Indianapolis, IN – Trademark lawyers for AFC Enterprises, Inc. of Georgia, doing business as Popeye’s Chicken, filed a trademark infringement suit alleging Christopher Payne, LP&P Foods, and ten John Does of Indiana infringed trademark registration no. 1030944 for the mark POPEYES, 1107575 POPEYE SIGN DESIGN WITH COLOR and numerous other trademarks registered with the US Trademark Office. Popeye’s has also registered copyrights for some of the items at issue here.
This dispute arises out of the operation of a Popeye’s restaurant at 6014 East 46th Street in Indianapolis utilizing the Popeye’s trademarks. According to the complaint, AFC had a franchise agreement with another individual, not a party to this suit, to operate a Popeye’s franchise at this Indianapolis location, however, that franchise agreement was terminated in August 2010. Following the termination of the franchise agreement, Mr. Payne, who operated a Popeye’s franchise in Fort Wayne with LP&P Foods, approached AFC and sought to become the franchisee at this location under a new franchise agreement. AFC declined to enter a franchise agreement with Mr. Payne. On July 31, 2011, AFC learned that Mr. Payne was operating a fried chicken restaurant at the East 46th Street location and was utilizing the Popeye’s marked items that were left behind when the franchise closed, including signs and menu boards. According to the complaint, the restaurant ceased operation on August 6, 2011 and tarps covered the signs.
Practice Tip: In Indiana, criminal conversion is defined as knowingly exerting unauthorized control over property of another person. Indiana law allows the person harmed by criminal conversion to sue for treble damages, equal to three times actual damages, as well as attorney fees and cost. If true, the allegations contained in this complaint appear to make a case for conversion, and the defendants are likely to be liable for a significant monetary sum.
The complaint alleges that the illegal operation of the restaurant caused damage to Popeye’s reputation and attached a screenshot from Facebook showing negative comments about the East 46th Street restaurant. Trademark attorneys have made trademark infringement claims, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, civil conversion, criminal conversion, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, and breach of contract. The complaint seeks damages, a permanent injunction, costs, and attorney fees.
Further Information about the case is as follows:
Filed: August 16, 2011 as 1:2011cv01124 Updated: August 17, 2011 06:36:28
Plaintiff: AFC ENTERPRISES, INC.
Defendants: CHRISTOPHER PAYNE, III, DOES 1-10 and LP&P FOODS, LLC
Presiding Judge:Tanya Walton Pratt
Referring Judge:Debra McVicker Lynch
Cause Of Action: Trademark Infringement