Articles Posted in False Designation of Origin

https://www.iniplaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/366/2022/07/AboutUs_PeopleandFacilities1.JPG_h2448-w3264-300x225.jpgLafayette, Indiana – The Plaintiff, Lafayette Venetian Blind, Inc., (LVB) conducts business under the business name “Lafayette Interior Fashions” in West Lafayette, Indiana. LVB is in the business of designing, manufacturing and selling window treatments, blinds and shades. LVB has a federal trademark registration, with the USPTO, for the word mark GENESIS under Registration No. 3344243 in Class 20 for “window blinds, window shades, and venetian blinds.”

Defendants, Coulisse Distribution LLC and Coulisse Holding USA Inc. (“Coulisse”), are a Florida based company that sells Window Coverings and according to the Complaint sell a certain brand of window treatments and window components for their “Roller Blinds” product under the name “Genesis.”  According to the Complaint, LVB has requested Coulisse cease and desist using the mark GENESIS on its products as it is likely to cause confusion with their products because the Infringing Marks are identical or nearly identical to their mark in sound, appearance and meaning.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – The Plaintiff, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (“Thrivent”), is a fraternal benefits society established in 1902 with over 2 million members and over $100 billion in assets under management or advisement. Thrivent and its licensees offer a wide variety of services and products to their members and customers under the THRIVENT Trademarks (listed below), including insurance and annuity products, financial and business advising, mutual funds and investments, individual retirement accounts, trust accounts, financial advisory services, banking and credit union services, lending services, and debit and credit card services.

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Indianapolis, Indiana The American Automobile Association, Inc. (“AAA”), the Plaintiff, is a not-for-profit, non-stock Connecticut Corporation. AAA provides approximately 60 million members with products and services throughout the United States and Canada. The products and services include automobile repair services at its AAA Car Care Centers and through AAA Approved auto repair businesses, financial advice, insurance and warranty coverage, and discounts. AAA provides its products and services through local AAA member clubs, including AAA Hoosier Motor Club.  Since as early as 1902, AAA has uses more than 150 trademarks in connection with automobile-related products and services offered to its members.

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Omi-300x300Merrillville, Indiana – Plaintiff, NuStar Enterprises LLC (“NuStar”), is a clothing and apparel company that markets and sells clothing and apparel and related accessories.  NuStar was granted a registration for its mark RELOADED® under Registration No. 6,376,399 with the USPTO on June 8, 2021 alleging they began using the mark as early as September 2016.  Plaintiff also owns state trademarks for the same mark in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

According to the Complaint, NuStar learned that Bill Omar Carrasquillo, a rapper and YouTube celebrity known as “Omi in a Hellcat,” intended to start an apparel company under the brand name RELOADED.  NuStar sought to work out a licensing arrangement with Mr. Carrasquillo’s agent.  These efforts fell apart in late 2019.

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Image-IngridBergmanRoseNew Albany, IndianaPoulsen Roser A/S (“Poulsen”), the Plaintiff, is a family-owned company allegedly world-famous for breeding distinctive rose varieties. Apparently due to this notoriety, Poulsen obtains patent and trademark protection for its roses throughout the world, including the United States. According to the Complaint, Poulsen developed a unique currant red hybrid tea rose variety branded with the trademark INGRID BERGMAN (the “Mark”) in the early 1980s.  In addition to being a world-renowned rose and receiving numerous awards, the INGRID BERGMAN rose was apparently inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies’ Rose Hall of Fame in 2000.

Poulsen claims the Mark, protected under U.S. Federal Trademark Reg. No. 2,990,814 (the “‘814 Registration”), has been used in U.S. commerce continuously since 1986.  Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1057(b), Poulsen claims the ‘814 Registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the Mark, Poulsen’s ownership of the Mark, and Poulsen’s exclusive right to use the Mark in commerce. Only Poulsen possesses the consent of the heirs of the actress Ingrid Bergman to use her name in connection with roses.

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Ft. Wayne, Indiana – Phoenix Intangibles Holding Company apparently licenses the getGo® trademark to Giant Eagle, Inc. (together with Phoenix “Giant Eagle” or “Plaintiffs”) for its use in connection with its getGo® Convenience Stores. According to the Complaint, Giant Eagle acquired the Rickers convenience store chain in 2018 and eventually rebranded those stores under the getGo® marks. The acquired stores allegedly include four former Rickers stores in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Per the Complaint, Plaintiffs have used the getGo® trademark since at least March 2013 and have sought and secured federal trademark registrations for various getGo® trademarks and logos as set forth below (the “getGo® Marks”).

Mark U.S. Registration No.
GETGO 2,927,502
Picture3 4,864,242
4864240-PICTURE 4,864,240
getGo 4,766,055
Picture3 4,864,437
4864240-PICTURE 4,864,438
getGo 5,037,377
Picture3 5,038,064
4864240-PICTURE 5,037,370
Get To Know GetGo 5,991,999
getGo 6,158,214
Picture3 6,158,213

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Hammond, IndianaMonster Energy Company (“Monster”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a nationwide leader in marketing and selling ready-to-drink beverages. Apparently, Monster launched its MONSTER ENERGY® drink brand including its ® mark (the “Claw Icon”) in 2002. Monster also claims it has used a distinctive trade dress for packaging, clothing, bags, sports gear, helmets, and promotional materials that use the Claw Icon in connection with the colors black and green (the “Monster Trade Dress”). Apparently realizing the importance of its brand, Monster owns at least fourteen federal trademark registrations that include the Claw Icon in various classes of goods and services (the “Asserted Marks”).

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BlogPhoto-2-300x179Evansville, Indiana – In 2004, the Coca-Cola Company launched its Full Throttle® energy drink brand, which was later apparently acquired by Monster Beverage Company (“Monster”) in 2015. Monster in turn divested the rights and title to the Full Throttle® energy drink line to its child company, Energy Beverages LLC (“Energy”), the Plaintiff. From that transaction, Energy owns multiple trademark registrations including the three at issue in this case, U.S. Registration Nos. 2,957,843, 5,562,250, and 5,722,956 (the “Energy Marks”). Energy also claims it has used a distinctive trade dress on its Full Throttle® products since 2004.

Apparently, Energy has licensed the Energy Marks and trade dress in connection with a variety of goods and services throughout the years, including sponsoring motorsports. Since 2015, Energy claims it has spent over $22.6 million dollars in promoting the Full Throttle® brand. Additionally, the retail sales of Full Throttle® products allegedly exceed 47 million cans per year, with estimated revenues of approximately $113 million per year. Therefore, Energy claims its Full Throttle® brand including the Energy Marks and trade dress have acquired great value to identify and distinguish its products and services from those of other, including association with the automotive industry.

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BlogPhoto-1-300x196South Bend, Indiana – Apparently Egglife Foods, Inc. (“Egglife”), the Plaintiff, sell ready-to-eat wraps that are made with cage-free egg whites instead of flour (“egglife egg white wraps”). Introduced in 2019, founder Peggy Johns claims to have invented egglife egg white wraps, using a now patented method (U.S. Patent No. 10,194,669). Egglife claims its egglife egg white wraps are available in over 3,500 retail locations throughout the United States and have garnered a loyal following of passionate consumers. Since 2019, Egglife has allegedly invested $5 million dollars in the Egglife brand and is on pace to reach $30 million in retail sales in 2021. According to the complaint, Egglife products have a distinct packaging including a unique combination of shapes, colors, text font, a center window, and accent elements that act as a source identifier to its consumers (the “Trade Dress”).

The Defendant, Crepini, LLC (“Crepini”), was apparently founded in 2007 with “the dream of bringing crepes into every North American household.” Crepini allegedly sold its egg white thins products in at least three different packaging styles from early 2018 through 2019. Per the Complaint, Crepini owns U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 5,888,044 and 5,447,364 for “Egg Thins” and “Egg White Thins,” respectively. Egglife claims Crepini rebranded yet again and announced an extensive packaging overhaul including changing the name of the product to “egg wraps” on January 1, 2021.

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South Bend, Indiana – Apparently Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc., the Plaintiff, entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Defendants, Triple LLL, Inc. (“Triple LLL”) and Maurice Long, in February 2012. Under the Agreement, Plaintiff purportedly purchased the assets of Triple LLL with the exception of Triple LLL’s cash, accounts receivable, motor vehicles not identified in the Agreement, and personal items of Mr. Long that were identified in the Agreement. The assets purchased included the goodwill and intangible assets of the business including, apparently, the intellectual property.

Since purchasing the business, the Plaintiff claims it has run a full-service maintenance and repair facility using the “Triple LLL” mark (the “Mark”). Further, the Plaintiff owns U.S. Registration No. 6,209,305 in connection with “retail stores featuring tractor, truck, and trailer parts and tractor, truck, and trailer maintenance, repair, and tire alignment” (the “Registration”).

It has since come to the attention of the Plaintiff that Triple LLL has begun operating a truck repair facility under the name “Triple LLL, Inc. Truck and Trailer Services.” In addition to the similar name, Triple LLL apparently runs its new business out of the same building it previously used for its business operations. Plaintiff claims the Defendants’ use of the Mark and the use of the same building to operate their business is likely to cause confusion and deceive the public into believing the Parties are connected. Further, Plaintiff claims Triple LLL has actively solicited its customers and actual confusion has occurred between vendors and customers of Plaintiff.

Therefore, Plaintiff is seeking damages for willful trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Plaintiff also claims Defendants’ actions amount to unfair competition and false designation of origin in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Plaintiff is requesting damages, treble damages, ill-gotten profits, reasonable attorneys’ fees, statutory damages, and the costs of the suit.

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