Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

fanimation-blogphoto-300x65Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Fanimation, Inc. of Zionsville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Décor Selections, LLC d/b/a Lighting Merchant (“Lighting Merchant”) of Ocean, New Jersey, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 2,318,516 for FANIMATION (the “Registered Mark”). Fanimation is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

Fanimation claims it owns the Registered Mark for “electric wall mounted fans, electric free-standing floor pedestal fans and electric ceiling fans for non-industrial use.” Further, Fanimation alleges it has been using the Registered Mark, FANIMATION, since at least 1984 and because it has filed all proper paperwork and the Registered Mark has been registered more than five years, the Registered Mark is now “incontestable” pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1065. According to the complaint, Fanimation sells its fans in a variety of ways through direct sales via its website or showrooms, or through Authorized Dealers. Authorized Dealers have entered into a written Authorized Dealer Agreement (“ADA”) to sell Fanimation fans through specially trained staff. Fanimation claims “original buyers” of its fans from direct sales or those through an Authorized Dealer receive a warranty that is redeemable with proof of purchase, purchase order, or invoice number.

Per the complaint, Fanimation claims Lighting Merchant is and has been selling fans bearing the Registered Mark on its website without authorized use via an ADA. Fanimation claims that Lighting Merchant’s lack of warranty and failure to specially train staff on Fanimation’s products make “the fans sold by Lighting Merchant materially different from the genuine FANIMATION® fans offered by Fanimation and its Authorized Dealers.” Fanimation believes consumers are likely to be confused when purchasing fans from Lighting Merchant as to the source and quality of the fans.

Fanimation allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to Lighting Merchant on or about January 19, 2019. Fanimation believes Lighting Merchant purchases fans from Authorized Dealer(s) and then sells them second-hand. These acts, if true, would breach at least one of the terms of the ADA signed by the Authorized Dealer(s) selling to Lighting Merchant. As such, Fanimation is seeking injunctive relief and seeking damages for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, AWGI, LLC and Atlas Van Lines, Inc. (“Atlas”) both of AWGI-BlogPhotoEvansville, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, American Wide Relocation Inc. d/b/a Atlas Moving and Storage (“American”) of North Palm Beach, Florida, infringed their rights in United States Registration Nos. 3,718,117 for the mark “ATLAS”, and 1,591,344 for the mark “ATLAS—THE AGENTS’ VAN LINES” (the “Registered Marks”). Plaintiffs are seeking damages, statutory and treble damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and any other relief the court deems proper.

According to the Complaint, Atlas has provided transportation and storage of goods to the public since at least 1948. Atlas and non-party, Atlas Investment Company, Inc., allegedly assigned all of their rights in the Registered Marks to AWGI on November 9, 2009. Atlas claims it has maintained a license to the Registered Marks since the assignment and that the Registered Marks have developed substantial goodwill as a result of the high quality of services it provides and the extensive amount of promotion it has put forth using the Registered Marks.

AWGI claims it sent a cease and desist letter to American on May 13, 2019 after discovering the alleged infringement of the Registered Marks on American’s website, which American uses to promote its moving and storage services. Richard Falcone, whom Plaintiffs believe is the owner of American, contacted Plaintiffs’ attorney on May 15, 2019 and claimed he could use the term “Atlas” because “it can be found in the dictionary”. Plaintiffs claim American’s services are inferior to their own and that American is employing deceptive practices such as using nearly identical Testimonials on its website as those found on other sites for different moving services. Due to their belief that American’s use of the Registered Marks is likely to cause confusion for consumers, Plaintiffs are seeking damages for trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1) and common law unfair competition.

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Trane International, Inc. (“Trane”) of Davidson, North Carolina, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Grand Design RV, LLC (“Grand Design”) of Middlebury, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 5,380,586 (the “‘586BlogPhoto1-300x58 Mark”) for the mark BUILT TO A HIGHER STANDARD. Trane is seeking actual damages, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, and any other relief the Court deems proper.

According to the Complaint, Trane is in the business of designing, building, and selling a variety of products including refrigeration and heating units for vehicles such as trucks and trailers. Trane alleges it has used the ‘586 Mark since at least 1992. Trane further claims that its air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps sold under the ‘586 Mark accounted for over $700 million of its sales in 2018.

Trane alleges Grand Design utilizes the ‘586 Mark on its temperature control devices that are used in recreational vehicles. Due to this use, Trane believes Grand Design’s actions will likely confuse consumers and will deceive third parties leading them to think Grand Design’s products are affiliated with Trane. Trane claims it sent two cease and desist letters in the spring of 2018, the second of which finally received a response from Grand Design refusing to cease the use of the ‘586 Mark. Instead, it is alleged Grand Design offered to use the designation “RV’S BUILT TO A HIGHER STANDARD”.

After multiple failed attempts at following up with Grand Design regarding its allegedly infringing use, Trane filed this suit for federal trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Trane is further claiming federal unfair competition and trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Finally, Trane is seeking damages for common law unfair competition under the common law of the State of Indiana.

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Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant, SportFuel, Inc. (“SportFuel”), of Chicago, Illinois, originally filed suit against Defendants-Appellees, PepsiCo, Inc. (“Pepsi”) and The Gatorade Company (“Gatorade”) (collectively the “Appellees”), for trademark infringement in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. After the District Court granted summary judgment for GatoradeGatorade-BlogPhoto and Pepsi, SportFuel appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Circuit Judge Kanne wrote the opinion affirming the grant of summary judgment by the District Court.

SportFuel provides personalized nutrition services to professional and amateur athletes and sells its own brand of dietary supplements. SportFuel registered two trademarks for “SportFuel” the first of which was registered for “food nutrition consultation, nutrition counseling, and providing information about dietary supplements and nutrition.” Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065, the first registration became “incontestable” in 2013. The second registration for “SportFuel” was for “goods and services related to dietary supplements and sports drinks enhanced with vitamins.”

Gatorade, now a household name, was created in 1965. Although Gatorade is known for its traditional sports drinks, it also sells customizable sports drinks for individual professional athletes and other sports nutrition products. Starting in 2013, Gatorade began describing and marketing its products as “sports fuels” and registered the trademark “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” in 2016 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”). During the registration process, “Gatorade disclaimed the exclusive use of ‘The Sports Fuel Company’ after the PTO advised the company that the phrase was merely descriptive of its products.”

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, Furrion Property Holding Limited and Furrion Limited, both of Cyberport Road, Hong Kong (collectively “Furrion”), filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Way Interglobal Network, LLC (“Way Interglobal”) of Elkhart, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Patent Numbers D839,038 (the “‘038 Patent”), D851,978 (the “‘978Furrion-BlogPhoto-277x300 Patent”), D851,979 (the “‘979 Patent”), and D851,990 (the “‘990 Patent”) (collectively the “Furrion Design Patents”). Furrion is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, actual damages, total profits, treble damages, and pre and post judgment interest.

According to the complaint, Furrion was formed in 2007 to create modern-luxury technology for traveling including electronics, appliances, and energy sources for land and water vehicles. Furrion claims it has designed and manufactured its cooktops and ovens for use in the “RV” industry since at least 2013. The 2 in 1 Range Ovens produced and sold by Furrion have an allegedly distinctive and unique ornamental design compared to those traditionally available in the RV industry. Furrion claims the Furrion 2 in 1 Range Oven has had great success since May 2017 and is one of its best-selling products.

Furrion Property Holding Limited claims to be the owner by assignment of the Furrion Design Patents with Furrion Limited being the exclusive license holder for the Furrion Design Patents. According to the complaint, Furrion updates an online list of its products that are protected by Furrion’s U.S. patents giving notice of their patent property rights. The marketing and product materials for the Furrion products also allegedly contain copyright and trademark notices. Furrion claims the 2 in 1 Range Oven User Manual, in particular, can be viewed and/or downloaded online from anywhere by anyone. Furrion further claims it has at least four registered United States Trademarks that have been used in connection with its 2 in 1 Range Ovens, which include U.S. Registration Nos. 5,595,145, 5,487,459, 5,595,144, and 4,563,947 (the “Furrion Marks”).

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, CMB Entertainment, LLC (“CMB”) a limited liability company formed under the laws of the State of Indiana and Bryan Abrams (“Abrams”) of Oklahoma, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Mark Calderon (“Calderon”) of Ohio and Pyramid Entertainment Group, Inc. (“Pyramid”) of New York, New York, transacting business in the State of Indiana, CMB-BlogPhoto-184x300infringed CMB’s rights in the federally registered U.S. trademark “COLOR ME BADD” (the “Mark”) and Calderon breached his fiduciary duties. Plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction, damages, treble damages, pre-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

According to the complaint, CMB has two members, Abrams and Calderon, who were also two of the founding members for “Color Me Badd”, (the “Group”) a well-known R&B group. Plaintiffs claim Pyramid conducts business in Indiana as a booking agent which books shows and performances for the Group. Abrams claims he kept the Mark alive during the Group’s hiatus from 2000 to 2009/2010 by performing as Color Me Badd without the other three founding members.

Abrams and Calderon allegedly reformed the Group to perform at a concert in Hawaii in July 2010. A third member, Kevin Thornton (“Thornton”) then allegedly rejoined and the three formed CMB on May 26, 2011 for the business operations of the Group including owning the Group’s intellectual property rights. CMB filed to register the Mark on or about July 22, 2011 and was granted the Serial No. 85,378,693. Plaintiffs claim CMB is the sole owner of the Mark and at the time of formation, each member held an equal one-third interest in the company. While an operating agreement for CMB was drafted in October 2013, according to the complaint, it was never executed.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, North Central Industries, Inc. (“North Central”) of Muncie, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Creative Licensing Center Corporation (“Creative”) of Los Angeles, California, Winco Fireworks, Inc., and Winco FireworksTerminator-BlogPhoto-1 International, LLC (collectively the “Winco Defendants”), both of Prairie Village, Kansas, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration No. 2745764 for the mark “Terminator” (“Registered Mark”). North Central is seeking profits, damages, interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

North Central claims it has been in the business of importing and selling consumer fireworks in Indiana for over 50 years. The complaint asserts that the Registered Mark has been used in commerce since 2000 and that the registration has become incontestable under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1065. According to the complaint, North Central has used the Registered Mark in connection with essential oils since at least May 1, 1998 and, also in connection with consumer fireworks.

The complaint alleges Studiocanal Image S. A. f/k/a +D. A. (“Studiocanal”) filed an opposition to the Registered Mark, but the opposition was withdrawn on January 31, 2003. It was then allegedly dismissed with prejudice on March 31, 2003 by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. North Central alleges that the Winco Defendants entered into a licensing agreement with Studiocanal through Studiocanal’s agent, Creative, to use the trademark TERMINATOR. According to the complaint, Creative attempted to demand North Central “cease and desist” its use of the TERMINATOR mark, but the request was withdrawn after North Central’s counsel advised Creative of the Registered Mark’s incontestability status in March 2019. North Central claims it then informed the Winco Defendants of the Registered Mark’s status and demanded they cease and desist their infringing behaviors, which the Winco Defendants did not.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, North American Van Lines, Inc. (“NAVL”) of Fort Wayne, Indiana, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Kettering Moving and Storage, Inc. (“Kettering”) of Dayton, Ohio, infringed its United States Trademark Registrations.

 

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NAVL is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, profits, actual damages, costs and attorney’s fees, investigatory fees, and further relief the court deems appropriate.

NAVL claims it has been providing transportation services since 1933 and has been using the marks NORTH AMERICAN and NORTH AMERICAN VAN LINES in connection with those services for many years. According to the complaint, there are seven registered marks at issue in this case. NAVL claims it has licensed companies to act as NAVL Agents including the right to use NAVL’s registered marks, but it has been careful in limiting such licensing activities. NAVL asserts that through its use of its registered marks and the control it maintained in their use through licensing agreements, the registered marks have acquired a secondary meaning.

Per the complaint, Kettering provides moving and storage services throughout the world. NAVL claims it had an agency contract with Kettering prior to July 24, 2018 in which Kettering was allowed to use NAVL’s registered marks. However, NAVL asserts that it terminated that relationship through a letter sent to Kettering on July 24, 2018. After being informed Kettering was still utilizing NAVL’s registered marks, NAVL claims it informed Kettering to cease and desist on February 28, 2019. NAVL claims Kettering disregarded this cease and desist and continues to display NAVL’s registered marks on its vehicles and signs.

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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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