Indianapolis, Indiana – Delta Faucet Company (“Delta”), the Plaintiff, is an Indiana corporation that is apparently known as “America’s Faucet Innovation Leader.” Delta claims its products may only be purchased in the United States from Delta itself, or its Authorized Sellers. According to the Complaint, this allows Delta to control the quality of the products and protect the value of its brand(s). As Delta’s brand is important to the company, it has registered numerous trademarks with the U.S. Trademark Office including those in the table below (the “Delta Marks”).
|Registered Mark||Registration Nos.|
Delta has filed multiple infringement suits in Indiana this year to vigorously defend its intellectual property rights. E-commerce sales have exploded over the past decade and while online marketplaces have created opportunities, they have also apparently created a challenge for brand owners to control the quality and safety of their products. Further, Delta claims online marketplaces have a low barrier to entry and do not require sellers to be Authorized Sellers, meaning many unauthorized sellers with no relationship to Delta are able to sell counterfeit or lesser quality products online without Delta’s consent. This can lead to consumer reviews that associate the problem with their product “with the brand/manufacturer rather than the product seller.” Given these risks, Delta claims it imposes additional requirements on its Authorized Sellers who sell online, including only allowing websites that are operated by the Authorized Seller and not a storefront on any online marketplace. The website must also include the “Authorized Seller’s mailing address, telephone number, and email address” along with being fully inspected and approved by Delta.
Delta claims that due to the risks to consumers and reputational concerns, it actively monitors the online sale of its products. Over the course of this monitoring, Delta apparently found a high volume of products being sold illegally on Amazon by Defendants, Dmitrii Iakovlev and John Does, 1-10 (while the identities of John Does 1-10 are currently unknown, Delta intends on discovering their identities and amending its Complaint). Delta claims it sent multiple cease and desist communications to Defendants, but Defendants have continued to sell products bearing the Delta Marks on their “TechnoProffs” Amazon storefront. Additionally, the Complaint cites to numerous one-star reviews for the sales of alleged Delta products on the TechnoProffs storefront that were damaged and/or missing pieces.
Due to the alleged harm of the sales of unauthorized products bearing the Delta Marks, Delta is seeking injunctive relief and enhanced damages for trademark infringement pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1116 and 1117(a). Also pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), Delta claims Defendants actions constitute unfair competition. Delta is further seeking damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition under Indiana common law. Finally, because Defendants have allegedly knowingly and willfully sold products represented as genuine Delta products when they are not, Delta claims Defendants have committed deception in violation of Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act, Ind. Code § 35-43-5-3.