTER LLP
Defendant: BP Holdings Company, LLC, Seattle Bouldering Project, LLC, Minneapolis Bouldering Project, LLC, and Austin Bouldering Project, LLC
Cause: Invalidity or Unenforceability of Intellectual Property Rights, Non-Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights, Non-Violation of Alleged Trade Secrets
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore