Chicago U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly has ruled that Gatorade did not engage in trademark infringement against SportFuel. SportFuel.com describes the company as “an integrative nutrition consulting firm based in the Chicagoland area.” The company name was registered with the USPTO in 2008. SportFuel sought to stop Gatorade from using the “Sports Fuel” name as well as requesting monetary damages. The lawsuit alleged Gatorade was fully aware of SportFuel nutrition products and services and copied their name in the sale of supplements, sports drinks and other products. However, Judge Kennelly ruled that Gatorade did not act in bad faith and can continue to use “Sports Fuel” in ad campaigns as well as their products.
The case is SPORTFUEL, INC. v. PEPSICO, INC. and THE GATORADE COMPANY, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Case No. 16-cv-07868. The August 14, 2016, complaint lists Federal Trademark Infringement as count one of three allegations against PepsiCo, Inc.
Defendants’ unauthorized and unlicensed use of the Infringing Products and Services, including in connection with the advertising and sale of dietary supplements, sports drinks enhanced with vitamins, food nutrition consultation, nutrition counseling, and information about dietary supplements and nutrition, is likely to cause confusion, mistake, and deception as to the origin, affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement, or approval of Defendants’ nutrition products and counseling services…
As a result of Defendants’ unauthorized and unlicensed use in the United States of the SportFuel Marks in connection with Defendants’ manufacture, advertising, and sale of the Infringing Products and Services, consumers are, and are likely to be, confused into thinking that SportFuel, Inc.’s products and services bearing the SportFuel Marks emanate from, are affiliated with or connected to, or are sponsored by Defendants. 23. SportFuel, Inc. has been directly injured by Defendants’ infringing activities. 24. Defendants have copied and imitated the SportFuel Marks in connection with selling, distributing, and advertising Defendants’ Infringing Products and Services
Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services. (USPTO.gov) In trademark litigation, the plaintiff may allege that infringement has caused confusion in the marketplace leading consumers to think that two different products or brands are the same or related to each another. Trademark infringement experts analyze whether infringement has taken place. Key factors they consider are the degree of similarity between the marks at issue and whether the parties’ goods and/or services are sufficiently related that consumers are likely to assume mistakenly that they come from a common source. Trademark experts evaluate how the parties’ goods or services are advertised, marketed, and sold and whether there is any evidence of actual confusion caused by the allegedly infringing mark. Contact ForensisGroup to submit an expert request form for more information on finding the best available trademark infringement expert witness for your case.