Indianapolis, Indiana – The American Automobile Association, Inc. (“AAA”), the Plaintiff, is a not-for-profit, non-stock Connecticut Corporation. AAA provides approximately 60 million members with products and services throughout the United States and Canada. The products and services include automobile repair services at its AAA Car Care Centers and through AAA Approved auto repair businesses, financial advice, insurance and warranty coverage, and discounts. AAA provides its products and services through local AAA member clubs, including AAA Hoosier Motor Club. Since as early as 1902, AAA has uses more than 150 trademarks in connection with automobile-related products and services offered to its members.
South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Peoplelink, LLC (“Peoplelink”), a Delaware Corporation, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Kelly Boutell, a former employee of Peoplelink, infringed their rights under the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1832, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) 18 U.S.C. § 1030 and committed Breach of Contract.
According to the Complaint, Boutell was employed by Peoplelink for over 20 years in various roles such as Certified Sales Trainer, Vice President of Fulfillment, and Senior Regional Vice President. Boutell was one of two Certified Sales Trainers. She conducted two-to-three annual sales training sessions for all of Peoplink business entities and functioned informally as a sales leader for Peoplelink’s entire footprint.
Merrillville, Indiana – Plaintiff, NuStar Enterprises LLC (“NuStar”), is a clothing and apparel company that markets and sells clothing and apparel and related accessories. NuStar was granted a registration for its mark RELOADED® under Registration No. 6,376,399 with the USPTO on June 8, 2021 alleging they began using the mark as early as September 2016. Plaintiff also owns state trademarks for the same mark in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
According to the Complaint, NuStar learned that Bill Omar Carrasquillo, a rapper and YouTube celebrity known as “Omi in a Hellcat,” intended to start an apparel company under the brand name RELOADED. NuStar sought to work out a licensing arrangement with Mr. Carrasquillo’s agent. These efforts fell apart in late 2019.
Otisco, Indiana – Design Tascono, Inc. the Plaintiff claims to have numerous copyright registrations for its unique statue designs, 5 of which are at issue in this case (“Tascono Works”).
According to the Complaint, Design Tascono is the owner of numerous copyrights for various decorative pieces, including wall sculptures. Design Tascono sells these pieces through various means, including its website, catalog, previously through SkyMall magazine, as well as through various authorized on-line retailers and through its network of North American brick-and-mortar distributors and retailers.
Guilford, Indiana – Plaintiff Tara Mapes is a well-known photographer specializing in fashion and fine art photography. She also sells digital backgrounds for photographers through an Etsy store called Enchanted Eye Creations by Tara Mapes. The limitations on the license under which she sells the digital backgrounds on her Etsy store is listed in numerous locations.
Mapes created the picture “Santa with Magic Snow Globe” and applied for a Copyright Registration with the United States Copyright Office. She was granted registration on December 17, 2018.
Terre Haute, Indiana – Plaintiffs, Broadcast Music Inc. (“BMI”), Peer Music III LTD, Universal – Songs of Polygram International, Inc., Songs of Universal, Inc., EMI Consortium Songs, Inc. d/b/a EMI Longitude Music, Fourteenth Hour Music, Inc., Springtime Music, Inc., EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. Sony/ATV Songs LLC, and Fall out Boy Inc. d/b/a Chicago X Softcore Songs have allegedly contacted Warehouse L.L.C. d/b/a The Verve over 60 times since March 2018 to discuss their obligations under the Copyright Act without success.
New Albany, Indiana – Poulsen Roser A/S (“Poulsen”), the Plaintiff, is a family-owned company allegedly world-famous for breeding distinctive rose varieties. Apparently due to this notoriety, Poulsen obtains patent and trademark protection for its roses throughout the world, including the United States. According to the Complaint, Poulsen developed a unique currant red hybrid tea rose variety branded with the trademark INGRID BERGMAN (the “Mark”) in the early 1980s. In addition to being a world-renowned rose and receiving numerous awards, the INGRID BERGMAN rose was apparently inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies’ Rose Hall of Fame in 2000.
Poulsen claims the Mark, protected under U.S. Federal Trademark Reg. No. 2,990,814 (the “‘814 Registration”), has been used in U.S. commerce continuously since 1986. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1057(b), Poulsen claims the ‘814 Registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the Mark, Poulsen’s ownership of the Mark, and Poulsen’s exclusive right to use the Mark in commerce. Only Poulsen possesses the consent of the heirs of the actress Ingrid Bergman to use her name in connection with roses.
South Bend, Indiana – Apparently the Plaintiff, Johnson Controls Technology Company (“Johnson”), is a technology holding company for its parent company Johnson Controls International, plc (“JCI”). Johnson claims it owns multiple utility and design patents including those at issue in this case, U.S. Patent Nos. 11,022,332, 10,684,029, 10,528,013, 8,826,165, 8,190,728, D788,785, D924,888, D924,890 (collectively, “Asserted Patents”).
According to the Complaint, JCI, including Johnson, are competitors with Defendant, Kreuter Manufacturing Co., Inc. d/b/a KMC Controls, Inc. (“KMC”) in the field of building management systems, HVAC systems, and related technological solutions. Johnson claims KMC manufactures, uses, and sells devices, systems, and software that infringe the Asserted Patents. Namely, the KMC TotalControl software suite, the KMC Conquest line of controllers, the KMC ConnectLite software application, the KMC Commander automation platform, and the KMC Commander gateway devices (collectively, the “Accused Products”). Additionally, KMC allegedly “provides its customers with instructions, product information, and technical information, which instruct its customers to use its devices, systems, and software in infringing ways.”
Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently Sayre Berman (“Berman”), the Plaintiff, creates photographic images, which she licenses for various uses including online and print publications. Berman claims she took a photograph of Ray Luzier (the “Photograph”) on March 25, 2019 and registered that photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. VA 2-145-705.
According to the Complaint, Berman observed a copy of the Photograph on Auralex Acoustics, Inc.’s (“Auralex”) website on July 13, 2021. Auralex, the Defendant, apparently also uploaded the Photograph to its Instagram and Facebook accounts. Berman claims because the Photograph was copied, stored, and displayed without license or permission, Auralex infringed on her copyrights. Further, the infringing posts each apparently included a URL “for a fixed tangible medium of expression that was sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be communicated for a period of more than transitory duration and therefore constitutes a specific infringement.”
Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently, Amy Haehl (“Haehl”), the Plaintiff, is a nationally renowned photography that promotes her work through her photography studio, Coffee Creek Studio. Haehl claims she first gained national notoriety in 2018 after she recreated scenes from “A Christmas Story” featuring a baby wearing pink bunny pajamas. Her work has apparently been featured on “Fox & Friends” and the websites for the “Today” show and “Good Morning America.”
Haehl claims that she drew inspiration from her previous success with using model babies to use photo editing software to add teeth to her infant subjects. According to the Complaint, she registered a series of those images with the U.S. Copyright Office as Group Reg. No. VA0002191510. Further, Haehl claims she posted a copyright notice alongside each photograph posted on her Facebook page.