WindStream Sues Rambo and Keebler for Trademark Infringement

New Albany, Indiana – WindStream Technologies, Inc. of North Vernon, Indiana filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Rambo LLC, Rambo Montrow Corporation (collectively, “Rambo”) and Rick Keebler, all of Madison, Indiana, as well as ten unidentified John Does residing in Indiana, infringed its trademarked TurboMill, Trademark Registration No. 3,986,494, which has been registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

WindStream manufactures wind turbines for municipal, residential and commercial use. Those turbines are shipped worldwide from its Indiana manufacturing facility. It contracted with Rambo and Keebler, who is asserted to be a principal of the Rambo entities, to provide component parts and to act as an authorized dealer of TurboMill turbines in certain territories.

WindStream has multiple contractual disputes with Defendants and Defendants’ predecessors in interest and asserts that component parts in which WindStream has an interest are being held “hostage” in an attempt to renegotiate the terms of one of the contracts. Further, WindStream contends that the failure of Defendants to deliver the parts has damaged its business. WindStream also charges Defendants with unfair competition, claiming that they are selling WindStream products, including WindStream’s TurboMill, as their own. Finally, it asserts that, among the prospective customers that Keebler and Rambo are targeting are individuals and entities that had previously been identified by WindStream as potential customers.

In its complaint, filed by the trademark attorney for WindStream, the following counts are alleged:

• Federal Unfair Competition and Passing Off (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a))
• Trademark Infringement (15 U.S.C. § 1114)
• Breach of Contract (Dealer Agreement)
• Breach of Contract (Purchase Orders)
• Interference with Contract and Prospective Economic Advantage

WindStream asks the court for an injunction prohibiting trademark infringement and similar conduct; damages, including treble damages; punitive damages for Defendants’ willful and malicious acts; and attorney’s fees and costs of the lawsuit.

Practice Tip: The complaint asserts that the trademark for TurboMill was registered on June 28, 2001 and that the mark has been used in commerce since at least 2009. In contrast, the registration is listed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as having occurred on June 28, 2011 with the mark shown as having first been used in commerce in 2011, the same year in which WindStream began manufacturing its wind turbines. While the former inconsistency, which adds exactly ten years to the apparent life of the trademark, can be assumed to be a typographical error, the origin of the latter inconsistency, which adds another two years to the period during which the TurboMill mark is claimed to have been used in commerce, in unclear.

This complaint was filed by Matthew W. Lorch of Lorch Law Office LLC. The case was assigned to District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann in the Southern District of Indiana and assigned Case No. 4:13-cv-00180-SEB-WGH.

Windstream-v-Rambo-Complaint.pdf

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