Monster Energy sues Fitness Equipment Company over Claw Icon

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This is the second lawsuit filed by an energy drink company in a week!

The Plaintiff, Monster Energy Company, brings this lawsuit after several years of unsuccessful direct communications with the Defendant attempting to seek voluntary compliance with their asserted trademark rights.

Anybody who’s been to a gas station or watched the X Games will recognize the Monster “Claw Icon” logo, an “M-shaped claw design with jagged or irregular contours designed to evoke a claw having torn through the can or other material.” The Complaint (below) claims that Monster brand drinks are the best-selling energy drink in the United States. In October 2020, Monster was named the 4th Most Marketed Brand in Sports.

The Defendant, Bear KompleX, sells fitness equipment such as hand grips, weight belts, compression sleeves, and weight belts. They utilize a “Bear Claw” logo (not the donut) which looks like a slash (not the rocker) from a five-fingered bear paw. Bear KompleX’s logo often appears in various colors, including sometimes green and black.

Monster first contacted Bear KompleX in August 2019 demanding that they stop selling a “Grip, Calicure, & Doc Spartan Monster Bundle.” Later that month, Monster sent another letter warning Bear KompleX not to use a green claw mark. The Defendant apparently responded over the subsequent year by expanding its product offerings bearing a green claw mark, seemingly taunting Monster to take legal action.

That legal action has now been taken by Monster, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing Bear KompleX’s Answer. The Complaint asserts only a likelihood of confusion and no actual instances of confusion, so we can expect the Defendant to argue against any likelihood of confusion. They can point to differences between the logos, such as the Bear KompleX logo having five slashes, versus Monster’s three, and their bear claw facing upward rather than downward.

Stay tuned for updates.

Monster Energy Company v. R&R Medical, LLC d/b/a Bear KompleX

Case Number: 2:21-cv-00179-PPS-JPK
File Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Plaintiff: Monster Energy Corporation
Plaintiff Counsel: James W. Riley, Jr., Jaclyn M. Flint of Riley Bennett Egloff LLP
Defendant: R&R Medical d/b/a Bear KompleX
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Trade Dress Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Federal Dilution, State Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Philip P. Simon
Referred To: Joshua P. Kolar

Complaint:

Energy Drink Company Sues Automotive Repair Company for Trademark Infringement

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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

Complaint:

Mid-May Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation Update

It’s been a slow month for new intellectual property lawsuits in Indiana, with just one filed since mid-April. However, several of the existing lawsuits are heating up, with numerous counterclaims being filed, including one alleging abusive litigation practices.

Schnebelt v. Anglotopia, LLC (ND, filed 1/18/2021) – A Notice of Voluntary Dismissal was filed on April 30, 2021 and the lawsuit was dismissed on May 4, 2021.

Noble Romans, Inc. v. Gateway Triangle Corp. et al. (SD, filed 2/5/2021) – On April 30, 2021, the Defendants filed an Answer and a Counterclaim for Abuse of Process, accusing Noble Roman’s and two Counterclaim Defendants of abusive litigation practices.

On May 14, 2021, the Counterclaim Defendants filed their Answer to the Counterclaim for Abuse of Process. The Counterclaim Defendants are represented by Jaime L. Meyer, Jeffrey D. Roberts, and Randy M. Fisher of Hollingsworth Roberts Means LLC.

Heartland Consumer Products LLC v. Speedway, LLC (SD, filed 2/5/2021) – An Amended Complaint was filed on April 23, 2021, adding an additional Plaintiff, TC Heartland LLC.

Indianapolis Bouldering, LLC v. BP Holdings Co. LLC et al. (SD, filed 2/11/2021) – A Notice of Voluntary Dismissal was filed on May 7, 2021 and the lawsuit was dismissed on May 10, 2021.

Watch Communications v. Jarman et al. (SD, filed 3/8/2021) – Between April 21, 2021 to April 28, 2021, each of the Defendants filed a similar Motion to Dismiss for several counts of the Complaint, including the counts most interesting to intellectual property practitioners, False Designation of Origin and Unfair Competition, Civil Conspiracy, and Common Law Unfair Competition.

On April 28, 2021, Defendants Grit Technologies and Jarman also filed their Answer, Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint. The Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint includes claims of Tortious Interference with a Contract, Defamation, Violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, Common Law Unfair Competition. These Defendants are represented by Wendy D. Brewer and Laura M. Brymer of Fultz Maddox Dickens PLC, with admission pending for Jeffrey L. Widman and Laura Caplin of Fox Rothschild LLP.

La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC v. Lopez et al. (SD, filed 3/9/2021) – No update yet.

La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC v. Galan et al. (ND, filed 3/9/2021) – No update yet.

Vroom, Inc. v. Midwest Motors LLC et al. (SD, filed 3/24/2021) – The Defendant’s owner has mailed a letter to the Court advising them that he is in the process of changing his company name. This isn’t an actual Answer but it might be enough for Plaintiff to seek redress outside of the Court system. Presumably, Plaintiff’s counsel will be seeking assurances that the letter’s claims are true and we’ll have to wait to see whether they continue to pursue additional remedies.

Delta Faucet Company v. Iakovlev et al. (SD, filed 3/25/2021) – The Defendant has not responded to the Amended Complaint and Delta Faucet Company filed a Request for Entry of Default on April 29, 2021.

ABI Attachments, Inc. v. Kiser Arena Specialists, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 4/12/2021) – Defendants’ counsel have filed their Appearances and submitted a Notice of Extension of Time until June 3, 2021 to answer the Complaint.

Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc. v. Triple LLL, Inc. et al. (ND, filed 4/26/2021) – No update yet.

Truck Repair Company sues Previous Owner for Trademark Infringement

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The parties in this lawsuit entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement in 2012, by which the Plaintiff purchased all assets and intellectual property of the truck repair company Triple LLL Truck Repair. The Plaintiff has continued to operate the business since the purchase, now located in Andrews, Indiana, and recently registered the “TRIPLE LLL” trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The Defendant in the lawsuit is the original seller, who has now allegedly begun operating a new truck repair business under the same name, Triple LLL, out of a location that Plaintiff had previously used.

The Complaint alleges both a likelihood of confusion and instances of actual confusion.

Stay tuned for the Defendants’ Answer and a possible explanation for re-adopting the Triple LLL name (perhaps a violation of the Asset Purchase Agreement?).

Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc. v. Triple LLL, Inc. et al.

Court Case Number: 3:21-cv-00282-JD-MGG
File Date: Monday, April 26, 2021
Plaintiff: Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: William A. Ramsey of Barrett McNagny LLP
Defendant: Triple LLL, Inc.
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, False Designation of Origin, Unfair Competition
Court: Northern District of Indiana
Judge: Jon E. DeGuilio
Referred To: Michael G. Gotsch, Sr.

Complaint:

Mid-April Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation Update

Just a few updates of note since mid-March in Indiana trademark and copyright lawsuits. Next month should see more filings in the current lawsuits as defendants start to make appearances.

Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. v. Sullivan (SD, 1/18/2021) – The parties have settled and a Consent Judgment was entered on April 7, 2021. The Defendant has agreed to stop using the Plaintiff’s trademarks, with each party to bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees.

Schnebelt v. Anglotopia, LLC (ND, filed 1/18/2021) – No update since the Notice on Settlement on March 10, 2021.

Noble Romans, Inc. v. Gateway Triangle Corp. et al. (SD, filed 2/5/2021) – The Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on April 2, 2021.

The Amended Complaint has dropped the claims of Conversion and Theft, retaining just the claims of Breach of Franchise Agreement and Trademark Infringement. As a result, the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss filed on March 8 was denied without prejudice as moot.

Heartland Consumer Products LLC v. Speedway, LLC (SD, filed 2/5/2021) – No update yet.

Indianapolis Bouldering, LLC v. BP Holdings Co. LLC et al. (SD, filed 2/11/2021) – No update yet.

Watch Communications v. Jarman et al. (SD, filed 3/8/2021) – The Defendants’ counsel filed an appearance on April 6, 2021 and filed a 14-day Notice of Initial Extension of Time. As such, the new response deadline is April 21, 2021.

La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC v. Lopez et al. (SD, filed 3/9/2021) – No update yet.

La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC v. Galan et al. (ND, filed 3/9/2021) – No update yet.

Vroom, Inc. v. Midwest Motors LLC et al. (SD, filed 3/24/2021) – No update yet.

Delta Faucet Company v. Iakovlev et al. (SD, filed 3/25/2021) – On March 30, 2021, Delta Faucet Company filed an Amended Complaint.

ABI Attachments, Inc. v. Kiser Arena Specialists, Inc. et al. (SD, filed 4/12/2021) – No update yet.