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Irked judge in tanning trademark dispute: ‘This is a busy Court’

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A federal judge warned a tanning product maker and lawyers defending it from a trademark infringement claim that they were dangerously close to getting burned.

Indianapolis-based Australian Gold uses the trademark “Live Laugh Tan” in marketing its line of indoor tanning preparations. The company sued Florida-based Devoted Creations after it began selling products using the mark, “Live Love Tan.” Australian Gold claims trademark infringement and unjust enrichment.

Devoted Creations petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to dismiss the complaint, Australian Gold, LLC v. Devoted Creations, LLC, 1:13-cv-00971-JMS-DML, but Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued an order tersely denying the motion. Devoted Creations argued that its use of the mark on tanning products could not infringe on Australian Gold’s use of its trademark on tote bags.

“In light of this allegation, Devoted Creations’ argument must be premised on one of two things: either that the Court will not read the Complaint (which alleges facts contrary to Devoted Creations’ position) or will not apply the correct standard of review,” Magnus-Stinson wrote in an order signed Wednesday. “It goes without saying that neither of these premises is true.

“Devoted Creations’ sole argument is a nonstarter on both the facts and the law, particularly on a motion to dismiss,” she wrote. “This is a busy Court that, of course, prefers to focus its efforts on motions that at least arguably have merit. The Court therefore reminds Devoted Creations and its counsel that it must be cognizant of the ethical duties under both Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)(2) (stating that a motion presented to the Court functions as a certification by the presenting attorney that ‘the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by existing law’) and 28 U.S.C § 1927 (providing for sanctions for unreasonably protracting litigation)
when filing a motion with the Court.”

Australian Gold’s complaint  seeks maximum damages allowed under 15 USC § 1117 for wrongful profits due to trademark infringement, plus attorneys fees and costs. It also seeks to bar Devoted Creations “from advertising and offering for sale or selling any products which have caused actual confusion or are likely to cause confusion” with Australian Gold’s trademark.

A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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