Indianapolis, IN – Trademark lawyers for Trufoods, LLC of New York filed a trademark infringement suit alleging Premier Food Services of Fishers, Indiana and its owners infringed its trademarks involving a Ritter’s Frozen Custard Shoppe franchise that Premier operated. The trademarks at issue are registration numbers 1,976,078; 2,706,642; 2,801,455; and 3,322,584 for the marks “Ritter’s Frozen Custard,” “Ritter’s Frozen Custard Taste the Difference!,” “Cubby Paws,” and “Ritter’s Frozen Custard Legendary Ice Cream” registered with the US Trademark Office.
The Ritter’s Frozen Custard franchise and its associated trademarks are owned by Trufoods. According to the complaint filed by Trufoods trademark attorneys, Premier entered a franchise agreement with Trufoods to operate a Ritter’s in Carmel, Indiana. The complaint alleges that the Ritter’s was opened initially in 2009, but that Premier did not re-open the shop this spring. Trufoods terminated the franchise agreement. Trufoods demanded that Premier return all trademarked items and trade dress and now claims that Premier has failed to do so. The complaint alleges that Premier now operates a competing business called “Coney Island Custard and Hot Dogs” in Avon, Indiana, which also alleged to be a breach of the franchise agreement. Trufoods alleges that Premier is using its trademarked items and trade dress in connection with the Coney Island Custard and Hot Dogs business. The complaint makes claims of trademark infringement, common law trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and breach of contract.
Practice Tip: When a franchise agreement terminates, typically the franchisee must promptly cease using and return all signs and other equipment containing trademarks. Failure to do so may result in a lawsuit for breach of contract as well as trademark infringement.
Further Information about the case is as follows:
Filed: April 1, 2011 as 1:2011cv00446 Updated: April 1, 2011 23:06:48
Plaintiff: TRUFOODS, LLC
Defendants: CATHERINE HENDRYX, MICHAEL RIGDON and PREMIER FOOD SERVICES, LLC
Presiding Judge:Jane Magnus-Stinson
Referring Judge:Tim A. Baker
Cause Of Action: Trademark Infringement