JACKSONVILLE – A Maryland-based hotel franchisor alleges a St. Augustine hotel is using its trademark without authorization.

Choice Hotels International Inc. filed a complaint on Oct. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division against Shree Digeshvery Amba Maa Inc., Shardaben S. Desai and Somabhai L. Desai alleging trademark infringement.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that it owns a successful business of franchising hotels and owns exclusive rights to the use of the Comfort family of trademarks. It alleges that the defendants' hotel had re-branded under the moniker Comfort Lodge & Suites and the plaintiff sent an infringement notice to the defendants on two separate occasions instructing to cease and desist use of plaintiff's registered trademarks. The plaintiff alleges the defendants ignored both notices and have caused irreparable damages to plaintiff's reputation and goodwill.

The plaintiff holds Shree Digeshvery Amba Maa Inc., Shardaben S. Desai and Somabhai L. Desai responsible because the defendants allegedly utilized the moniker to create actual consumer confusion when it is not a franchisee of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment in its favor, permanently enjoin defendants and agents from further infringement, profits from sales, attorneys' fees, costs, disbursements and other relief should court deem just. It is represented by Zachary D. Messa of Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns LLP in Clearwater and Matthew J. Ladenheim of Trego Hines & Ladenheim PLLC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division Case number 3:16-cv-01278

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U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division
300 North Hogan Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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