Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Trademark Litigation

Trademark Infringement Suit Between Pennsylvania Companies

R.E. Whittaker Co., a Pennsylvania corporation based in New Castle, PA, filed a trademark infringement suit against Misco Products Corporation, a Pennsylvania corporation based in Reading, PA on July 9, 2010 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Whittaker has been in the business of manufacturing and selling commercial carpet cleaning products for over twenty-five years. In 1992 Whittaker introduced a carpet cleaning product under the brand name Crystal Dry®. The Complaint alleges that Misco recently started promoting, advertising, and selling a carpet cleaning product identified by the mark “Crystal Clear.”

The causes of action in the Complaint are: trademark infringement under federal trademark law, false designation of origin and unfair competition, dilution of famous marks, and trademark infringement and unfair competition under Pennsylvania common law.

Trademark and Copyright Infringement Case Filed Against Pittsburgh Company

A California company and a Nevada limited liability company filed suit in the Western District Court against Pittsburgh company QuestMark LLC for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and unfair competition.

The Amended Complaint filed February 11, 2010 alleges the following claims of trademark infringement under the Lanham Act:

1. Defendants’ use of the mark CREATING AN ACCOUNTABLE CULTURE constitutes infringement of Plaintiffs’ federally registered CREATING A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY;
2. Defendants’ use of the mark ACCOUNTABLE CULTURE constitutes infringement of Plaintiffs’ federally registered CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY;
3. Defendants’ use of the mark KEYS TO ACCOUNTABILITY constitutes infringement of Plaintiffs’ federally registered STEPS TO ACCOUNTABILITY; and
4. Defendants’ use of the mark ACCOUNTABILITY WORKSHOP constitutes infringement of Plaintiffs’ federally registered ACCOUNTABILITY TRAINING.

The Amended Complaint also alleges copyright infringement of a customer proposal brochure and a document that lists training modules used by the California company in its leadership-training and management-consulting services. The document also outlines the key “take away” points from the various modules.

An Answer has not yet been filed.

Smiley Face Cookie Trademark Infringement Suit

On December 31, 2009, Eat’n Park, a restaurant group with its principal place of business in Pittsburgh, filed suit against Crumb Corps, a Texas corporation, for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.

The complaint alleges that Crumb Corps sells “Smiley Faces” cookies which have a design that is confusingly similar to the registered trademark of Eat’n Park and are directly competitive products to the Eat’n Park SMILEY face cookies. Crumb Corps’s cookies are available via retail stores, catalogs, and online. Eat’n Park alleges that Crumb Corp’s sale of cookies using its smiling face design and the SMILEY word mark constitutes unfair competition.

- Katie Cooper

Defendants in Burt Hill, Inc. Case File Countersuit

The defendants in the Burt Hill, Inc. v. Hassan et al (Case No. 2:2009cv01285) unfair competition, trademark infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets case (in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania) filed a countersuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

The complaint alleges the following:
1. Breach of contract;
2. Violation of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law;
3. Wrongful termination;
4. Defamation;
5. Abuse of process;
6. Intentional infliction of emotional distress;
7. Breach of fiduciary duty of a director and officer.

- Katie Cooper

Pittsburgh Corporation Files Unfair Competition, Trademark Infringement, and Trade Secret Lawsuit

Burt Hill, Inc. is a Pennsylvania corporation with offices in Pittsburgh, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. On September 21, 2009, Burt Hill filed suit against seven employees of Burt Hill for several causes of action including unfair competition, trademark infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets. (Burt Hill, Inc. v. Hassan et al Case No. 2:2009cv01285.)

According to the Complaint, “Burt Hill provides architecture and engineering services, including interior design, landscape architecture, sustainable design, project management, and master planning services.”

Burt Hill owns U.S. Trademark Registration Number 3,201,245 for the mark BURT HILL, which registered on January 23, 2007. Burt Hill alleges that the mark is well-known in the architecture, engineering services, and construction industries and that Burt Hill has built significant goodwill through the use of its mark. The Complaint also alleges that Burt Hill has trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information regarding its business and customers that provide Burt Hill with a competitive advantage in its business.

In 2005, Burt Hill decided to expand by opening branch offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Each of the defendants were entrusted employees of Burt Hill for several years in the Butler, Pennsylvania office. They were reassigned to the Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices where they held managerial positions.

From 2005 until 2009 the Dubai office grew very rapidly, which raised concerns for Burt Hill about the business practices of the Dubai office. Burt Hill alleges, “the business practices of the offices, especially the inefficient hiring and uncontrolled staff size, wasteful project and business management, high overhead, and large accounts receivable” were not consistent with Burt Hill’s standard business practice or corporate policies.

Burt Hill states that in March of 2009, the defendants made it known to Burt Hill that they wanted Burt Hill to give them the Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices, and if Burt Hill would not hand the offices over, they would take them themselves. Burt Hill alleges that the defendants “entered into a scheme … to divert Burt Hill’s projects, assets, and employees to a separate covert operation owned and controlled by defendants” and to do this, the defendants “used substantial resources of Burt Hill including its money, employees, trade secrets, intellectual property, and proprietary and confidential information.”

Defendants also “began marketing for BH Global rather than Burt Hill.” Defendants then “represented to current and prospective Burt Hill clients or marketing affiliates that BH Global was affiliated with Burt Hill.”

An Answer to the Complaint has not yet been filed. The Answer is due October 14, 2009.

- Katie Cooper