South Bend, IN – Trademark lawyers for Choice Hotels International, Inc. of Silver Spring, Maryland filed a trademark infringement suit in the Northern District of Indianaalleging SBQI, Inc. of South Bend, Indiana and eight Illinois individuals infringed trademark registration no. 0,886,881 for the mark QUALITY, which has been registered with the US Trademark Office.
Choice is a hotel franchise company that owns the numerous trademarks at issue in this suit. According to the complaint, SBQI, Inc. entered a franchise agreement to operate Choice franchise in South Bend, Indiana. As part of the franchise agreement, SBQI was granted license to use the Quality mark on various items including: signs, stationary, lobby displays, and items in the hotel rooms. In November 2010, Choice sent SBQI a notice of default claiming SBQI had not paid franchise fees due under the contract. In December 2010, Choice sent SBQI a letter terminating the franchise agreement due to continued breach of the contract. The letter demanded that SBQI immediately take down and cease to use all of the items bearing the Quality trademarks. The complaint alleges that in May 2011, SBQI continued to use the Quality mark on its sign. Choice’s trademark attorneys have made claims of federal and Indiana trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition and are seeking damages, injunction, punitive damages, costs and attorney fees.
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: August 11, 2011 as 2:2011cv00290 Updated: August 17, 2011 05:00:41
Plaintiff: Choice Hotels International Inc
Defendants: Alok T Gupta, Anuj Grover, Arjun Grover, Dharam Bahl, Dharam Punwani and others
Presiding Judge: Joseph S Van Bokkelen
Referring Judge: Andrew P Rodovich
Cause Of Action: Trademark Infringement