Kashwere, LLC v. Kashwere USAJPN, LLC, No. 13-3730 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In 1999 Seltzer registered the word “Kashwére” as a trademark for chenille soft goods. In 2009, Seltzer sold his company’s assets, including the trademark, to its principal officers. They formed TMG, which granted Seltzer an exclusive license to sell chenille products under the Kashwére name in Japan, through Flat Be. TMG claims that Seltzer violated his license by creating USAJPN and transferring to it all rights conferred by his license, to create an appearance of distance between Seltzer and Flat Be. Although Seltzer owned a majority interest in USAJPN, he needed TMG’s approval for the transfer. Flat Be also created a line of fabrics, “Kashwére Re,’ that are not chenille. Seltzer’s license does not authorize use of the Kashwére name for products that are not chenille, but he claimed that a TMG owner approved the Kashwére Re project. USAJPN also failed to comply with a requirement to disclose the TMG licensee. The district judge denied TMG’s request to order the license cancelled or to enjoin future violations and award damages. The Seventh Circuit upheld summary judgment in favor of TMG on Seltzer’s and Flat Be’s counterclaims, but reversed summary judgment in favor of Seltzer and Flat Be on TMG’s claims.