Robert Payne Sues Northern Tool & Equipment et al. for Trademark Infringement, False Advertising and Breach of Contract

Hammond, Ind. – Robert Payne (“Payne”) d/b/a Paynes Products, Paynes Forks and Payne Tools of LaPorte, Ind. sued Northern Tool & Equipment Company, Inc. and Northern Tool & Equipment Catalog Company, Inc. (collectively, “Northern Tool”) of Burnsville, Minn. for alleged violations of Payne’s intellectual property rights, false advertising and breach of contract.

PaynesForksLogo.JPGPayne alleges a prior business relationship with Northern Tool in which Northern Tool sold Payne’s products in Northern Tool’s stores, via its catalogs and via the Internet pursuant to various agreements between the parties.  Around October 2012, Northern Tool apparently informed Payne that it was terminating the agreements.  Payne alleges that, despite this, Northern Tool continues to advertise Payne’s products and has been fulfilling orders with products made by Northern Tool.

The plaintiff complains of trademark infringement, palming off, false advertising and false designation of origin under Section 43 of the Lanham Act as a result of Northern Tool allegedly continuing to advertise and sell imitation Paynes products.  

NorthernToolLogo.JPGPayne further complains of “Unfair Competition by Infringement of Common-Law Rights,” listing as his authority Indiana Code §§24-2-1-13 and 24-2-1-14.  Payne has also asserted a claim for breach of contract against Northern Tool for failure to disgorge “excessive funds” to Payne.

Finally, the complaint lists as separate counts one of the remedies sought – an injunction – and a count demanding a jury trial.  We have blogged in the past about this method of pleading here.

Practice Tip: The occasional typographic error is no stranger to many types of documents, even legal documents.  However, there comes a point where such errors erode credibility and hinder readability.  This complaint had obvious errors on every page and probably in more paragraphs than not.  Such drafting does not endear the lawyer to the judge – or the client – and should be avoided.

This case has been assigned to The Honorable Judge Jon E. DeGuilio and Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich in the Northern District of Indiana, and assigned Case No. 2:13-cv-109.

Complaint – Payne v. Northern Tool

Payne v. Northern Tool & Equipment Company Inc et al

Filed: March 27, 2013 as 2:2013cv00109 Updated: March 28, 2013 00:40:11

Plaintiff: Robert Payne 

Defendants: Northern Tool & Equipment Company Inc and Northern Tool & Equipment Catalog Company

Cause Of Action: Trademark Infringement (Lanham Act)

Court: Seventh Circuit > Indiana > Northern District Court

Type: Intellectual Property > Trademark

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