June 23, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Photographer Sues North Carolina Hotel Operator

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana sued Defendant Alliance Hospitality Management, LLC of Raleigh, North Carolina in the Southern District of Indiana alleging copyright infringement.

Bell, an Indiana copyright attorney and professional photographer, asserts that Defendant infringed his intellectual property rights in a photo of the Indianapolis skyline entitled "Indianapolis Photo," which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as Registration No. VA0001785115.

In this Indiana litigation, which Bell filed on his own behalf, a single count of "Copyright Infringement and Unfair Competition" is listed. Bell asks the court to award the maximum statutory damages allowable, asserting that Alliance Hospitality Management has infringed willfully and "with oppression, fraud, and malice." Bell seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

Practice Tip: Bell is a frequent litigant in Indiana federal courts and has been discussed here on numerous occasions. See:

Attorney/Plaintiff Bell Files Three New Lawsuits Over Photo of Indianapolis Skyline
Eight New Infringement Lawsuits Filed by Attorney/Plaintiff
Attorney/Photographer Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits
Lawsuit by Frequent Copyright Litigant Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction
District Court Terminates Copyright Suit Over Photo; Plaintiff Appeals
Remaining Copyright Defendants in Bell Lawsuit to be Dismissed
Attorney/Photographer Sues Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo
Sovereign Immunity May Take a Toll on Bell's Latest Copyright Lawsuit
Appellate Court Dismisses Copyright Appeal as Premature
Bell Rings in the Holiday Weekend with a New Copyright Lawsuit
Bell Files New Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Bell Sues Georgia-Based FindTicketsFast.com for Copyright Infringement
Richard Bell Files Two New Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
Court Prevents Copyright Plaintiff Bell from Outmaneuvering Legal System; Orders Bell to Pay Almost $34,000 in Fees and Costs
Three Default Judgments of $2,500 Ordered for Copyright Infringement
Court Orders Severance of Misjoined Copyright Infringement Complaint

Richard Bell Files Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Photographer Sues North Carolina Hotel Operator" »

June 22, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Folding Tricycle Alleged to Infringe Patent

Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Newton Enterprises Ltd. of Kowloon, Hong Kong filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant Singleton Trading Inc. of Brooklyn, New York committed patent infringement.

In this Indiana litigation, Singleton Trading, which does business as Elama and Blue Spotlight, is accused of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,568,720 (the "'720 Patent") for a "wheeled vehicle." The patent covers a wheeled vehicle, such as a tricycle, that can be folded from an in-use position to a storage position for ease of carrying.

Newton Enterprises claims that Singleton Trading has infringed and/or induced others to infringe the '720 Patent by "making, using, offering to sell, and/or selling in the United States, and/or importing into the United States, a foldable tricycle that practices at least one invention claimed in the '720 Patent." It lists as an example of such infringement Defendant's "Zoom Bike."

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In a complaint filed by an Indiana patent lawyer, a single claim is made: "Infringement of '720 Patent." Plaintiff further claims that Defendant's infringement has been willful and deliberate, entitling Plaintiff to enhanced damages in addition to compensatory damages. Plaintiff also asks that the court award attorney fees and costs.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Folding Tricycle Alleged to Infringe Patent" »

June 20, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Botanic Gardens Asserts Infringement of 91-Year-Old Trademark

Hammond, Indiana - Trademark attorneys for Plaintiff Indiana Botanic Gardens, Inc. of Hobart, Indiana sued Defendant Snyder Manufacturing Corporation of Long Beach, California, which does business as Eurospa Aromatics and Eurospa Chemicals, alleging trademark infringement and related causes of action.

At issue in the lawsuit is U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1,327,965 for the trademark EUCAMINT for camphorated ointment. Plaintiff states that it owns this registration, which was issued April 2, 1985. It also states that the mark was first used in commerce in 1925. Plaintiff contends that Defendant's use of EUCAMINT to market an aromatic shower mist infringes its trademark.

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This litigation, filed by Indiana trademark lawyers for Plaintiff, asserts the following causes of action:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count II: Unfair Competition Under Federal Law

• Count III: Common Law Trademark Infringement and Unfair Competition Under Indiana Law

Plaintiff Indiana Botanic Gardens claims that Defendant Snyder Manufacturing acted intentionally and willfully in an attempt to trade upon the goodwill of the EUCAMINT trademark. Plaintiff asks that the court order the payment of damages, including punitive damages. It also seeks equitable relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Botanic Gardens Asserts Infringement of 91-Year-Old Trademark" »

June 17, 2016

Patent Law: Supreme Court Discards Rigid Test for Awarding Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement

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Washington, D.C. - A unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this week gave district courts more flexibility to award enhanced damage in cases of willful patent infringement.

This decision consolidated two patent infringement lawsuits, Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., et al. and Stryker Corp. et al. v. Zimmer, Inc., et al, in which Indiana-based Zimmer, Inc. was sued. In each lawsuit, the proper interpretation of the statutory language of 35 U.S.C. §284, which permits district courts the discretion to award enhanced damages in cases of patent infringement, was at issue.

The exercise of that discretion is guided by the principle that enhanced damages are to be limited to cases of egregious misconduct. Prior to this week's decision, it was also guided by a test elucidated by the Federal Circuit, as set forth in In re Seagate Technology, LLC. This test requires a patent owner to show two things by clear and convincing evidence: first, "that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent" and, second, that the risk of infringement "was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer."

In a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court held that while the Seagate standard reflected an appropriate recognition that enhanced damages were to be awarded only in egregious cases, the test set forth by the Federal Circuit "is unduly rigid" and "impermissibly encumbers the statutory grant of discretion to district courts."

The Court primarily took issue with the requirement that objective recklessness be found, holding that such a threshold "excludes from discretionary punishment many of the most culpable offenders, such as the 'wanton and malicious pirate' who intentionally infringes another's patent--with no doubts about its validity or any notion of a defense--for no purpose other than to steal the patentee's business."

The Court also noted that the Seagate test improperly allowed ex post facto defenses in considering culpability. Specifically, under the Seagate test, an infringer could rely on a defense at trial, even if he had been unaware of that defense at the time he had acted. This, the Court held, ignored the general rule that culpability is to be determined by an actor's knowledge at the time of the conduct in question.

Finally, the Court rejected the requirement that recklessness be proved by clear and convincing evidence, finding it to be inconsistent with §284. Instead, it stated that enhanced damages are no different from patent infringement litigation in general, which "has always been governed by a preponderance of the evidence standard."

The Court vacated the judgments of the Federal Circuit in both cases and remanded them for further proceedings consistent with the Court's opinion.

Although this was a unanimous opinion, Justice Breyer authored a concurring opinion, in which Justices Alito and Kennedy joined.

Continue reading "Patent Law: Supreme Court Discards Rigid Test for Awarding Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement" »

June 15, 2016

Patent Office Issues 220 Patents To Indiana Citizens in May 2016

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 220 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in May 2016, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

Patent No. Title
1 D757,912 Faucet spout aperture
2 D757,908 Faucet handle
3 9,356,492 Electric machine with liquid cooled housing
4 9,355,845 Light induced nanowire assembly
5 9,355,511 Apparatuses and methods for displaying feedback indicators via a keypad
6 9,354,237 Methods for isolating proteins
7 9,354,181 Analytical devices for detection of low-quality pharmaceuticals
8 9,354,125 Highly-reliable micro-electromechanical system temperature sensor
9 9,353,966 System for increasing operating efficiency of an HVAC system including air ionization
10 9,353,962 Roof vent

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 220 Patents To Indiana Citizens in May 2016" »

June 13, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Architecture Firms File Four New Infringement Lawsuits

Fort Wayne, Indiana - Copyright attorneys for Plaintiff Design Basics LLC of Omaha, Nebraska filed four new infringement lawsuits in the Northern District of Indiana.

The first lawsuit lists Heller & Sons, Incorporated d/b/a Heller Homes and Heller Development Corporation of Fort Wayne, Indiana as Defendants. They are accused of infringing the following architectural works, which have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office:

Title                                      Copyright Registration Nos.
Plan No. 1032 - Monte Vista    VA 282-203 & 752-162
Plan No. 1380 - Patterson        VA 314-024 & 726-379
Plan No. 1748 - Sinclair           VA 371-214 & 726-353
Plan No. 1752 - Lancaster        VA 371-204 & 756-041
Plan No. 24077 - Baisden         VA 1-044-287 & 1-042-002

Plaintiff Design Basics was joined in this lawsuit by a second Plaintiff, W. L. Martin Home Designs LLC of Jacksonville, Florida. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants' infringing plans are "Arthur Williams," "David Mathew 2," "Greyson," "David Mathew 1" and "Spencer 5."

The second lawsuit was filed against Defendant Slattery Builders LLC of Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is accused of infringing the following copyrighted works:

Title                                 Copyright Registration Nos.
Plan No. 8520 - Mindoro     VA 1-074-913 & 1-082-723
Plan No. 42065 - Hepburn   VA 1-671-719 & 1-921-774

Design Basics contends that Defendant is infringing with two plans, "Savannah" and "Oakhurst."

The third lawsuit, filed against Ideal Suburban Homes, Inc. of Roanoke, Indiana asserts infringement of the following works:

Title                                    Copyright Registration Nos.
Plan No. 8093 - Kirby Farm   VA 729-227, 729-218 & 1-432-411
Plan No. 8095 - Sun Valley    VA 729-290 & 729-256

Defendant's accused plans are entitled "Double Eagle" and "Calloway."

In the final lawsuit, Design Basics was joined by two additional Plaintiffs, W. L. Martin Home Designs as well as Plan Pros, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska. Defendants in this lawsuit, all Indiana entities, are: Fireside Homes Inc.; Fireside Development Company, LLC d/b/a Fireside Homes Development Company; Harth Homes, Inc.; Willies Development Corporation; and Oakbrook Homes, Inc. d/b/a Juniper Homes, Oakbrook Homes, Willie's Oakbrook Homes and Riverview Lumber and Building Supply Co., Inc.

Plaintiffs contend that the following intellectual property has been infringed:

Title                                    Copyright Registration Nos.
Plan No. 2226 - Wycliffe       VA 434-195, 889-020 & 1-926-485
Plan No. 2245 - Tyndale        VA 434-205, 710-606 & 1-924-168
Plan No. 2377 - Leighton       VA 485-142, 757-614 & 1-942-396
Plan No. 2578 - Kaiser          VA 524-251, 710-606 & 1-928-399
Plan No. 2761 - Mayberry      VA 513-792, 710-606 & 1-926-488
Plan No. 2907 - Ashley         VA 624-090, 624-091 & 826-741
Plan No. 2952 - Francis         VA 624-098, 624-099 & 784-226
Plan No. 8030 - Burton Place VA 729-255 & 748-980
Plan No. 8093 - Kirby Farm    VA 729-218 & 729-227

In this complaint, the following plans are accused: The Concept Home, Model 1400, Model 1200, Model 1600, Model 1650, Model 1700, Model 1900, Model 1800, Model 1300, Model 1478, Model 1759, Model 1971, and Model 2295.

Design Basics seeks damages, injunctive relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Architecture Firms File Four New Infringement Lawsuits" »

June 9, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Plaintiff Bell Files Three New Lawsuits Over Photo of Indianapolis Skyline

Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Richard Bell, a copyright lawyer and professional photographer, filed three more lawsuits in the Southern District of Indiana.

Defendant in the first lawsuit is Progressive Urban Management Associates of Denver, Colorado. The second lawsuit lists National Healthy Start Association of Washington, D.C. as Defendant. In the third lawsuit, an individual, Chris Young, is listed as Defendant.

In each of these lawsuits, Bell asserts copyright infringement of a photo, entitled "Indianapolis Photo," which has been registered as Copyright Registration No. VA0001785115 by the U.S. Copyright Office. Each complaint also lists a count of unfair competition.

As with prior complaints, Bell asserts not merely copyright infringement but willful conduct, contending that Defendants in each lawsuit acted "with oppression, fraud, and malice." He seeks the maximum statutory damages allowable as well as injunctive relief, costs and attorneys' fees from all Defendants.

Practice Tip: Bell, who has filed numerous lawsuits in recent years alleging infringement of the "Indianapolis Photo" as well as the "Indianapolis Nighttime Photo" (the latter is not at issue in any of these lawsuits), has been discussed on this site before. See:

Eight New Infringement Lawsuits Filed by Attorney/Plaintiff
Attorney/Photographer Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits
District Court Terminates Copyright Suit Over Photo; Plaintiff Appeals
Remaining Copyright Defendants in Bell Lawsuit to be Dismissed
Attorney/Photographer Sues Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo
Sovereign Immunity May Take a Toll on Bell's Latest Copyright Lawsuit
Appellate Court Dismisses Copyright Appeal as Premature
Bell Rings in the Holiday Weekend with a New Copyright Lawsuit
• Bell Files New Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Bell Sues Georgia-Based FindTicketsFast.com for Copyright Infringement
Richard Bell Files Two New Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
Court Prevents Copyright Plaintiff Bell from Outmaneuvering Legal System; Orders Bell to Pay Almost $34,000 in Fees and Costs
Three Default Judgments of $2,500 Ordered for Copyright Infringement
Court Orders Severance of Misjoined Copyright Infringement Complaint

Richard Bell Files Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Plaintiff Bell Files Three New Lawsuits Over Photo of Indianapolis Skyline" »

June 6, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Brew Pub Accused of Infringing Use of Yeti Trademarks

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New Albany, Indiana - Trademark attorneys for Plaintiff Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado filed an infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana against Defendant Red Yeti Brewing Company, Inc. of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Defendant is listed in the complaint as the owner of a restaurant and brewery named "Red Yeti Brewing Co." a/k/a "Red Yeti Restaurant and Brewpub." The complaint asserts that Red Yeti Brewing Co. wrongfully employs the term "Yeti" and a yeti design in its marketing.

Specifically, Plaintiff contends that Defendant Red Yeti's conduct infringes two of its trademarks, U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,957,257 for a Yeti word mark and U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,115,050 for a Yeti design mark. Both have been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff asserts that Red Yeti's actions constitute a deliberate attempt to trade upon Defendant's goodwill and reputation and that its actions are willful and malicious. In this Indiana federal lawsuit, filed by trademark lawyers for Plaintiff, the following claims for relief are listed:

• Trademark Infringement in Violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1)
• Unfair Competition - False Designation of Origin in Violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)
• Federal Dilution
• Common Law Unfair Competition
• Common Law Trademark Infringement

• Deceptive Trade Practices in Violation of C.R.S. § 6-1-113

Great Divide seeks damages, including punitive damages, along with equitable relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Brew Pub Accused of Infringing Use of Yeti Trademarks" »

June 1, 2016

262 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in May 2016

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 262 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in May 2016 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.  Word Mark Click To View
4975014 EDWIN TSDR
4973313 NCDN TSDR
4975152 BLACK FRIDAY BRACES TSDR
4972960 HAITIAN MOTIVATION#10 TSDR
4972958 INVESTING IN PEOPLE'S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE TSDR
4972928 BIZCHUM TSDR
4972883 RUBES AND BEASTY TSDR

Continue reading "262 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in May 2016" »

May 27, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Design Basics Files Two New Copyright Lawsuits

Northern District of Indiana - Trademark counsel for Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC of Omaha, Nebraska filed two new copyright infringement lawsuits in the Northern District of Indiana alleging infringement of copyrighted architectural plans.

The first lawsuit, filed in the Fort Wayne Division, lists two Defendants, Westport Homes of Fort Wayne, Inc. and Westport Homes, Inc. They are accused of infringing Plaintiff's "Plan No. 3090 - Jarrett," which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration Nos. VA 624-154 and 624-153. Plaintiff contends that Defendants' infringing plans are marketed under the names Fairfield and Fairmont.

The second lawsuit was filed in the Hammond Division against Defendant Precision Homes, Inc. doing business as Precision Construction, Inc. and Precision Homes of Indiana, Inc. A second Plaintiff, W.L. Martin Home Designs LLC of Jacksonville, Florida, was listed in this lawsuit.

In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs state that Precision Homes offers six architectural plans, which are offered under the names Richmond, Raleigh, Durham, Kara, Abigail and Auburn, that infringe upon copyrighted works. Plaintiffs state that three copyrighted plans were infringed: "Plan No. 1032 - Monte Vista," Copyright Registration Nos. VA 282-203 & 752-162; "Plan No. 3588 - Stratman," Copyright Registration Nos. VA 682-254, 682-253 & 756-041; and "Plan No. 24120 - Langlade," Copyright Registration No. VA 1-073-400.

In both cases, the court is asked to order damages, equitable relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Design Basics Files Two New Copyright Lawsuits" »

May 26, 2016

Trade Secret Law: Defend Trade Secrets Act Creates Federal Right of Action for Trade Secret Misappropriation.

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Earlier this month, the Defend Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA") became federal law. The DTSA grants the owners of trade secrets the right to sue in federal court for misappropriation of a trade secret that is "related to a product or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce." Previously, protection of trade secrets was offered only under state law, with most states having adopted a version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("UTSA"). The new federal law will supplement, not replace, those state laws.

The DTSA, while it mirrors the UTSA in many respects, adds several notable elements. In addition to creating original jurisdiction in federal district court over civil actions brought under the law, the DTSA also provides for the ex parte seizure of property where necessary to prevent the disclosure of the trade secret at issue in the lawsuit. This seizure is permitted only in "extraordinary circumstances," including those situations where immediate and irreparable injury to the plaintiff will result if the seizure is not ordered. The party requesting an ex parte seizure must post security and, in cases where such a seizure is obtained wrongfully, the DTSA makes damages available to the defendant. Moreover, the Act recognizes the problem of international trade secret theft. The provision allowing for ex parte seizure of property is "expected to be used in instances in which a defendant is seeking to flee the country."

The DTSA also includes a provision permitting the entry of an injunction prohibiting a person from accepting employment if there is a sufficient threat of misappropriation of a trade secret. In lesser cases, the individual may begin employment but will be subject to conditions enunciated by the court.

In those instances where a trade secret is found to have been misappropriated, the DTSA provides the payment of restitution of the actual losses caused by the misappropriation. Where a trade secret has been willfully and maliciously misappropriated, the court may order punitive damages up to two times the amount of the actual losses.

The Act also provides additional protection for whistleblowers, as blogged previously blogged about here.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your attorney for advice about your specific situation.

May 24, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Eight New Infringement Lawsuits Filed by Attorney/Plaintiff

Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, a copyright attorney and professional photographer, filed a new batch of lawsuits in the Southern District of Indiana.

In each lawsuit, Bell asserts infringement of his intellectual property rights under Copyright Registration No. VA0001785115. This copyright registration, issued by the U.S. Copyright Office, covers photos entitled "Indianapolis Photo" and "Indianapolis Nighttime Photo." Each complaint also lists a count of unfair competition.

Defendants in the eight new lawsuits are as follows:

• Sunbelt Business Advisors of Indiana of Indianapolis, Indiana
• Marian University of Indianapolis, Indiana
• Top Class Moving, Inc. of Morton Grove, Illinois
• Profusion 360, LLC of La Mirada, California
• Cynthia Vivona and Megan Peyton, both of Fishers, Indiana
• Steve Knapp and Judgment Recovery of Indiana, both of Greenwood, Indiana
• AmWINS Group Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana

• Future Technology Solutions, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana

Bell seeks the maximum statutory damages allowable, contending in each lawsuit that Defendant(s) is/are willfully infringing "with oppression, fraud, and malice." Bell seeks injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys' fees from all Defendants.

Practice Tip: Bell, a frequent litigant, has been discussed here before. See:

Attorney/Photographer Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits
District Court Terminates Copyright Suit Over Photo; Plaintiff Appeals
Remaining Copyright Defendants in Bell Lawsuit to be Dismissed
Attorney/Photographer Sues Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo
Sovereign Immunity May Take a Toll on Bell's Latest Copyright Lawsuit
Appellate Court Dismisses Copyright Appeal as Premature
Bell Rings in the Holiday Weekend with a New Copyright Lawsuit
Bell Files New Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
Bell Sues Georgia-Based FindTicketsFast.com for Copyright Infringement
Richard Bell Files Two New Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
Court Prevents Copyright Plaintiff Bell from Outmaneuvering Legal System; Orders Bell to Pay Almost $34,000 in Fees and Costs
Three Default Judgments of $2,500 Ordered for Copyright Infringement
Court Orders Severance of Misjoined Copyright Infringement Complaint
Richard Bell Files Another Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Eight New Infringement Lawsuits Filed by Attorney/Plaintiff" »

May 23, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Architecture Firm Files New Lawsuit Asserting Infringement

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New Albany, Indiana - Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC of Omaha, Nebraska initiated litigation in the Southern District of Indiana. It alleges that Defendant Premier Homes of Southern Indiana, Inc. of Clarksville, Indiana infringed a copyrighted architectural plan.

The architectural work at issue in this lawsuit is Design Basic's "Plan No. 6731 - Tollefson," which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration Nos. VA 1-056-612 and 1-070-148.

Plaintiff contends that Defendant Premier Homes infringed its copyrighted material by publishing, distributing, marketing, advertising and/or constructing in the marketplace designs offered as "Skylre" and "Skylre with Bonus Room."

In this complaint, filed by Indiana copyright attorneys for Plaintiff, the court is asked to order equitable relief, damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Architecture Firm Files New Lawsuit Asserting Infringement" »

May 19, 2016

Trade Secret Law: DTSA Now Provides More Protection for Whistleblowers

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Washington, D.C. - The Defend Trade Secrets Act ("DTSA") recently became federal law. This statute creates a federal right of action for misappropriation of trade secrets.

Among the provisions of the DTSA are new protections for whistleblowers. Under the DTSA, immunity is granted to persons who disclose a trade secret to a government official or attorney for the sole purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law. This immunity covers both civil and criminal liability under either federal or state trade secret law.

The DTSA also provides that trade secret information may be used in litigation by an employee who sues an employer alleging retaliation for having reported a suspected violation of law. The law requires that certain steps be taken during litigation to prevent disclosure of the trade secret.

Practice Tip #1: The DTSA imposes a notice requirement on employers in circumstances wherein the employer utilizes "any contract or agreement with an employee that governs the use of trade secret or other confidential information." Where such agreements are used, the employer must inform the employee (or independent contractor) of the immunity protections of the DTSA. Failure to provide such notice will result in the employer forfeiting any entitlement to punitive damages or attorneys' fees under the DTSA in a lawsuit against the individual to whom notice was not given.

Practice Tip #2: Any contracts pertaining to trade secrets, such as non-disclosure agreements, should be reviewed and, if necessary, updated to reflect this new requirement.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your attorney for advice about your specific situation.

May 18, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Bedding Wholesaler Sues Competitor Alleging Infringing Use of "Bamboo Luxury" Mark

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Hammond, Indiana - Plaintiff Duke Imports Inc. of Angola, Indiana sued in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant All That Jazz Trading LLC of LaGrange, Indiana infringed its trademark for BAMBOO LUXURY.

Duke, a wholesaler of bedding, towels and related products asserts ownership to Trademark Registration No. 4,923,500 for BAMBOO LUXURY, which has been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Duke claims that it first used the trademark in connection with the sale of sheets and other bedding products in April 2015.

It contends that All That Jazz, which also wholesales bedding, towels and related products, has sold sheets using the BAMBOO LUXURY trademark. Duke states that Defendant used BAMBOO LUXURY with "actual and/or constructive knowledge of Duke Imports' senior use and ownership" of the trademark and that the use was a willful infringement.

In a lawsuit filed by an Indiana trademark attorney, the following claims are asserted against Defendant:

• Count One: 15 U.S.C.§ 1125(a)

• Count Two: Common Law Unfair Competition

Plaintiff seeks damages, equitable relief, attorneys' fees, interest, and costs.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Bedding Wholesaler Sues Competitor Alleging Infringing Use of "Bamboo Luxury" Mark" »