2 recent cases in federal court showcase trademark treachery

A steel giant’s trade name was used to misrepresent business deals with the intent to procure millions of dollars worth of machinery and financing, and an Amish-country spice maker alleges a local rival is ripping off its registered trademark. These two recent cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana illustrate the difficulties in policing registered marks on intellectual property, but the cases also show the means of recovery at rights holders’ disposal when their IP marks are violated.

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Lucky, plucky owners reclaim and renew famous Hoosier trademarks

Entrepreneurs enjoying sweet successes and heady times with the resurgence of their retro products took varied paths to claim the rights to bring back brands with deep Hoosier roots. The new owners of Roselyn Bakery, Choc-Ola chocolate drink and Champagne Velvet beer got dormant brands back on store shelves by capitalizing on trademarks that had disappeared from the marketplace but retained a certain cachet.

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Security software maker loses trademark case against Warner Bros.

The Plymouth, Indiana-based security software maker that sued Warner Bros. after the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” referred to hacking software as “clean slate” lost its trademark infringement case before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The company, which has a program called “Clean Slate,” claimed its sales dropped after the movie came out.

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Trademark board rules against Redskins name

A federal trademark board ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's trademark protections should be canceled, a decision that applies new financial and political pressure on the team to change its name.

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Kraft wins in food fight with Cracker Barrel

A federal appeals court ruled recently that savvy consumers might be confused if food branded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was sold in grocery stores that carry Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand cheese. Turns out even a law professor who teaches a course on trademarks and unfair competition might be fooled.

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Court reverses hotel’s cybersquatting conviction

A dispute over who could use the designation “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” led to a legal battle between LaPorte County’s visitors bureau and an area hotel-resort, with the trial court ruling in favor of the visitors bureau. But the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Monday, ruling the bureau didn’t prove it held a valid and protectable trademark.

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Legal fight fuels tensions in tight-knit tech world

A trademark-infringement case brought against App Press LLC threatens to smother the tech startup in legal fees before it reaches its potential. And in a curious twist, the case also has generated grumblings in the tightknit developer community toward a big law firm that is representing App Press’ opponent in the federal court case.

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