Picture1-2-300x188Indianapolis,  Indiana – Apparently the Plaintiff, Social Positioning Input Systems, LLC (“Social”), is the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 9,261,365 (the “‘365 Patent”). The ‘365 Patent is titled “Device, System and Method for Remotely Entering, Storing and Sharing Addresses for a Positional Information Device.” Social claims Netsoft Holdings, LLC (“Netsoft”), the Defendant, has infringed on at least Claim 1 of the ‘365 Patent by making, using, selling, and/or offering for sale associated hardware and software for asset locating (the “Product”). For example, the Product may include Netsoft’s Hubstaff asset tracking platform and any associated hardware, apps, or other software.

According to the Complaint, the Product provides an asset tracking system for real-time GPS tracking of assets that the user can see on a positional information device (i.e., a mobile device or computer). The Product apparently allows an organization’s owner and managers to track their staff’s location, review their previous routes, and display time stamps showing where users were at a specified time along their route. Because Social claims the Product infringes on at least Claim 1 of the ‘365 Patent, it is seeking damages for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284.

The case was assigned to Judge James R. Sweeney II and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker in the Southern District of Indiana assigned Case No. 1:21-cv-01071-JRS-TAB.

Fishers,  Indiana – Digital Verification Systems, LLC (“Digital”) is apparently the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 9,054,860 (the “‘860 Patent”) for a Digital Verified Identification System and Method. According to the Complaint, Formstack, LLC (“Formstack”), the Defendant, offers at least one Product, Formstack Sign, that infringes one or more claims of the ‘860 Patent.

Picture5-1-300x211Digital claims Formstack’s Product provides a system for e-signing documents and for digitally verifying the identification of the signer as shown below.

Apparently, the Product further includes a digital identification module to be associated with at least one user and at least one verification data element, for example, a unique login ID and password. It also appears a user can store their e-signature within a document using the Product. As Digital claims each of these components of the Product are covered by the ‘860 Patent, it is seeking damages for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284.

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Indianapolis, IndianaDelta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff, is an Indiana corporation that is apparently known as “America’s Faucet Innovation Leader.” Delta claims its products may only be purchased in the United States from Delta itself, or its Authorized Sellers.  According to the Complaint, this allows Delta to control the quality of the products and protect the value of its brand(s). As Delta’s brand is important to the company, it has registered numerous trademarks with the U.S. Trademark Office including those in the table below (the “Delta Marks”).

Registered Mark Registration Nos.
Picture1-1 5,273,845
Picture1-1 2,583,761
                              Picture2-1 3,062,101
Picture4-1 2,586,604
DELTA 4,518,067
Picture5 0,668,880
DELTA 4,638,296

Delta has filed multiple infringement suits in Indiana this year to vigorously defend its intellectual property rights. E-commerce sales have exploded over the past decade and while online marketplaces have created opportunities, they have also apparently created a challenge for brand owners to control the quality and safety of their products. Further, Delta claims online marketplaces have a low barrier to entry and do not require sellers to be Authorized Sellers, meaning many unauthorized sellers with no relationship to Delta are able to sell counterfeit or lesser quality products online without Delta’s consent. This can lead to consumer reviews that associate the problem with their product “with the brand/manufacturer rather than the product seller.” Given these risks, Delta claims it imposes additional requirements on its Authorized Sellers who sell online, including only allowing websites that are operated by the Authorized Seller and not a storefront on any online marketplace. The website must also include the “Authorized Seller’s mailing address, telephone number, and email address” along with being fully inspected and approved by Delta.

Delta claims that due to the risks to consumers and reputational concerns, it actively monitors the online sale of its products. Over the course of this monitoring, Delta apparently found a high volume of products being sold illegally on Amazon by Defendants, Dmitrii Iakovlev and John Does, 1-10 (while the identities of John Does 1-10 are currently unknown, Delta intends on discovering their identities and amending its Complaint). Delta claims it sent multiple cease and desist communications to Defendants, but Defendants have continued to sell products bearing the Delta Marks on their “TechnoProffs” Amazon storefront. Additionally, the Complaint cites to numerous one-star reviews for the sales of alleged Delta products on the TechnoProffs storefront that were damaged and/or missing pieces.

Due to the alleged harm of the sales of unauthorized products bearing the Delta Marks, Delta is seeking injunctive relief and enhanced damages for trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1116 and 1117(a). Also pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), Delta claims Defendants actions constitute unfair competition. Delta is further seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition under Indiana common law. Finally, because Defendants have allegedly knowingly and willfully sold products represented as genuine Delta products when they are not, Delta claims Defendants have committed deception in violation of Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act, Ind. Code § 35-43-5-3.

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South Bend, Indiana – Apparently Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc., the Plaintiff, entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Defendants, Triple LLL, Inc. (“Triple LLL”) and Maurice Long, in February 2012. Under the Agreement, Plaintiff purportedly purchased the assets of Triple LLL with the exception of Triple LLL’s cash, accounts receivable, motor vehicles not identified in the Agreement, and personal items of Mr. Long that were identified in the Agreement. The assets purchased included the goodwill and intangible assets of the business including, apparently, the intellectual property.

Since purchasing the business, the Plaintiff claims it has run a full-service maintenance and repair facility using the “Triple LLL” mark (the “Mark”). Further, the Plaintiff owns U.S. Registration No. 6,209,305 in connection with “retail stores featuring tractor, truck, and trailer parts and tractor, truck, and trailer maintenance, repair, and tire alignment” (the “Registration”).

It has since come to the attention of the Plaintiff that Triple LLL has begun operating a truck repair facility under the name “Triple LLL, Inc. Truck and Trailer Services.” In addition to the similar name, Triple LLL apparently runs its new business out of the same building it previously used for its business operations. Plaintiff claims the Defendants’ use of the Mark and the use of the same building to operate their business is likely to cause confusion and deceive the public into believing the Parties are connected. Further, Plaintiff claims Triple LLL has actively solicited its customers and actual confusion has occurred between vendors and customers of Plaintiff.

Therefore, Plaintiff is seeking damages for willful trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Plaintiff also claims Defendants’ actions amount to unfair competition and false designation of origin in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Plaintiff is requesting damages, treble damages, ill-gotten profits, reasonable attorneys’ fees, statutory damages, and the costs of the suit.

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Indianapolis, IndianaVroom, Inc. (“Vroom”), the Plaintiff, apparently began selling used vehicles online in 2013. As e-commerce has taken off, Vroom sought and registered numerous trademarks including those at issue in this case as shown below (the “Vroom Marks”).​

Mark Registration No./Serial No.
VROOM 4,917,005
Picture1-5076055 5,076,055
VROOM 5,592,887
Picture2-5436572 5,436,572
VROOM GET IN 5,964,489
VROOM 6,075,286
Picture3-6070931 6,070,931
VROOM 87/287,698

According to the Complaint, Vroom became aware of Defendants’, Midwest Motors LLC, d/b/a Vrooomsace Car Selection and Khaled Alragwi, use of VROOMSACE, VROOMSACE CAR SELECTION, VROOMCARS.COM, vroomcars.com, and vroomindy.com in connection with the buying and selling of used cars (collectively the “Allegedly Infringing Properties”) in December 2020. Counsel for Vroom apparently sent multiple letters and emails to Defendants and even attempted to contact Defendants by phone to inform them of their allegedly infringing actions. As of the filing of the Complaint, Vroom claims Defendants did not respond to any of the cease and desist communications and continued using the Allegedly Infringing Properties.

Vroom claims Defendants’ use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties is likely to cause confusion or deceive customers as to the connection of the Defendants and Vroom. Therefore, Vroom is claiming Defendants’ activities and use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties constitute trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Also, under the Lanham Act, Vroom is seeking damages for false designation of origin and unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Vroom is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute common law unfair competition and trademark infringement. Finally, Vroom claims Defendants are in violation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) for using and registering the domain names “vroomindy.com” and “vroomcars.com.”

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Hotel-Chicago-WestLoop-2Chicago, Illinois – Chicago is apparently home to two hotels named “Hotel Chicago.” The first, owned by plaintiff/appellee, LHO Chicago River, LLC (“LHO”) was allegedly named in 2014. The second hotel, owned by defendants/appellants Rosemoor Suites, LLC, Portfolio Hotel & Resorts, LLC and Chicago Hotel, LLC (collectively “Rosemoor”), was apparently renamed to “Hotel Chicago” in 2016. LHO filed suit for trademark infringement and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, deceptive advertising, and common-law trademark infringement under Illinois law.

The district court found that LHO failed “to show that it is likely to succeed in proving secondary meaning” of the alleged mark “Hotel Chicago” and thus denied preliminary injunctive relief. While LHO appealed this ruling, it moved to voluntarily dismiss its claims with prejudice prior to briefing.

After the case was dismissed, Rosemoor filed a motion requesting more than half a million dollars in attorney fees, claiming the case was “exceptional.” This request was denied by the district court. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit held that the district court did not use the proper standard of Octane Fitness to deny the request and remanded. On remand, Rosemoor filed a renewed request for fees including an extra $130,000 on top of the original fee request. However, even after applying the Octane Fitness standard, the district court still denied the fee request. The Seventh Circuit affirmed finding the district court “considered the evidence under the Octane Fitness framework and reasonably determined that this case did not qualify as exceptional.”

Practice Tip: Under Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 572 U.S. 545 at n.7. (2014), a district court must consider the totality of the circumstances by simply weighing non-exclusive factors such as “frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of the case) and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, ABI Attachments, Inc. (“ABI”), the Plaintiff entered into a Product Lines Purchase Agreement with Defendants, Kiser Arena Specialists, Inc., (“KAS”) Robert D. Kiser, Individually and as Trustee of The  Kiser Family Trust, and James Kiser (collectively, the “Defendants”). Under the Agreement, ABI allegedly acquired assets and intellectual property including the trademark “DRAGMASTER®,” U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,044,235 (the “Mark”), and “Product Lines” including “specifications, shop drawings, records, and intellectual property rights relating to the Product Lines.” ABI claims Defendants have used those documents relating to the Product Lines to market knockoff products. For example, ABI claims the Defendants’ Kiser 1000 Series is substantially similar to the ABI DragMaster as shown below.

ABI-300x212

Further, ABI asserts that Defendants have promoted the “new” products as “redesigned” which indicates the Defendants’ products are based on intellectual property now owned by ABI rather than a new product developed from scratch. According to the Complaint, KAS has used the same background music in some of its promotional videos as ABI: Compare

https://youtu.be/CWPjo2Ogzbc (KAS) with https://youtu.be/9lY2X2UvoL4 (ABI). ABI claims it has attained significant goodwill throughout the United States and the world and that Defendants alleged misleading and false advertisements have caused irreparable damage to ABI’s reputation.

ABI first seeks damages for Defendants’ alleged breach of their obligations under the Product Lines Purchase Agreement. Next, ABI claims Defendants have misappropriated its trade secrets by using the “specifications, shop drawings, blueprints, records and intellectual property rights relating to the Product Lines.” Pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1116 and 1117, ABI is seeking injunctive relief as well as actual and treble damages for willful trademark infringement. ABI is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute false designation of origin and false advertising in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Finally, ABI is seeking damages for unfair competition, trademark misappropriation, and unjust enrichment under Indiana common law.

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Hammond, Indiana – Apparently Plaintiff, La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC (“La Michoacana”) owns numerous federal trademark registrations including the seven at issue in this case (the “Michoacana Marks”):

Mark Registration No.
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET 3669454
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET 4662100
Picture1 4662101
Picture2 4662104
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET KIDS 4771484
Picture3 4784267
Picture4 4784268

According to the Complaint, La Michoacana uses the Michoacana Marks in connection with their meat markets, grocery stores, fruit shops, restaurants, and bakeries. Additionally, La Michoacana claims to sell private label goods such as coffee, beans, and spices.

Cacimiro Galan and Carniceria y Fruteria La Morentita, Defendants, allegedly own and operate a Mexican-themed grocery store using the name “Carniceria y Fruteria La Michoacana.” La Michoacana further asserts that Defendants have a link to La Michoacana’s website on their facebook page, which gives the improper impression that the Parties are affiliated or Defendants have a license to use the Michoacana Marks.

La Michoacana claims it informed Defendants of their infringing actions, but the Defendants did not cease. Therefore, La Michoacana is seeking damages for willful trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). Next, La Michoacana is claiming false designation of origin and unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Finally, La Michoacana is seeking relief for common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, W.A.T.C.H TV Company d/b/a Watch Communications (“Watch”), the Plaintiff, is in the business of providing broadband Internet access to consumers and enterprise customers in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Defendant, Greg Jarman (“Jarman”), was allegedly an employee of Watch beginning in February 2014. According to the Complaint, Jarman was then elected to the positions of Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer in March 2018. In February 2019, Watch claims Jarman approached the President and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Williams (“Williams”) with an opportunity to assist in a project in Tennessee. However, Watch claims Williams instructed Jarman to not proceed with the Tennessee project because Watch did not have a presence in Tennessee.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, Epitopix, LLC d/b/a Vaxxinova US (“Vaxxinova”) is an animal health research and development company specializing in veterinary vaccines. Vaxxinova is the owner of three patents at issue, all entitled “Immunizing Compositions and Methods of Use,” U.S. Patent Nos. 8,282,941, 7,943,150, and 7,943,151 (collectively the “Patents in Suit”). According to the Complaint, Vaxxinova produced vaccine products using the specialized technology of the Vaxxinova Patents for cattle, poultry, and swine.

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Vaxxinova claims it has discussed its technology including that of the Patents in Suit with Defendant, Elanco Animal Health, Inc. (“Elanco”), during potential business negotiations. When these negotiations ceased, it appears Elanco proceeded to develop and acquire technology that allegedly infringes upon the Patents in Suit. Vaxxinova claims Elanco launched a new product family called Nuplura PH+ that allegedly infringes the Patents in Suit after Vaxxinova informed Elanco of the allegations.

Therefore, Vaxxinova is seeking damages and fees for willful patent infringement of the Vaxxinova Patents pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 284 and 285.

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