Real-Life Copycat Lesson #20: Musical Instrument Valve Oil Trademark Conflict

30 October, 2019

Al Cass Inc., founded by World War II veteran, inventor, and renowned musician Alfred “Al Cass” Cassinelli, has brought suit against an Indiana company that it claims is trying to steal its brand. The company, American Way Marketing LLC (AWM), is selling a valve, slide and key oil bearing a logo and packaging that closely resembles the legendary “Al Cass Fast” oil Mr. Cassinelli’s company has been selling since the 1960’s. Al Cass Inc., has used its signature “FAST” mark with unique black and white packaging for decades and has worked with famous jazz musicians like Mr. Gillespie, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, among others, to build their good will and substantial customer recognition. AWM filed a trademark application for its own “Superslick Fast” valve oil using a “strikingly similar” logo and packaging.  The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising. It requests that AWM change its packaging and pay damages.