Articles Posted in Indiana State Law

Terre Haute, Indiana – Dshay Towles was charged with theft and “offense against intellectual property” for selling on eBay stolen copies of 2017-10-26-BlogPhoto-231x300Call of Duty: WWII, which is scheduled to be released on November 3, 2017.

According to FOX59, the games were stolen from the Sony DADC facility in Terre Haute, where the company manufactures and distributes Blu-Rays, CDs, and DVDs. The games were later found on eBay, having been posted by Towles for roughly $45 per copy.

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Heartland-300x75Indianapolis, IndianaHeartland Consumer Products LLC and TC Heartland LLC, of Carmel, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark and trade dress infringement, dilution and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, the Indiana State Trademark Act, and the common law of the State of Indiana.

At issue are trademarks covering Splenda®-brand sweetener, which has been approved for use in over 80 countries and used in more than 4000 products globally.  In this Indiana litigation, Heartland claims that some or all of the following trademarks have been infringed: 1544079, 3346910; 4172135, 4165028, 4301712, 4172136, 4165029,4122311, 4187229, 4202774, 4230392, 4238101, 4106164, 4664653, and 4744600.  These trademarks have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  In addition, Heartland claims ownership of the following pending applications for United States Trademark Registration Serial Nos. 86865337, 87012521, and 87010504.

Defendants in the lawsuit are DineEquity, Inc., Applebee’s Franchisor LLC, Applebee’s Restaurants LLC, Applebees-300x220Applebee’s Services, Inc., International House of Pancakes, LLC f/k/a International House of Pancakes, Inc., IHOP Franchising LLC, IHOP Franchise Company, LLC and IHOP FranIHOP-300x225chisor LLC.  Plaintiff asserts that all Defendants have a principal place of business in Glendale, California.  They are accused of leading customers to believe that they offer Splenda-brand sweetener when they do not.  Plaintiff contends that instead of American-made Splenda, the product offered to the customers is, in fact, “a lower-quality product of China.”

Indiana trademark attorneys for Heartland sued in federal court.  They assert:

  • Count I: Common Law Trademark Infringement and Trademark Infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)
  • Count II: False Designation of Origin under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
  • Count III: Unfair Competition
  • Count IV: Trademark Dilution under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)
  • Count V: Trademark Dilution under I.C. 24-2-1-13.5
  • Count VII [sic]: Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief
  • Count VIII: Corrective Advertising Damages

Plaintiff asks the court for injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.  They also seek various types of damages, including actual, statutory, punitive and treble damages.

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NCAA-300x202Indianapolis, Indiana –  National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) of Indianapolis, Indiana sued in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

NCAA’s trademarks, which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office (“USPTO”), pertain to the following uses of FINAL FOUR and MARCH MADNESS:

MARK GOODS/SERVICES REG NO. & DATE
FINAL FOUR Association services, namely, conducting annual basketball tournaments at the college level 1,488,836;

May 17, 1988

FINAL FOUR Promoting the goods and services of others by allowing sponsors to affiliate their goods and services with collegiate championship tournaments 2,377,720;

Aug. 15, 2000

FINAL FOUR Printed matter, namely, guides in the field of sports; Luggage, namely, portfolios, backpacks, duffle bags, rolling luggage, garment bags, briefcases, athletic bags and tote bags; and Entertainment services, Namely, providing information in the field of college sports via the Internet 2,964,266;

June 28, 2006

MARCH MADNESS Entertainment services, namely, presentation of athletic and entertainment personalities in a panel forum 1,571,340;

Dec. 12, 1989

MARCH MADNESS Entertainment in the nature of basketball tournaments between college teams 2,485,443;

Sept. 4, 2001

MARCH MADNESS Telecommunications services; namely the transmission of voice, data, images, audio, video and information via local and long distance telephone, satellite and global computer networks; leasing telecommunications equipment, components, systems and supplies; electronic mail services; telephone voice messaging services; providing multiple-user access to global computer networks to transmit, receive and otherwise access and use information of general interest to consumers; web casting of athletic games, tournaments, exhibitions, and events via the Internet 3,025,527;

Dec. 13, 2005

Defendants in this Indiana trademark lawsuit are Kizzang LLC of Las Vegas, Nevada and Robert Alexander, the founder and owner of the business.  They are in the business of providing nationwide Internet-based promotions that award prizes for predicting the results of sporting events.  Plaintiff states that they have branded their NCAA-related services using the mark FINAL 3.

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Plaintiff further asserts that Defendants had planned to adopt APRIL MADNESS for the same services as FINAL 3, but that they delayed doing so upon learning that NCAA objected to their use of FINAL 3.  Kizzang has applied for federal trademark registrations for both marks with the USPTO.

Indiana trademark attorneys for Plaintiff contend that Defendants adopted both names because of their similarity to the marks used by NCAA and that Defendants did so with the intention of exploiting the goodwill associated with FINAL FOUR and MARCH MADNESS.  In this lawsuit, filed in federal court, the following claims are made:

  • Trademark Infringement Under 15 U.S.C. § 1114
  • Trademark Infringement Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
  • Trademark Dilution Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125
  • Common Law Unfair Competition

Plaintiff asks for various remedies from the court, including a judgment of willful and intentional violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1125 and Indiana common law; injunctive relief including restraining Defendants from further use of FINAL 3 and APRIL MADNESS as well as an order that the USPTO deny registration for the marks; damages, including treble damages; and attorneys’ fees.

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EconoLodge-Lafayaette-300x170Lafayette, IndianaChoice Hotels International, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement under federal and Indiana law.

Choice Hotels is in the business of franchising hotels.  It offers hotel and motel services under the following brands: CAMBRIA HOTELS & SUITES®, COMFORT INN®, COMFORT SUITES®, QUALITY®, SLEEP IN®, CLARION®, MAINSTAY SUITES®, SUBURBAN EXTENDED STAY HOTEL®, ECONO LODGE®, and RODEWAY INN®.

At issue in this Indiana trademark litigation is the Econo Lodge family of trademarks.  These trademarks include U.S. Trademark Nos.:

AmericanStructurePointIndianapolis, Indiana – The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the Marion Superior Court in litigation between two civil engineering firms, Plaintiff American Structurepoint Inc. and Defendant HWC Engineering Inc.  Three former employees of ASI, also listed as Defendants in the trial court, were listed in this appeal.

This dispute arose in 2014 when ASI employee Martin Knowles left ASI to join HWC as its vice president of operations.  Jonathan Day and David Lancet also left ASI to begin employment at HWC.

These former ASI employees had entered into noncompetition and non-solicitation agreements with ASI.  Despite these agreements, ASI contended in a lawsuit filed in Indiana state court that its former employees engaged in various acts prohibited by the agreements.  ASI claimed that Day had created a list of ASI employees whom he believed might be interested in leaving to join HWC.  ASI also asserted that Day subsequently shared that list with Knowles and called various ASI employees regarding employment with HWC.  ASI alleged that a total of six job offers were made by HWC to ASI employees.  ASI further introduced evidence that Knowles engaged in prohibited business-development activities with ASI clients to ASI’s detriment.

Fort Wayne, Indiana – Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. f/k/a Super 8 Motels, Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and other wrongdoings.

Plaintiff Super 8 operates a franchise system for guest lodging.  It claims ownership to the SUPER 8® service mark as well as various related trade names, trademarks and serviceUntitled-1 marks, some of which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  It estimates the value of the entity’s goodwill to exceed hundreds of millions of dollars.

In this Indiana intellectual property lawsuit, Super 8 alleges that former franchisees have violated the terms of a franchise agreement entered into with Super 8.  Three Indianapolis Defendants were listed: Auburn Lodging Associates, LLP (“ALA”), Kokila Patel and Dilip Patel.  A fourth Defendant Chicago Capital Holdings, LLC (“CCH”) of Hinsdale, Illinois was also named.

Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiffs Acushnet Company of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. of Huntington Beach, California and Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. of Hyogo, Japan filed a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.  This intellectual property litigation, commenced by an Indiana trademark litigator for Plaintiffs, was filed against both an individual and a business entity.

Listed as Defendants in this lawsuit are Giorgio Nunns a/k/a George Nunns a/k/a Georgie Nunns a/k/a Giorgio, an individual, and Custom Golf Solutions, LLC, individually and jointly, doing business under the names “bogie’s nearly new golf,” “gnunns81” and “golfcustomsolutions15.”  Defendants operate in Indianapolis and Carmel, Indiana.

Defendants are accused of engaging in the sale of counterfeit products and infringing upon Plaintiffs’ trademarks.  The following trademarks, to which Acushnet claims ownership and/or an exclusive license, are at issue:

Trademark Registration No. Registration Date Class/Goods
 Tiltleist 1,155,766 26 May 1981 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf balls, golf clubs and golf bags.
 T 3,376,961 5 February 2008 IC 24: golf towels

IC 25: golf clothing, namely jackets, shirts, hats and visors.

IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf putters, golf club head covers, golf club grips and divot tools.

 crown 2,620,432 17 September 2002 IC 28: golf clubs and accessories, namely golf tees, golf gloves, golf bags, golf putters, golf drivers, golf woods, golf irons, golf green repair tools, golf club covers and golf bag covers.
 ScottCameron 3,421,373 6 May 2008 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf bags.

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Evansville, Indiana – Richard Litov of Evansville, Indiana sued Freedom Heritage Museum, Inc., of Evansville, Indiana alleging trademark infringement.  Litov asserts claims under both federal and Indiana law.Freedom

Litov claims that he conceived the idea for the museum – a collection of exhibits and artifacts from the World War II era – as well as the museum’s name, stating that he served as its founding president and a founding board member.  He asserts that the museum used the trademarked name pursuant to permission that he granted “as president and board member” of the museum.

The trademark in question has been registered under Litov’s name as U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,939,292.  Litov states in his complaint that the registration covers the words FREEDOM HERITAGE MUSEUM and an associated design.  The word portion of the trademark, as listed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website, is FREEDOM HERITAGE MUSEUM, EST. 2012, EVANSVILLE INDIANA.  The application for the trademark registration was filed on July 6, 2015 and granted on April 19, 2016.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff Heartland Consumer Products LLC of Carmel, Indiana filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark and trade dress infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, as well as related wrongdoing under the Indiana State Trademark Act, the common law of the State of Indiana and the Indiana Crime Victims Act.  The intellectual property at issue pertains to Splenda®, a Heartland trademark under which it offers sucralose, a low-calorie sweetener.

Defendants in the litigation are Dunkin’ Brands, Inc. and Dunkin’ Donuts Franchised Restaurants LLC Untitled-1-300x102of Canton, Massachusetts.  They are accused of “deceiving customers into believing the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants carry Splenda® Brand Sweetener,” by both tacitly and affirmatively misrepresenting that the non-Splenda sucralose product that the Dunkin’ Defendants offer is, in fact, Heartland’s Splenda.  Plaintiff contends that consumers were confused about whether the sweetener that the Dunkin’ Defendants offered was Splenda and that some have complained that adding the other sweetener to their Dunkin’ Donuts products imparted a “funny taste.”

Defendants discontinued their agreement to purchase and offer Heartland’s Splenda in April 2016.  According to the Indiana complaint, following that decision, Defendants began offering sweetener in yellow packets similar to the single-serving packets in which Splenda is offered to the public.  Plaintiff contends that, when asked, Defendants in a “clear majority of stores affirmatively represented, through their agents or employees, that non-Splenda® sucralose sweetener was instead Splenda® Brand Sweetener.”  Plaintiff further contends that Dunkin’ Defendants are misappropriating Plaintiff’s trademarked “Sweet Swaps®” by the use of a similar term “Smart Swaps.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff Delicato Vineyards of Manteca, California filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and other wrongdoing. Defendant is Gnarly Grove Cider Co. of Columbus, Indiana.

Plaintiff Delicato claims ownership to two trademarks, U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3165707 for GNARLY HEAD, and U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4777145 for a design trademark. It offers Gnarly Head wine products for sale using these trademarks.

Defendant Gnarly Grove recently launched Gnarly Grove hard cider. Plaintiff contends that both the name and the trade dress of this product are confusingly similar to its Gnarly Head wine. It asserts that the similarities appear to be an intentional effort on the part of Defendant to capitalize on the reputation of the GNARLY HEAD brand.

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In this lawsuit, filed by Indiana trademark attorneys for Delicato, the following causes of action are alleged:

• Registered Trademark and Trade Dress Infringement -15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)
• False Designation of Origin -15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)

• Common Law Unfair Competition

Plaintiff is seeking equitable relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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