Articles Posted in INND News

Scott-J-FrankelScott J. Frankel has been selected as the new United States Magistrate Judge for the South Bend Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, succeeding the retiring Honorable Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. Frankel was chosen from among 30 applicants after a rigorous selection process that involved a panel of lawyers and non-lawyers recommending five finalists, from which the court’s bench ultimately selected Frankel.

Frankel brings with him extensive litigation experience in both criminal and civil matters, having served as a staff attorney with the Northern District of Indiana’s Federal Community Defenders office since 2018. His career includes law clerking, public defense work, and private sector practice. Chief Judge Holly A. Brady praised Frankel’s qualifications, emphasizing his litigation experience, calm demeanor, and compassion for clients.

As a magistrate judge, Frankel’s duties will encompass a broad range of responsibilities, including conducting preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, hearing pretrial matters, ruling on motions, holding trials for misdemeanor and civil cases, conducting settlement conferences, and other duties outlined in 28 U.S.C. § 636. Frankel’s appointment is subject to completion of required IRS and FBI background investigations.

fwp-logo-w-tag-line-300x58Fort Wayne, Indiana – Plaintiff Optical Tactics, LLC, operating as Fort Wayne Printing Company, has filed a trademark infringement complaint under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051, et seq., against Allen & Goel Marketing Company. The complaint alleges that Allen & Goel Marketing Company has infringed upon Fort Wayne Printing Company’s rights to the mark “FORT WAYNE.”

According to court documents, Fort Wayne Printing Company, established in 1902, has built a strong reputation and extensive goodwill associated with its “FORT WAYNE” mark in the printing services market in northeast Indiana. It has invested resources in promoting its services under this mark, making it distinctive and valuable. Fort Wayne Printing Company asserts that Allen & Goel Marketing Company, based in Pennsylvania, operates a website offering printing services targeted at northeast Indiana consumers and uses the “FORT WAYNE” mark without disclosing its location or lack of physical presence in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This association with the established mark owned by Fort Wayne Printing Company is seen by the Plaintiffs as misleading and infringing on their exclusive rights to use the mark in the region. The complaint argues that Allen & Goel Marketing Company’s actions are violating Fort Wayne Printing Company’s rights and diluting the meaning of the “FORT WAYNE” mark in the local printing market.

Fort Wayne Publishing Company is seeking permanent injunctive relief, monetary damages, disgorgement of profits, and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.

Following a recent trial, a jury in the U.S. District Court in South Bend, Indiana delivered a resounding win for recreational vehicle giant Forest River Inc. The court awarded Forest River a $2 million judgment in its trademark infringement case against local competitor inTech Trailers Inc., a ruling that could have significant implications for the industry.

DellaTerraTrailor-300x282The jury’s March 2024 verdict found inTech Trailers guilty of willfully infringing on Forest River’s trademarks, specifically those associated with its popular Della Terra brand and distinctive mountain design. This infringement stemmed from inTech’s introduction of a “Terra” brand travel trailer, which the jury found to bear similarities to Forest River’s established trademarks.

Forest River promptly issued a cease and desist demand to inTech upon discovering the infringement. Despite these warnings, inTech persisted, leading to the initiation of legal proceedings.

pic-300x171In Cyprus, Texas, Valcrum, LLC (“Valcrum”), a company specializing in trailer and axle market products, is engaged in a legal dispute with Dexter Axle Company, LLC (“Dexter”) from Indiana over trademark and trade dress infringement regarding a hubcap design.

According to court documents, Valcrum has developed a reputation for innovative hubcaps designed for 8,000-16,000-pound trailer axles. These hubcaps are identified by their distinct features, including a “signature red hex bezel with a hexagonal outer perimeter and an inner diameter.” Valcrum claims to have begun establishing trademark and trade dress rights for this design as early as late 2018.

The dispute arises from Valcrum’s allegation that Dexter, a manufacturer and distributor of axle and trailer accessories, has copied Valcrum’s hubcap design, including the distinctive red hex bezel, to market its own product called the “Fortress” hubcap. Additionally, Valcrum contends that Dexter breached a Mutual Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) by allegedly using confidential information, such as Valcrum’s customer list, to its advantage.

Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. and Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences, Inc. (“Nutramax”) have recently begun legal proceedings against CNB Retailers, LLC, Brett Hart, and Christina Miller (“Defendants”) alleging unauthorized resale of Nutramax products. The suit involves allegations concerning trademark infringement, unfair competition, and interference with contractual agreements.

NutramaxTMPic-300x158Nutramax Labs and Nutramax Vet, entities headquartered in South Carolina, are known for their development and distribution of health supplements tailored for companion animals. Court documents state that the trademarks associated with Nutramax, such as NUTRAMAX LABORATORIES and PROVIABLE, are widely recognized within the industry. Nutramax products are sold through authorized retailers which may have online or brick-and-mortar locations.

The crux of Nutramax’s grievance lies in Defendants’ purported unauthorized sales of Nutramax products, notably on, under the seller account name “UniversalExports.”  In addition to the accused products bearing the NUTRAMAX LABORATORIES and PROVIABLE trademarks, Nutramax asserts that the products being distributed by Defendants differ materially from those authorized by Nutramax, thus failing to meet the requisite quality standards. These requirements include proper storage conditions to maintain product quality and providing customer support and knowledge about Nutramax products.

Zanzi-PicIn a recent announcement from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, the legal community welcomes a new addition to its ranks. Abizer Zanzi has been selected as the United States Magistrate Judge, succeeding the esteemed Honorable Joshua P. Kolar, who has recently been elevated to Circuit Judge of the United states Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

With degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University School of Law, Mr. Zanzi arrives with a wealth of expertise. As an Assistant United States Attorney in Hammond, Indiana, he has played a pivotal role in prosecuting diverse cases, spanning national security, public corruption, terrorism, human trafficking, and white-collar crimes. Beyond his legal work, his commitment to justice shines through his pro bono representation of indigent clients and his volunteer coaching of youth baseball during his leisure time.

Upon the announcement, Chief Judge Holly A. Brady remarked, “While many qualified candidates applied for the position, Mr. Zanzi’s extensive experience in both civil and criminal litigation and his prior experience clerking with the Court made him a clear choice for the vacancy. In addition to his diverse experience, the pro bono work he has performed demonstrates his clear commitment to equal justice under the law. We are all anxious for Mr. Zanzi to join the Court. He will be a tremendous asset to the Court and litigants.”

Judge-Lee-207x300In a solemn moment that echoed across the Northern District of Indiana, the flags flew at half-staff, paying tribute to a titan of justice, Senior Judge William C. Lee. With a career spanning over four decades at the U.S. District Court, Judge Lee left an indelible mark on the legal community and beyond, his passing marking the end of an era.

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Judge Lee’s journey into law commenced with humble beginnings. Graduating from North Side High School in 1955, he embarked on a path that led him to Yale University, where he laid the groundwork for what would become a remarkable career. However, it was his time at the University of Chicago Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1962, that truly shaped his trajectory towards judicial excellence.

The pinnacle of Judge Lee’s career came with his appointment as a district judge by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Serving as Chief Judge from 1997 to 2003, he embodied integrity and wisdom, earning respect and admiration from his peers and the community alike.

Fort Wayne, IndianaGroup Dekko, Inc. and its subsidiary, Furnlite, Inc., have initiated legal proceedings against Metro Light & Power, LLC. The crux of the dispute lies in allegations of trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act, with Dekko and Furnlite seeking a declaratory judgment to invalidate Metro’s claims.

Metro Light & Power, LLC, based in Teaneck, New Jersey, has accused Dekko and Furnlite of infringing upon its trade dress rights. Specifically, Metro contends that Dekko’s Furnlite products bear a striking resemblance to Metro’s Bezel products, leading to consumer confusion. Metro has threatened legal action unless Dekko and Furnlite cease production and sales of their allegedly infringing products.Outlet-300x157In response to Metro’s allegations, Dekko and Furnlite have taken a firm stance, denying any wrongdoing. They assert that their products do not infringe upon Metro’s trade dress rights. Moreover, they argue that trade dress protection does not extend to functional features of a product, and they maintain that their own design patents predate Metro’s establishment.

Central to the dispute is the validity of Metro’s trade dress. Trade dress protection applies to the overall appearance of a product, but only if it serves as a source identifier and is non-functional. Dekko and Furnlite contend that Metro’s trade dress lacks distinctiveness and does not function as a source identifier. They argue that the design features highlighted by Metro serve functional purposes rather than acting as distinctive identifiers.

In a recent legal action, photographer Ivan Radic has filed suit against AllCity Adjusting LLC and Zor Development LLC for allegedly infringing upon his intellectual property rights. According to Radic, he is a seasoned professional photographer known for his diverse portfolio and creative styles.  He has accused the defendants of unauthorized use and distribution of his copyrighted work.

The complaint explains that the heart of the matter lies in Radic’s creation, a photograph titled “Plaster falling off the ceiling,” crafted in 2020 and officially registered under copyright law in 2021. Radic claims this work, publicly displayed on his Flickr page, was accompanied by explicit copyright management information and a denial of usage rights to the public.

Court documents state that Defendant AllCity Adjusting LLC, is a family-owned claims company aiding property owners in insurance claims and disaster relief.  Radic has accused AllCity and Zor Development LLC, the registrant of AllCity’s website, of copying and showcasing his work on their website’s blog section without Radic’s consent. Moreover, the defendants allegedly removed Radic’s copyright management information, in what he claims is a clear violation of his rights under the Copyright Act.

In a recent legal case involving Illinois Plaintiff, SAK Group, Inc. and Indiana Defendant, Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc., the complexities of trademark infringement and its legal implications came to the forefront.Pic-1-300x205

According to the complaint, SAK Group, Inc., is a renowned restaurant group operating under the trademark “Buttermilk Café.”  They initiated legal action against Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc., alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. The Plaintiff asserted that Blue Hill Hospitality’s use of the name “Buttermilk Pancake House” and its similar mark posed a threat to SAK’s established trademark rights, leading to confusion among consumers.

The complaint filed by SAK Group, Inc. encompassed various legal claims, including federal trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, false designation of origin, passing off, unfair competition, and violation of state laws related to deceptive trade practices. Each claim was supported by specific allegations regarding the similarities in marks, potential confusion among consumers, and the alleged willful nature of Blue Hill Hospitality’s actions.

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