Fort Wayne, Indiana – An Indiana trademark attorney for Rieke Corporation d/b/a Rieke Packaging Systems of Auburn, Indiana sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Riekes Packaging Corporation of Nebraska infringed the trademark Rieke Packaging Systems®, Trademark No. 2742836, which has been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office.
Plaintiff Rieke Corporation states that it is one of the largest manufacturers of packaging components in the world. Its product line includes pumps, foamers, and sprayers for household dispensers as well as plastic and steel closures, caps, drum and pail enclosures, rings and levers for the industrial market. These products are used to store, transport, process and dispense various products in the agricultural, beverage, food, household products, industrial, medical, nutraceutical, personal care and pharmaceutical markets.
Plaintiff asserts that it has spent a considerable amount of money establishing the “Rieke Packaging Systems” trade name and trademark in the minds of customers as a source of high-quality and reliable packaging dispensers and closures. It claims that the trade name and trademark have become associated in the minds of purchasers with Plaintiff as “one of the largest and most reputable manufacturers and distributors of high quality and reliable packaging dispensers and closures in the world.”
Defendant Riekes Packaging Corporation has been manufacturing and selling packaging components since the corporation’s formation in 2012, according to Plaintiff. Rieke Corporation indicates that the “Riekes Packaging Corporation” name is shown on Defendant’s glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic closures, caps, metal closures, dispensing closures and systems, tubes and other similar goods.
In this Indiana trademark lawsuit, Rieke Corporation accuses Riekes Packaging Corporation of knowing, deliberate, and intentional violations of Plaintiff’s trademark rights, stating Defendant’s use of the “Riekes Packaging Corporation” trade name or trademark with or on its products is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace regarding whether there is an association between Plaintiff and Defendant and as to the source or origin of Defendant’s goods. In their complaint, filed by an Indiana trademark lawyer, Plaintiff lists the following counts:
- Count I-rademark Infringement under the Lanham Act
- Count II-Unfair Competition under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act
- Count III-Common Law Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition
Rieke Corporation asks the court to:
• enjoin Defendant and its agents from using “Riekes Packaging Corporation” as business name; in connection with sales or other commercial activities; or in a way that would be likely to lead others to believe that Defendant or its products were connected with Plaintiff;
• enjoin Defendant from engaging in any other activity that would constitute unfair competition;
• direct Defendant to recall infringing materials;
• declare that Defendant’s use of “Riekes Packaging Corporation” in connection with the sale of packaging products and components constitutes trademark infringement under the Lanham Act and the common law of the state of Indiana;
• direct that Defendant cancel or otherwise modify any trademark applications containing the “Riekes Packaging Corporation” name; and
• award to Rieke Corporation damages, including enhanced damages, costs and attorney’s fees.
Practice Tip: Under U.S. trademark law, trademarks that are primarily surnames, or which consist of a surname and other material that is not registrable as a trademark, are treated the same as descriptive trademarks. Thus, the trademark will not be protected as intellectual property until it has achieved secondary meaning through advertising and/or use over an extended period of time. Once that surname has acquired secondary meaning, it may be protectable as a trademark and others can be prevented from using the trademark on confusingly similar goods, even if that person has the same last name. So, for example, Joe McDonald could expect a legal challenge – presumably one that would succeed – if he opened a restaurant named “McDonald’s,” despite that “McDonald” is his last name.
The suit was filed by Kurt N. Jones of Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP. The case was assigned to Chief Judge Philip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey in the Northern District of Indiana and assigned Case No. 1:14-cv-00241-PPS-RBC.