Articles Posted in Counterfeit

Chicago, Illinois – The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Plaintiff Reginald Hart in an intellectual property lawsuit filed against Amazon.com.

Plaintiff Hart, filing pro se, sued Amazon.com, Inc. alleging various state and federal claims, including copyright infringement, aiding and abetting counterfeiting, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Hart, the author of two self-published books, Vagabond Natural and Vagabond Spiritual, claimed that Amazon had permitted six counterfeit copies of his books to be advertised for sale and/or sold on its website by third parties.  Hart further claimed that Amazon had “forcefully exploited” the books by counterfeiting them “for its own commercial use.”  He stated that the books, which detailed his experiences as a homeless man, would have generated “millions of dollars for Amazon” and allowed him “to end homelessness [and not only for himself] both in the U.S. and abroad.”

Hart asserted to the court that he was certain that the books were unauthorized reproductions of his works as they did not bear “indicia of authenticity known only to him.”  The indicator that a book was genuine, according to Plaintiff, was his fingernail indentations on the cover of the book.  Plaintiff provided photographs purporting to show both authorized copies of Plaintiff’s books and books alleged to be fake.  The court, however, concluded that the “two types of book are in all respects identical.”

Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiffs Acushnet Company of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. of Huntington Beach, California and Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. of Hyogo, Japan filed a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.  This intellectual property litigation, commenced by an Indiana trademark litigator for Plaintiffs, was filed against both an individual and a business entity.

Listed as Defendants in this lawsuit are Giorgio Nunns a/k/a George Nunns a/k/a Georgie Nunns a/k/a Giorgio, an individual, and Custom Golf Solutions, LLC, individually and jointly, doing business under the names “bogie’s nearly new golf,” “gnunns81” and “golfcustomsolutions15.”  Defendants operate in Indianapolis and Carmel, Indiana.

Defendants are accused of engaging in the sale of counterfeit products and infringing upon Plaintiffs’ trademarks.  The following trademarks, to which Acushnet claims ownership and/or an exclusive license, are at issue:

Trademark Registration No. Registration Date Class/Goods
 Tiltleist 1,155,766 26 May 1981 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf balls, golf clubs and golf bags.
 T 3,376,961 5 February 2008 IC 24: golf towels

IC 25: golf clothing, namely jackets, shirts, hats and visors.

IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf putters, golf club head covers, golf club grips and divot tools.

 crown 2,620,432 17 September 2002 IC 28: golf clubs and accessories, namely golf tees, golf gloves, golf bags, golf putters, golf drivers, golf woods, golf irons, golf green repair tools, golf club covers and golf bag covers.
 ScottCameron 3,421,373 6 May 2008 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf bags.

Further, Plaintiff Cleveland Golf asserts ownership of the following federal trademarks, also at issue in this lawsuit:

Trademark Registration No. Registration Date Class/Goods
 cleveland 2,070,051 10 June 1997 IC 18: carry all bags and umbrellas

IC 25: golf apparel, namely shirts, caps, visors, sweatshirts, and sweater vests.

IC 28: golf clubs, golf club heads, golf club shafts, golf club grips, golf bags, golf bag covers, and golf club head covers.

 cg 2,302,251 21 December 1999 IC 28: golf clubs, and golf club heads, namely woods, irons, and putters.

Plaintiffs state that Defendants are “manufacturing, promoting and otherwise advertising, distributing, selling, and offering for sale…golf clubs and golf accessories…which are counterfeits and/or infringements” of Plaintiffs’ trademarks.  Plaintiffs further contend that Defendants’ goods are of a “different quality” from Plaintiffs’ “high quality products.”

Plaintiffs assert that Defendants’ acts damage Plaintiffs’ brands and constitute a fraud upon the public.  The claims in this lawsuit, brought in Indiana federal court, are as follows:

  • Count I: Trademark Counterfeiting
  • Count II: Trademark Infringement
  • Count III: False Designation of Origin Pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act
  • Count IV: Common Law Trademark Infringement
  • Count V: Civil Action under Indiana Code § 34-24-3-1 for Recovery of Damages, Costs, and Fees Arising from Defendants’ Conversion in Violation of Indiana Code § 35-43-4-3
  • Count VI: Civil Action under Indiana Code § 34-24-3-1 for Recovery of Damages, Costs, and Fees Arising from Defendants’ Forgery in Violation of Indiana Code § 35-43-5-2(b)
  • Count VII: Civil Action under Indiana Code § 34-24-3-1 for Recovery of Damages, Costs, and Fees Arising from Defendants’ Counterfeiting in Violation of Indiana Code § 35-43-5-2(a)
  • Count VIII: Civil Action under Indiana Code § 34-24-3-1 for Recover [sic] of Damages, Costs and Fees Arising from Defendants’ Theft in Violation of Indiana Code § 35-43-4-2
  • Count IX: Civil Action under Indiana Code § 34-24-3-1 for Recovery of Damages, Costs and Fees Arising from Defendants’ Criminal Mischief in Violation of Indiana Code § 35-43-1-2

Plaintiffs ask the court for statutory damages of $2 million for each counterfeit as well as injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.

The case was assigned to District Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker in the Southern District and assigned Case No. 1:16-cv-03379-RLY-TAB.

ZZag.jpg

Fort Wayne, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. and National Tobacco Company, L.P., both of Louisville, Kentucky, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging infringement of various registered trademarks covering ZIG-ZAG® roll-your-own cigarette papers and accessories. In addition to trademark infringement under federal law, Plaintiffs allege copyright infringement, false designation of origin and trade dress infringement under federal law as well as trademark infringement and unfair competition under Indiana common law.

Multiple Defendants, most of Fort Wayne, Indiana, are named in this intellectual property lawsuit: KPC Distributor Inc.; Kuldeep Singh; Paramjit Singh; Charanjit Singh; Burger’s, Inc., d.b.a. Burger Dairy; JGM Stores Inc., d.b.a. Burger Dairy II; Kirandeep, Inc., d.b.a. Crescent Corner Express; KSL Stores Inc., d.b.a. Get 2 Go #10; KSL Holdings Inc., d.b.a. Get 2 Go #13; Coliseum Quick Mart Inc., a.k.a. Get 2 Go #15; Calhoun Store Inc., a.k.a. Get 2 Go 16; KPC Brothers Inc., a.k.a. Get 2 Go #17 d.b.a. Get 2 Go; Get 2 Go #18; Virk Brothers Enterprises Inc., a.k.a. Get 2 Go 19, d.b.a. Shell Get 2 Go #19; JAT Boyz Stores Inc., a.k.a Harlan Quick Stop; KPC Investments LLC, a.k.a. Iceway Express; John Does 1-10; and XYZ Companies 1-10.

At issue in this Indiana lawsuit are the following trademarks: Registration No. 610,530 for ZIG-ZAG (stylized), Registration No. 1,127,946 for ZIG-ZAG (text), Registration No. 2,169,540 for Smoking Man (design with circle border), Registration No.2,169,549 for Smoking Man (design with no border), Registration Nos. 2,664,694 and 2,664,695 for North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc. (design), and Registration Nos. 2,610,473 and 2,635,446 for North Atlantic Operating Company (text), all of which have been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ZIG-ZAG trademarks are owned by a French company, Bolloré, S.A., which is not a party to this litigation, and are licensed to Plaintiff North Atlantic.

Defendants are accused of engaging in a widespread scheme to acquire, sell and/or distribute counterfeit products bearing various registered trademarks and/or copyrighted text that Plaintiffs allege is protected by law. This text includes the phrase “Distributed by North Atlantic Operating Company, Inc.”

Plaintiffs further contend that one or more Defendants’ conduct was willful. They contend that this was demonstrated on more than one occasion when a North Atlantic representative requested a receipt for the purchase of accused goods and this request was refused. On one occasion, when the representative insisted on a receipt, Plaintiffs state that “Defendant KPC Distributor ripped the receipt in two pieces, keeping the piece that displayed Defendant KPC Distributor’s contact information for itself.”

In this Indiana intellectual property lawsuit, filed by trademark litigators for Plaintiffs, Defendants are accused of having sold “dozens of cartons and hundreds of booklets of confirmed counterfeit ZIG-ZAG® Orange to undercover North Atlantic representatives.” Plaintiffs state the following claims:

• Federal Trademark Infringement (15 U.S.C. § 1114)
• False Designation of Origin and Trademark/Trade Dress Infringement (15 U.S.C. § 1225(a))
• Federal Copyright Infringement (17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.)
• Common Law Unfair Competition

• Common Law Trademark Infringement

Plaintiffs ask the federal court for damages, injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Continue reading

2016-04-06-blogphoto.png

South Bend, Indiana – Intellectual property attorneys for Plaintiffs Coach, Inc. of New York, New York and Coach Services, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida (collectively, “Coach”) filed an intellectual property complaint in the Northern District of Indiana.

Coach contends that Defendants Zip Thru Mart, Charles Estok Sr., and Janice Estok, all of Knox, Indiana, infringed various Coach trademarks, which have been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, Coach asserts that Defendants have committed trade dress infringement, trademark dilution and counterfeiting under the Lanham Act, copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, as well as trademark infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment under Indiana common law.

Coach’s allegations stem from Defendants’ purported “designing, manufacturing, advertising, promoting, distributing, selling, and/or offering for sale” products that bear counterfeit Coach trademarks. Defendants are further accused of having engaged in this behavior “negligently and/or knowingly and intentionally, with reckless disregard or willful blindness to Coach’s rights, or with bad faith.”

In support of its allegations of infringement and related conduct, Coach states that it sent an investigator to the Zip Thru Mart. Its investigator saw multiple items bearing Coach trademarks, which Coach contends were counterfeit. Additional goods bearing purportedly counterfeit trademarks were seized by a Homeland Security Investigations officer during a subsequent visit to the business.

The intellectual property listed in this litigation includes numerous trademarks for “Coach,” “Coach New York,” “CC,” “Poppy” and similar trademarks. Coach also claims infringement of its copyrights, listing copyright registrations, registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, for its “Legacy Stripe” design (registration number VA000704542)  “Signature C” design (registration number VA0001228917),  “Op Art” design (registration number VA0001694574) and “Horse & Carriage” design (registration number VA0001714051).

In this Indiana lawsuit, filed by trademark and copyright attorneys for Coach, the intellectual property claims are listed as follows:

• Count I: Trademark Counterfeiting, 15 U.S.C. § 1114
• Count II: Trademark Infringement, 15 U.S.C. § 1114
• Count III: Trade Dress Infringement, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
• Count IV: False Designation of Origin and False Advertising, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
• Count V: Trademark Dilution, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)
• Count VI: Copyright Infringement, 17 U.S.C. § 501
• Count VII: Common Law Trademark Infringement
• Count VIII: Common Law Unfair Competition

• Count IX: Unjust Enrichment

In addition to statutory damages of $2 million per counterfeit mark, per type of counterfeit good, Coach seeks equitable relief; additional damages, both statutory and punitive; costs and attorneys’ fees.

Practice Tip: Coach has a history of requesting statutory damages that are considerably in excess of what has eventually been awarded by the courts. For example, in Coach, Inc. v. Paula’s Store Sportwear LLC, 2014 WL 347893 (D.N.J. Jan. 31, 2014), Coach requested $800,000 in statutory damages – $100,000 for each of eight counterfeited marks – from a shop from which four counterfeit Coach wallets and two counterfeit Coach handbags had been seized. When awarding damages to Coach, the court noted that the retail value of the six counterfeit items was less than $1500 and awarded $5000 for each of the eight marks that had been counterfeited, multiplied by the two types of goods, for a total statutory damages award of $80,000.

Continue reading

2016-02-18BlogPhoto.png

South Bend, Indiana – Indiana trademark attorneys for Plaintiff UL LLC of Northbrook, Illinois filed a lawsuit with the federal court in the Northern District of Indiana. Plaintiff alleges that Swagway, LLC and Jianqing “Johnny” Zhu infringed the “UL” trademark, Trademark Registration Nos. 2391140 and 782589, which have been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Plaintiff further claims that Defendants use the Service Mark “UL” in a manner that falsely suggests a relationship between Plaintiff and Defendants. Other causes of action, including claims under the state law of Illinois, are also asserted.

Plaintiff UL, founded in 1894, is a developer of safety standards. It also offers safety testing, inspection and certification of products. Plaintiff states in this federal lawsuit that it owns a family of trademarks featuring the UL mark, including a “UL-in-a-circle” certification mark and the UL service mark.

This lawsuit pertains to hoverboards (also known as self-balancing scooters or skateboards). Plaintiff states that hoverboards have been the subject to inquiries regarding safety. It also contends that Defendants have been sued on allegations that their hoverboard caught on fire and caused property damage.

In this trademark action, Plaintiff complains of Defendants’ alleged improper use of the UL trademark and service mark on the hoverboards that Defendants make and sell. Additionally, Plaintiff contends that Defendants falsely stated that “Swagway also adheres to all required environmental standards and certifications,” including UL certification. According to Plaintiff, Defendants’ conduct was “intentional, unjustified and/or malicious, and done to purposefully harm Plaintiff.”

This Indiana litigation, filed with the court by trademark lawyers for Plaintiff, lists the following:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Counterfeiting and Trademark Infringement (15 U.S.C. § 1114)
• Count II: Federal Unfair Competition – False Designation of Origin (15 U.S.C. § 1125)
• Count III: Federal Unfair Competition – False Advertising (15 U.S.C. § 1125)
• Count IV: Violation of the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act (815 ILCS 510/1 et seq.)

• Count V: Violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/1 et seq.)

Plaintiff seeks equitable and other relief along with damages, including punitive damages, costs and attorney’s fees.

Continue reading

Stratotone.jpg

Fort Wayne, Indiana – District Judge Jon DeGuilo held that prior rights to the Stratotone trademark were abandoned and that the subsequent user held the superior right to the trademark.

This litigation arose as a result of a federal trademark complaint, filed in the Northern District of Indiana by Plaintiff Darryl Agler, doing business as The Stratotone Guitar Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Defendant is Westheimer Corporation of Northbrook, Illinois. In the complaint, Agler asserted that Westheimer had infringed the trademark “STRATOTONE” (the “Stratotone trademark”), Trademark Registration No. 3,986,754, which has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The claims listed in Agler’s complaint were:

• Count I: Federal Unfair Competition and False Designation of Origin
• Count II: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count III: Federal Trademark Counterfeiting
• Count IV: Common Law Unfair Competition and Trademark Infringement
• Count V: Unjust Enrichment
• Count VI: Conversion
• Count VII: Deception

• Count VIII: Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act

Westheimer counterclaimed, asserting that Agler was infringing on its rights in the Stratotone trademark as well as an additional trademark for “Atom.”

In this opinion, Judge DeGuilo ruled on Agler’s motion for summary judgment on counts I through IV as well as Agler’s motion for summary judgment on all of Westheimer’s counterclaims.

The court first addressed the Stratatone trademark. Agler asserted, and Westheimer conceded, that the Stratatone mark was protected and that Westheimer’s use of the mark was likely to cause confusion. The question for the court was which party had superior rights to the mark, as determined by whether Agler or Westheimer had priority to the trademark. That priority, in turn, was determined by who had established and maintained the earliest claim to the trademark.

It was undisputed that Agler had filed an “intent-to-use” application to register the Stratotone mark on March 7, 2006. Westheimer claimed that it had acquired rights that predated Agler’s 2006 application through its 2009 purchase of trademark rights from Harmony Industries, a third party that had used the Stratotone trademark at least as early as 2001.

The court, however, reviewed the testimony of those involved with Harmony Industries and found that Harmony Industries had both ceased to use the trademark and had demonstrated no intent to use it for more than four years starting at least January 1, 2003. The holder of a trademark has only three years to formulate its intent to resume use before that trademark is presumed abandoned. Thus, Harmony Industries was held to have abandoned the trademark. In turn, because Harmony Industries had no trademark rights to convey in the Stratotone mark, Westheimer acquired none. Consequently, Agler was held to have an earlier priority date and, thus, superior rights to the trademark. The court granted Agler’s motion with respect to his claims, and Westheimer’s counterclaims, regarding the Stratotone trademark.

Regarding the Atom trademark, the court concluded that it did not have sufficient evidence to determine that Agler had acquired priority. It thus denied Agler’s motion for summary judgment with respect to the claims involving the Atom trademark.

Continue reading

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Marshals are currently auctioning approximately 4,711 bottles of wine, deemed authentic, that belonged to Rudy Kurniawan, the man convicted of fraud in federal court in 2013 for producing and selling millions of dollars of counterfeit wine.

The wine is being sold in two online auctions, one that started November 24 and one that started December 1 at www.txauction.com. The auctions close on December 8 and December 15, respectively.

2015-15-7-BlogPicture2.png

“It may sound ironic that we are selling wine that belonged to a convicted wine counterfeiter,” said Assistant Program Manager Jason Martinez of the U.S. Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Division, “but we are duty-bound to recoup as much value from the sale of these authentic wines as possible to compensate those who were victims of his fraud.”

2015-11-10.png

Shipshewana, Indiana – Indiana trademark lawyers for Plaintiff Kevin Horn, sole proprietor of Shipshewana Spice Company of Warsaw, Indiana, filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Bob Wilson d/b/a Amish Farms and Shipshewana’s Best Spice Co. of Millersburg, Indiana infringed the trademark “HAPPY SALT,” Trademark Registration No. 4,241,663, which was granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Horn also alleges trademark counterfeiting, false description, trademark dilution and unfair competition.

Plaintiff Horn of Shipshewana Spice states in his intellectual property complaint that his company has been selling spices and other seasonings since 1994 both locally in north-central Indiana and online at www.shipshewanaspicecompany.com. Plaintiff further claims that the trade name “HAPPY SALT” has been associated with his spices since 1994. A trademark registration for this mark in International Class 30 for “Seasonings, namely, Seasonings in salt” was granted by the USPTO on November 13, 2012.

Defendant Wilson, alleged to be the operator of the website www.amishfarms.com, is accused of offering counterfeit goods offered as “HAPPY SALT SEASONING,” “HAPPY HEARTS SALT FREE SEASONING” and “HAPPY SEA SALT SEASONING.” Plaintiff also protests the use by Defendant of the business name “Shipshewana’s Best Spice Company,” which it contends is nearly identical to Plaintiff’s business name, “Shipshewana Spice Company”.

The complaint, filed by Indiana trademark attorneys for Plaintiff, includes the following counts:

• First Claim: Trademark Infringement Under Lanham Act §32; 15 U.S.C. §1114
• Second Claim: Trademark Counterfeiting Under Lanham Act §32; 15 U.S.C. §1114
• Third Claim: False Description Under Lanham Act §43; 15 U.S.C. §1125
• Fourth Claim: Trademark Dilution Under Lanham Act §43; 15 U.S.C. §1125

• Fifth Claim: Unfair Competition Under Lanham Act §43; 15 U.S.C. §1125

Horn seeks equitable relief along with damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

Continue reading

2015-10-15-BlogPicture.png

Washington, D.C. – The Justice Department has announced a new approach to combat intellectual property crimes. Grants to state and local law enforcement agencies totaling more than $3.2 million were also announced.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch stated recently that the Justice Department will launch a new collaborative strategy to partner more closely with businesses in intellectual property enforcement efforts. Additionally, over $3.2 million will be awarded to ten jurisdictions to support state and local task forces in the training, prevention, enforcement and prosecution of intellectual property theft and infringement crimes.

“The digital age has revolutionized how we share information, store data, make purchases and develop products, requiring law enforcement to strengthen our defenses against cybercrime – one of my top priorities as Attorney General,” said Attorney General Lynch. “High-profile instances of hacking – even against large companies like Sony and Target – have demonstrated the seriousness of the threat all businesses face and have underscored the potential for sophisticated adversaries to inflict real and lasting harm.”

picture06052015.png

Hammond, Indiana – Trademark and patent attorneys for Simpson Performance Products, Inc. of Mooresville, North Carolina (“Simpson”) and SFI Foundation, Inc. of Poway, California (“SFI”) commenced trademark litigation in the Western District of North Carolina alleging that Robert Wagoner of North Judson, Indiana and Derek Randall Cathcart of Valparaiso, Indiana infringed the SIMPSON® family of trademarks, some of which have been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office. The case was transferred to the Northern District of Indiana. Among the trademarks at issue are U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 4,117,821; 1,243,427; 3,026,333; 3,026,334; and 3,050,920. Also at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 6,931,669 and 8,272,074.

Plaintiff Simpson is a manufacturer of automotive and motorsports specialty/performance products, including head and neck restraints for competitive racing. The Simpson brand of automotive and motorsports products has existed 1959. Plaintiff SFI was established to develop and administer minimum performance standards for the automotive aftermarket and motorsports industries, including standards for specialty/performance racing equipment.

Simpson offers for sale the SIMPSON® Hybrid PRO Rage™ head and neck restraint. Simpson indicates that this product is one of the few such devices to be certified under a special classification, SFI SPEC 38.1, for use in NASCAR competitions.

Defendants Wagoner and Carthcart have been accused of engaging in the business of providing specialty/performance racing equipment, including head and neck restraints that are counterfeit versions of Simpson products. Plaintiffs contend that Wagoner is offering counterfeit head and neck restraints through ebay.com. Plaintiffs allege that Cathcart offers counterfeit head and neck restraints via the website racingjunk.com.

These restraints, Plaintiffs contend, bear trademarks owned by Simpson, including the SIMPSON® federally registered trademark as well as the HUTCHENS Hybrid PRO™ and Hybrid PRO™ common law trademarks.

The accused products also allegedly bear a label that falsely states, “This product designed & manufactured by Safety Solutions, Inc. PATENT NO.: 6931669; other patents pending.” According to Plaintiffs, the alleged counterfeiting activities of Defendants also constitute patent infringement.

In this lawsuit, filed by patent and trademark lawyers for Plaintiffs, the following causes of action are listed:

• Trademark Infringement
• Unfair Competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); False Designation of Origin; False or Misleading Advertising
• Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices under N.C. [North Carolina] Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1
• Patent Infringment [sic]

• Common Law Fraud

Plaintiffs ask for a finding in their favor on each of the counts alleged, including a finding that the conduct was knowing and willful, and entry against each Defendant jointly and severally. Plaintiffs seek costs, attorneys’ fees and damages, including enhanced damages, as well as injunctive relief.

This federal trademark complaint was initially filed in the Western District of North Carolina in February 2015. In May 2015, District Judge Richard Voorhees ordered it to be transferred to the Northern District of Indiana, finding that the North Carolina court lacked personal jurisdiction over Defendants.

Continue reading

Contact Information