Indianapolis, Indiana — Trademark lawyers for Sensory Technologies, LLC (“Sensory Indiana”) of Indianapolis, Indiana sued Sensory Technology Consultants, Inc. (“Sensory Utah”) of Morgan, Utah alleging infringement of Trademark Registration No. 3282956 for the mark “SENSORY TECHNOLOGIES®” which has been registered with the U.S. Trademark Office.
Sensory Indiana sued in the Southern District of Indiana for declaratory judgment, injunction and damages, alleging that Sensory Utah has committed trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition with its unauthorized use of “Sensory Technology Consultants,” a mark similar to Sensory Indiana’s “Sensory Technologies” trademark.
Sensory Indiana, which describes itself on its website as “a leading audio-visual, telepresence system and collaboration solutions provider” asserts that Sensory Utah used a mark which is visually and phonetically similar to the “Sensory Technologies” mark with the intent to trade on the goodwill with the public established by Sensory Indiana and to cause confusion, mistake or deception. Sensory Indiana further asserts that Sensory Utah is in the business of providing services similar to those provided by Sensory Indiana.
The “Sensory Technologies” mark is federally registered for audio-visual and video conferencing design services, integrating audio-visual and video conferencing systems, help desk technical consultation services, customized computer programming for others and technical consultation regarding audio-visual equipment and video conferencing systems. Sensory Indiana indicates that the mark has been used in commerce since March 2006 and that it is distinctive and/or has acquired secondary meaning and significance in the minds of the purchasing public.
Several times in early 2013, Sensory Indiana alerted Sensory Utah that Sensory Utah’s use of “Sensory Technology Consultants” was unauthorized. The current lawsuit was commenced after those notices went unanswered. The complaint alleges:
· Count I: Trademark Infringement
· Count II: False Designation of Origin
· Count III: Unfair Competition
· Count VI [sic]: Declaratory Judgment
· Count VIII [sic]: Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief
Sensory Indiana seeks a judgment against Sensory Utah on counts I through III; injunctive relief; and damages, including punitive damages and damages for corrective advertising.
Practice Tip: According to its website, Sensory Utah has been in business since 2006, the same year in which Sensory Indiana’s mark was initially used in commerce. This may cause some difficulties for Sensory Indiana. While federal registration of a trademark has advantages, trademark protection may also be acquired by being the first to use a mark in commerce. As a result, an unregistered trademark may be more robust from a legal standpoint than one that has been registered with the U.S. Trademark Office. This makes it extremely important to do a comprehensive search for others’ potential trademark rights — including those that will not be evident from a search of the Trademark Electronic Search System database — before you begin to use a mark.