Friday, April 15, 2005

Defendants In Chicago Lawsuit Charge Leo Stoller With TTAB Abuses As Part Of "Extortionate Protection Scheme"

In a civil action currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Defendants have charged Leo Stoller with an "extortionate protection scheme" that includes "abuse of the legitimate processes for trademark conflict resolution through the . . . U.S. Patent and Trademark Office." Central Mfg. Co. et al. v. Pure Fishing, Inc. et al., Case No. 05-c-0725 (N.D. Ill.).

Alleged office of Leo Stoller
7622 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago 60634
(click on photo for larger picture)

In their complaint, Plaintiffs accuse the Defendants of infringement of the mark STEALTH by reason of the sale of fishing line under the SPIDERWIRE STEALTH name. Stoller and Central claim rights in the STEALTH mark for fishing tackle floats (U.S. Reg. No. 1,766,806), and assert that Plaintiff Lindy-Little Joe, Inc. of Brainerd, Minnesota, is the "exclusive license for use of the mark STEALTH on fishing lures."


In their 35-page Answer and Counterclaims, accompanied by 32 exhibits, Defendants Pure Fishing, Inc., Fishing Spirit, Inc., and FishUSA, Inc. allege, inter alia, that the acquisition of this registration was "unfair and unlawful . . . in extortionate settlement of sham litigations," that fraudulent Section 8 and 15 Declarations and a fraudulent renewal application were filed to maintain the registration in force, and that any rights in the mark were abandoned due to naked licensing. Defendants' counterclaims include a claim for unfair competition that (over nine pages) alleges that Stoller has engaged in a "pattern of unlawful activity" involving his acquisition of federal trademark registrations, including various activities in TTAB proceedings.


In their Prayer for Relief, Defendants seek not only the usual forms of relief, but also "[a]n Order piercing the corporate veil and levying execution" against such trademark properties "as are sufficient to satisfy the judgment in S Industries, Inc. v. Centra 2000, Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10649 (N.D. Ill. 1998) [see Exhibits D19-20], which unsatisfied judgment Defendant Pure Fishing, Inc. claims to own by assignment.

Copies of the Answer and Counterclaims and referenced exhibits are available for downloading here in .pdf form:
Text ©John L. Welch 2005. All Rights Reserved.


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