New Albany, Indiana – Poulsen Roser A/S (“Poulsen”), the Plaintiff, is a family-owned company allegedly world-famous for breeding distinctive rose varieties. Apparently due to this notoriety, Poulsen obtains patent and trademark protection for its roses throughout the world, including the United States. According to the Complaint, Poulsen developed a unique currant red hybrid tea rose variety branded with the trademark INGRID BERGMAN (the “Mark”) in the early 1980s. In addition to being a world-renowned rose and receiving numerous awards, the INGRID BERGMAN rose was apparently inducted into the World Federation of Rose Societies’ Rose Hall of Fame in 2000.
Poulsen claims the Mark, protected under U.S. Federal Trademark Reg. No. 2,990,814 (the “‘814 Registration”), has been used in U.S. commerce continuously since 1986. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1057(b), Poulsen claims the ‘814 Registration is prima facie evidence of the validity of the Mark, Poulsen’s ownership of the Mark, and Poulsen’s exclusive right to use the Mark in commerce. Only Poulsen possesses the consent of the heirs of the actress Ingrid Bergman to use her name in connection with roses.
Gardens Alive, Inc (“Gardens Alive”) is reported to be a family of brands that provide fertilizers, pest and design control products, seeds, perennials, bulbs, nursery stock, gifts, games and mores. Gardens Alive’s family of brands include, among others, Weeks Roses.
Gardens Alive acquired the assets of Weeks on June 5, 2011 out of a bankruptcy through its wholly owned subsidiary IGP Acquisition LLC. Weeks sells and distributes roses to garden centers, nurseries, and select mail-order outlets throughout the United States and is one of the country’s largest wholesale rose growers.
In 2010, J&P Park Acquisitions, Inc. (“JPPA”) purchased certain assets out of bankruptcy from a former licensee of Poulsen, including the purported right to use the INGRID BERGMAN mark. In October 2010, Poulsen and JPPA executed a Joint Notification pursuant to which JPPA acknowledged Poulsen was the exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in the INGRID BERGMAN mark.
In 2011, Weeks Roses entered into an arrangement with JPPA with regard to cultivation, marketing, distribution and sale of various rose varieties, including roses to be sold under the INGRIG BERGMAN mark. Allegedly, Gardens Alive through Weeks Roses is producing, advertising, selling, and distributing roses under Poulsen’s INGRID BERGMAN mark.
Plaintiff is seeking damages for federal trademark counterfeiting and federal trademark infringement in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114. Plaintiff is further claiming Defendants’ actions constitute unfair competition and false designation of origin in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Plaintiff is also seeking damages for common law unfair competition and the Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act.