Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

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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Bosch-300x122Hammond, IndianaRobert Bosch, GmbH of Stuttgart, Germany and Robert Bosch, LLC of Broadview, Illinois sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition.

At issue in this Indiana lawsuit are the following trademarks, which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

MARK REG. NO REG. DATE
BOSCH

 

1,637,401

 

Mar. 12, 1991

 

pic 633,563

 

Aug. 28, 1956

 

Defendants in the litigation are Joshua Rayner of Portage, Indiana as well as ten unnamed “Doe” Defendants.  They are accused of “advertising, offering for sale and sale of counterfeit automotive parts” that bear unauthorized copies of Bosch trademarks.
Indiana trademark attorneys for Plaintiffs list the following claims in this federal lawsuit:

  • Count I: Trademark Counterfeiting in Violation of Sections 32 and 34(d)(1)(B) of the Lanham Act
  • Count II: Trademark Infringement in Violation of Section 32 of the Lanham Act
  • Count III: Unfair Competition in Violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act
  • Count IV: False Advertising in Violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act

Plaintiffs seek injunctive and monetary relief, including statutory damages, treble damages and attorneys’ fees.

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South Bend, IndianaJudge Robert L. Miller, Jr. of the Northern District of Indiana dismissed claims concerning trade dress infringement.

In this Indiana trademark lawsuit, Forest River, Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana sued Winnebago Industries, Inc. of Forest City, Iowa and its subsidiary Winnebago of Indiana, LLC alleging trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and false and misleading representations.

Overhauser Law Offices, LLC filed a partial motion to dismiss with the court, arguing that Forest River had neither sufficiently identified the features that constituted the claimed trade dress nor provided any factual support for its assertion that such features were non-functional.

The court noted that “to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678.  The claim is deemed plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

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In this litigation, such a showing required that Forest River define its trade dress.  It must also plead sufficient facts to show that the claimed trade dress is nonfunctional, has acquired secondary meaning and that a likelihood of confusion exists between its trade dress and Winnebago’s trade dress.

The court agreed with Winnebago, concluding that Plaintiff had relied on “conclusory and meaningless” assertions in its pleadings. Consequently, it granted Winnebago’s motion and dismissed without prejudice Forest River’s claims concerning trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1125(a) as well as similar claims made under common law.

Overhauser Law Offices represented Winnebago in obtaining this successful order dismissing the trade dress claims.

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NCAA-300x202Indianapolis, Indiana –  National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) of Indianapolis, Indiana sued in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

NCAA’s trademarks, which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office (“USPTO”), pertain to the following uses of FINAL FOUR and MARCH MADNESS:

MARK GOODS/SERVICES REG NO. & DATE
FINAL FOUR Association services, namely, conducting annual basketball tournaments at the college level 1,488,836;

May 17, 1988

FINAL FOUR Promoting the goods and services of others by allowing sponsors to affiliate their goods and services with collegiate championship tournaments 2,377,720;

Aug. 15, 2000

FINAL FOUR Printed matter, namely, guides in the field of sports; Luggage, namely, portfolios, backpacks, duffle bags, rolling luggage, garment bags, briefcases, athletic bags and tote bags; and Entertainment services, Namely, providing information in the field of college sports via the Internet 2,964,266;

June 28, 2006

MARCH MADNESS Entertainment services, namely, presentation of athletic and entertainment personalities in a panel forum 1,571,340;

Dec. 12, 1989

MARCH MADNESS Entertainment in the nature of basketball tournaments between college teams 2,485,443;

Sept. 4, 2001

MARCH MADNESS Telecommunications services; namely the transmission of voice, data, images, audio, video and information via local and long distance telephone, satellite and global computer networks; leasing telecommunications equipment, components, systems and supplies; electronic mail services; telephone voice messaging services; providing multiple-user access to global computer networks to transmit, receive and otherwise access and use information of general interest to consumers; web casting of athletic games, tournaments, exhibitions, and events via the Internet 3,025,527;

Dec. 13, 2005

Defendants in this Indiana trademark lawsuit are Kizzang LLC of Las Vegas, Nevada and Robert Alexander, the founder and owner of the business.  They are in the business of providing nationwide Internet-based promotions that award prizes for predicting the results of sporting events.  Plaintiff states that they have branded their NCAA-related services using the mark FINAL 3.

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Plaintiff further asserts that Defendants had planned to adopt APRIL MADNESS for the same services as FINAL 3, but that they delayed doing so upon learning that NCAA objected to their use of FINAL 3.  Kizzang has applied for federal trademark registrations for both marks with the USPTO.

Indiana trademark attorneys for Plaintiff contend that Defendants adopted both names because of their similarity to the marks used by NCAA and that Defendants did so with the intention of exploiting the goodwill associated with FINAL FOUR and MARCH MADNESS.  In this lawsuit, filed in federal court, the following claims are made:

  • Trademark Infringement Under 15 U.S.C. § 1114
  • Trademark Infringement Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)
  • Trademark Dilution Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125
  • Common Law Unfair Competition

Plaintiff asks for various remedies from the court, including a judgment of willful and intentional violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1125 and Indiana common law; injunctive relief including restraining Defendants from further use of FINAL 3 and APRIL MADNESS as well as an order that the USPTO deny registration for the marks; damages, including treble damages; and attorneys’ fees.

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EconoLodge-Lafayaette-300x170Lafayette, IndianaChoice Hotels International, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement under federal and Indiana law.

Choice Hotels is in the business of franchising hotels.  It offers hotel and motel services under the following brands: CAMBRIA HOTELS & SUITES®, COMFORT INN®, COMFORT SUITES®, QUALITY®, SLEEP IN®, CLARION®, MAINSTAY SUITES®, SUBURBAN EXTENDED STAY HOTEL®, ECONO LODGE®, and RODEWAY INN®.

At issue in this Indiana trademark litigation is the Econo Lodge family of trademarks.  These trademarks include U.S. Trademark Nos.:

Indianapolis, IndianaAustralian Gold, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana sued in the Southern District alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Plaintiff Austbeachlive-248x300ralian Gold, which manufactures, distributes and sells tanning preparations, claims ownership to U.S. Federal Trademark Registration No. 5,130,366 for BEACHIN’ LIFE.  It states that it has used this trademark since “at least 2016”; the trademark was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 24, 2017.

Defendant in this Indiana lawsuit is Devoted Creations, Inc. d/b/a Ed Hardy Tanning of Oldsmar, Florida.  Devoted Creations has introduced and is selling a #BEACHLIFE tanning preparation for the indoor tanning market.

Evansville, IndianaHenager Family Museum, Inc d/b/a National Veterans Memorial of Buckskin, Indiana filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement.

Plaintiff operates a military memorial in Indiana under the trademark “NATIONAL VETERANS MEMORIAL,” U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,420,974.  That trademark was filed “in connection Veterans-300x126with promoting public awareness of the need for reconciliation and recognition by all veterans” and was issued on April 29, 2008 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In this Indiana litigation, Henager states that Columbus Downtown Development Corp. (“CDDC”) of Columbus, Ohio is currently developing a museum, scheduled to open in 2018, to be operated under the name “NATIONAL VETERANS MEMORIAL & MUSEUM.”  Henager states that CDDC’s use of this name in a state adjoining Indiana, and in conjunction with the offering of the same type of services, is likely to cause confusion or deceive consumers.   It also contends that CDDC’s use of the purportedly similar name has resulted in CDDC being unjustly enriched at Henager’s expense.

Indianapolis, IndianaKlipsch Group, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition by a “gray market” seller of Klipsch audio equipment.

Defendant in this Indiana trademark litigation is listed only as “Concealedaudio.com,” as Klipsch indicates that the website’s proprietors “conceal[] their true identity from customers by using drop shipping addresses and registering their domain name through a third party.”  Jurisdiction in Indiana is asserted on the grounds that, inter alia, Defendant sells infringing goods in Indiana.

Klipsch contends that Defendant interfered with its intellectual property rights in three Klipsch trademarks.  The trademarks at issue are U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 978,949; 2,917,215 and 3,863,511.  These registrations, which have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, cover various forms of the KLIPSCH® trademark.

Fort Wayne, Indiana – Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. f/k/a Super 8 Motels, Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement and other wrongdoings.

Plaintiff Super 8 operates a franchise system for guest lodging.  It claims ownership to the SUPER 8® service mark as well as various related trade names, trademarks and serviceUntitled-1 marks, some of which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  It estimates the value of the entity’s goodwill to exceed hundreds of millions of dollars.

In this Indiana intellectual property lawsuit, Super 8 alleges that former franchisees have violated the terms of a franchise agreement entered into with Super 8.  Three Indianapolis Defendants were listed: Auburn Lodging Associates, LLP (“ALA”), Kokila Patel and Dilip Patel.  A fourth Defendant Chicago Capital Holdings, LLC (“CCH”) of Hinsdale, Illinois was also named.

Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiffs Acushnet Company of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Roger Cleveland Golf Company, Inc. of Huntington Beach, California and Dunlop Sports Co. Ltd. of Hyogo, Japan filed a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.  This intellectual property litigation, commenced by an Indiana trademark litigator for Plaintiffs, was filed against both an individual and a business entity.

Listed as Defendants in this lawsuit are Giorgio Nunns a/k/a George Nunns a/k/a Georgie Nunns a/k/a Giorgio, an individual, and Custom Golf Solutions, LLC, individually and jointly, doing business under the names “bogie’s nearly new golf,” “gnunns81” and “golfcustomsolutions15.”  Defendants operate in Indianapolis and Carmel, Indiana.

Defendants are accused of engaging in the sale of counterfeit products and infringing upon Plaintiffs’ trademarks.  The following trademarks, to which Acushnet claims ownership and/or an exclusive license, are at issue:

Trademark Registration No. Registration Date Class/Goods
 Tiltleist 1,155,766 26 May 1981 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf balls, golf clubs and golf bags.
 T 3,376,961 5 February 2008 IC 24: golf towels

IC 25: golf clothing, namely jackets, shirts, hats and visors.

IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf putters, golf club head covers, golf club grips and divot tools.

 crown 2,620,432 17 September 2002 IC 28: golf clubs and accessories, namely golf tees, golf gloves, golf bags, golf putters, golf drivers, golf woods, golf irons, golf green repair tools, golf club covers and golf bag covers.
 ScottCameron 3,421,373 6 May 2008 IC 28: golf equipment, namely golf bags.

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