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Long Grove Investments LLC v. Baldi Candy Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 7, 2019

LONG GROVE INVESTMENTS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
BALDI CANDY CO., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN ROBERT BLAKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Long Grove Investments, LLC owns a building in Long Grove, Illinois, in which a beloved bakery, the Long Grove Apple Haus, once thrived, selling goods such as apple pies and ciders. Plaintiff claims that by purchasing that building, it acquired rights in the name Long Grove Apple Haus and the associated trademark. It sues Defendant Baldi Candy Company, claiming that by setting up shop next door and selling goods bearing Plaintiff's mark, Defendant has violated the federal Lanham Act and the Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act. [1]. Defendant moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims. [31]. For the reasons explained below, this Court grants Defendant's motion.

         I. Background

         The facts in this section come from Defendant's statement of undisputed facts [33] and Plaintiff's statement of additional facts [42].

         A. The Apple Haus Store

         The building at the center of this dispute sits in Long Grove, Illinois, at 230 Robert Parker Coffin Road (the Building). [37] ¶ 2. From 1977 through 2011, non-party Long Grove Confectionary Co. (LGC) owned and operated a bakery-the Long Grove Apple Haus (the Apple Haus Store)-at the Building. Id. ¶ 4; [33] ¶ 1. The Building has remained vacant since 2011. [37] ¶ 5.

         Between 1977 and 2011, LGC sold various baked goods at the Apple Haus Store, including: apple pies, apple cider donuts, fritters, cookies, strudels, and apple butter. [33] ¶ 5. The parties agree that at least some of those products included the term APPLE HAUS on the label, packaging, or container. Id. ¶ 5. Additionally, for at least some time, LGC sold its apple pies in a box (the Apple Haus Pie Box); the Apple Haus Pie Box included the term APPLE HAUS and a design of a red apple with a stem and two leaves (the Red Apple):

         (Image Omitted)

         Id. ¶ 6; [33-2] at 69. Between 1977 and 2011, LGC also sold apple cider (Apple Haus Cider) containers with labels depicting the term APPLE HAUS and the Red Apple:

         (Image Omitted)

         [33] ¶ 6; [33-3] at 53.

         In addition to the Apple Haus Store, LGC also operated two retail stores in North Suburban Chicago and sold apple pies in the Apple Haus Pie Box at both stores. [33] ¶¶ 8, 9. In addition, at various points between 1977 and 2011, LGC sold apple pies in the Apple Haus Pie Box and Apple Haus Cider to wholesale customers, including Lou Malnati's and Oberweis Diary. Id. ¶ 10. At times between 1977 and 2011, LGC also participated in three major outdoor festivals, each of which took place annually. Id. ¶ 11. During these festivals, LGC sold products bearing the term APPLE HAUS. Id. ¶ 12.

         LGC closed the Apple Haus Store in December 2011. Id. ¶ 13. The Building has remained vacant ever since. [37] ¶ 5. After closing the Apple Haus Store, between December 2011 and June 2013, LGC continued selling applies pies in the Apple Haus Pie Box at its two other suburban retail stores, at the Long Grove festivals, and to its wholesale customers. [33] ¶¶ 14-15. During that time period, LGC also continued selling the Apple Haus Cider to at least one wholesale customer. Id.

         B. Defendant's Asset Purchase of LGC

         Defendant maintains a confectionery business. Id. ¶ 16. In June 2013, Defendant and LGC entered into an asset purchase agreement (the Agreement), under which Defendant purchased certain assets, properties, and rights related to LGC's business. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Upon acquiring LGC's assets, Defendant took over and continued operating LGC's North Suburban retail stores, selling frozen apple pies in the Apple Haus Pie Box at both locations. Id. ¶ 33.

         In February 2017, Defendant purchased a new property located at 114-128 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, Illinois. Id. ¶ 39. Later that year, Defendant opened two stores at the new property-a coffee shop, and a store with a commercial kitchen and bakery. Id. ¶ 40.

         In February 2018, Defendant began operating its new coffee shop and the new store, where it sold baked ...


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