Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Zimmer, Inc. (“Zimmer”) of Warsaw, Indiana, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Zimmer MedizinSystems of Irvine, California and Zimmer Elektromedizin GmbH, of Neu-Ulm, Germany, infringed its rights for multiple trademarks, as seen below:

 

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Zimmer is seeking a permanent injunction, damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees.

According to the complaint, Zimmer is a globally trusted brand for its musculoskeletal care and has utilized the mark ZIMMER in connection with its musculoskeletal goods and services since 1927. Zimmer claims it began using the “Z” logo by 2004 and consumers have come to associate the “Z” logo with Zimmer goods and services including those services for sports medicine and podiatry. Zimmer alleges it has a great amount of commercial success and its annual sales are in the billions, with multiple millions of dollars being used for advertising and promotions each year.

Zimmer claims Defendants have offered goods and services relating to cosmetics and aesthetics applications for years, with which Zimmer had no issue. According to the complaint, the issues began when Defendants began using “Zimmer” “Zimmer MedizinSystems” and “Zimmer MedizinSysteme” (the “Unauthorized Marks”) for the treatment of sports and podiatry injuries. Zimmer alleges Defendants have also used a “Z” logo to promote and advertise their goods and services.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium, LLC (“Wyliepalooza”) of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, B.A.M. Sweets, LLC d/b/a Wylie’s of Brownsburg, Indiana, Amanda R. Johnson, and Stephen B. Johnson infringed multiple common law trademarks utilized by Wyliepalooza. Wyliepalooza is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, profits, actual damages, costs and attorney’s fees, investigatory fees, and any further relief the court deems appropriate.Untitled

According to the Complaint, Wyliepalooza opened its ice cream shops in Indianapolis in 2013 and began operating its ice cream truck in Indianapolis since May 2014. Wyliepalooza claims its common law trademarks include “WYLIE, WYLIEPALOOZA, WYLIEPALOOZA ICE CREAM EMPORIUM and WYLIEPALOOZA ICE CREAM TRUCK” (collectively, the “Wyliepalooza Trademarks”). Wyliepalooza claims its trademarks are immediately identifying within Indianapolis as it has utilized the Wyliepalooza Trademarks throughout the area to advertise and promote its goods and services.

Wyliepalooza claims Defendants, Amanda Johnson and Stephen Johnson (the “Johnsons”), entered into an asset purchase agreement for Wyliepalooza’s ice cream shop in Brownsburg, Indiana in December 2016. With this agreement, Wyliepalooza alleges the assets sold to the Johnsons did not include the Wyliepalooza Trademarks, but gave them a limited right to use “Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium Brownsburg” at that specific location. Wyliepalooza further claims that the agreement had a clause giving Wyliepalooza the right to revoke the limited use of the name if the Brownsburg location received twenty bad reviews in one quarter or the Johnsons operated the business not within the spirit of the Wyliepalooza business model. According to the Complaint, the agreement was intended to be paid off within three years at which time the Johnsons would change the name of the location to “BAM Sweets.”

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Super8-BlogPhoto-2-202x300Fort Wayne, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. (“Super 8”) of Parsippany, New Jersey filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Harvee Properties, LLC (“Harvee”) and Paresh Patel (“Patel”), both of Auburn, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Numbers 1602723 for the mark SUPER 8, 3610108 for the mark SUPER 8 & Design (b/w), 3610109 for the mark SUPER 8 & Design (Color), 1951982 for the mark SUPER 8 HOTEL & Plaque Design, and 1128057 for the mark SUPER 8 MOTEL & Design. Super 8 is seeking preliminary and permanent injunction, direct damages, indirect damages, consequential damages, special damages, costs, actual damages, punitive damages, pre-judgment interest, actual costs, and attorney’s fees.

The Complaint asserts that Super 8 is a widely known provider for guest lodging services and that it first used the SUPER 8 MOTEL mark in 1973. Super 8 claims that pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065, all of the marks at issue in this case (the “Super 8 Marks”) have achieved incontestable status. Per the complaint, Super 8 franchises its guest lodging services and allows its franchisees to utilize the Super 8 Marks to promote its brand and allow consumers to identify the origin of its services.

Super 8 claims it entered into a franchise agreement on March 31, 2017 with Amrex Receivers, LLC (“Amrex”) for Amrex to operate a Super 8 facility for twenty years in Auburn, Indiana. The Complaint alleges that Amrex terminated the franchise agreement on December 4, 2017. On or about December 29, 2017, Super 8 claims it sent a letter acknowledging the termination and informing Amrex that it must immediately discontinue use of the Super 8 Marks and remove any items from the premises bearing any Super 8 mark within ten days of receiving the letter.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Indie Game Studios, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, d/b/a Stronghold Games LLC of Florida (“Stronghold”), filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Plan B Games, Inc., a Canadian corporation, and Plan B Games Europe GMBH, a German Company of Hamburg Germany, (collectively “Plan B”) infringed its rights to the Great Western Trail Board Game. The complaint alleges jurisdiction is proper due to Plan B’s presence and activities at the 2018 GenCon convention in Indianapolis, Indiana along with other sales within the District. Stronghold is seeking damages, cost of the action, attorneys’ fees, and all other relief the court may find just and proper.

BlogPhotoStronghold claims it contracted with a German company, eggertspiele GmbH & Co. KG (“eggertspiele”), in 2016 regarding a soon-to be released game to be marketed under the trademark “Great Western Trail.” The complaint alleges Stronghold provided feedback to eggertspiele regarding the English version of the game prior to its finalization and that Stronghold obtained exclusive rights to sell the board game in the English language throughout Canada and the United States. Stronghold claims the term of the agreement was from August 3, 2016 through December 31, 2018, with future successive one-year extensions, which could be cancelled by 3-month written notice.

 

The complaint alleges that the Great Western Trail name and its distinctive lettering was inherently distinctive as a board game trademark. Stronghold claims because it promoted and sold the Stronghold version of the game throughout the United States, Stronghold became the common law owner of the Great Western Trail Marks (“GWT Marks”) for board games in the United States. Stronghold further claims that because its “Stronghold Games ‘Castle’ logo” was also placed on the game box, the game was associated with Stronghold. According to the complaint, Stronghold expended a significant amount of time, money, and effort to promote and market its Great Western Trail game throughout the United States and Canada.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, JLC-Tech LLC (“JLC”) of Pembroke, Massachusetts, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Edge Systems Group LLC d/b/a Electra Display (“Edge Systems”) of Indianapolis, Indiana, infringed its intellectual property rights regarding its T-BAR LED™ product. JLC is seeking injunctive relief, actual and statutory damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses.

Pursuant to the complaint, JLC was founded in 2010 to develop revolutionary LED lighting fixtures. JLC claims the T-BAR LED™ is its flagship product and is designed to be used in suspended grid ceilings. The T-BAR LED™ is further claimed to be able to be used as a building element, essentially replacing a standard cross tee, as well as providing lighting. JLC claims the product JLC-BlogPhoto-222x300can be placed within a ceiling with just a snap and the T-BAR LED ™ is possible due to JLC’s invention of a high-performance heat dissipation system. The “T-Bar for Suspended Ceiling with Heath Dissipation System for LED Lighting” is claimed in United States Patent No. 8,177,385 (the “‘385 Patent”).

JLC claims it commissioned photographs of its T-BAR LED™ product for use on its website and physical brochures for advertising and marketing purposes. On July 18, 2018, the U.S. Copyright Office registered JLC’s work entitled “March 2014 T-BAR LED (Linear Lighting) Brochure” under Registration Number VA 2-137-216. JLC’s work entitled “October 2015 T-BAR LED (Linear Lighting) Brochure” was also registered with the U.S. Copyright Office on July 18, 2018 and given the Registration Number VA 2-137-165. The complaint alleges JLC owns all right title and interest in both the March and October brochures, collectively the “JLC Protected Works”.

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Terre Haute, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC, and BR IP Holder LLC (collectively “Baskin-Robbins”), both Delaware limited liability companies, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Big Scoops Inc. and David M. Glasgow, Jr., both of Terre Haute, Indiana breached their Franchise Agreement with Baskin-Robbins by failing to pay required fees. By continuing to operate, Defendants are infringing Baskin-Robbins’ trade dress and numerous registered trademarks.

logo2Baskin-Robbins Franchising is in the business of franchising independent businesses and people to operate Baskin-Robbins shops in the United States. The “Baskin-Robbins” trade name, trademark, and service mark are owned by BR IP Holder along with other related marks. Since October 14, 2015, Big Scoops has been the owner and operator of a Baskin-Robbins shop located in Terre Haute, Indiana pursuant to a Franchise Agreement with Baskin-Robbins. David M. Glasgow, Jr. personally guaranteed the obligations of Big Scoops under the Franchise Agreement.

Pursuant to its Franchise Agreement, Big Scoops was granted a license to use the trademarks, trade names, and trade dress of Baskin-Robbins, but only in the manner specified in the Franchise Agreement. The fees due to Baskin-Robbins from Big Scoops under the Franchise Agreement included a franchise fee equal to 5.9% of gross sales of the business, an advertising fee equal to 5.0% of gross sales of the business, late fees, interest, and costs on unpaid monies due under the Franchise Agreement, and all sums owing and any damages, interest, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, incurred as a result of Big Scoops’ defaults. Under the Franchise Agreement, Big Scoops agreed that nonpayment of any of the required fees would be a default, that failure to pay within seven days after receiving written notice would be a continued default, and that receiving three notices of default within a twelve-month period would result in Baskin Robbins having the right to terminate the Franchise Agreement.

Plaintiffs sent Big Scoop three separate notices that it was in default of the Franchise Agreement for nonpayment on June 19, 2018, October 9, 2018, and December 7, 2018. As a result of these defaults and failure to cure after the December 7, 2018 notice, Baskin-Robbins sent Big Scoop a Notice of Termination with respect to the franchised business on February 12, 2019. Since receiving the Notice of Termination, Defendants have continued to operate the Baskin-Robbins shop and have used the Baskin-Robbins marks without authorization. Baskin-Robbins is claiming breach of contract, trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114, unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), and trade dress infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Baby Merlin Company of Uwchland, Pennsylvania originally filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleging that Defendants, CribCulture, LLC of Indianapolis,BlogPhoto-300x78 Indiana and Isaiah Blackburn of Westfield, Indiana infringed its rights in the United States Trademark Registration Nos. 4,271,544, 3,486,179, and 5,006,620 (the “Registered Marks”) for marks including the MAGIC SLEEPSUIT. Since then, the case has been transferred to the Southern District of Indiana. Plaintiff is seeking punitive and monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Baby Merlin’s founder conceived of or invented the MAGIC SLEEPSUIT® (the “Sleepsuit”), a swaddle-transition-sleep-product, in 2002. The Sleepsuit helps babies from three months to nine months sleep better by keeping them cozy and secure while transitioning from a swaddle to traditional sleep clothing. A mother, also a pediatric physical therapist, designed and created the Sleepsuit at issue in this case for her own children. After success with her own babies, the Baby Merlin Company was created, and it began selling the Sleepsuit in 2008.

Plaintiff claims that in 2017, Defendants copied key features of the Sleepsuit and introduced a competing product while unlawfully using the Registered Marks or marks similar to the Registered Marks. In one example of misuse, Defendants used “Baby Merlin Sleep Suit” in a blog post on their website that included a link to Baby Merlin’s website. In another example of confusingly similar uses, Defendants uses the word “SLEEPSUIT” on their packaging using a larger font for that word than any other word on the package. Further, Baby Merlin claims Defendants have used a variety of false and misleading statements about their product and Baby Merlin’s products in their advertising.

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Jacob J. Dell, Individually, & d/b/a Magic in the Sky of Boerne, Texas, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Miand, Inc. of LaPorte, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 5,184,437 for the mark MAGIC IN THE SKY (the Dell-BlogPhoto“Mark”). Plaintiff is seeking actual damages, enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees, prejudgment and post-judgment interest, court costs, and any other relief the court deems proper.

Plaintiff owns and operates Magic in the Sky, a pyrotechnics company for which he has used the Mark since at least as early as March 24, 2001. Dell filed a U.S. trademark application on January 22, 2016 and the trademark was granted registration on April 18, 2017. The Defendant, in connection with their fireworks display services, uses the phrase “Sky Magic Pyrotechnics” (“Infringing Mark”).

Dell first learned of the Infringing Mark when a representative of Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida asked if he was involved with the Defendant due to their use of “Sky Magic” on the internet. He informed Defendant of their infringing use in a cease and desist letter dated June 19, 2018. After he received no response, Dell sent a second letter to Defendant on September 7, 2018. Defendant has continued using the Infringing Mark and has not responded to either cease and desist letter.

Plaintiff is claiming trademark infringement under the Lanham Act. He is further seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1116 and Defendant’s profits, actual damages, and costs of the action pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117 for unfair competition under the Lanham Act.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Inspire Commerce, Inc. (“Inspire”) of Boulder County, Colorado, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, enVista, LLC, enVista InteractiveInspire-BlogPhoto-300x41 Solutions, LLC d/b/a Enspire Commerce, and RetailPoint II, LLC d/b/a RetailPoint, all of  Carmel, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Number 4,344,942. Plaintiff is seeking damages, injunctive relief, and other relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

Inspire provides services and products related to financial transaction processing for both storefronts and online retail stores. As early as April 24, 2008, Inspire began using its INSPIRE COMMERCE mark (the “Registered Mark”) for their financial transaction services and products. Plaintiff filed for registration with the USPTO for the Registered Mark on October 27, 2010, and was issued a Certificate of Registration for it on June 4, 2013. Inspire filed a Combined Declaration of Use and Incontestability with the USPTO on July 27, 2018. The USPTO accepted and acknowledged the Combined Declaration on August 4, 2018.

Plaintiff alleges Defendants began using their assumed name “ENSPIRE COMMERCE” on or about October 30, 2013. Defendant Interactive Solutions filed a Certificate of Assumed Business Name for Enspire Commerce on or about May 23, 2014. Inspire claims Defendants began using Enspire Commerce in connection with their system for managing transactions, processing, and payments for merchants and retailers. After April 19, 2018, the Interactive Solutions and RetailPoint social media pages were both taken down, their websites were removed, and their domain names began forwarding to an enVista website.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, LeSEA, Inc., Family Broadcasting Corporation (“FBC”), and LeSEA Global Feed theblogphoto-300x67 Hungry, Inc., all three Indiana non-profit corporations, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, LeSEA Broadcasting Corporation (“LBC”), a Colorado non-profit Corporation, Lester Sumrall of Bristol, Indiana, Dr. John W. Swails III of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Edward Wassmer, Vice President of LBC, infringed its rights in United States Registration No. 2,206,912 for “LESEA GLOBAL FEED THE HUNGRY” and United States Registration No. 2,122,820 for “LESEA GLOBAL”. Plaintiff is seeking damages, litigation expenses, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

LeSEA, Inc. was founded in 1957 by Dr. Lester Frank Sumrall, now deceased, and has been a Christian, non-profit operating a variety of ministries including a bookstore and a Bible college ever since. LeSEA Global oversees food and disaster relief efforts for LeSEA, Inc. and has delivered more than $200 million of food and supplies to hungry people around the world through generous donations. FBC, formerly known as LeSEA Broadcasting, operates television and radio stations along with a 24-hour prayer line, and other religious based programs.

According to the Plaintiffs, Defendant Lester Sumrall (“Lester”) has a false belief that he is the “rightful spiritual and legal heir” of LeSEA and based upon this belief, he has continually acted in an abusive, harassing manner towards LeSEA and his family members involved in the company. As such, Lester has attempted to interfere with LeSEA’s relationships with its lenders and clients, sought injunctions against it, and filed improper leans against LeSEA. Lester issued multiple press releases, utilizing the LeSEA registered marks, spreading false claims about LeSEA stating that it was under investigation by The Office of the Indiana Attorney General and that it had been mismanaged, which could endanger the organization’s tax-exempt status. Lester has also tried to interfere with the administration of multiple family members’ estates and even a family member’s divorce due to his false beliefs.

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