Hammond; IN – Trademark attorneys for Gino’s East Services of Chicago, Illinois filed a trademark infringement suit in the Northern District of Indianaalleging GE Pizza of Mishawaka, Indiana, Shamrock Management Group of Highland, Indiana, Larry Briski and Mary Briski infringed trademark registration nos. 1,511,299, 3,341,730 and 3,572,210 for the marks GINOS EAST OF CHICAGO THE ORIGINAL registered with the US Trademark Office.
Gino’s East is a franchisor of pizza restaurants called “The Original Gino’s East of Chicago.” The complaint states that the defendants operate two franchise restaurants in Mishawaka and Highland, Indiana. The complaint states that Larry and Mary Briski personally guaranteed the franchise agreements. Gino’s East owns several trademarks associated with its franchise brand. The complaint states that the defendants have failed to pay royalty and other fees required by the franchise agreements. In February 2012, Gino’s East sent a letter to the defendants terminating the franchise agreement due to the failure to pay required fees. The complaint states that the defendants have failed to cease to use Gino’s East’s trademarks and have failed to return equipment and material bearing Gino’s East’s marks. The complaint states the defendants have not altered the exterior or interior of the restaurants so as to alert the public that they are no longer Gino’s franchises. The complaint makes claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade name and dress infringement and breach of franchise agreement.
Practice Tip: Franchise agreements typically require the franchisee to promptly cease to use all of the franchise marks as well as return all items bearing the franchise marks in the event the franchise agreement is terminated. Failure to promptly comply with these provisions can lead to liability for trademark infringement, among other claims.