Scotts Sues Competitor, Alleging Lanham Act Violations

On Wednesday, The Scotts Company LLC and OMS Investments, Inc. filed suit against GTF Turf Farms LP, Andrew Tobias and Bryan Foster in the District of Ohio. The plaintiffs describe themselves as “the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products” and allege that the defendants, a competitor, have infringed upon their trademarks and have engaged in unfair competition in willful violation of the Lanham Act, the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act and common law.

The plaintiffs describe The Scotts Company LLC as the “licensee” of “intellectual property assets” owned by its “affiliate” and co-plaintiff OMS Investments, Inc. They allege that GTX Turf Farms LP is a limited partnership and that the individual defendants, “upon information and belief,” are partners of the entity defendant.

The complaint contains detailed allegations regarding plaintiffs’ long standing Miracle-Gro and All-In-One Particles products and related “famous, registered and incontestable” common law and registered trademarks. Plaintiffs, “upon information and belief,” allege that Defendants are marketing and selling products very similar, if not identical to, the Plaintiffs’ own under the “marks ” Miracle Grass, Grotrax and All-In-One “with actual and constructive knowledge of ScottsMiracle Gro’s MIRACLE-GRO Marks and ALL-IN-ONE PARTICLES mark, and with an intent to capitalize on ScottsMiracle-Gro’s reputation and goodwill, to confuse and deceive consumers, and to unfairly compete with ScottsMiracle-Gro.”

Of the ten causes of action, six are under the Lanham Act, two are under the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act and two are for common law unfair competition. Plaintiffs seek not only compensatory damages, statutory treble damages and recovery of Defendants’ profits, but also wide ranging declaratory and injunctive relief.

Plaintiffs are represented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP. The complaint lists attorneys both in the firm’s Chicago and Columbus, Ohio offices.