Articles Posted in Unfair Competition

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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Indianapolis, Indiana –Boiling Crab Franchise Co., LLC (“The Boiling Crab”), the Plaintiff, filed two separate complaints for trademark infringement and unfair competition alleging similar facts. The first complaint was filed against Defendant The Mad Crab LLC d/b/a The Boiling Crab, Crawfish & Shrimp (“The Mad Crab”). The second complaint was filed against CC Food Enterprise LLC and KC Groups Inc. (collectively “The Boiling Seafood”). According to the complaints, The Boiling Crab owns four relevant U.S. trademarks for “The Boiling Crab” in various styles with Registration Nos. 3,256,219, 4,174,077, 4,491,054, and 5,374,534.

The Boiling Crab franchise, started in California in 2004, has allegedly grown to include locations throughout California and at least four other states. According to the complaints, the Louisiana-style seafood served by The Boiling Crab and the distinctive restaurant décor and menus create a one-of-a-kind dining experience. The Boiling Crab also claims unique trade dress rights in the look and feel of its restaurants.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – KS Equity Company, LLC (“KS”), the Plaintiff, operates a convenience store, Leo’s Market and Eatery (the “Leo’s Store”) in Indianapolis, Indiana. KS claims to own and use the following U.S. Trademark Reg. Nos. 5886802, 5886803, 5892871, and 5962680 (collectively, “Leo’s Trademarks”) in connection with the Leo’s Store. According to the Complaint, KS has also developed trade dress in the unique design elements of the Leo’s Store (“Leo’s Trade Dress”).

KS claims Defendants, RSM Investments LLC, Raghbir Singh, Pushpinder Singh, York Multani, and York Singh (collectively, “Defendants”), operate a convenience store or gas station called Leon’s in Indianapolis, Indiana (the “Leon’s Store”). Per the Complaint, the Leon’s Store is located approximately 22 miles away from the Leo’s Store and uses a confusingly similar name and logo compared to the Leo’s Trademarks. The brand of fuel sold in connection with each store, Marathon, allegedly exacerbates the potential customer confusion between the two stores.

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Lafayette, IndianaLafayette Venetian Blind, Inc. (“LVB”), the Plaintiff, claims it has developed substantial goodwill in connection with its distinctive U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3537759 for the word “Allure” for use in connection with window blinds and treatements. LVB claims that Defendant, Blinds to Go (U.S.), Inc. (“Blinds to Go”), uses the term “Allure” “to sell competing goods to many of the same consumers served by LVB.” According to the Complaint, LVB has demanding Blinds to Go cease and desist from using the “Allure” mark in connection with Blinds to Go’s window treatments, but it has failed to do so.

As such, LVB is seeking declaratory relief that it has superior rights to the term “Allure” and has the right to use the term “Allure” throughout the United States for “manufacturing, designing, and selling window treatments, blinds, shades, and related products and services.” Further, LVB is seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1114 and 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125(a), respectively). Finally, LVB is claiming damages for common law trademark infringement and passing off/unfair competition.

The case was assigned to Judge Phillip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge John E. Martin in the Northern District and assigned Case 4:20-cv-00021-PPS-JEM.

South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Williamsburg Furniture, Inc. (“Williamsburg”) of Nappanee, Indiana originally filed suit in the District Court of Delaware seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement against Defendant, Lippert Components, Inc. (“Lippert”) claiming Lippert’s United States Patent No. 8,739,330 (the “‘330 Patent”) is invalid and/or unenforceable. Williamsburg is also seeking judgment for false advertising and unfair competition as it claims Lippert informed Williamsburg’s customers of the alleged patent infringement and caused Williamsburg to lose sales. Upon motion by Lippert, the case was transferred to the Northern District of Indiana.

According to the Complaint, the invention claimed in the ‘330 Patent for a tri-fold sofa was publicly disclosed, in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public through third parties not associated with the ‘330 invention more than one year prior to the filing of the provisional patent application. For instance, Patrick Hutmacher claims he purchased a tri-fold chair/bed in August 2010 from a furniture store in McHenry. One month later, a person from the McHenry furniture store allegedly brought a second tri-fold chair/bed to Mr. Hutmacher at his place of employment, Flair Interiors, Inc. (“Flair”), in an attempt to supply the products to the company.

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Fort Wayne, IndianaShield Exteriors, Inc. (“Shield Exteriors”) filed an infringement suit against five Defendants regarding its U.S. Copyright No. VA 2-174-290 (the “‘290 Registration”) and its “SHIELD EXTERIORS” word mark and logo (the “Shield Marks”) in the Northern District of Indiana. According to the Complaint, the ‘290 Registration protects eight photographs of roof installations completed by Shield Exteriors. Shield Exteriors claims it has used the Shield Marks in connection with roofing services since as early as 2015.

Defendant Roof Genius Pro (“Roof Genius”) allegedly owns and operates two different websites that display the Shield Marks and seven of the eight photographs protected by the ‘290 Registration. According to the Complaint, Roof Genius advertised for Defendant 4Ever Metal Roofing, LLC (“4Ever Metal”) via a video advertisement posted on Facebook that included photographs of metal roofs installed by Shield Exteriors. The link posted with that advertisement redirects viewers to a website hosted by Defendant Local2Online, which displays the name and logo of 4Ever Metal and solicits customer information utilizing photographs protected by the ‘290 Registration. The other two named Defendants, sued in their individual capacities, are the owner of Roof Genius and Local 2Online, John Estabrook, and the owner of 4Ever Metal, Travis Sliger.

The case was assigned to District Judge Holly A. Brady and Magistrate Judge Susan L. Collins in the Northern District and assigned Case 1:20-cv-00064-HAB-SLC.

South Bend, Indiana – The United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana entered a Temporary Restraining Order against Darkhorse Cargo, Inc. (“Darkhorse”) and its employees (collectively “Defendants”) regarding trade secrets and confidential information of Plaintiff, RC Trailers, Inc. (“RC”).

RC manufacturLogo-1-300x85es and distributes cargo and specialty trailers throughout the United States. According to RC, it expends a lot of time, effort, and expense to maintain dealer and vendor relationship using trade secrets and confidential business information. RC claims it uses confidentiality provisions in its employee handbooks, passwords, disclaimers on confidential communications, and o

RC’s former president, Defendant Bryan Johnson (“Johnson”), ended his employment with RC in September 2018 and signed an agreement that contained non-solicitation and non-recruitment covenants that expired one year later. After Johnson’s departure, he claims many RC employees were unhappy to see him leave and wanted to work for him elsewhere. In the spring of 2019, RC promoted Defendant Joseph Kiefer (“Kiefer”) from CFO to acting General Manager. Kiefer claims that RC employees were talking about wanting Johnson to open his own trailer company prior to Kiefer terminating his employment with RC in June 2019. Prior to his leaving RC, Kiefer allegedly tried to recruit RC’s sales professional to join Darkhorse, indicating the business would be started by Kiefer and Johnson in the near future. RC claims that unbeknownst to it, Kiefer deleted the post-employment restrictions in his non-compete agreement before signing and returning it to RC upon his departure.

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Terre Haute, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, H-D U.S.A., LLC and Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC (collectively “Harley”), both of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Harley Life, LLC (“Harley Life”) and Bill Lemon (“Lemon” and collectively “Defendants”), both of Vincennes, Indiana, infringed their rights in U.S. Copyright Reg. No. VA 1-987-746 and the United States Trademark Registrations below (collectively “Harley’s Intellectual Property”).

Mark Reg. No. Goods and Services
HARLEY 1406876 Clothing; namely—tee shirts for men, women and children; knit tops for women and girls; and children’s shirts
HARLEY 1683455 Shirts, tank tops, boots and sweatshirts
HARLEY 1708362 Embroidered patches for clothing
HARLEY 1352679 Motorcycles
HARLEY 3818855 Non-luminous, non-mechanical tin signs, non-luminous, non-mechanical metal signs
Trademark image 4465604 Clothing, namely, shirts, hats, caps, belts, jackets, gloves, sweatshirts, lounge pants, wrist bands
Trademark image 3525970 Jackets, coats, gloves, shirts, shorts, caps, hats, headwear, knit hats, belts, neckties, pants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, leather clothing, namely, leather jackets, leather gloves, footwear, namely, boots and vest extenders

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Evansville, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC and BR IP Holder LLC (collectively “Baskin-Robbins”), both of Canton, Ice-cream-300x201Massachusetts, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana against Defendants, Radhakrishna LLC (“Radha”) of Indianapolis, Indiana, Naik’s, LLC (“Naik’s”) of Louisville, Kentucky, and Mukesh Naik, a citizen of Indiana (collectively “Defendants”), alleging breach of contract, trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition. Baskin-Robbins is seeking injunctive relief, judgment, including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

According to the Complaint, Baskin-Robbins, along with its franchisees, currently operate more than 7,800 shops worldwide and have been in business for over seventy years. BR IP Holder LLC claims to own numerous registrations for marks relating to “Baskin-Robbins” and derivations thereof, most of which are incontestable under 15 U.S.C. § 1065. Baskin-Robbins further claims that the public knows and recognizes their marks due to the extensive sales and marketing Baskin-Robbins has done while in business.

It is alleged that Mukesh Naik, individually, entered a franchise agreement for PC 361694 on or about September 14, 1998; Radha entered into a franchise agreement for PC 351607 on or about August 10, 2013; and Naik’s entered into two franchise agreements for PC 353400 and PC 360506 in 2014 (collectively the “Franchise Agreements”). Each of the alleged Franchise Agreements were entered into between the Defendants and Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC to operate Baskin-Robbins shops and each were allegedly personally guaranteed by Mukesh Naik. Baskin-Robbins claims that the Defendants defaulted under the Franchise Agreements and after three separate failures to cure their defaulting actions, were each sent a Notice of Termination. According to the Complaint, Defendants have continued using the Baskin-Robbins marks after the Notice of Termination was received by each Defendant, in breach of the Franchise Agreements.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Circle City Marketing & Distributing, Inc. d/b/a/ Candy Dynamics (“Candy Dynamics”) of Carmel, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Jelly Belly Candy Company (“Jelly Belly”) of Fairfield, California, infringed its rights in United StatesCircleCity-BlogPhoto Trademark Registration No. 4,780,103 (the “‘103 Registration”) for “candy”. Candy Dynamics is seeking damages, costs, attorneys’ fees, expenses, and any other relief the Court deems proper.

Candy Dynamics claims it has sold candy for over twenty years and has offered various product lines including its TOXIC WASTE® line of sour candy. According to the Complaint, Candy Dynamics began using a two-tone pattern of alternating angled stripes (the “Hazard Stripe Mark”) for its advertising and packaging at least as early as 2001. Candy Dynamics claims that the Hazard Stripe Mark is inherently distinctive and it was therefore awarded trademark protection under the ‘103 Registration.

According to the Complaint, Jelly Belly has, with constructive knowledge of the Hazard Stripe Mark, advertised, promoted, and sold candy products, including its Bean Boozled product line using a “hazard stripe design” (the “Infringing Mark”). Candy Dynamics claims that on or about March 28, 2017, its counsel sent a letter to Jelly Belly informing it of the ‘103 Registration and alleged infringement. While Jelly Belly allegedly agreed to “phase out use of the solid stripe design,” Candy Dynamics claims Jelly Belly instead slightly modified its product by adding several “CAUTION” statements in front of the Infringing Mark and modified the width of the stripes. As such, Candy Dynamics is seeking damages for federal and common law trademark infringement and unfair competition pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1114 et seq., the common law, and 15 U.S.C. § 1125, respectively.

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