Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Indie Game Studios, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, d/b/a Stronghold Games LLC of Florida (“Stronghold”), filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Plan B Games, Inc., a Canadian corporation, and Plan B Games Europe GMBH, a German Company of Hamburg Germany, (collectively “Plan B”) infringed its rights to the Great Western Trail Board Game. The complaint alleges jurisdiction is proper due to Plan B’s presence and activities at the 2018 GenCon convention in Indianapolis, Indiana along with other sales within the District. Stronghold is seeking damages, cost of the action, attorneys’ fees, and all other relief the court may find just and proper.
Stronghold claims it contracted with a German company, eggertspiele GmbH & Co. KG (“eggertspiele”), in 2016 regarding a soon-to be released game to be marketed under the trademark “Great Western Trail.” The complaint alleges Stronghold provided feedback to eggertspiele regarding the English version of the game prior to its finalization and that Stronghold obtained exclusive rights to sell the board game in the English language throughout Canada and the United States. Stronghold claims the term of the agreement was from August 3, 2016 through December 31, 2018, with future successive one-year extensions, which could be cancelled by 3-month written notice.
The complaint alleges that the Great Western Trail name and its distinctive lettering was inherently distinctive as a board game trademark. Stronghold claims because it promoted and sold the Stronghold version of the game throughout the United States, Stronghold became the common law owner of the Great Western Trail Marks (“GWT Marks”) for board games in the United States. Stronghold further claims that because its “Stronghold Games ‘Castle’ logo” was also placed on the game box, the game was associated with Stronghold. According to the complaint, Stronghold expended a significant amount of time, money, and effort to promote and market its Great Western Trail game throughout the United States and Canada.
Stronghold claims the Great Western Trail was a “smash hit,” and as such, they made a written request for a 10,000-unit print run for the game on June 9, 2017. According to the complaint, on June 9, 2017, Stronghold was informed that eggertspiele had been purchased by Plan B Games. After communicating with representatives of Plan B Games, Stronghold claims Plan B had no issue with eggertspiele continuing to reprint the Great Western Trail for Stronghold. However, Stronghold also claims that their efforts to obtain a reprint of the Great Western Trail through the end of the contract term were unsuccessful.
According to the complaint, Plan B released their version of Great Western Trail (the “Plan B Version”) around January 2018. Stronghold believes the Plan B Version looks nearly identical to its version, makes use of the GWT Marks, and as such, Plan B capitalized on the hard work and goodwill established by Stronghold. Per the complaint, consumers have also been confused by the Plan B Version as they have contacted Stronghold for replacement parts as they believe Stronghold is the maker and/or owner of the game. Stronghold also believes the missing pieces and defective parts of the Plan B Version have damaged the reputation of Stronghold in the market.
Stronghold is claiming federal unfair competition and false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). Pursuant to Ind. Code § 24-2-1-13, Stronghold is claiming trademark infringement. Next, Stronghold is claiming unfair competition under the common law. Finally, Stronghold is claiming conspiracy as Plan B knew Stronghold had requested a reprint, knew eggertspiele failed to reprint the game for Stronghold, and Plan B created its version of the game to be passed off as the Stronghold version.