Cheerleading instruction business files trademark infringement complaint against competitor

Jon Campisi Dec. 13, 2011, 1:57pm

A Pennsylvania company that offers cheerleading training services and tumble instruction to youngsters in the region has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against another business that offers the same.

The lawsuit was filed Dec. 8 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by Berwyn, Pa. attorneys Benjamin E. Leace and Andrew J. Koopman on behalf of Doylestown, Pa.-based L.J.T. Ventures, LLC, which does business as Stellar Elite All-Stars.

The defendant named in the civil action is Stellar All Star Cheer Academy, which is located in the Manayunk section of Northwest Philadelphia.

In its lawsuit, the plaintiff, who claims that its predecessor-in-interest, Stellar Cheer Inc., began providing cheerleading training services back in 2005, alleges that the defendant was aware of the plaintiff’s trademarks and cheerleading teams prior to adopting its own identifying trademarks.

“Defendant’s mark is confusingly similar to Plaintiff’s marks, and Defendant’s use thereof has caused actual confusion among consumers of cheerleading training services and cheer tumble instruction,” the lawsuit states.

The complaint alleges that the defendant’s use of its marks at cheerleading competitions has caused “actual confusion” between the plaintiff’s and defendant’s cheerleading teams, and that the design of the defendant’s website is “confusingly similar” to the plaintiff’s website.

“On information and belief, Defendant modeled at least portions of its website, including the styling of the word ‘Stellar,’ based on Plaintiff’s designs and advertisements,” the suit states. “On information and belief, Defendant adopted Defendant’s mark in a bad faith attempt to trade on the goodwill accumulated by Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s predecessor in Plaintiff’s mark.”

This spring, the defendant filed a Notice of Opposition to the plaintiff’s trademark application, in which the defendant alleged that it has used the words “Stellar” and “Stellar Allstars” to advertise its services since April 2010, the suit states.

In the notice, the defendant acknowledged that there is “confusing similarity between Defendant’s mark and Plaintiff’s ‘Stellar Cheer All-Stars’ trademark, the suit states.

According to the complaint, however, the defendant adopted its trademark in 2010, five years after the plaintiff’s predecessor-in-interest first began using its marks; it wasn’t until July 1 of this year that the plaintiff bought the business from its predecessor-in-interest.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of unfair competition/false designation of origin, common law trademark infringement, common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment that the defendant has infringed on the plaintiff’s trademark, an injunction barring the defendant from using the plaintiff’s marks “and confusingly similar variations thereof,” unspecified compensatory damages, treble damages and attorney’s fees.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07539-AB.

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