Articles Posted in False Designation of Origin

Hammond, Indiana – Sundance Botanicals, LLC (“Sundance”), the Plaintiff, allegedly sells and distributes elderberry syrups bearing the mark “ELDERPOWER.” The ELDERPOWER mark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office under U.S. Registration No. 5,821,635 for “Immune boosting nutritional supplements made from elderberries and organic ingredients” in 2019.

According to the Complaint, The Power of Elderberries, LLC (“Defendant”) markets and sells elderberry syrup with the mark “THE POWER OF ELDERBERRIES.” Sundance claims Defendant knew of the ELDERPOWER mark prior to adopting its mark and adopted the design elements and name for its elderberry syrup bottles in bad faith “to infringe and pray on Sundance’s goodwill.” The Defendant filed a U.S. trademark application for its mark in June 2019. Sundance then opposed the registration of the Defendant’s mark in February 2020. Opposition No. 91,253,891 is currently suspended pending the outcome of this civil suit.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – KS Equity Company, LLC (“KS”), the Plaintiff, operates a convenience store, Leo’s Market and Eatery (the “Leo’s Store”) in Indianapolis, Indiana. KS claims to own and use the following U.S. Trademark Reg. Nos. 5886802, 5886803, 5892871, and 5962680 (collectively, “Leo’s Trademarks”) in connection with the Leo’s Store. According to the Complaint, KS has also developed trade dress in the unique design elements of the Leo’s Store (“Leo’s Trade Dress”).

KS claims Defendants, RSM Investments LLC, Raghbir Singh, Pushpinder Singh, York Multani, and York Singh (collectively, “Defendants”), operate a convenience store or gas station called Leon’s in Indianapolis, Indiana (the “Leon’s Store”). Per the Complaint, the Leon’s Store is located approximately 22 miles away from the Leo’s Store and uses a confusingly similar name and logo compared to the Leo’s Trademarks. The brand of fuel sold in connection with each store, Marathon, allegedly exacerbates the potential customer confusion between the two stores.

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Lafayette, IndianaLafayette Venetian Blind, Inc. (“LVB”), the Plaintiff, claims it has developed substantial goodwill in connection with its distinctive U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3537759 for the word “Allure” for use in connection with window blinds and treatements. LVB claims that Defendant, Blinds to Go (U.S.), Inc. (“Blinds to Go”), uses the term “Allure” “to sell competing goods to many of the same consumers served by LVB.” According to the Complaint, LVB has demanding Blinds to Go cease and desist from using the “Allure” mark in connection with Blinds to Go’s window treatments, but it has failed to do so.

As such, LVB is seeking declaratory relief that it has superior rights to the term “Allure” and has the right to use the term “Allure” throughout the United States for “manufacturing, designing, and selling window treatments, blinds, shades, and related products and services.” Further, LVB is seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1114 and 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a), respectively). Finally, LVB is claiming damages for common law trademark infringement and passing off/unfair competition.

The case was assigned to Judge Phillip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge John E. Martin in the Northern District and assigned Case 4:20-cv-00021-PPS-JEM.

Fort Wayne, IndianaShield Exteriors, Inc. (“Shield Exteriors”) filed an infringement suit against five Defendants regarding its U.S. Copyright No. VA 2-174-290 (the “‘290 Registration”) and its “SHIELD EXTERIORS” word mark and logo (the “Shield Marks”) in the Northern District of Indiana. According to the Complaint, the ‘290 Registration protects eight photographs of roof installations completed by Shield Exteriors. Shield Exteriors claims it has used the Shield Marks in connection with roofing services since as early as 2015.

Defendant Roof Genius Pro (“Roof Genius”) allegedly owns and operates two different websites that display the Shield Marks and seven of the eight photographs protected by the ‘290 Registration. According to the Complaint, Roof Genius advertised for Defendant 4Ever Metal Roofing, LLC (“4Ever Metal”) via a video advertisement posted on Facebook that included photographs of metal roofs installed by Shield Exteriors. The link posted with that advertisement redirects viewers to a website hosted by Defendant Local2Online, which displays the name and logo of 4Ever Metal and solicits customer information utilizing photographs protected by the ‘290 Registration. The other two named Defendants, sued in their individual capacities, are the owner of Roof Genius and Local 2Online, John Estabrook, and the owner of 4Ever Metal, Travis Sliger.

The case was assigned to District Judge Holly A. Brady and Magistrate Judge Susan L. Collins in the Northern District and assigned Case 1:20-cv-00064-HAB-SLC.

Terre Haute, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, H-D U.S.A., LLC and Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC (collectively “Harley”), both of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Harley Life, LLC (“Harley Life”) and Bill Lemon (“Lemon” and collectively “Defendants”), both of Vincennes, Indiana, infringed their rights in U.S. Copyright Reg. No. VA 1-987-746 and the United States Trademark Registrations below (collectively “Harley’s Intellectual Property”).

Mark Reg. No. Goods and Services
HARLEY 1406876 Clothing; namely—tee shirts for men, women and children; knit tops for women and girls; and children’s shirts
HARLEY 1683455 Shirts, tank tops, boots and sweatshirts
HARLEY 1708362 Embroidered patches for clothing
HARLEY 1352679 Motorcycles
HARLEY 3818855 Non-luminous, non-mechanical tin signs, non-luminous, non-mechanical metal signs
Trademark image 4465604 Clothing, namely, shirts, hats, caps, belts, jackets, gloves, sweatshirts, lounge pants, wrist bands
Trademark image 3525970 Jackets, coats, gloves, shirts, shorts, caps, hats, headwear, knit hats, belts, neckties, pants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, leather clothing, namely, leather jackets, leather gloves, footwear, namely, boots and vest extenders

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, F.F.T., LLC (“F.F.T.”) having a principal place of business inFFT-BlogPhoto-300x65 Seattle, Washington, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Thomas Sexton, Ph.D. (“Sexton”), Functional Family Therapy Associates, Inc. (“Functional Family Therapy”), Astrid Van Dam (“Van Dam”), and FFT Partners, LLC (“FFT Partners” and collectively “Defendants”), infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Nos. 4,389,569 for the mark FFT-CW®, 4,435,321 for the mark FFP®, and 5,267,897 for the mark FUNCTIONAL FAMILY THERAPY CHILD WELFARE®. F.F.T. is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

F.F.T. claims it “is an organization dedicated to training psychotherapists in the ‘Functional Family Therapy’ protocol that its founder, Dr. James F. Alexander (“Dr. Alexander”), developed through decades of research and practical application.” According to the complaint, F.F.T. conducts business in thirty-three states and ten foreign countries. Sexton and Van Dam are individuals, alleged to be residing in Bloomington, Indiana. Functional Family and FFT Partners are a corporation and limited liability company, respectively, each alleged to have a principal place of business in Bloomington, Indiana.

According to the Amended Complaint, Dr. Alexander began studying and developing his family based method of therapy for delinquent adolescents in the 1960s and began referring to his therapy model as “Functional Family Therapy” in 1982 with the publication of his first book. F.F.T. claims this protocol has become very successful and is now referred to simply as “FFT.” Dr. Alexander along with non-party, Richard Harrison (“Harrison”), and Sexton allegedly formed FFT, Inc. in 1998 to train therapists in the Functional Family Therapy protocol. Per the complaint, Harrison left the company four years later and Douglass Kopp (“Kopp”) entered the company as CEO and Managing Member. F.F.T. claims it was formed to pursue the same efforts as FFT, Inc., which was subsequently administratively dissolved.

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Hammond, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Three Floyds Brewing LLC (“Three Floyds”) of Munster, Indiana filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Floyd’s Spiked Beverages LLC and Lawrence Trachtenbroit, both of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Nos. 3,853,136, 4,759,863, 4,341,332 and 5,781,941 (collectively the “Three Floyds’ Marks”). Plaintiff is seeking actual damages, punitive damages, pre and post judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees..

ThreeFloyds-NewPhoto

Three Floyds claims to be one of the top craft brewers in the United States, selling under the trade name and mark “THREE FLOYDS” since 1996. Two of the Three Floyds’ Marks at issue in this case are claimed to be incontestable by Three Floyds pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065. Three Floyds further claims that its marks have become publicly identifiable and that its customers frequently shorten the Three Floyds’ Marks to “‘FLOYDS’ and refer to ‘FLOYDS’ as the source of Three Floyds’ products and services.”

According to the Complaint, Defendants produce and sell alcoholic lemonade and tea beverages under the name “Floyd’s”. Defendants allegedly filed U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 87922801 (the “First Application”) with the USPTO for a stylized FLOYD’s logo (the “Floyd’s logo”) for “Alcoholic beverages, except beer” on May 15, 2018. Defendants claimed to have used the Floyd’s logo in commerce since at least May 1, 2018. On or about November 5, 2018, it is alleged that Defendants filed U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 88181124 (the “Second Application”) with the USPTO to register the mark “FLOYD’S”  for “Beer-based coolers” and claimed to have used the mark in commerce since at least January 1, 2018.

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fanimation-blogphoto-300x65Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Fanimation, Inc. of Zionsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Décor Selections, LLC d/b/a Lighting Merchant (“Lighting Merchant”) of Ocean, New Jersey, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 2,318,516 for FANIMATION (the “Registered Mark”). Fanimation is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Fanimation claims it owns the Registered Mark for “electric wall mounted fans, electric free-standing floor pedestal fans and electric ceiling fans for non-industrial use.” Further, Fanimation alleges it has been using the Registered Mark, FANIMATION, since at least 1984 and because it has filed all proper paperwork and the Registered Mark has been registered more than five years, the Registered Mark is now “incontestable” pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1065. According to the complaint, Fanimation sells its fans in a variety of ways through direct sales via its website or showrooms, or through Authorized Dealers. Authorized Dealers have entered into a written Authorized Dealer Agreement (“ADA”) to sell Fanimation fans through specially trained staff. Fanimation claims “original buyers” of its fans from direct sales or those through an Authorized Dealer receive a warranty that is redeemable with proof of purchase, purchase order, or invoice number.

Per the complaint, Fanimation claims Lighting Merchant is and has been selling fans bearing the Registered Mark on its website without authorized use via an ADA. Fanimation claims that Lighting Merchant’s lack of warranty and failure to specially train staff on Fanimation’s products make “the fans sold by Lighting Merchant materially different from the genuine FANIMATION® fans offered by Fanimation and its Authorized Dealers.” Fanimation believes consumers are likely to be confused when purchasing fans from Lighting Merchant as to the source and quality of the fans.

Fanimation allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to Lighting Merchant on or about January 19, 2019. Fanimation believes Lighting Merchant purchases fans from Authorized Dealer(s) and then sells them second-hand. These acts, if true, would breach at least one of the terms of the ADA signed by the Authorized Dealer(s) selling to Lighting Merchant. As such, Fanimation is seeking injunctive relief and seeking damages for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment.

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Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant, SportFuel, Inc. (“SportFuel”), of Chicago, Illinois, originally filed suit against Defendants-Appellees, PepsiCo, Inc. (“Pepsi”) and The Gatorade Company (“Gatorade”) (collectively the “Appellees”), for trademark infringement in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. After the District Court granted summary judgment for GatoradeGatorade-BlogPhoto and Pepsi, SportFuel appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Circuit Judge Kanne wrote the opinion affirming the grant of summary judgment by the District Court.

SportFuel provides personalized nutrition services to professional and amateur athletes and sells its own brand of dietary supplements. SportFuel registered two trademarks for “SportFuel” the first of which was registered for “food nutrition consultation, nutrition counseling, and providing information about dietary supplements and nutrition.” Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065, the first registration became “incontestable” in 2013. The second registration for “SportFuel” was for “goods and services related to dietary supplements and sports drinks enhanced with vitamins.”

Gatorade, now a household name, was created in 1965. Although Gatorade is known for its traditional sports drinks, it also sells customizable sports drinks for individual professional athletes and other sports nutrition products. Starting in 2013, Gatorade began describing and marketing its products as “sports fuels” and registered the trademark “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” in 2016 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”). During the registration process, “Gatorade disclaimed the exclusive use of ‘The Sports Fuel Company’ after the PTO advised the company that the phrase was merely descriptive of its products.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, CMB Entertainment, LLC (“CMB”) a limited liability company formed under the laws of the State of Indiana and Bryan Abrams (“Abrams”) of Oklahoma, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Mark Calderon (“Calderon”) of Ohio and Pyramid Entertainment Group, Inc. (“Pyramid”) of New York, New York, transacting business in the State of Indiana, CMB-BlogPhoto-184x300infringed CMB’s rights in the federally registered U.S. trademark “COLOR ME BADD” (the “Mark”) and Calderon breached his fiduciary duties. Plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction, damages, treble damages, pre-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

According to the complaint, CMB has two members, Abrams and Calderon, who were also two of the founding members for “Color Me Badd”, (the “Group”) a well-known R&B group. Plaintiffs claim Pyramid conducts business in Indiana as a booking agent which books shows and performances for the Group. Abrams claims he kept the Mark alive during the Group’s hiatus from 2000 to 2009/2010 by performing as Color Me Badd without the other three founding members.

Abrams and Calderon allegedly reformed the Group to perform at a concert in Hawaii in July 2010. A third member, Kevin Thornton (“Thornton”) then allegedly rejoined and the three formed CMB on May 26, 2011 for the business operations of the Group including owning the Group’s intellectual property rights. CMB filed to register the Mark on or about July 22, 2011 and was granted the Serial No. 85,378,693. Plaintiffs claim CMB is the sole owner of the Mark and at the time of formation, each member held an equal one-third interest in the company. While an operating agreement for CMB was drafted in October 2013, according to the complaint, it was never executed.

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