HARRISBURG — A bottle stopper company is suing its former manufacturer for allegedly stealing its trademark and diluting its brand.
SS Niles Bottle Stoppers LLC filed a lawsuit on Feb. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Steer Machine Tool & Die Corporation, citing violation of the Lanham Act, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, cyberpiracy, commercial disparagement and unjust enrichment.
According to the complaint, SS Niles began making bottle stoppers in 2005 with the SS Niles mark being widely advertised on the Internet and other media over the years. The plaintiff claims to have been in business with the defendant since 2005 for the purpose of obtaining stainless steel to manufacture the stoppers.
The plaintiff allegedly began to notice markings on some of the stoppers in the first year of their business relationship, and the defendant reported that the company would fix the problem. The plaintiff claims that 20 percent of the stoppers she ordered were unable to be sold due to the markings. In 2013-2014, the plaintiff also reportedly received complaints about the quality of the stoppers.
After several attempts to fix the problem, the plaintiff began using the services of a new manufacturer in February 2015. SS Niles claims that in the same year, the defendant began selling its own bottle stoppers directly to consumers, allegedly using the trademark “SS Bottlestoppers,” and has since taken business from the plaintiff’s operations.
SS Niles Bottle Stoppers seeks an order for immediate destruction of all infringing items, payment for gains associated with the infringement, treble damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, costs, disbursements, attorneys’ fees and a trial by jury. It is represented by Frank A. Mazzeo of Ryder, Lu, Mazzeo & Konieczny LLC.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Case number 3:16-cv-00320-JMM