Articles Posted in Cybersquatting

Untitled-1-300x194Indianapolis, Indiana – Trademark attorneys for Plaintiff The American Automobile Association, Inc. (“AAA”) filed a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana. Two Bloomington Defendants are named, AAA Automotive Parts and the company’s owner. Defendants also do business as AAA Automotive & Truck Parts, and  d/b/a AAA Automotive Parts.

AAA, a not-for-profit corporation, offers “travel and automobile products and services (including automobile repair services at its AAA Car Care Centers and through AAA Approved automobile repair businesses), financial advice, insurance and warranty coverage, and discounts.”

Defendants own and run a website, TRIPLEAPARTS.COM, on which they advertise automobile-related goods and services. Defendants also have brick-and-mortar shops in Indianapolis and Griffith, Indiana as well as locations in Missouri and Florida.

In this Indiana trademark lawsuit, lawyers for AAA listed the following causes of action:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement in Violation of Section 32 of the Lanham Act
• Count II: Federal False Designation of Origin and Unfair Competition in Violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act
• Count III: Federal Trademark Dilution in Violation of Section 43(c) of the Lanham Act
• Count IV: Cybersquatting Under Section 43(d) of the Lanham Act
• Count V: Trademark Dilution Under Ind. Code § 24-2-1-13.5
• Count VI: Trademark Infringement Under Ind. Code § 24-2-1-13

• Count VII: Unfair Competition and Trademark Infringement Under Common Law

AAA, which claims ownership to over 100 trademarks, contends that the following trademarks are at issue in this lawsuit:

Reg. No. 829,265

AAA Mark, used in connection with a
variety of automobile association services and emergency roadside services

Reg. No. 2,158,654

AAA & Design Mark, used in
connection with a variety of automobile association services and emergency roadside
services

Reg. No. 3,316,227

AAA & Design Mark, used in
connection with “[i]ndicating membership in a(n) automobile membership
club”

Reg. No. 1,168,790

TRIPLE A Mark, used in connection
with a variety of automobile association services

Reg. No. 3,046,904

AAA Mark, used in connection with
repair services

Reg. No. 3,046,905

AAA & Design Mark, used in
connection with repair services

Reg. No. 3,102,319

AAA & Design Mark, used in
connection with vehicle parts

Reg. No. 5,036,379

AAA Mark & Design, used in
connection with a variety of automobile association services and emergency
roadside services

Reg. No. 1,449,079

AAA APPROVED AUTO REPAIR & Design
Mark, used in connection with automobile repair services

Reg. No. 3,604,164

AAA TOTAL REPAIR CARE Mark, used in connection
with auto diagnosis and repair services

 

AAA seeks damages and asks that those damages be trebled pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117 and Indiana law. It also seeks equitable relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Trademark attorneys for Eye 4 Group, LLC Corporation (“E4G”) of Fishers, Indiana filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana. Defendants are Indianapolis Signworks, Inc. (“ISW”) of Indianapolis, Indiana and Andrew Chapman of Carmel, Indiana, the owner of ISW.

Plaintiff E4G is in the business of graphic design, sign manufacturing, metal fabrication, promotional material and apparel. It owns a registration for the trademark EYE 4 GROUP, Reg. No. 4,694,655, which has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It has also an application for the registration of a second trademark for EYE 4, pending under Serial No. 87/018,205.

E4G states that Defendant ISW is a direct competitor in the business of making signs as well as associated tools and products. E4G, which owns and operates the website eye4group.com, contends that ISW has used the internet domain name “eyefourgroup.com” and, in doing so, has infringed E4G’s intellectual property. E4G asserts that Defendants’ actions constitute a knowing infringement of its trademark rights and that those actions were intentional, willful and in bad faith.

In this Indiana lawsuit, Plaintiff alleges direct and contributory trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition arising under the Lanham Act; dilution under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act; violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and related wrongdoing under Indiana state law.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary relief, including punitive damages, attorney fees and costs of the litigation.

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Indianapolis, IndianaPlaintiff Oak Motors, Inc. of Anderson, Indiana (“Oak Indiana”) filed a trademark infringement complaint in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Oak Motors, Inc. of San Mateo, California (“Oak California”) is infringing U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,487,991, which was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff Oak Indiana, a used-car dealership, has three locations in Indianapolis as well as a location in Anderson, Indiana and another in Muncie, Indiana. It focuses on offering cars to “customers with credit challenges.” It has commenced trademark litigation against a California-based used-car dealership that offers primarily luxury-brand vehicles.

Plaintiff contends that, by using “Oak Motors” to promote its business, Oak California intended to cause, and has caused, initial interest confusion and actual confusion among consumers and potential consumers. Oak Indiana asserts that Oak California’s actions are an intentional attempt to trade off the goodwill of Oak Indiana.

In addition to Oak California’s use of “Oak Motors” as a business name, Oak Indiana also complains of Defendant’s use of three websites, http://oakmotorsusa.com/, http://oakmotorsinc.com/ and http://www.oakmotorsca.com/default.aspx, claiming that the use of those websites is calculated to create consumer confusion regarding whether the two companies are related.

In this federal lawsuit, filed by Indiana trademark lawyers for Oak Indiana, the following claims are asserted:

• Count I: False Designation of Origin and False Description – 15 U.S.C. §1125(a)
• Count II: Common Law Trademark Infringement
• Count III: Unfair Competition
• Count IV: Cybersquatting – 15 U.S.C. §1125(d)

• Count V: Declaratory Judgment

Oak Indiana seeks equitable relief, including the transfer of domain names referencing the “Oak Motors” trademark; Oak California’s profits from the sale of all infringing goods; damages, including actual damages, punitive damages, statutory damages and treble damages; costs of litigation and attorneys’ fees.

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South Bend, IndianaIndigo Vapor Enterprises LLC of South Bend, Indiana commenced intellectual property litigation against Indigo Vapor Company, LLC, Robert Lee Martin and Charles Nandier of Tucson, Arizona.

Indigo Vapor Enterprises is in the business of selling “vaping” and e-cigarette materials across the United States and throughout the world. It alleges that Defendant sells similar goods in the same marketplace.

Plaintiff contends that Defendants infringed its trademarks, consisting of a stylized INDIGO VAPOR trademark, Registration No. 4,790,247, and a second trademark for INDIGO VAPOR, Registration No. 4,790,244 by using the Indigo Vapor Enterprises name and those trademarks to promote Defendants’ competing products. These accused uses include the operation of a website at www.indigovaporcompany.com. Both trademarks have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff alleges trademark infringement, dilution and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act. It also asserts cybersquatting under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (“ACPA”) and trademark infringement and unfair competition under the common law of Indiana and other states.

In this lawsuit, filed by Indiana trademark attorneys for Indigo Vapor Enterprises, the following causes of action are listed:

• Count I – Federal Trademark Infringement – Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1114)
• Count II – Federal Unfair Competition – Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a))
• Count III – False Designation of Origin – Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B))
• Count IV – Federal Trademark Dilution – Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(c))
• Count V – Federal Cybersquatting – ACPA and Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(d))
• Count VI – Common Law Trademark Infringement

• Count VII – Common Law Unfair Competition

Plaintiff seeks equitable relief as well as damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana trademark attorneys for Hoosier Momma, LLC (“Hoosier Momma”) of Brownsburg, Indiana sued Erin Edds (“Edds”) of Marion County, Indiana in the Southern District of Indiana. In this Indiana litigation, Hoosier Momma accuses Edds of violations of the federal Lanham Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Indiana’s Uniform Trade Secret Act, as well as computer tampering, misappropriation and attempted misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, tortious interference with business relationships, and conversion. Among its allegations, Hoosier Momma contends that Edds tarnished its “Hoosier Momma” trademark as well as its “Betty Design” trademark, U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 4584165 and 4584167, which have been registered with the U.S. Trademark Office.

In 2010, Kimberly Cranfill (“Cranfill”), Catherine Hill and Edds formed Hoosier Momma. They are the sole members of Hoosier Momma, which is in the business of developing and selling vegan, gluten-free products that are sold in more than 600 restaurants, stores and hotels in at least six states.

Hoosier Momma alleges multiple wrongs by Edds, including making damaging false statements, engaging in conduct that conduct negatively affects Hoosier Momma’s reputation and sales of its products, tarnishing its trademarks, and changing passwords to Hoosier Momma’s social media accounts without authorization, refusing to relinquish control of the accounts and continuing to post to those accounts.

Edds is also accused of accessing Cranfill’s e-mail account to obtain confidential information as well as sharing confidential information with Wilks & Wilson, a competitor of Hoosier Momma. Hoosier Momma also contends that Edds contacted Tone Products, Inc. (“Tone,”) a direct competitor of Hoosier Momma’s packer, and asked that Tone reverse engineer a Hoosier Momma product to allow Tone to determine the confidential recipe of such product, a trade secret of Hoosier Momma, and provide it to Edds for her personal use and/or a use that jeopardized the disclosure of Hoosier Momma’s trade secrets. Hoosier Momma also claims that Edds improperly contacted several of Hoosier Momma’s distributors, clients, manufacturers and other business partners.

Further, Edds allegedly attempted to sell her interest in Hoosier Momma without the consent purportedly required under the Hoosier Momma operating agreement. Finally, Hoosier Momma contends that Edds sold and traded Hoosier Momma product and improperly retained the proceeds.

In its Indiana trademark complaint, filed by trademark lawyers for Hoosier Momma, the following is claimed:

  • Count I: Violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051, et seq.
  • Count II: Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, et seq.
  • Count III: Computer Tampering
  • Count IV: Misappropriation and Attempted Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Violation of Indiana Uniform Trade Secret Act
  • Count V: Breach of Contract
  • Count VI: Breach of Fiduciary Duties
  • Count VII: Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
  • Count VIII: Conversion
  • Count XI [sic]: Unjust Enrichment

Hoosier Momma asks for injunctive relief; compensatory and exemplary damages; costs; expenses; and attorneys’ fees.

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South Bend, Indiana – An Indiana intellectual property attorney for Burns Rent-Alls, Inc. of Mishawaka, Indiana filed a cyberpiracy lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Michael Sharpe and Aays Rent-All Co., Inc., also of Mishawaka, Indiana, had wrongfully registered and used domain names that would result in confusion with the “BURNS RENT-ALLS” common-law trademark.

Burns Rent-Alls is a fifth-generation family-owned firm that has been in business for over 100 years. It offers goods and services throughout northern Indiana and southwest Michigan under the BURNS RENT-ALLS brand including equipment rentals, convention services, event rentals, portable toilet rentals, costume rentals, and tent and canopy rentals.

Aays Rent-All is, according to Plaintiff, in a similar business and provides rentals throughout northern Indiana and southwest Michigan, including equipment rentals, convention services, event rentals, and tent and canopy rentals.

Burns Rent-Alls claims that, by virtue of its “longstanding and continuous use” of the BURNS RENT-ALLS mark, it owns common law trademark rights to that mark for use in connection with Burns Rent-Alls’ goods and services.

Aays Rent-All and Sharpe are accused of registering and using domain names that are confusingly similar to Burns Rent-Alls’ Mark, with a bad-faith intent to profit from their use and registration of those domain names. At issue are: (i) burnspartyrentall.com; (ii) burnspartyrental.com; and (iii) burnsrentall.com. Plaintiff contends that Defendants are using these names to redirect Internet traffic intended for the Burns Rent-Alls’ website to Aays Rent-All’s website. This use, Plaintiff asserts, is likely to cause confusion or mistake, or to deceive consumers into believing that there is an association between Aays Rent-All and Burns Rent-Alls.

Plaintiff also states that it agreed to pay, and did pay, $100 to purchase the burnsrentall.com domain name but that Defendants did not transfer the domain name as allegedly agreed.

In its complaint, Indiana intellectual property counsel for Burns Rent-Alls alleges the following:

  • Count I: Unfair Competition
  • Count II: Cyberpiracy 
  • Count III: Breach of Contract

Burns Rent-Alls requests injunctive relief, including the transfer of the domain names at issue; damages, including treble damages; and costs and attorneys’ fees.

Practice Tip:

Plaintiff indicates that it attempted to obtain an agreement from Defendants regarding at least one of the domain names at issue prior to filing this lawsuit. Plaintiff contends that, despite this effort, Defendants continued to use the allegedly infringing website names. This lawsuit for unfair competition, cyberpiracy and breach of contract followed.

Another approach available to a plaintiff in such a situation is to seek a transfer of the domain names under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). This policy was established to resolve “The Trademark Dilemma” inherent in the largely unpoliced sales of domain names — the registration of a trademark without the consent of the trademark owner.

As part of the process of registering a domain name, registrants must, among other things, 1) “represent and warrant” that registering the name “will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party” and 2) agree to have the matter heard as an UDRP proceeding if any third party asserts that the domain name violates its trademark rights.

The UDRP is an administrative procedure. A UDRP limits itself to matters concerning abusive registrations and will not intervene in genuine disputes over trademark rights. To prevail in a UDRP proceeding, for each domain name, the complainant must establish three elements:

  1. The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
  2. The registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
  3. The registrant registered the domain name and is using it in “bad faith.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Illinois and Missouri trademark attorneys for James Dean, Inc. of James_Dean_in_Rebel_Without_a_Cause.jpgIndiana sued in Indiana state court alleging that Twitter, Inc. of California infringed the trademark James Dean, which has been issued by the U.S. Trademark Office by allowing the registration of the Twitter handle @JamesDean. The case was removed from the Superior Court of the County of Hamilton, Indiana to the Southern District of Indiana.

Plaintiff James Dean, Inc. filed a trademark complaint against Twitter, as well as the fictitious persons, John Doe Defendants 1-5 Company, in an Indiana state court. In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that it is the exclusive owner of the name, likeness, voice, right of publicity and endorsement, worldwide trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property including but not limited to visual and aural depictions, artifacts, memorabilia, and life-story rights, and/or trade dress of the late movie star James Dean.

James Dean, Inc. further alleges that Twitter has allowed the registration and operation of a Twitter account, using the handle @JamesDean, located at https://twitter.com/JamesDean, which is purportedly in violation of Plaintiff’s rights.

In the complaint, filed by an Indiana trademark lawyer, James Dean, Inc. asserted nine causes of action against Twitter:

• Count I – Trademark Infringement Under Section 32(1) or 3(A) of the Lanham Act;
• Count II – False Endorsement Under Lanham Act § 43(A);
• Count III – Indiana State Statutory Right of Publicity;
• Count IV – Common Law Right of Publicity;
• Count V – Common Law Unfair Competition;
• Count VI – Unjust Enrichment;
• Count VII – Conversion;
• Count VIII – Deception; and
• Count IX – Indiana Crime Victims’ Act.

For relief, James Dean, Inc. sought damages, including treble damages, costs, and attorney’s fees as set out in the Indiana Right of Publicity Statute, Lanham Act and other statutes. In addition, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.

Twitter removed the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal-question jurisdiction) and 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction). To support the former basis for federal jurisdiction, Twitter noted federal questions inherent in the filing of a claim under the Lanham Act. Twitter also claimed supplemental jurisdiction for the remaining claims under Indiana law.

To support the latter basis for jurisdiction in an Indiana federal court, Twitter asserted that the two prongs for diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction were met. First, James Dean, Inc. is a citizen of Indiana, as it has alleged that it is incorporated under the laws of the State of Indiana with its principal place of business in Indiana, while Twitter claims to be a citizen of two states: Delaware and California. Second, while Twitter “strongly contests liability and does not believe Plaintiff is entitled to any relief whatsoever,” it indicated that, were liability to be found, the amount in controversy could exceed $75,000, given that James Dean, Inc. is suing for “all damages” allowed by the applicable statutes, which can include actual damages, treble damages, punitive damages, statutory damages and attorneys’ fees.

Practice Tip:

James Dean was born on February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana. He grew up in Fairmount, Indiana, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. Dean starred in East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, receiving two Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.

In 1955, Dean died in an automobile accident. As a result of the nearly 60 years that have passed since his death, it is unlikely that those who follow @JamesDean believe that the tweets have been written by James Dean himself. Nonetheless, celebrity licensing agency CMG Worldwide, based out of Carmel, Indiana, is attempting to recover the James Dean Twitter account.

CMG, which also represents such celebrity images as Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth, has attempted “on numerous occasions” to make Twitter take action to block and identify owners of various unauthorized accounts. Those accounts could give the impression, it says, that the users have permission from the estates of the celebrities or CMG and “result in immeasurable and irreparable damage.”

Finally, most of the James Dean trademarks that were registered by the U.S. Trademark Office have been either abandoned or cancelled. It will be interesting to see to what degree this fact influences the court, should liability be established and a calculation of damages be appropriate.

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South Bend, Indiana – An Indiana trademark attorney for Rieth-Riley Construction Co., Inc. of Goshen, Indiana (“Rieth-Riley”) sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Jeffrey RiethPicture.pngKresnak and Superior Asphalt, Inc. (“Superior”), both of Michigan, infringed the RIETH-RILEY trademark, Trademark Registration No. 1,659,123, which has been issued by the U.S. Trademark Office.

Rieth-Riley, founded in 1916, provides many services under the Rieth-Riley brand, including highway construction, asphalt and concrete paving, site preparation and excavation, bridge construction, underground utilities and drainage construction, asphalt and concrete recycling, curb and sidewalk construction, mining and aggregate processing, and providing sand, gravel and other aggregates for construction projects.

Superior, in business for over 30 years, is in the asphalt manufacturing, supplying, paving and maintenance business. It provides its services to residential, commercial, manufacturing and municipal customers. Defendant Kresnak owns Superior. Rieth-Riley indicates that it considers Superior to be a competitor.

Both companies maintain websites to promote their companies. Rieth-Riley operates its website at www.riethriley.com. Superior operates its site at www.superiorasphalt.com/. Rieth-Riley contends that Superior also purchased and began operating “rieth-riley.net” in violation of Rieth-Riley’s intellectual property rights in the trademarked name; it further indicates that this accused domain name resolves to Superior’s website. Rieth-Riley states that it attempted to reach an agreement with Defendants to cease using the accused website but that, in response, Defendants indicated that they would do so for $10,000.

Rieth-Riley contends that Defendants are unlawfully profiting through their use of the Rieth-Riley trademark. Specifically, Superior is accused of using the rieth-riley.net domain name with a bad-faith intent to profit by redirecting Internet traffic intended for the Rieth-Riley website to Superior’s website.

Rieth-Riley also states that Defendants’ unauthorized use of the Domain Name is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive the consuming public as to the affiliation, connection, association or sponsorship of Superior with Rieth-Riley or the Rieth-Riley Mark, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of Superior’s goods, services or activities by Rieth-Riley or the Rieth-Riley brand.

Finally, Rieth-Riley asserts that this use was with notice and actual knowledge of Rieth-Riley’s prior rights and, as a result, Superior’s acts constitute knowing and willful violations of the Lanham Act.

In this Indiana trademark litigation, the following counts are asserted:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count II: Unfair Competition
• Count III: Cyberpiracy

Rieth-Riley asks the court for:

• preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining the infringement of the Rieth-Riley trademark;
• preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining Defendants from engaging in acts of false designation of origin and false description, pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1125;
• preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining conduct which causes, or is likely to cause, confusion, mistake, deception, or misunderstanding as to the source, affiliation, connection or association of Defendants’ products or services;
• preliminary and permanent injunctions enjoining the operation of any web site utilizing the accused domain name or the Rieth-Riley trademark;
• a judgment against Defendants for statutory damages;
• a judgment against Defendants for (1) all profits attributable to Defendants’ unauthorized use of the accused domain name, (2) damages sustained by Rieth-Riley on account of Defendants’ unlawful activities, and (3) treble damages;
• an order transferring the accused domain name to Plaintiff;
• an order for the destruction of any infringing items bearing the Rieth-Riley trademark; and
• costs and attorneys’ fees.

Practice Tip:

Plaintiff indicates that it attempted to obtain an agreement from Defendants to cease using the accused domain name. Despite this effort, Plaintiff contends that Defendants continued to use the allegedly infringing website name. This lawsuit for trademark infringement, unfair competition and cyberpiracy followed.

Another approach available to a plaintiff in such a situation is to seek a transfer the domain name under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). This policy was established to resolve “The Trademark Dilemma” inherent in the largely unpoliced sales of domain names — the registration of a trademark without the consent of the trademark owner.

As part of the process of registering a domain name, registrants must, among other things, 1) “represent and warrant” that registering the name “will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party” and 2) agree to have the matter heard as an UDRP proceeding if any third party asserts that the domain name violates its trademark rights.

The UDRP is an administrative procedure. A UDRP limits itself to matters concerning abusive registrations and will not intervene in genuine disputes over trademark rights. To prevail in a UDRP proceeding, the complainant must establish three elements:

1) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
2) The registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
3) The registrant registered the domain name and is using it in “bad faith.”

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South Bend, Indiana — Trademark lawyers for North American Van Lines, Inc. of Ft. Wayne, Indiana sued North American Master Lines, Inc.  of Hallandale, Florida alleging infringement of two trademarks for NORTHAMERICAN, Registration Nos. 0917431 and 0915264, which have been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office.

North American Van Lines asserts that, as early as 1946, it has used the mark Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for NorthAmericanLogo.png“northAmerican” in conjunction with its packing and transportation services and that it has provided such services in all fifty states and the District of Colombia.  It owns two registrations for the mark, both of which were issued in 1971.

North American Master Lines provides packing and transportation services across the United States.  It offers local and interstate services for residential, business and military customers.

North American Van Lines claims that North American Master Lines previously did business as “1st Choice Van Lines, Inc.” and that it changed its name to North American Master Lines in October 2012.  North American Master Lines also registered and is using the “NorthAmericanMasterLines.com” domain name.

North American Van Lines has filed a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition and cybersquatting. It states in its complaint that North American Master Lines was aware of the “northAmerican” marks and used them to profit from the consumer goodwill related to those marks.  It claims that it has received complaints from consumers who were confused regarding whether North American Master Lines was affiliated with North American Van Lines.  It also asserts that it sent a cease-and-desist letter to North American Master Lines but received no response.

 The complaint lists the following counts:

·         Count I: Cybersquatting Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) with Respect to the NORTHAMERICAN Marks

·         Count II: Trademark Infringement of the NORTHAMERICAN Marks Under 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)

·         Count III: Unfair Competition and False Designation of Origin of NORTHAMERICAN Marks Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)

·         Count VI [sic]: Unfair Competition and Trademark Infringement of the NORTHAMERICAN Marks Under Common Law

North American Van Lines asks for a judgment that North American Master Lines has infringed upon the “northAmerican” marks; the transfer of the domain name “NorthAmericanMasterLines.com”; an injunction; an order directing North American Master Lines to engage in corrective advertising; an accounting and disgorgement of profits resulting from unlawful acts; damages, including treble damages; statutory damages up to $100,000 for domain-name infringement; and attorney fees and costs.

Practice Tip: Under U.S. trademark law, geographic terms or signs cannot be registered as trademarks if they are geographically descriptive of where the goods (or services) originate.  However, a geographical indication, as defined by the World Trade Organization, can also identify a particular good, not merely a geographic area.  In such a case, a geographic term has been used to identify the provider of a good and, over time, consumers begin to use that geographic term not only as a descriptor of the geographic source, but also of a particular company.  In such a case, the term has acquired “secondary meaning” — the capacity to identify the provider of the good — and can be protected as a trademark.

 

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Indianapolis; IN – Trademark attorneys for Mainstreet Collection of Washington, North Carolina filed a trademark infringement suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Main Street Collection, LLC and Melissa Card of Fishers, Indiana infringed trademark registration no. 4,034,192 for the mark MSC MAINSTREET COLLECTION registered by the US Trademarkmsc.jpg Office.

The complaint states that the plaintiff is a successful gift product company that sells crafts, kitchenware, handbags and other gift items at over 6000 gift shops such as Hallmark®. The plaintiff also maintains a website at www.gowhimsey.com and a facebook page. The plaintiff states it has used the MSC mark at issue since at least 2000. The complaint alleges that the defendants also sell gift items. The complaint states that the defendants maintain a website at www.themainstreetcollection.com that utilizes a mark MAINSTREET COLLECTION that is very similar to the plaintiff’s. The complaint states that the plaintiff attempted to have the defendants transfer www.themainstreetcollection.com domain name to the plaintiff, but the defendants refused. The complaint states that customers have been contacting the defendants who are actually seeking to do business with the plaintiff. The complaint makes claims of trademark infringement and cybersquatting and seeks an injunction, damages, transfer of the www.themainstreetcollection.com domain name, attorney fees and costs.

Practice Tip: The claim of trademark infringement here is based entirely on maintaining a website. As we have previously blogged, it can be difficult to obtain personal jurisdiction when basing a claim solely on web presence. The plaintiff here, however, has avoided is issue by filing suit in the defendants’ home jurisdiction.

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