Mid-April 2022 Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation Update

Several new interesting lawsuits were filed since mid-March, so we’ll look forward to watching those develop over the next few months. In existing lawsuits, RE/MAX and Amazon have filed Motions to Dismiss, while Think Global have filed their Answer to Microsoft’s allegations of running a phony tech support scheme. The Amazon Brief is an interesting read considering the extensive litigation history between the parties.

What case are you watching most closely?

Noble Roman’s, Inc. v. Gateway Triangle Corp. et al. (SD, filed 2/5/2021) – No update this month.

Delta Faucet Company v. Iakovlev et al. (SD, filed 3/25/2021) – No update this month. 

Egglife Foods, Inc. v. Crepini, LLC (ND, filed 5/28/2021) – No update this month.

Sears Authorized Hometown Stores, LLC v. Lynn Retail, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 6/4/2021) – A Case Management Plan was approved on March 21, 2022. No other updates.

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

Phoenix Intangibles Holding Company et al. v. Virk Brothers, LLC et al. (ND, filed 7/9/2021) – The parties have been ordered to file dismissal papers by May 2, 2022.

Poulsen Roser A/S v. Gardens Alive, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 7/14/2021) – A Stipulation of Dismissal was filed on April 11, 2022.

AWGI, LLC et al. v. CLD Trucking Co. d/b/a Atlas Moving Systems AMS (SD, filed 7/22/2021) – No update this month. The Plaintiff is still seeking to enforce the default judgment from September 2021.

RE/MAX, LLC et al. v. Dulin et al. (SD, filed 8/24/2021) – On April 1, 2022, RE/MAX filed a Motion to Dismiss Defendants’ Counterclaims. The parties jointly extended discovery deadlines.

Forest River, Inc. v. inTech Trailers, Inc. (ND, filed 8/31/2021) – No update this month.

Thomas v. ooShirts, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 9/24/2021) – No update this month.

Edutainment Live, LLC v. Video Game Palooza et al. (SD, filed 10/11/2021) – The Defendants’ Preliminary Exhibit List was filed on March 25, 2022. No other updates.

Innovative Sports Management Inc. v. La Jalisco LLP (SD, filed 12/15/2021) – The Complaint was served on March 9, 2022. No other updates.

Corson v. Vive Exterior Design, LLC et al. (SD, filed 1/17/2022) – A Notice of Voluntary Dismissal was filed on April 12, 2022.

Gabet et al. v. Amazon.com. Inc. et al. (ND, filed 1/20/2022) – Amazon filed a Motion to Dismiss on April 4, 2022. The Brief in Support (below) highlights five reasons why the Complaint fails to state a claim. The Answer also informs in a footnote that this is the third lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs against Amazon and that Amazon will separately move to transfer venue to the Southern District of Indiana. The parties held a pretrial conference on April 12, 2022, whereby discovery has been stayed pending the ruling on the Motion to Dismiss.

Reid v. Stephenson (SD, filed 1/27/2022) – No update this month.

Autoniq, LLC v. Laser Appraiser, LLC (SD, filed 2/21/2022) – No update this month.

Microsoft Corporation v. Solution Hat, LLC d/b/a Think Global et al. (SD, filed 2/25/2022) – The Defendants filed an Answer (all general denials) on March 22, 2022. The Defendants’ counsel is Michele S. Katz of ADVITAM IP, LLC, via pro hac vice, with local counsel of Alice M. Morical and Christopher D. Wagner of Hoover Hull Turner LLP.

The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. All American Auto Hail Dent Repair LLC d/b/a AAA Hail Repair et al. (SD, filed 3/23/2022) – The Defendants were served with the Complaint on April 8, 2022.

NuStar Enterprises LLC v. Reloaded Merch LLC et al. (ND, filed 4/1/2022) – No update yet.

Mapes v. Top Tier Marketers LLC d/b/a Artfily et al. (SD, filed 4/4/2022) – No update yet.

Broadcast Music, Inc. et al. v. Warehouse L.L.C. d/b/a The Verve et al. (SD, filed 4/6/2022) – No update yet.

March 2022 Updates

February 2022 Updates

January 2022 Updates

December 2021 Updates

BMI sues Terre Haute Bar for Copyright Infringement

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It has been awhile since BMI last filed an infringement lawsuit in Indiana. Their target this time around is The Verve, a music club and cocktail bar in Terre Haute, Indiana.

BMI allegedly reached out to the Defendants over sixty (60) times since March 2018 in an attempt to sell her the required public performance license. Accordingly, BMI now brings a lawsuit with 6 claims of copyright infringement based on the following playlist being performed at The Verve without a license on April 29, 2019:

These BMI lawsuits never end well for the venue, so hopefully a federal lawsuit will finally get the Defendants’ attention and an appropriate license can be purchased to resolve the conflict.

Stay tuned for updates.

Broadcast Music, Inc. et al. v. Warehouse L.L.C. d/b/a The Verve et al.

Case Number: 2:22-cv-00136-JPH-DLP
File Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Plaintiff: Broadcast Music, Inc.; Peermusic III Ltd.; Universal- Songs of Polygram International, Inc.; Songs of Universal, Inc.; EMI Consortium Songs, Inc. d/b/a EMI Longitude Music; Fourteenth Hour Music Inc.; Springtime Music, Inc.; EMI Blackwood Music, Inc.; Sony/ATV Songs LLC; Fall Out Boy Inc. d/b/a Chicago X Softcore Songs
Plaintiff Counsel: April A. Wimberg of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum
Defendant: Warehouse L.L.C. d/b/a The Verve, Connie Wrin
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James Patrick Hanlon
Referred To: Doris L. Pryor

Complaint:

Florida Husband/Wife Marketing Team Sued in Indiana for Stealing Etsy Artwork and Selling it as their Own

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The Defendants, a Florida husband/wife marketing team, are accused of purchasing digital artwork from Plaintiff’s Etsy site and then selling it on their own website as their own work and intellectual property. The Plaintiff is an artist from Guilford, Indiana (home of the historic Guilford Covered Bridge). In addition to Plaintiff, the Defendants are alleged to have used artwork from numerous creators without authorization.

The Defendants’ own Terms of Use from their website are referenced in the Complaint (below) as evidence of their understanding (and thus willful violation) of copyright law. The Defendants are further alleged to have removed the metadata from the Plaintiff’s image files, which could support a claim of “Removal or Alteration of Copyright Management Information” although that wasn’t included in the initial Complaint. The Complaint also details unsuccessful attempted communications between Plaintiff’s counsel and the Defendants.

Damages for willful copyright infringement can be severe, up to $150,000 per infringement. If the Defendants are truly serial infringers as alleged, the Court could easily decide to grant the maximum damages award. The Defendants could also be required to pay Plaintiff’s costs and attorneys’ fees, likely a hefty amount in itself.

Stay tuned for updates.

Mapes v. Top Tier Marketers LLC d/b/a Artfily et al.

Case Number: 1:22-cv-00674-JMS-DLP
File Date: Monday, April 4, 2022
Plaintiff: Tara Mapes
Plaintiff Counsel: Michelle L. Casper, Rachael L. Rodman of Ulmer & Berne LLP
Defendant: Top Tier Marketers LLC d/b/a Artfily, Meagan Broadwater, Dean Broadwater
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referred To: Doris L. Pryor

Complaint:

YouTube Celebrity Omi in a Hellcat sued in Indiana for Trademark Infringement

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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

Complaint:

AAA sues Anderson’s All American Auto for Trademark Infringement, Cybersquatting

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The plaintiff in this trademark lawsuit is the American Automobile Association (AAA), i.e. that card in your wallet that you only pull out when you get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car. I’m actually surprised to read in the Complaint (below) that AAA has only 60 million members. I figured just about every driving American (231 million Americans held valid driving licenses in 2020) had a membership. For the low price of an annual membership, AAA is an absolute bargain when you’re stuck on the side of the highway far from home. Importantly for this lawsuit, AAA claims to also offer auto repair services.

The defendant is an Anderson, Indiana-based company with the patriotic name “All American Auto Hail Repair” using the internet domains AAA-HAILDENT-REPAIR.BUSINESS.SITE and AAAHAILDENTREPAIR.COM to advertise its services. The defendant is a small garage providing automobile dent removal services.

The defendant might challenge whether AAA really offers auto repairs under the AAA brands, or whether automobiles are just towed away by AAA trucks to have repairs performed by third-party repair companies. However, despite the surprisingly low number of members, AAA will still likely be considered a “famous” brand, which could grant it broader protection for ancillary goods/services like auto dent repairs.

It seems like a quick resolution, although perhaps legally unnecessary, would be for the defendant to just select a different domain name(s). AllAmericanAutoDentRepair.com is available right now, just sayin’. Some fights aren’t worth fighting.

Stay tuned for updates.

The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. All American Auto Hail Dent Repair LLC d/b/a AAA Hail Repair et al.

Case Number: 1:22-cv-00568-JPH-MJD
File Date: March 23, 2022
Plaintiff: The American Automobile Association, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: David O. Tittle, Elizabeth S. Traylor of Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP
Defendant: All American Auto Hail Dent Repair LLC d/b/a AAA Hail Repair, Lavern Pflugh
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal False Designation of Origin, Federal Unfair Competition, Cybersquatting, Federal Trademark Dilution, Indiana Trademark Infringement, Indiana Trademark Dilution, Indiana Unfair Competition
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: James Patrick Hanlon
Referred To: Mark J. Dinsmore

Complaint: