Articles Posted in New Litigation

Ft. Wayne, Indiana – Phoenix Intangibles Holding Company apparently licenses the getGo® trademark to Giant Eagle, Inc. (together with Phoenix “Giant Eagle” or “Plaintiffs”) for its use in connection with its getGo® Convenience Stores. According to the Complaint, Giant Eagle acquired the Rickers convenience store chain in 2018 and eventually rebranded those stores under the getGo® marks. The acquired stores allegedly include four former Rickers stores in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Per the Complaint, Plaintiffs have used the getGo® trademark since at least March 2013 and have sought and secured federal trademark registrations for various getGo® trademarks and logos as set forth below (the “getGo® Marks”).

Mark U.S. Registration No.
GETGO 2,927,502
Picture3 4,864,242
4864240-PICTURE 4,864,240
getGo 4,766,055
Picture3 4,864,437
4864240-PICTURE 4,864,438
getGo 5,037,377
Picture3 5,038,064
4864240-PICTURE 5,037,370
Get To Know GetGo 5,991,999
getGo 6,158,214
Picture3 6,158,213

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Indianapolis, Indiana – The Plaintiff, Van Ausdall & Farrar, Inc. (“VAF”), is apparently one of Indiana’s oldest privately owned office-solutions companies. According to the Complaint, Defendant, Jane Doe aka Denise Gilbey Moe (“Defendant” or “Moe”), was employed by VAF until October 2018. Due to the nature of Moe’s position, she was allegedly granted access to VAF’s social media accounts including its Facebook page during her employment. VAF claims its Facebook page has economic value as it uses the page to market and promote its products and services. Apparently, Moe’s access to VAF’s social media accounts ended when her employment was terminated on October 4, 2018.

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Per the Complaint, VAF’s Facebook page was accessed by Defendant on June 1, 2021 using an account with the name “Denise Gilbey Moe.” While Moe apparently denies accessing VAF’s Facebook after her termination, VAF claims the account appears to be owned and controlled by Moe.

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BlogPhoto-4-300x184Hammond, Indiana – Apparently, James E. Cross, the Plaintiff is the owner of three design patents for convertible t-shirt designs, U.S. Patent Nos. D/580,633, D/581,136, and D/341,471 (collectively, the “Patents in Suit”). Notably, it appears the ‘633 and ‘136 Patents are set to expire in November 2022, while the ‘471 Patent expired in November 2007 since the term for a design patent filed prior to May 13, 2015 is 14 years.

Cross claims Defendants, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., Walmart Inc., Kohl’s Inc., and Amazon, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”), have actively induced and contributorily infringed upon the Patents in Suit and his trade dress by importing, offering for sale, and/or selling t-shirts with his ornamental designs without his permission.

While the pro se Complaint is fairly short, Cross attached numerous exhibits not discussed in the Complaint including an order dismissing Cross’ case against Meijer, Inc. due to settlement and a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision regarding the ‘471 Patent. Further attached are black and white photos of zip-up bike jerseys allegedly being sold by Defendants.

Cross is seeking an accounting of damages, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285.

Practice Tip: The current design patent term, if filed on or after May 13, 2015 is 15 years from the date of grant. 35 U.S.C. § 173.

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BlogPhoto-Chapelle-201x300Hammond, Indiana – Pro se Plaintiff, Xavier Gatewood (“Gatewood”) claims to perform comedy in the Chicago area. Between 2014 and 2015, Gatewood claims Defendant, David Khari Webber Chappelle (“Chappelle”), saw him performing comedy at one or more of four places located within two miles of Chappelle’s movie shoot for “CHI-RAQ.”

According to the Complaint, Chappelle then used material from Gatewood’s performance in Chappelle’s standup special “Deep in the Heart of Texas” on Netflix. As Chappelle was allegedly paid $20 Million and the joke was exactly one minute long, Gatewood is seeking $303,030.30.

Unfortunately, the very short Complaint does not disclose the allegedly stolen joke and does not disclose or specifically allege any copyright registration or infringement. Further, while Gatewood lives in Indiana, the alleged theft took place in Illinois and Chappelle lives in Ohio, so jurisdiction may be another hurdle for Gatewood. Continue reading

BlogPhoto-1-300x196South Bend, Indiana – Apparently Egglife Foods, Inc. (“Egglife”), the Plaintiff, sell ready-to-eat wraps that are made with cage-free egg whites instead of flour (“egglife egg white wraps”). Introduced in 2019, founder Peggy Johns claims to have invented egglife egg white wraps, using a now patented method (U.S. Patent No. 10,194,669). Egglife claims its egglife egg white wraps are available in over 3,500 retail locations throughout the United States and have garnered a loyal following of passionate consumers. Since 2019, Egglife has allegedly invested $5 million dollars in the Egglife brand and is on pace to reach $30 million in retail sales in 2021. According to the complaint, Egglife products have a distinct packaging including a unique combination of shapes, colors, text font, a center window, and accent elements that act as a source identifier to its consumers (the “Trade Dress”).

The Defendant, Crepini, LLC (“Crepini”), was apparently founded in 2007 with “the dream of bringing crepes into every North American household.” Crepini allegedly sold its egg white thins products in at least three different packaging styles from early 2018 through 2019. Per the Complaint, Crepini owns U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 5,888,044 and 5,447,364 for “Egg Thins” and “Egg White Thins,” respectively. Egglife claims Crepini rebranded yet again and announced an extensive packaging overhaul including changing the name of the product to “egg wraps” on January 1, 2021.

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Picture1-2-300x188Indianapolis,  Indiana – Apparently the Plaintiff, Social Positioning Input Systems, LLC (“Social”), is the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 9,261,365 (the “‘365 Patent”). The ‘365 Patent is titled “Device, System and Method for Remotely Entering, Storing and Sharing Addresses for a Positional Information Device.” Social claims Netsoft Holdings, LLC (“Netsoft”), the Defendant, has infringed on at least Claim 1 of the ‘365 Patent by making, using, selling, and/or offering for sale associated hardware and software for asset locating (the “Product”). For example, the Product may include Netsoft’s Hubstaff asset tracking platform and any associated hardware, apps, or other software.

According to the Complaint, the Product provides an asset tracking system for real-time GPS tracking of assets that the user can see on a positional information device (i.e., a mobile device or computer). The Product apparently allows an organization’s owner and managers to track their staff’s location, review their previous routes, and display time stamps showing where users were at a specified time along their route. Because Social claims the Product infringes on at least Claim 1 of the ‘365 Patent, it is seeking damages for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284.

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Fishers,  Indiana – Digital Verification Systems, LLC (“Digital”) is apparently the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 9,054,860 (the “‘860 Patent”) for a Digital Verified Identification System and Method. According to the Complaint, Formstack, LLC (“Formstack”), the Defendant, offers at least one Product, Formstack Sign, that infringes one or more claims of the ‘860 Patent.

Picture5-1-300x211Digital claims Formstack’s Product provides a system for e-signing documents and for digitally verifying the identification of the signer as shown below.

Apparently, the Product further includes a digital identification module to be associated with at least one user and at least one verification data element, for example, a unique login ID and password. It also appears a user can store their e-signature within a document using the Product. As Digital claims each of these components of the Product are covered by the ‘860 Patent, it is seeking damages for patent infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284.

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Indianapolis, IndianaDelta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff, is an Indiana corporation that is apparently known as “America’s Faucet Innovation Leader.” Delta claims its products may only be purchased in the United States from Delta itself, or its Authorized Sellers.  According to the Complaint, this allows Delta to control the quality of the products and protect the value of its brand(s). As Delta’s brand is important to the company, it has registered numerous trademarks with the U.S. Trademark Office including those in the table below (the “Delta Marks”).

Registered Mark Registration Nos.
Picture1-1 5,273,845
Picture1-1 2,583,761
                              Picture2-1 3,062,101
Picture4-1 2,586,604
DELTA 4,518,067
Picture5 0,668,880
DELTA 4,638,296

Delta has filed multiple infringement suits in Indiana this year to vigorously defend its intellectual property rights. E-commerce sales have exploded over the past decade and while online marketplaces have created opportunities, they have also apparently created a challenge for brand owners to control the quality and safety of their products. Further, Delta claims online marketplaces have a low barrier to entry and do not require sellers to be Authorized Sellers, meaning many unauthorized sellers with no relationship to Delta are able to sell counterfeit or lesser quality products online without Delta’s consent. This can lead to consumer reviews that associate the problem with their product “with the brand/manufacturer rather than the product seller.” Given these risks, Delta claims it imposes additional requirements on its Authorized Sellers who sell online, including only allowing websites that are operated by the Authorized Seller and not a storefront on any online marketplace. The website must also include the “Authorized Seller’s mailing address, telephone number, and email address” along with being fully inspected and approved by Delta.

Delta claims that due to the risks to consumers and reputational concerns, it actively monitors the online sale of its products. Over the course of this monitoring, Delta apparently found a high volume of products being sold illegally on Amazon by Defendants, Dmitrii Iakovlev and John Does, 1-10 (while the identities of John Does 1-10 are currently unknown, Delta intends on discovering their identities and amending its Complaint). Delta claims it sent multiple cease and desist communications to Defendants, but Defendants have continued to sell products bearing the Delta Marks on their “TechnoProffs” Amazon storefront. Additionally, the Complaint cites to numerous one-star reviews for the sales of alleged Delta products on the TechnoProffs storefront that were damaged and/or missing pieces.

Due to the alleged harm of the sales of unauthorized products bearing the Delta Marks, Delta is seeking injunctive relief and enhanced damages for trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1116 and 1117(a). Also pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), Delta claims Defendants actions constitute unfair competition. Delta is further seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition under Indiana common law. Finally, because Defendants have allegedly knowingly and willfully sold products represented as genuine Delta products when they are not, Delta claims Defendants have committed deception in violation of Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act, Ind. Code § 35-43-5-3.

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South Bend, Indiana – Apparently Triple LLL Truck Repair, Inc., the Plaintiff, entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Defendants, Triple LLL, Inc. (“Triple LLL”) and Maurice Long, in February 2012. Under the Agreement, Plaintiff purportedly purchased the assets of Triple LLL with the exception of Triple LLL’s cash, accounts receivable, motor vehicles not identified in the Agreement, and personal items of Mr. Long that were identified in the Agreement. The assets purchased included the goodwill and intangible assets of the business including, apparently, the intellectual property.

Since purchasing the business, the Plaintiff claims it has run a full-service maintenance and repair facility using the “Triple LLL” mark (the “Mark”). Further, the Plaintiff owns U.S. Registration No. 6,209,305 in connection with “retail stores featuring tractor, truck, and trailer parts and tractor, truck, and trailer maintenance, repair, and tire alignment” (the “Registration”).

It has since come to the attention of the Plaintiff that Triple LLL has begun operating a truck repair facility under the name “Triple LLL, Inc. Truck and Trailer Services.” In addition to the similar name, Triple LLL apparently runs its new business out of the same building it previously used for its business operations. Plaintiff claims the Defendants’ use of the Mark and the use of the same building to operate their business is likely to cause confusion and deceive the public into believing the Parties are connected. Further, Plaintiff claims Triple LLL has actively solicited its customers and actual confusion has occurred between vendors and customers of Plaintiff.

Therefore, Plaintiff is seeking damages for willful trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Plaintiff also claims Defendants’ actions amount to unfair competition and false designation of origin in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Plaintiff is requesting damages, treble damages, ill-gotten profits, reasonable attorneys’ fees, statutory damages, and the costs of the suit.

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Indianapolis, IndianaVroom, Inc. (“Vroom”), the Plaintiff, apparently began selling used vehicles online in 2013. As e-commerce has taken off, Vroom sought and registered numerous trademarks including those at issue in this case as shown below (the “Vroom Marks”).​

Mark Registration No./Serial No.
VROOM 4,917,005
Picture1-5076055 5,076,055
VROOM 5,592,887
Picture2-5436572 5,436,572
VROOM GET IN 5,964,489
VROOM 6,075,286
Picture3-6070931 6,070,931
VROOM 87/287,698

According to the Complaint, Vroom became aware of Defendants’, Midwest Motors LLC, d/b/a Vrooomsace Car Selection and Khaled Alragwi, use of VROOMSACE, VROOMSACE CAR SELECTION, VROOMCARS.COM, vroomcars.com, and vroomindy.com in connection with the buying and selling of used cars (collectively the “Allegedly Infringing Properties”) in December 2020. Counsel for Vroom apparently sent multiple letters and emails to Defendants and even attempted to contact Defendants by phone to inform them of their allegedly infringing actions. As of the filing of the Complaint, Vroom claims Defendants did not respond to any of the cease and desist communications and continued using the Allegedly Infringing Properties.

Vroom claims Defendants’ use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties is likely to cause confusion or deceive customers as to the connection of the Defendants and Vroom. Therefore, Vroom is claiming Defendants’ activities and use of the Allegedly Infringing Properties constitute trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Also, under the Lanham Act, Vroom is seeking damages for false designation of origin and unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Vroom is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute common law unfair competition and trademark infringement. Finally, Vroom claims Defendants are in violation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d) for using and registering the domain names “vroomindy.com” and “vroomcars.com.”

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