Articles Posted in New Litigation

BlogPhoto2-204x300Indianapolis, Indiana – Allen L. Asher-Butler (“Asher”), the Plaintiff, claims he designed and illustrated the covers for at least four books (the “Books”). Asher claims Defendants, Amazon-KDP and Jeffrey Bezo (collectively “Amazon”) have been selling the Books authored by William “Will” Wills since 2009 without his authorization. According to the Complaint, Asher filed a claim of copyright infringement with Amazon but apparently the Books have still been sold in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Asher is seeking damages for the sales of the Books in the form of a percentage of sales as a royalty. The approximate amount of royalties claimed by Asher is $5.4 million. Asher is further seeking to recover all court costs and fees.

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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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Warsaw, Indiana – Apparently Orthopediatrics Corp. and Orthex, LLC (collectively “Ortho”), the Plaintiffs, own a patented method of fixing broken or deformed bones, United States Patent No. 10,258,377 (the “‘377 Patent”). Ortho claims Defendants, WishBone Medical, Inc. (“WishBone”) and Nick A. Deeter (“Deeter”), have infringed the ‘377 Patent. According to the Complaint, Deeter was an employee of Ortho from 2006 to 2013. Thereafter, Deeter apparently started WishBone in 2016.

Ortho claims WishBone’s “Smart Correction® External Fixation System” not only infringes the ’377 Patent, but that “WishBone admittedly knew of the ‘377 Patent by no later than June 2019, but proceeded to move forwarded [sic] with its infringing, copycat system.” Additionally, Ortho claims Deeter has breached his severance agreement in which he agreed not to disparage Ortho.

Ortho is seeking enhanced damages and attorneys’ fees for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 284 and 285. Further, Ortho is seeking damages for unfair competition and false advertising under the Lanham Act. Finally, pursuant to Indiana common law, Ortho is suing Deeter for breach of contract, and both Defendants for defamation, tortious interference with contractual relationships, and tortious interference with prospective contractual relationships.

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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.

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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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Indianapolis, Indiana – According to the Complaint, Delta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff, is a corporation involved in the business of manufacturing innovative faucets. Delta claims it owns two patents relating to “Magnetic Coupling[s] for Sprayheads,” United States Patent No. 10,669,702 and United States Patent No. 10,724,217 (collectively the “Delta Patents”). Further, Delta claims it launched products featuring the MagnaTite® Docking, protected by the Delta Patents, in 2007.BlogPhoto-1

Delta claims Globe Union Industrial Corp., Gerber Plumbing Fixtures LLC and Danze, Inc. (the “Defendants”) manufacture, distribute, and/or offer magnetic docking faucets for sale. The allegedly infringing products feature “DockForce® magnetic docking technology” (the “Accused Products”). Delta claims the Accused Products infringe the Delta Patents and are seeking judgment that at least one claim of each of the Delta Patents has been infringed under 35 U.S.C. §§ 271(a) and (b). Further, Delta is seeking an injunction under 35 U.S.C. § 283 and damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, Alfred C. Nelson invented a magnetic coupling for sprayheads for his employer, Delta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff. Delta claims it now owns three patents covering Mr. Nelson’s invention, US. Patent Nos. 7,753,079, 10,669,702 and 10,724,217 (collectively the “Delta Patents”). Further, Delta claims it has produced kitchen faucets using MagnaTite® Docking and MagneDock® Technology that are protected by the Delta Patents.

According to the Corrected Complaint, Kohler Co., the Defendant, manufactures and offers for sale products having a “DockNetik® magnetic docking system that allegedly infringe the Delta Patents. The allegedly infringing products include the Motif™ kitchen faucet. Delta is seeking an injunction, damages, and attorneys’ fees for patent infringement. Continue reading

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – Apparently, Amanda Cerny, Arianny Celeste Lopez, Abigail Ratchford, Alana Marie Souza, Tiffany Toth Gray, and Katarina Van Derham (collectively the “Plaintiffs”), are all professional models. Plaintiffs claim Defendants, B&B Operations, LLC, B&K Property Holdings LLC, and B&B Property Holdings, LLC, collectively doing business as Club 44 have used the Plaintiffs’ images to promote their strip club business. According to the Complaint, Club 44 has used the Plaintiffs’ images on its social media sites to advertise its business.

Plaintiffs claim that Club 44 used their images without consent, authorization, or payment. Further, even if Club 44 had offered to pay the Plaintiffs for the use of their images, Plaintiffs claim they would have refused to avoid harming their reputations and brands. According to the Complaint, by using Plaintiffs’ images on their social media accounts, “Defendants convey and reasonably suggest, falsely and fraudulently, that Plaintiffs endorse the Club, are affiliated with the Club, participated in the Club, sponsor the Club, or agreed to advertise for the Club.”

Plaintiffs are seeking damages for violations of the Lanham Act including false endorsement, unfair competition, and false advertising. Further, Plaintiffs claim their right of publicity pursuant to Ind. Code § 32-36-1-0.2 et seq., was violated. Finally, Plaintiffs assert Club 44 was unjustly enriched by the use of Plaintiffs’ images.

At last three of the Plaintiffs, Ratchford, Souza, and Toth Gray are involved in other similar suits that were recently filed in Indiana. Continue reading

Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently Delta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff, employs a number of engineers to improve upon products within the plumbing industry including kitchen faucets. One of those engineers invented a “Magnetic Coupling for Sprayheads,” which is protected by U.S. Patent Nos. 10,669,702 and 10,724,217 (the “Patents At Issue”). This invention apparently provides for a simple and durable coupling between a pull-down sprayhead and the spout of a kitchen faucet.

Delta claims Defendant, As America, Inc. has infringed the Patents In Suit with its “Dock-Tite™ spray-head docking system.” Delta is seeking judgment pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 271(a) and (b), an injunction pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 283, treble damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284, and attorneys’ fees pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285.

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Showgirl-I-300x111Fort Wayne, Indiana – Apparently, the Plaintiffs in this case, Jessica Burciaga, Jessica Hinton, Jamie Eason Middleton, Lucy Pinder, Abigail Ratchford, Emily Scott, Denise Trlica, and Sara Underwood, are professional models. The Plaintiffs claim B&S Fort Wayne, Inc., Showgirl III, Inc. and Reba Enterprises LLC (collectively “Defendants”) doing business as Showgirl I and Showgirl III, have used their images and likeness to promote their strip clubs without permission of the Plaintiffs.

According to the Complaint, the Defendants’ use of the Plaintiffs’ pictures in connection with their strip clubs violates the Plaintiffs’ rights and violates the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), for false endorsement, unfair competition, and/or false advertising. Further, the Plaintiffs allege the Defendants have violated their right of publicity pursuant to Ind. Code § 32-36-1-0.2 et seq. Finally, the Plaintiffs claim the Defendants have been unjustly enriched by promoting their businesses using the Plaintiffs’ images and likeness.

At least two of the Plaintiffs in this case, Hinton and Pinder, are involved in a similar lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.

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FantasyGentlemensClub-300x184Hammond, Indiana – Cora Skinner and Tiffany Toth Gray, the Plaintiffs, claim to be professional models residing in California. According to the Complaint, a model’s reputation impacts the commercial value associated with their image or likeness to promote a product or service. Further, the Plaintiffs assert they each have “the right to control the commercial exploitation of their name, image, likeness, and advertising ideas.”

Apparently, Sahara, Inc. d/b/a Fantasy (the “Club”), the Defendant, operates a strip club in Hammond, Indiana. The Plaintiffs claim the Club used their images to promote its business without permission or compensation. As such, the Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for false endorsement, unfair competition, and false advertising pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125.

Plaintiffs further claim the Defendant violated their right of publicity under Ind. Code § 32-36-1-0.2 et seq. Finally, Plaintiffs claim the Defendant was unjustly enriched by misappropriated the images of the Plaintiffs to promote the Club.

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