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Heartland-300x75Indianapolis, IndianaHeartland Consumer Products LLC and TC Heartland LLC, of Carmel, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark and trade dress infringement, dilution and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, the Indiana State Trademark Act, and the common law of the State of Indiana.

At issue are trademarks covering Splenda®-brand sweetener, which has been approved for use in over 80 countries and used in more than 4000 products globally.  In this Indiana litigation, Heartland claims that some or all of the following trademarks have been infringed: 1544079, 3346910; 4172135, 4165028, 4301712, 4172136, 4165029,4122311, 4187229, 4202774, 4230392, 4238101, 4106164, 4664653, and 4744600.  These trademarks have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  In addition, Heartland claims ownership of the following pending applications for United States Trademark Registration Serial Nos. 86865337, 87012521, and 87010504.

Defendants in the lawsuit are DineEquity, Inc., Applebee’s Franchisor LLC, Applebee’s Restaurants LLC, Applebees-300x220Applebee’s Services, Inc., International House of Pancakes, LLC f/k/a International House of Pancakes, Inc., IHOP Franchising LLC, IHOP Franchise Company, LLC and IHOP FranIHOP-300x225chisor LLC.  Plaintiff asserts that all Defendants have a principal place of business in Glendale, California.  They are accused of leading customers to believe that they offer Splenda-brand sweetener when they do not.  Plaintiff contends that instead of American-made Splenda, the product offered to the customers is, in fact, “a lower-quality product of China.”

Indiana trademark attorneys for Heartland sued in federal court.  They assert:

  • Count I: Common Law Trademark Infringement and Trademark Infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)
  • Count II: False Designation of Origin under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
  • Count III: Unfair Competition
  • Count IV: Trademark Dilution under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)
  • Count V: Trademark Dilution under I.C. 24-2-1-13.5
  • Count VII [sic]: Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief
  • Count VIII: Corrective Advertising Damages

Plaintiff asks the court for injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.  They also seek various types of damages, including actual, statutory, punitive and treble damages.

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SupremeCourt-300x135The U.S. Supreme Court already has a list of digital civil liberties issues to consider in the near future; that list is likely to grow.

If confirmed, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court—Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit—will be in a position to make crucial decisions protecting innovation and fair use.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation has weighed in on several such issues that are, or may be, before the Court.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in TC Heartland v. Kraft, a case centering on whether TC Heartland can have the infringement case against it considered in the company’s home state of Indiana instead of Delaware. EFF has supported TC Heartland, and a ruling in favor of reasonable venue limits could help tamp down on abusive patent lawsuits, which are often brought in the Eastern District of Texas despite any actual ties to that location because that court is perceived as being friendly to abusive suits.

Who Can Register a Work with the U.S. Copyright Office?Copyright-Privacy-300x203

Can foreigners register their works in the United States?

Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can be registered. This includes many works of foreign origin. All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United States. Works that are first published in the United States or in a country with which we have a copyright treaty or that are created by a citizen or domiciliary of a country with which we have a copyright treaty are also protected and may therefore be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. See Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States, for the status of specific countries, and Circular 38b, Copyright Restoration Under the URAA

Days-300x130South Bend, IndianaDays Corporation (“Days”) of Elkhart, Indiana filed a complaint asking the Northern District of Indiana to resolve infringement claims relating to three patents.

The lawsuit was brought against Lippert Components, Inc. (“LCI”), also of Elkhart, Indiana.  Both Days and LCI operate in the recreational vehicle (“RV”) industry.  They offer competing systems designed to level a vehicle, for example, one that is situated on uneven terrain causing the vehicle to be oriented on an undesirable plane.

At issue in this Indiana litigation are three patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,584,385 (“the ‘385 patent”), 6,885,924 (“the ‘924 patent”) and 6,619,693 (“the ‘693 patent”).  LCI claims intellectual property protection under the ‘385 patent and the ‘924 patent, while Days claims rights under the ‘693 patent.

Each party asserts that the other party is committing patent infringement. Days asks the court for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and patent invalidity of the LCI patents.  It also seeks a judgment that LCI has infringed the ‘693 patent.  The complaint, filed by a patent litigator for Days, lists the following claims:

  • Count I: Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement by Days of the ‘385 Patent
  • Count II: Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement by Days of the ‘924 Patent
  • Count III: Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity of the ‘385 Patent
  • Count IV: Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity of the ‘924 Patent
  • Count V: Infringement by LCI of the ‘693 Patent

In addition to a declaratory judgment and a judgment of infringement, Days seeks damages, including a trebling of those damages pursuant to a finding of willful infringement, and injunctive relief.

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MechResurrection-300x153Hammond, Indiana – ME2 Productions Inc. of Carson City, Nevada, filed a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement of the action thriller Mechanic: Resurrection, which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under U.S. Copyright Registration No. PA-1-998-057.  The movie, which is the sequel to the 2011 action film Resurrection, stars Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones.

Eleven unnamed Defendants, listed as Doe Defendants 1-11, are accused of infringing the copyright of the film by distributing a “screener copy” illegally via BitTorrent, a file-sharing protocol.  Plaintiff states that the 11 Defendants committed copyright infringement “in a collective and interdependent manner with other Defendants via the Internet for the unlawful purpose of reproducing, exchanging, and distributing copyrighted material.”

This litigation was commenced in the Northern District of Indiana by a copyright litigator for ME2 Productions.  Plaintiff contends that the Doe Defendants are Indiana residents, stating that it determined through the use of geolocation technology that each had an Indiana Internet Protocol address.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief along with damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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CentralLibrary-300x161Indianapolis, Indiana – The United States Patent and Trademark Office will be hosting a free program for up and coming independent inventors titled “Gender Gap in Patents”.  Following the free program you can attend an educational training session in order to learn about Patent and Trademark basics.  USPTO staff will be on site to answer your questions.

The program will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Indianapolis Public Library – Central Library located at 40 East Saint Clair Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

The itinerary for the day will be as follows:

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 134 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in February 2017, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys.

Overhauser Law Offices, the publisher of this site, assists with US and foreign patent searches, patent applications and assists with enforcing patents via infringement litigation and licensing.

Patent No. Title
1 D780,015 Ring with internal stones
2 9,584,895 Teardrop variable wall earbud
3 9,583,967 Ruggedized pressure transducer with integrated wireless antenna and rechargeable battery system
4 9,583,028 Flashlight
5 9,581,635 System and method for high voltage cable detection in hybrid vehicles

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The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, was intended to limit “forum shopping” of class actions lawsuits, or in a court where the law was most favorable to the plaintiff, even if the location was not connected with the underlying facts.  However, the Act did not generally apply to patent infringement cases.  As a result most patent infringement suits (44% in 2015) are filed in the Eastern District of Texas, which has a reputation for juries that award large verdicts.  When a suit is filed there, there is much pressure on a defendant to settle even if the patent owner’s case is weak.

Carmel Indiana’s T.C. Heartland hopes to limit forum shopping.  It was sued for patent infringement by Kraft Foods, and the case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari last month on appeal from the Federal Circuit. The dispute revolves around whether the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit opened the floodgates to forum-shopping in 1990 when it adopted an ultra-liberal interpretation of where a defendant business “resides” – and in the proposed solution, which is to interpret Congress’s 2011 amendments to a general venue statute as having implicitly overruled the 1990 ruling.

The American Intellectual Property Law Association has filed an “amicus” brief arguing that the Federal Circuit correctly interpreted the general venue statute at 28 U.S.C. 1391 as providing a definition of “resides” in the patent venue statute at 28 U.S.C. 1400(b) Although the Supreme Court in Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957), found the two statutes worked independently, Congress changed the law in 1988 by adding to the general venue statute “for purposes of venue under this chapter.” According to the brief, the deletion of that phrase in 2011 did not return the law to the Fourco rule because it was replaced with the phrase “for all venue purposes.” Nor does the added phrase “except as otherwise provided by law” adopt the Supreme Court’s Fourco rule, the brief concluded.  The AIPLA’s amicus brief is below.

Overhauser Law Offices the publisher of this site, assists with US and foreign trademark searches, trademark applications and assists with enforcing trademarks via infringement litigation and licensing.

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following  217 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in January 2017 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.   Word Mark Click To View

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The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 216 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in January 2017, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys.
Overhauser Law Offices, the publisher of this site, assists with US and foreign patent searches, patent applications and assists with enforcing patents via infringement litigation and licensing.

Patent No. Title
1 9,560,215 System, method, and computer-readable medium for rebilling a carrier bill
2 9,558,682 Tamper evident security seal
3 9,557,356 Utility meter with wireless pulse output
4 9,557,325 Method of altering the binding specificity of proteins by oxidation-reduction reactions
5 9,557,274 Analytical devices for detection of low-quality pharmaceuticals

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