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.
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.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has seen a historic surge of new trademark filings over the past year, along with an increase in suspicious submissions ranging from inaccurate to fraudulent.
- Striking submissions
- Precluding parties from appearing before the USPTO
- Terminating USPTO.gov accounts
- Terminating proceedings
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.
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.|
|Get To Know GetGo||5,991,999|
Hammond, Indiana – Monster Energy Company (“Monster”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a nationwide leader in marketing and selling ready-to-drink beverages. Apparently, Monster launched its MONSTER ENERGY® drink brand including its ® mark (the “Claw Icon”) in 2002. Monster also claims it has used a distinctive trade dress for packaging, clothing, bags, sports gear, helmets, and promotional materials that use the Claw Icon in connection with the colors black and green (the “Monster Trade Dress”). Apparently realizing the importance of its brand, Monster owns at least fourteen federal trademark registrations that include the Claw Icon in various classes of goods and services (the “Asserted Marks”).
Evansville, Indiana – In 2004, the Coca-Cola Company launched its Full Throttle® energy drink brand, which was later apparently acquired by Monster Beverage Company (“Monster”) in 2015. Monster in turn divested the rights and title to the Full Throttle® energy drink line to its child company, Energy Beverages LLC (“Energy”), the Plaintiff. From that transaction, Energy owns multiple trademark registrations including the three at issue in this case, U.S. Registration Nos. 2,957,843, 5,562,250, and 5,722,956 (the “Energy Marks”). Energy also claims it has used a distinctive trade dress on its Full Throttle® products since 2004.
Apparently, Energy has licensed the Energy Marks and trade dress in connection with a variety of goods and services throughout the years, including sponsoring motorsports. Since 2015, Energy claims it has spent over $22.6 million dollars in promoting the Full Throttle® brand. Additionally, the retail sales of Full Throttle® products allegedly exceed 47 million cans per year, with estimated revenues of approximately $113 million per year. Therefore, Energy claims its Full Throttle® brand including the Energy Marks and trade dress have acquired great value to identify and distinguish its products and services from those of other, including association with the automotive industry.
Indianapolis, Indiana – Delta 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.|
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.
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.
Indianapolis, Indiana – Vroom, 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 GET IN||5,964,489|
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.”