Evansville, Indiana-based Full Throttle Automotive, an auto repair shop, is being sued for trademark infringement by Energy Beverages, producer of Full Throttle energy drinks. The Complaint (below) highlights Energy Beverages’ long history of advertising in auto racing, including being the title sponsor of the National Hot Rod Association’s primary drag racing event.
The auto repair shop has also sponsored vehicles in motorsport events. Energy Beverages sent a cease-and-desist letter in October 2020, but Full Throttle Automotive has refused to discontinue use of its trademark.
Stay tuned for the Answer in the next few weeks, when we’ll likely find out how long Full Throttle Automotive has been using their “Full Throttle” name. They posted their current name and logo on Facebook back in 2014, and it’s likely they were using their name even before that, so they may have a strong acquiescence or laches defense based on many years of inaction from Energy Beverages.
A possible outcome could be a compromise whereby Full Throttle Automotive agrees not to sponsor NHRA events, presumably the most likely source of consumer confusion.
Energy Beverages LLC v. Full Throttle Automotive LLC
Case Number: 3:21-cv-00081-RLY-MPB
File Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Plaintiff: Energy Beverages LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: James W. Riley, Jr., Jaclyn M. Flint of Riley Bennett Egloff LLP
Defendant: Full Throttle Automotive LLC
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Trade Dress Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Richard L. Young
Referred To: Matthew P. Brookman