Spark451 Inc. v. 451 Marketing, LLC d/b/a Agency 451 (18-cv-10833).

Marketing and communications company Spark451 sued Agency 451 for trademark infringement and breach of a trademark co-existence agreement.  Spark451 provides services under the “SPARKS451” mark to college and university clients that allow the schools to reach potential students, and has been using the mark in 2011.  The Defendant, which began as “451 LLC” in 2004 and changed its name to “451 Marketing, LLC” in 2007, sought to cancel the “SPARK451” registration in 2015.  The proceeding ended with the parties executing a co-existence agreement whereby 451 Marketing agreed not to use any mark consisting solely of or ending with “451” and each party agreeing to take all reasonable steps to avoid confusion as to the source or origin of their services.  Despite this, 451 Marketing changed its name to “Agency 451” in April 2017, and changed its website to http://www.agency451.com.  Spark451 asserts that this change breached both of those clauses, and that the nature and potential customers of the two businesses are sufficiently similar, and the names and commercial appearance of the marks so similar, that the use of “Agency 451” infringes the “SPARK451” mark.  Spark451 seeks injunctive and monetary relief as well as a finding of willful infringement, treble damages and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.  The case is before Judge Stearns.

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