Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, John E. Martin, Philip P. Simon, State Trademark Infringement, State Unfair Competition
Since 2016, the Plaintiff in this trademark lawsuit, NuStar Enterprises of Elkhart, Indiana, has used the registered trademark RELOADED in connection with “clothing and apparel, namely, shirts, jackets, pants, hats, belts, scarves, gloves, socks, underwear, swimwear, and wristbands.” They also have pending applications for sandals, slippers, sneakers, athletic shoes, and tactical vests, as well as hookah pipes and related smoking accessories.
In July 2019, NuStar learned that Bill Omar Carrasquillo, a rapper and YouTube celebrity known as “Omi in a Hellcat,” intended to start an apparel company under the brand name RELOADED. NuStar reached out to Mr. Carrasquillo’s agent about its prior trademark rights and the parties attempted to negotiate a licensing agreement. Those negotiations fell apart in late 2019 “due to Mr. Carrasquillo’s legal and financial troubles.”
Despite knowledge of the Plaintiff’s trademark, the Defendants went forward with plans to launch an apparel company called Reloaded Merch in mid-2021. The Complaint (below) references instances of actual consumer confusion, including a notice of violation received by Plaintiff from Amazon.com because their products were not made by the Defendant. The Plaintiff’s products were even taken off of the Amazon marketplace in favor of the Defendants’ products. Due to the Defendants’ popularity, this truly seems to be a situation where the Plaintiff has lost the ability to control its brand identity, lost control over its goodwill and reputation, and has lost the ability to move into new products and markets.
Stay tuned for updates.
NuStar Enterprises LLC v. Reloaded Merch LLC, Bill Omar Carrasquillo
Case Number: 2:22-cv-00080
File Date: April 1, 2022
Plaintiff: NuStar Enterprises LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Andrew M. Hicks of Warrick & Boyn, LLP
Defendant: Reloaded Merch LLC, Bill Omar Carrasquillo
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, State Trademark Infringement, State Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: John E. Martin