Articles Posted in False Designation of Origin

South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Zimmer, Inc. (“Zimmer”) of Warsaw, Indiana, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Zimmer MedizinSystems of Irvine, California and Zimmer Elektromedizin GmbH, of Neu-Ulm, Germany, infringed its rights for multiple trademarks, as seen below:

 

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Zimmer is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

According to the complaint, Zimmer is a globally trusted brand for its musculoskeletal care and has utilized the mark ZIMMER in connection with its musculoskeletal goods and services since 1927. Zimmer claims it began using the “Z” logo by 2004 and consumers have come to associate the “Z” logo with Zimmer goods and services including those services for sports medicine and podiatry. Zimmer alleges it has a great amount of commercial success and its annual sales are in the billions, with multiple millions of dollars being used for advertising and promotions each year.

Zimmer claims Defendants have offered goods and services relating to cosmetics and aesthetics applications for years, with which Zimmer had no issue. According to the complaint, the issues began when Defendants began using “Zimmer” “Zimmer MedizinSystems” and “Zimmer MedizinSysteme” (the “Unauthorized Marks”) for the treatment of sports and podiatry injuries. Zimmer alleges Defendants have also used a “Z” logo to promote and advertise their goods and services.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium, LLC (“Wyliepalooza”) of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, B.A.M. Sweets, LLC d/b/a Wylie’s of Brownsburg, Indiana, Amanda R. Johnson, and Stephen B. Johnson infringed multiple common law trademarks utilized by Wyliepalooza. Wyliepalooza is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, profits, actual damages, costs and attorney’s fees, investigatory fees, and any further relief the court deems appropriate.Untitled

According to the Complaint, Wyliepalooza opened its ice cream shops in Indianapolis in 2013 and began operating its ice cream truck in Indianapolis since May 2014. Wyliepalooza claims its common law trademarks include “WYLIE, WYLIEPALOOZA, WYLIEPALOOZA ICE CREAM EMPORIUM and WYLIEPALOOZA ICE CREAM TRUCK” (collectively, the “Wyliepalooza Trademarks”). Wyliepalooza claims its trademarks are immediately identifying within Indianapolis as it has utilized the Wyliepalooza Trademarks throughout the area to advertise and promote its goods and services.

Wyliepalooza claims Defendants, Amanda Johnson and Stephen Johnson (the “Johnsons”), entered into an asset purchase agreement for Wyliepalooza’s ice cream shop in Brownsburg, Indiana in December 2016. With this agreement, Wyliepalooza alleges the assets sold to the Johnsons did not include the Wyliepalooza Trademarks, but gave them a limited right to use “Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium Brownsburg” at that specific location. Wyliepalooza further claims that the agreement had a clause giving Wyliepalooza the right to revoke the limited use of the name if the Brownsburg location received twenty bad reviews in one quarter or the Johnsons operated the business not within the spirit of the Wyliepalooza business model. According to the Complaint, the agreement was intended to be paid off within three years at which time the Johnsons would change the name of the location to “BAM Sweets.”

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Super8-BlogPhoto-2-202x300Fort Wayne, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. (“Super 8”) of Parsippany, New Jersey filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Harvee Properties, LLC (“Harvee”) and Paresh Patel (“Patel”), both of Auburn, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Numbers 1602723 for the mark SUPER 8, 3610108 for the mark SUPER 8 & Design (b/w), 3610109 for the mark SUPER 8 & Design (Color), 1951982 for the mark SUPER 8 HOTEL & Plaque Design, and 1128057 for the mark SUPER 8 MOTEL & Design. Super 8 is seeking preliminary and permanent injunction, direct damages, indirect damages, consequential damages, special damages, costs, actual damages, punitive damages, pre-judgment interest, actual costs, and attorney’s fees.

The Complaint asserts that Super 8 is a widely known provider for guest lodging services and that it first used the SUPER 8 MOTEL mark in 1973. Super 8 claims that pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065, all of the marks at issue in this case (the “Super 8 Marks”) have achieved incontestable status. Per the complaint, Super 8 franchises its guest lodging services and allows its franchisees to utilize the Super 8 Marks to promote its brand and allow consumers to identify the origin of its services.

Super 8 claims it entered into a franchise agreement on March 31, 2017 with Amrex Receivers, LLC (“Amrex”) for Amrex to operate a Super 8 facility for twenty years in Auburn, Indiana. The Complaint alleges that Amrex terminated the franchise agreement on December 4, 2017. On or about December 29, 2017, Super 8 claims it sent a letter acknowledging the termination and informing Amrex that it must immediately discontinue use of the Super 8 Marks and remove any items from the premises bearing any Super 8 mark within ten days of receiving the letter.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Indie Game Studios, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, d/b/a Stronghold Games LLC of Florida (“Stronghold”), filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Plan B Games, Inc., a Canadian corporation, and Plan B Games Europe GMBH, a German Company of Hamburg Germany, (collectively “Plan B”) infringed its rights to the Great Western Trail Board Game. The complaint alleges jurisdiction is proper due to Plan B’s presence and activities at the 2018 GenCon convention in Indianapolis, Indiana along with other sales within the District. Stronghold is seeking damages, cost of the action, attorneys’ fees, and all other relief the court may find just and proper.

BlogPhotoStronghold claims it contracted with a German company, eggertspiele GmbH & Co. KG (“eggertspiele”), in 2016 regarding a soon-to be released game to be marketed under the trademark “Great Western Trail.” The complaint alleges Stronghold provided feedback to eggertspiele regarding the English version of the game prior to its finalization and that Stronghold obtained exclusive rights to sell the board game in the English language throughout Canada and the United States. Stronghold claims the term of the agreement was from August 3, 2016 through December 31, 2018, with future successive one-year extensions, which could be cancelled by 3-month written notice.

 

The complaint alleges that the Great Western Trail name and its distinctive lettering was inherently distinctive as a board game trademark. Stronghold claims because it promoted and sold the Stronghold version of the game throughout the United States, Stronghold became the common law owner of the Great Western Trail Marks (“GWT Marks”) for board games in the United States. Stronghold further claims that because its “Stronghold Games ‘Castle’ logo” was also placed on the game box, the game was associated with Stronghold. According to the complaint, Stronghold expended a significant amount of time, money, and effort to promote and market its Great Western Trail game throughout the United States and Canada.

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Terre Haute, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC, and BR IP Holder LLC (collectively “Baskin-Robbins”), both Delaware limited liability companies, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Big Scoops Inc. and David M. Glasgow, Jr., both of Terre Haute, Indiana breached their Franchise Agreement with Baskin-Robbins by failing to pay required fees. By continuing to operate, Defendants are infringing Baskin-Robbins’ trade dress and numerous registered trademarks.

logo2Baskin-Robbins Franchising is in the business of franchising independent businesses and people to operate Baskin-Robbins shops in the United States. The “Baskin-Robbins” trade name, trademark, and service mark are owned by BR IP Holder along with other related marks. Since October 14, 2015, Big Scoops has been the owner and operator of a Baskin-Robbins shop located in Terre Haute, Indiana pursuant to a Franchise Agreement with Baskin-Robbins. David M. Glasgow, Jr. personally guaranteed the obligations of Big Scoops under the Franchise Agreement.

Pursuant to its Franchise Agreement, Big Scoops was granted a license to use the trademarks, trade names, and trade dress of Baskin-Robbins, but only in the manner specified in the Franchise Agreement. The fees due to Baskin-Robbins from Big Scoops under the Franchise Agreement included a franchise fee equal to 5.9% of gross sales of the business, an advertising fee equal to 5.0% of gross sales of the business, late fees, interest, and costs on unpaid monies due under the Franchise Agreement, and all sums owing and any damages, interest, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred as a result of Big Scoops’ defaults. Under the Franchise Agreement, Big Scoops agreed that nonpayment of any of the required fees would be a default, that failure to pay within seven days after receiving written notice would be a continued default, and that receiving three notices of default within a twelve-month period would result in Baskin Robbins having the right to terminate the Franchise Agreement.

Plaintiffs sent Big Scoop three separate notices that it was in default of the Franchise Agreement for nonpayment on June 19, 2018, October 9, 2018, and December 7, 2018. As a result of these defaults and failure to cure after the December 7, 2018 notice, Baskin-Robbins sent Big Scoop a Notice of Termination with respect to the franchised business on February 12, 2019. Since receiving the Notice of Termination, Defendants have continued to operate the Baskin-Robbins shop and have used the Baskin-Robbins marks without authorization. Baskin-Robbins is claiming breach of contract, trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114, unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), and trade dress infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, LeSEA, Inc., Family Broadcasting Corporation (“FBC”), and LeSEA Global Feed theblogphoto-300x67 Hungry, Inc., all three Indiana non-profit corporations, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, LeSEA Broadcasting Corporation (“LBC”), a Colorado non-profit Corporation, Lester Sumrall of Bristol, Indiana, Dr. John W. Swails III of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Edward Wassmer, Vice President of LBC, infringed its rights in United States Registration No. 2,206,912 for “LESEA GLOBAL FEED THE HUNGRY” and United States Registration No. 2,122,820 for “LESEA GLOBAL”. Plaintiff is seeking damages, litigation expenses, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

LeSEA, Inc. was founded in 1957 by Dr. Lester Frank Sumrall, now deceased, and has been a Christian, non-profit operating a variety of ministries including a bookstore and a Bible college ever since. LeSEA Global oversees food and disaster relief efforts for LeSEA, Inc. and has delivered more than $200 million of food and supplies to hungry people around the world through generous donations. FBC, formerly known as LeSEA Broadcasting, operates television and radio stations along with a 24-hour prayer line, and other religious based programs.

According to the Plaintiffs, Defendant Lester Sumrall (“Lester”) has a false belief that he is the “rightful spiritual and legal heir” of LeSEA and based upon this belief, he has continually acted in an abusive, harassing manner towards LeSEA and his family members involved in the company. As such, Lester has attempted to interfere with LeSEA’s relationships with its lenders and clients, sought injunctions against it, and filed improper leans against LeSEA. Lester issued multiple press releases, utilizing the LeSEA registered marks, spreading false claims about LeSEA stating that it was under investigation by The Office of the Indiana Attorney General and that it had been mismanaged, which could endanger the organization’s tax-exempt status. Lester has also tried to interfere with the administration of multiple family members’ estates and even a family member’s divorce due to his false beliefs.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Heartland Consumer Products LLC and TC Heartland LLC (collectively “Heartland”), of Carmel, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana in April of 2017 alleging that Defendants, DineEquity, Inc., Applebee’s Franchisor LLC, Applebee’s Restaurants LLC, Applebee’s Services, Inc., International House of Pancakes, LLC, IHOP Franchisor LLC, IHOP Franchising LLC, and IHOP Franchise Company, LLC all of Glendale, California; infringed its rights in some or all of United States Trademark Registration Nos.: 1544079, 3346910; 4172135, 4165028, 4301712, 4172136, 4165029,4122311, 4187229,Heartland-v-DineEquity-BlogPhoto 4202774, 4230392, 4238101, 4106164, 4664653, and 4744600 (SPLENDA IP”). In addition, at the time they filed their Complaint, HEARTLAND was the owner of the following applications for United States Trademark Registration Serial Nos. 86865337, 87012521, and 87010504, two of which are still “LIVE” trademarks. The suit settled in October 2018.

SPLENDA® is a low-calorie sweetener using sucralose that is a compound made from sugar. With the FDA approving sucralose for use in food products and food preparations in 1998, SPLENDA® was at the forefront of the market coming out in 1999 and launching in retail stores across the United States in September 2000. SPLENDA® is well-known and famous for their yellow-colored packaging which has been used continuously since the brand began using that color.

Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants misappropriated the SPLENDA IP to deceive consumers and were actually providing consumers with a lower-quality product from China. For instance, some people working at IHOP and Applebee’s restaurants would orally affirm to customers that the yellow packets provided did in fact contain SPLENDA ® even though they did not. Plaintiffs alleged in their Complaint trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and trademark dilution. They were seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, corrective advertising damages, Defendant’s profits, and costs among other damages. The Parties have settled outside of court as of October 2018.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Oakley, Inc. of Foothill Ranch, California, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Swami Property Sunman Inc., d/b/a Sunman BP of Sunman, Indiana, Chirag Patel, an individual, and Does 1-10 (collectively “Defendants”) infringed its rights in United States Trademarks as seen below:

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Plaintiff is seeking judgment against Defendants, preliminary and permanent injunctions, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and investigatory fees.

Oakley has been a successful manufacturer and retailer of eyewear since at least 1985. During that time, they have acquired many trademarks including, but not limited to those pictured above (collectively, the “Oakley Marks”). Plaintiff has utilized the Oakley Marks to distinguish their high quality products from those of others and their consumers have come to recognize their distinct marks.

Plaintiff filed this action after discovering counterfeit products bearing infringing Oakley Marks were being offered for sale and/or sold at a gas station with a convenience store operating under the name of “SUNMAN BP.” It is Oakley’s belief that the Defendants are selling and offering for sale these counterfeit products with the intent that they will be mistaken for genuine high quality Oakley eyewear even though the Defendants are not licensees of Oakley nor have they been given the authority to use the Oakley Marks.

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Lightning-v-Harmon-BlogPhoto-300x181Hammond, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Lightning One, Inc. of Sherman Oaks, California, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Nicholas P. Harmon of Lake Station, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Nos. 4375013 and 4349360 for NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE, and Trademark Registration No. 5418415 for the Logo associated with NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE. All of these registered marks will be referred to collectively as the “NWA Marks.” Plaintiff is seeking a permanent injunction, an accounting and judgment, treble damages, punitive damages, and costs including attorneys’ fees.

Lightning One has been involved in the professional wrestling world for seventy years with its NWA Marks being used in interstate commerce as early as 1948. They allege that not only do they have the rights in the federally registered trademarks, they also have strong common law rights based off their prior use. Plaintiff discovered that Harmon was posting videos and other social media content claiming to be “The Real NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion” and “The People’s NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion” in April 2018. Harmon also utilized a logo to promote his services that was allegedly intended to be confusingly similar with that of the registered NWA logo.

After discovering the infringing content, Lightning One sent Harmon a cease and desist letter. Instead of complying with the letter, Harmon posted his interactions with Lightning One on social media and continued using the NWA Marks. A further demand letter sent by Lightning One was also not complied with. In fact, Defendant made a Facebook post saying that he was intending on selling t-shirts using the mark N.W.A shortly after the letter. While he claims it was for his favorite rap group of the same initials, the background of this case seems to show differently.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, North American Van Lines, Inc. (“NAVL”) of Fort Wayne, Indiana filed suit in the NorthernNorthAmerican-BlogPhoto District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, North America Moving & Storage, Inc. of Miami Beach, Florida infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 917,431 for the mark “NORTHAMERICAN”. Plaintiff is seeking damages, exemplary damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

Counts one and two of the Plaintiff’s Complaint allege Federal Trademark Infringement and Federal Unfair Competition, both under the Lanham Act. Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant’s use of “NORTH AMERICA” and “NORTH AMERICA MOVING SYSTEMS” (“Infringing Marks”) has caused and will continue to cause confusion, deception, and mistake by giving the impression that the Defendant’s services originate from the Plaintiff or are associated with the Plaintiff. Further, Plaintiffs claim there has been actual consumer confusion as to the source of transportation services sold and advertised by the Defendant. NAVL also asserts that Defendant has taken part in multiple deceptive acts including making false representations, false descriptions, and false designations of origin of its services, providing for unfair competition.

Count three claims that Defendant registered and is using the northamericamoving.com domain name in bad faith under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. NAVL alleges that Defendant is using the name without their permission and that Defendant’s intent in registering and using the domain name was and is to divert consumers from NAVL’s own websites. Count four of the Complaint alleges Indiana Trademark Infringement for Defendant’s use of a reproduction, colorable imitation, or copy of NAVL’s marks in connection with the sale, or offer of, distribution, and advertising of goods and services. Finally, Count five alleges Common Law Unfair Competition for consumer confusion and deception by Defendant’s use of the Infringing Marks.

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