Before 2017

T-12 Entertainment Speaks Up in Trademark Complaint Over Use of "I Plead the 5th" Mark

On March 24, 2014, T-12 Entertainment, LLC and Kareem Hawthorne, both of Georgia (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), filed a complaint against Young Kings Enterprises, Inc., Ego Entertainment, LLC., Troy Williams, Anthony Adighibe, Charles Bryant Bourgeois, Desmond Key, Dae’shawn Shelton, and Korey Felder, all of Georgia, and Fred Clark, of Texas, (collectively, “Defendants”) alleging that the Defendants’ use of the phrase “I Plead the Fifth” in connection with spring break events infringes their trademark rights.

Plaintiffs and Defendants are in the business of, among other things, planning and hosting Spring Break party and entertainment events. According to the complaint, Plaintiffs hosted a series of spring break events in Miami from 2009-2013 using the name “I Plead the 5th,” and have accordingly developed trademark rights in it. In 2014, Plaintiffs allegedly learned that Defendants were planning to put on their own series of spring break events in Miami using the name “I Plead the Fifth.”

The complaint alleges that because of Defendants’ events, Plaintiffs are being prevented from hosting their own “I Plead the 5th” events in Miami during the summer of 2014 because their customary venues have already booked “I Plead the Fifth” events. According to the complaint, Plaintiffs sent Defendants a cease and desist letter, but only one of the Defendants, Young Kings Entertainment, LLC, replied. The complaint alleges that rather than cancel the events, Defendants simply changed the name on one website to read “What Happens in Miami Stays in Miami,” which the complaint says is a slogan Plaintiffs commonly used in conjunction with their I Plead the 5th marketing and events.

Further, the complaint alleges that even if the change on Defendants’ website had been enough to avoid infringement (which Plaintiffs dispute), Defendants are still infringing by using “I Plead the Fifth” in most, if not all, of their ticket sales, promotional videos, Twitter posts, and other advertising.

The complaint alleges trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition under Section 43 of the Lanham Act, violations of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (O.C.G.A. § 10-1-370et seq.)and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (O.C.G.A. § 10-1-390et seq.), tortious interference with business relations, fraud under to O.C.G.A. § 23-2-55, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief, destruction or deletion of infringing materials, treble and exemplary damages, disgorgement of unjust enrichment, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The case is T-12 Entertainment, LLC et al v. Young Kings Enterprises, Inc. et al, Case No. 1:14-cv-00841-TCB filed March 24, 2014 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to Judge Timothy C. Batten.

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