CHICAGO—B & J Manufacturing Co., a Glenwood, Ill.-based manufacturer and distributor of retreading blades, tire rasps and other retreading products, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Taray International Corp. of Marco Island, Fla., and its president, Tarik Ayasun. Also named as a plaintiff is Middlebury Enterprises Inc. (MEI) in Middebury, Ind., a metal parts manufacturer that provides various products for B & J under a licensing agreement.
According to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, B & J maintains it owns the right to use the word ``ADVANTAGE'' as a trademark for its brand of tire buffing blades. Taray labels several of its products—a detector, extruders, buffers, tread builders and other equipment—with the name ``TARAY/ADVANTAGE''' including the use of the trademark symbol.
B & J alleges that Taray is using the word ``ADVANTAGE'' without ``authorization or license.''
The complaint states that Mr. Ayasun, as Taray's president and sole shareholder, ``has caused and directed the infringement of B & J's trademarks.''
Both Mr. Ayasun and B & J refused to comment on the case, referring inquiries to their legal counsel. Taray's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
B & J's counsel, William L. Niro of the Chicago law firm Niro, Scavone, Haller and Niro, said Taray is in violation of both federal and state laws and is engaged in a ``deceptive trade practice."
He said that in 1992 B & J and Taray entered into an agreement for the Florida firm to export B & J's products internationally. However, in February 1998 B & J said it terminated the agreement.
``In reality, what they (Taray) were doing was calling B & J customers and saying, `Hey, this is a B & J blade and I'll give it to you for less money,'*'' said Mr. Niro.
``After they terminated the relationship, he (Mr. Ayasun) just takes the ADVANTAGE name as if it's his and continues selling,'' Mr. Niro said.
The lawsuit seeks to perpetually enjoin and restrain Taray from using the ADVANTAGE trademark in any manner and asks the defendants to deliver for destruction ``all advertisements, circulars, brochures, products and other items in its possession.''
In the suit the plaintiffs seek compensation for lost sales and the cost of a ``corrective advertising campaign to correct the misrepresentations'' from the alleged trademark infringement. B & J also seeks to recover Taray's profits from products sold with the ADVANTAGE name.
Mr. Niro said he isn't sure how many of B & J's customers were contacted by Taray, so he couldn't provide a specific figure to be sought for damages but believes ``damages could be upwards of $1 million.''