Articles Posted in False Designation of Origin

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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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Indianapolis, IndianaVroom, Inc. (“Vroom”), the Plaintiff, apparently began selling used vehicles online in 2013. As e-commerce has taken off, Vroom sought and registered numerous trademarks including those at issue in this case as shown below (the “Vroom Marks”).​

Mark Registration No./Serial No.
VROOM 4,917,005
Picture1-5076055 5,076,055
VROOM 5,592,887
Picture2-5436572 5,436,572
VROOM GET IN 5,964,489
VROOM 6,075,286
Picture3-6070931 6,070,931
VROOM 87/287,698

According to the Complaint, Vroom became aware of Defendants’, Midwest Motors LLC, d/b/a Vrooomsace Car Selection and Khaled Alragwi, use of VROOMSACE, VROOMSACE CAR SELECTION, VROOMCARS.COM, vroomcars.com, and vroomindy.com in connection with the buying and selling of used cars (collectively the “Allegedly Infringing Properties”) in December 2020. Counsel for Vroom apparently sent multiple letters and emails to Defendants and even attempted to contact Defendants by phone to inform them of their allegedly infringing actions. As of the filing of the Complaint, Vroom claims Defendants did not respond to any of the cease and desist communications and continued using the Allegedly Infringing Properties.

Vroom claims Defendants’ use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties is likely to cause confusion or deceive customers as to the connection of the Defendants and Vroom. Therefore, Vroom is claiming Defendants’ activities and use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties constitute trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Also, under the Lanham Act, Vroom is seeking damages for false designation of origin and unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Vroom is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute common law unfair competition and trademark infringement. Finally, Vroom claims Defendants are in violation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) for using and registering the domain names “vroomindy.com” and “vroomcars.com.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, ABI Attachments, Inc. (“ABI”), the Plaintiff entered into a Product Lines Purchase Agreement with Defendants, Kiser Arena Specialists, Inc., (“KAS”) Robert D. Kiser, Individually and as Trustee of The  Kiser Family Trust, and James Kiser (collectively, the “Defendants”). Under the Agreement, ABI allegedly acquired assets and intellectual property including the trademark “DRAGMASTER®,” U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,044,235 (the “Mark”), and “Product Lines” including “specifications, shop drawings, records, and intellectual property rights relating to the Product Lines.” ABI claims Defendants have used those documents relating to the Product Lines to market knockoff products. For example, ABI claims the Defendants’ Kiser 1000 Series is substantially similar to the ABI DragMaster as shown below.

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Further, ABI asserts that Defendants have promoted the “new” products as “redesigned” which indicates the Defendants’ products are based on intellectual property now owned by ABI rather than a new product developed from scratch. According to the Complaint, KAS has used the same background music in some of its promotional videos as ABI: Compare

https://youtu.be/CWPjo2Ogzbc (KAS) with https://youtu.be/9lY2X2UvoL4 (ABI). ABI claims it has attained significant goodwill throughout the United States and the world and that Defendants alleged misleading and false advertisements have caused irreparable damage to ABI’s reputation.

ABI first seeks damages for Defendants’ alleged breach of their obligations under the Product Lines Purchase Agreement. Next, ABI claims Defendants have misappropriated its trade secrets by using the “specifications, shop drawings, blueprints, records and intellectual property rights relating to the Product Lines.” Pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1116 and 1117, ABI is seeking injunctive relief as well as actual and treble damages for willful trademark infringement. ABI is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute false designation of origin and false advertising in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Finally, ABI is seeking damages for unfair competition, trademark misappropriation, and unjust enrichment under Indiana common law.

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Hammond, Indiana – Apparently Plaintiff, La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC (“La Michoacana”) owns numerous federal trademark registrations including the seven at issue in this case (the “Michoacana Marks”):

Mark Registration No.
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET 3669454
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET 4662100
Picture1 4662101
Picture2 4662104
LA MICHOACANA MEAT MARKET KIDS 4771484
Picture3 4784267
Picture4 4784268

According to the Complaint, La Michoacana uses the Michoacana Marks in connection with their meat markets, grocery stores, fruit shops, restaurants, and bakeries. Additionally, La Michoacana claims to sell private label goods such as coffee, beans, and spices.

Cacimiro Galan and Carniceria y Fruteria La Morentita, Defendants, allegedly own and operate a Mexican-themed grocery store using the name “Carniceria y Fruteria La Michoacana.” La Michoacana further asserts that Defendants have a link to La Michoacana’s website on their facebook page, which gives the improper impression that the Parties are affiliated or Defendants have a license to use the Michoacana Marks.

La Michoacana claims it informed Defendants of their infringing actions, but the Defendants did not cease. Therefore, La Michoacana is seeking damages for willful trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). Next, La Michoacana is claiming false designation of origin and unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Finally, La Michoacana is seeking relief for common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, W.A.T.C.H TV Company d/b/a Watch Communications (“Watch”), the Plaintiff, is in the business of providing broadband Internet access to consumers and enterprise customers in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. Defendant, Greg Jarman (“Jarman”), was allegedly an employee of Watch beginning in February 2014. According to the Complaint, Jarman was then elected to the positions of Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer in March 2018. In February 2019, Watch claims Jarman approached the President and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Williams (“Williams”) with an opportunity to assist in a project in Tennessee. However, Watch claims Williams instructed Jarman to not proceed with the Tennessee project because Watch did not have a presence in Tennessee.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, La Michoacana Meat Market TM Holdings, LLC (“La Michoacana”), the Plaintiff owns a number of federal trademark registrations for use in connection with its Mexican-styled grocery stores, meat markets, fruit shops, restaurants, and bakeries (the “LA MICHOACANA Marks”).

According to the Complaint, Defendants, Josue Lopez and Supermercado Jireh LLC, own and operate at least one Mexican-themed grocery store using the name “Super Mercado Jireh Pollo Michoacano. La Michoacana claims that Defendants’ use of “MICHOACANO” in connection with food-related goods and services is confusingly similar to the LA MICHOACANA Marks and therefore constitutes infringement of those marks.

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La Michoacana is seeking damages for federal trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). It is further claiming damages for false designation of origin and unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. 1125(a). As La Michoacana claims it has suffered irreparable injury for which it has no adequate remedy at law, it is seeking a permanent injunction pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1116(a). Finally, La Michoacana is seeking damages for common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, Armored Heating and Cooling Inc. (“AHC”), the Plaintiff, “is a leading provider of residential and commercial HVAC repair, service, sales and installations in central Indiana.” AHC claims the Defendant, Rylie Investments LLC (“Rylie”) also provides HVAC services in Indiana under the name “Armor Air.”

AHC claims to own U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 90/058,569, U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 90/084,330 and Indiana Trademark Registration ID 2020000026067 (the “AHC Trademarks”). According to the Complaint, Rylie filed a federal trademark application for the mark “ARMOR AIR” on July 20, 2020 under Application Serial No. 90/061,501. AHC further claims Rylie advertises its HVAC services despite not being a licensed HVAC contractor in Indianapolis, Indiana. Finally, AHC claims customers have been confused between the two companies and customers have complained that Rylie’s services are inferior and of poor quality.

AHC claims Rylie is liable for trademark infringement of the AHC Trademarks, false designation of origin, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), and the common law. AHC is further seeking an injunction for trademark infringement pursuant to Ind. Code §§ 24-2-1-13 and 24-2-1-14.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently Heartland Consumer Products LLC (“Heartland”), the Plaintiff, is the owner of the SPLENDA® brand sugar substitute sweetener, which comes in yellow packaging (the “Yellow Trade Dress”). According to the Complaint, Heartland has also used a variety of legally protected trademarks in connection with its SPLENDA® brand products.

TrademarkTable

In addition to its U.S. trademarks, and common law rights to the Yellow Trade Dress, Heartland also claims to have obtained trademark registrations for the SPLENDA® intellectual property in over 90 countries.

Heartland claims Speedway, LLC (“Speedway”), the Defendant, has “engaged in the active deception of customers through misappropriation of the Yellow Trade Dress in a manner that makes Speedway’s yellow sucralose packets easily mistakable for SPLENDA®’s yellow packets. Per the Complaint, Speedway failed “to provide sufficient cues to the consumer that the yellow sweetener packets in Speedway stores are not the leading brand sucralose-based sweetener sold by Heartland.” Therefore, Heartland claims Speedway’s actions are likely to deceive consumers into believing its sweetener provided in yellow packets is SPLENDA®.

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Due to Speedway’s use of yellow packaging for sucralose, Heartland claims it has committed trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and false advertising pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Heartland is seeking enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees under 15 U.S.C. § 1117 because it claims “Speedway’s actions are intentional, willful, and calculated to cause confusion, mistake or deception.” Further, Heartland is claiming common law trade dress infringement under Ind. Code § 24-2-1-15. Next, Heartland is claiming common law unfair competition. Finally, Heartland is claiming trademark dilution under Ind. Code § 24-2-1-13.5.

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South Bend, IndianaFloat-On Corporation (“Float-On”), the Plaintiff, claims to sell unique, high quality immersible boat trailers throughout the United States and in several other countries. According to the Complaint, Float-On has used the registered and incontestable mark FLOAT-ON® (the “Registered Mark”), covered by U.S. Reg. No. 885,333, to identify its boat trailers for over fifty years. Float-On further claims it has expended large amounts of money in advertising its products bearing the Registered Mark.https://www.iniplaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/366/2020/10/New.Photo_-1.pngPer the Complaint, Paul’s Marine, Inc. d/b/a PMI Marine Distributors and Paul E. Myers, Jr., the Defendants, copied the Registered Mark and have adopted a confusingly similar mark for boat trailers – FLOTE-ON. Float-On claims the Defendants intentional and willful selling of their products with the alleged infringing mark has caused actual consumer confusion in the marketplace. Float-On is seeking damages for federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and counterfeiting pursuant to the Lanham Act among several common law claims.

 

 

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Great Grizzly, Inc. (“Grizzly”), Plaintiff, claims to have sold and imported fireworks in Indiana for over 50 years. In addition, Grizzly claims to have several federal trademarks including the one at issue in this case assigned Registration No. 2,329,220 for “PREDATOR” (the “Registered Mark”).

https://www.iniplaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/366/2020/10/Great.Grizzly.Blog_.Photo_.png

Grizzly alleges the Defendants, Winco Fireworks, Inc. and Winco Fireworks International, LLC (the “Winco Defendants”) offer and sell fireworks throughout the United States. According to the Complaint, the Winco Defendants have sold fireworks that infringe the Registered Mark and have failed to desist their infringement after being informed of the Registered Mark. Therefore, Grizzly is seeking damages for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051, et seq. and state common law. Grizzly is also claiming the Winco Defendants violated Indiana Code § 24-5-0.5-3(b)(1) for deceptive consumer practices and committed tortious interference with a business relationship under the common law.

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