Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

Showgirl-I-300x111Fort Wayne, Indiana – Apparently, the Plaintiffs in this case, Jessica Burciaga, Jessica Hinton, Jamie Eason Middleton, Lucy Pinder, Abigail Ratchford, Emily Scott, Denise Trlica, and Sara Underwood, are professional models. The Plaintiffs claim B&S Fort Wayne, Inc., Showgirl III, Inc. and Reba Enterprises LLC (collectively “Defendants”) doing business as Showgirl I and Showgirl III, have used their images and likeness to promote their strip clubs without permission of the Plaintiffs.

According to the Complaint, the Defendants’ use of the Plaintiffs’ pictures in connection with their strip clubs violates the Plaintiffs’ rights and violates the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), for false endorsement, unfair competition, and/or false advertising. Further, the Plaintiffs allege the Defendants have violated their right of publicity pursuant to Ind. Code § 32-36-1-0.2 et seq. Finally, the Plaintiffs claim the Defendants have been unjustly enriched by promoting their businesses using the Plaintiffs’ images and likeness.

At least two of the Plaintiffs in this case, Hinton and Pinder, are involved in a similar lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – The Trustees of Purdue University (“Purdue”), the Plaintiff, claims to own a number of registered and common law trademarks relating to Purdue University and its mascot (the “Trademarks”). According to the Complaint, Defendants, Vintage Brand, LLC and Sportswear Inc., sell Purdue-branded products utilizing the Trademarks without authorization or a license from Purdue. Purdue seeks declaratory judgment that Purdue owns and enjoys common law rights in the Trademarks and that Purdue’s rights are superior to the Defendants’ claim of any rights. Further, Purdue is seeking judgment against the Defendants for trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Finally, Purdue is suing for common law passing off/unfair competition and trademark infringement.

Purdue University’s Registered Trademarks  Boilermaker2

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FantasyGentlemensClub-300x184Hammond, Indiana – Cora Skinner and Tiffany Toth Gray, the Plaintiffs, claim to be professional models residing in California. According to the Complaint, a model’s reputation impacts the commercial value associated with their image or likeness to promote a product or service. Further, the Plaintiffs assert they each have “the right to control the commercial exploitation of their name, image, likeness, and advertising ideas.”

Apparently, Sahara, Inc. d/b/a Fantasy (the “Club”), the Defendant, operates a strip club in Hammond, Indiana. The Plaintiffs claim the Club used their images to promote its business without permission or compensation. As such, the Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for false endorsement, unfair competition, and false advertising pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125.

Plaintiffs further claim the Defendant violated their right of publicity under Ind. Code § 32-36-1-0.2 et seq. Finally, Plaintiffs claim the Defendant was unjustly enriched by misappropriated the images of the Plaintiffs to promote the Club.

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DancersShowclub-LogoIndianapolis, Indiana – According to the Complaint, Plaintiffs, Jennifer Archuletta, Gemma Lee Farrell, Jesse Golden, Hillary Hepner, Jessa Hinton, Joanna Krupa, Gia McCool, Alana Campos Souza, Irina Voronina, and Lucy Pinder, are all professional models. Apparently, M E R Corporation d/b/a Dancers Showclub (“Showclub”), the Defendant, is a strip club located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Plaintiffs claim Showclub misappropriated the Plaintiffs’ photos, images, and likenesses in advertising materials to promote Showclub on social media without their consent or a license. By using the Plaintiffs’ photos, Plaintiffs claim Showclub falsely indicated the parties are associated and that the Plaintiffs endorse Showclub. Therefore, Plaintiffs are seeking damages for false endorsement, unfair competition, and/or false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1), violations of the Plaintiffs’ right of publicity pursuant to I.C. § 32-36-1, et seq., and unjust enrichment.

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Blog-Photo-1Indianapolis, Indiana – Apparently Brumate, LLC (“Brumate”), the Plaintiff, designs and sells insulated beverage containers, including an insulated tumbler/can holder, the HOPSULATOR®, and an insulated wine bottle, the WINESULATOR®. Brumate claims to have acquired trade dress rights in its HOPSULATOR® product design (“HOPSULATOR Trade Dress”). According to the Complaint, Frost Buddy, LLC (“Frost Buddy”), the Defendant, is selling a knockoff product that incorporates the HOPSULATOR Trade Dress. Brumate also claims Frost Buddy has engaged in deceptive advertising with regard to Brumate’s HOPSULATOR® and WINESULATOR® products.

Brumate is seeking damages for trade dress infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Further, Brumate claims Frost Buddy committed deception in violation of I.C. § 35-43-5-3 and unfair competition under Indiana common law.

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Northern District of Indiana –Apparently, EZ Tankless, Inc. (“EZ Tankless”), the Plaintiff, sells water heaters throughout the world. EZ Tankless also claims to own the trademark for EZ TANKLESS under U.S. Registration No. 5,502,206 (the “Registered Mark”), which has been used in connection with its tankless water heaters since July 2009. According to the Complaint, Noritz America Corporation (“Noritz”), the Defendant, “is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of gas-fired baths and hot water heaters.”

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EZ Tankless claims Noritz adopted a confusingly similar mark to the Registered Mark and has been using that mark in connection with Noritz’s EZ Series tankless water heaters since April 2017. Per the Complaint, Noritz applied for and was granted registration for its trademark EZ SERIES under U.S. Registration No. 5,731,024 in connection, in relevant part, with tankless water heaters. Noritz was also apparently granted a trademark registration for EZTR under U.S. Registration No. 4,800,941 with a date of first use on October 31, 2014.

According to the Complaint, EZ Tankless contacted Noritz on multiple occasions through counsel to request Noritz cease use of the EZ related marks. However, Noritz apparently continued to use the marks. Therefore, EZ Tankless is seeking damages for trademark infringement pursuant to the Lanham Act, common law trademark infringement, and common law unfair competition. Additionally, EZ Tankless is seeking to cancel both the EZ SERIES and EZTR marks as it contends they were granted registration based on false representations.

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South Bend, IndianaFloat-On Corporation (“Float-On”), the Plaintiff, claims to sell unique, high quality immersible boat trailers throughout the United States and in several other countries. According to the Complaint, Float-On has used the registered and incontestable mark FLOAT-ON® (the “Registered Mark”), covered by U.S. Reg. No. 885,333, to identify its boat trailers for over fifty years. Float-On further claims it has expended large amounts of money in advertising its products bearing the Registered Mark.https://www.iniplaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/366/2020/10/New.Photo_-1.pngPer the Complaint, Paul’s Marine, Inc. d/b/a PMI Marine Distributors and Paul E. Myers, Jr., the Defendants, copied the Registered Mark and have adopted a confusingly similar mark for boat trailers – FLOTE-ON. Float-On claims the Defendants intentional and willful selling of their products with the alleged infringing mark has caused actual consumer confusion in the marketplace. Float-On is seeking damages for federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, and counterfeiting pursuant to the Lanham Act among several common law claims.

 

 

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Great Grizzly, Inc. (“Grizzly”), Plaintiff, claims to have sold and imported fireworks in Indiana for over 50 years. In addition, Grizzly claims to have several federal trademarks including the one at issue in this case assigned Registration No. 2,329,220 for “PREDATOR” (the “Registered Mark”).

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Grizzly alleges the Defendants, Winco Fireworks, Inc. and Winco Fireworks International, LLC (the “Winco Defendants”) offer and sell fireworks throughout the United States. According to the Complaint, the Winco Defendants have sold fireworks that infringe the Registered Mark and have failed to desist their infringement after being informed of the Registered Mark. Therefore, Grizzly is seeking damages for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1051, et seq. and state common law. Grizzly is also claiming the Winco Defendants violated Indiana Code § 24-5-0.5-3(b)(1) for deceptive consumer practices and committed tortious interference with a business relationship under the common law.

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Indianapolis, Indiana3M Company (“3M”) claims there has been an increase in wrongdoers seeking to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic by using scams including those to price-gouge and offer3M-Blogphoto-use-300x106 fake sales of 3M-brand N95 respirators. 3M claims Defendants, Zachary Puznak, Zenger LLC d/b/a ZeroAqua, and John Does 1-10 offered Indiana an opportunity to purchase 3M N95 masks at approximately $2.82 each, which is more than double 3M’s price.

There were numerous allegedly false communications from the Defendants to various representatives of the State of Indiana, including Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Chief of Staff and the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, regarding the sale of 3M-brand N95 respirators. When 3M became aware of the alleged price gouging and false communications, it filed this suit claiming the Defendants infringed its rights in United States Trademark Reg. No. 3,398,329 (the “‘329 Registration”) and Registration No. 2,793,534 (the “‘534 Registration”). 3M is further seeking damages for unfair competition, false endorsement, false association, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and false advertising. Finally, 3M filed multiple claims pursuant to the Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act for deception, conversion, and theft.

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Hammond, Indiana – Sundance Botanicals, LLC (“Sundance”), the Plaintiff, allegedly sells and distributes elderberry syrups bearing the mark “ELDERPOWER.” The ELDERPOWER mark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office under U.S. Registration No. 5,821,635 for “Immune boosting nutritional supplements made from elderberries and organic ingredients” in 2019.

According to the Complaint, The Power of Elderberries, LLC (“Defendant”) markets and sells elderberry syrup with the mark “THE POWER OF ELDERBERRIES.” Sundance claims Defendant knew of the ELDERPOWER mark prior to adopting its mark and adopted the design elements and name for its elderberry syrup bottles in bad faith “to infringe and pray on Sundance’s goodwill.” The Defendant filed a U.S. trademark application for its mark in June 2019. Sundance then opposed the registration of the Defendant’s mark in February 2020. Opposition No. 91,253,891 is currently suspended pending the outcome of this civil suit.

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