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" »

May 17, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Infringement of Patented Bottle Caps Alleged in Indiana Lawsuit

Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Novembal USA, Inc. of Edison, New Jersey filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana. Defendant is Closure Systems International, Inc., of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Novembal is in the business of development, production and sale of products associated with the production, processing, packaging and distribution of food. In this recent federal lawsuit, it has accused Closure Systems of infringing a patent covering bottle-cap products, which is entitled "Cap For A Container Neck." This patent is protected by Patent No. 9,199,769 (the "'769 patent"), which has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Novembal contends that Closure Systems has infringed and continues to infringe, has contributed to the infringement of, or induced infringement of at least claims 1, 3, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 of the '769 patent. Novembal further claims that Closure Systems' infringement has been willful.

In this lawsuit, the Indiana patent attorney for Novembal lists a single count: "Patent Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,199,769 Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 271."

Novembal seeks damages, including punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Infringement of Patented Bottle Caps Alleged in Indiana Lawsuit" »

May 16, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Second Lawsuit by Lippert Against MORryde and MOR/ryde Filed

South Bend, Indiana - Plaintiffs Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana and Backsaver International, Inc. d/b/a Gorilla-Lift of Somerset, Kentucky filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana. Defendants are MORryde International, Inc. and MOR/ryde Inc.

This lawsuit alleging patent infringement follows another recent lawsuit, also alleging patent infringement, that Lippert filed against Defendants recently. That lawsuit, filed by Lippert as sole Plaintiff, asserted infringement of three patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,182,401; 6,176,045 and 6,598,354.

This second lawsuit adds Backsaver as a second Plaintiff and asserts infringement of different intellectual property, namely U.S. Patent No. 6,550,840, entitled "Tailgate Lift Assembly."

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Indiana patent lawyers for Plaintiffs contend that infringement by Defendants was willful and deliberate in a complaint listing a single count, "Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,550,840." Plaintiffs ask the Indiana federal court for damages, including treble damages, as well as injunctive relief, costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Second Lawsuit by Lippert Against MORryde and MOR/ryde Filed" »

May 12, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Usage of "Hyperpure" Alleged to Infringe Hydrapure Trademark

Hammond, Indiana - A trademark attorney for Plaintiff NIBCO Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana commenced trademark infringement litigation in the Northern District of Indiana.

Defendant in the litigation is Legend Valve & Fitting, Inc. of Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is accused of infringing NIBCO's HYDRAPURE trademark, which has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under Trademark Registration Nos. 4,296,125 and 4,314,186 in conjunction with the sale of metal pipe fittings.

Plaintiff alleges Defendant's use of HYPERPURE to market its goods creates an identical commercial impression to Plaintiff's HYDRAPURE trademark. Calling Defendant's use "a reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation" of its own trademark, Plaintiff states that Defendant's use of HYPERPURE will confuse consumers as to the source of the goods.

2016-05-12-blogphoto.pngPlaintiff further contends that Defendant Legend chose the HYPERPURE mark in bad faith in an attempt to associate Defendant's products with Plaintiff's trademark and, in so doing, appropriate the goodwill that Plaintiff has built in the brand.

In this Indiana lawsuit, a trademark lawyer for NIBCO lists the following claims:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count II: Federal Unfair Competition/False Designation of Origin
• Count III: Common Law Trademark Infringement
• Count IV: Common Law Unfair Competition

• Count V: Federal Trademark Dilution

NIBCO asks the court for equitable relief; damages, including punitive damages; costs and attorney fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Usage of "Hyperpure" Alleged to Infringe Hydrapure Trademark" »

May 11, 2016

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Photographer Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits

Indianapolis, Indiana - Photographer Richard Bell of McCordsville, Indiana, who is also both the filing attorney and Plaintiff, filed two new lawsuits in the Southern District of Indiana alleging infringement of two of his copyrighted photos, "Indianapolis Night Photo" and "Indianapolis Photo." Bell states in his complaint that both photos have been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. VA0001785115.

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Defendant in the first lawsuit, TeamSoft, Inc. of Middleton, Wisconsin is accused of infringing Bell's "Indianapolis Night Photo," while Defendant in the second lawsuit, Michael Patrick of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been accused of infringing Bell's "Indianapolis Photo."

The two federal complaints, which are similar to each other as well as to the previous copyright infringement lawsuits filed by Bell, each list a single count: copyright infringement and unfair competition. Both Defendants are accused of "willfully and deliberately" engaging in copyright infringement "with oppression, fraud, and malice."

Bell seeks injunctive relief along with statutory damages, costs and attorney's fees.

Practice Tip: We have blogged in the past about Bell's prolific litigation. See:

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 Files Two New Infringement Lawsuits" »

May 10, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Lippert Sues Alleging Infringement of Patented RV Components

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South Bend, Indiana - Patent attorneys for Plaintiff Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc. filed an infringement lawsuit against Defendants MORryde International, Inc. and MOR/ryde Inc. All parties are based in Elkhart, Indiana.

Plaintiff, a vendor of recreational vehicle components, alleges that Defendants have infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 6,182,401 ("'401 Patent"), 6,176,045 ("'045 Patent"), and 6,598,354 ("'354 Patent"). These patents, all entitled "Retractable Room Support Mechanism," have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff specifically accuses Defendants of infringing the patents-in-suit directly, jointly, contributorily, and/or by inducement by making, using, selling, offering for sale, and/or importing Defendants' "Angled Slide-Out Tube Frame" and "Forest River Slide-Out Frame." Plaintiff contends that Defendants' infringement has been willful and deliberate.

In this litigation, the following claims have been made:

• Count I: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,182,401
• Count II: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,176,045

• Count III: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,598,354

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, damages and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Lippert Sues Alleging Infringement of Patented RV Components" »

May 6, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Klipsch Alleges "Grey Market" Seller Infringed Klipsch Trademarks

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Indianapolis, Indiana - An Indiana trademark lawyer for Plaintiff Klipsch Group, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana sued Defendant Steve Myers d/b/a HumanAudio in the Southern District of Indiana on allegations of trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Defendant HumanAudio, an eBay seller with its principal place of business in Studio City, California, is accused of offering "grey market" Klipsch products to the public. Klipsch contends that HumanAudio advertises "brand new" Klipsch audio products for sale via Defendant's eBay store. However, Klipsch states, Defendant's products are materially different from those purchased from an authorized distributor because the sale through Defendant's unauthorized store voids the warranty that Klipsch normally provides to the original purchasers of its products. Klipsch also contends that HumanAudio removed the serial numbers on Klipsch goods and replaced them with fake serial numbers.

Klipsch alleges that Defendant has infringed three KLIPSCH trademarks: U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 978,949; 2,917,215 and 3,863,511. In this Indiana federal lawsuit, the following claims are made:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement in Violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114

• Count II: Federal Unfair Competition in Violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125


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

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Klipsch Alleges "Grey Market" Seller Infringed Klipsch Trademarks" »

May 5, 2016

Patent Office Issues 151 Patents To Indiana Citizens in April 2016

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 151 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in April 2016, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

Patent No. Title
1 D754,826 Faucet spout 
2 D754,825 Faucet body 
3 D754,823 Faucet handle 
4 D754,821 Faucet base 
5 D754,820 Faucet 
6 D754,518 Drawer knob 
7 9,325,052 Tunable cavity resonator having a post and variable capacitive coupling 
8 9,324,476 Insulated winding wire 
9 9,322,953 Energy absorbing materials 

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 151 Patents To Indiana Citizens in April 2016" »

May 4, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: RV Maker Asks Court to Settle Dispute over "Edge" Trademark

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South Bend, Indiana - An Indiana trademark attorney for Plaintiff Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC of Elkhart, Indiana filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana. Defendant is Universal Trailer Cargo Group, Inc., which also does business as Haulmark Trailers. Haulmark Trailers operates locations in Elkhart and Bristol, Indiana.

Plaintiff states that Defendant Haulmark has manufactured and sold race car trailers that are offered under the trademark THE EDGE. Recreational vehicles manufactured and sold by Plaintiff Heartland under the brand EDGE are alleged by Defendant to infringe upon Defendant's trademark rights.

At issue in the litigation is Haulmark's trademark, U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,338,373 for the brand THE EDGE, which applies to "towage storage trailers." Also at issue is Plaintiff's pending trademark registration, Application No. 86/768,274 for the brand EDGE, as applied to "recreational vehicles, namely fifth wheels; recreational vehicles, namely toy haulers; recreational vehicles, namely travel trailers."

While Heartland's application was passed to publication without any objection by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's trademark examining attorney, Haulmark later informed Heartland that it was opposing the registration of EDGE as applied to Heartland's goods. A trademark lawyer for Haulmark threatened litigation for "federal claims for trademark infringement" if Heartland did not cease and desist use of the EDGE trademark.

Plaintiff Heartland seeks a declaratory judgment, stating that Haulmark's threat of litigation has made the dispute ripe for judicial resolution. It asks the court to conclude, given "the actual use of the term EDGE by the parties, the differences between the goods and the markets for the goods of each party to which that term is applied, as well as the price of the respective goods and the channels of trade for each party's goods," that there is no likelihood of consumer confusion arising from Heartland's concurrent use of EDGE as a trademark for its goods.

Heartland asks the court to declare that its use of the term EDGE, as applied to its products, is not an infringement upon any of UTC's rights and that Haulmark's THE EDGE trademark should not be construed so broadly as to cover recreational vehicles.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: RV Maker Asks Court to Settle Dispute over "Edge" Trademark " »

May 3, 2016

Indiana Cable/Satellite Litigation: Three Local Eateries Sued for Interception of Championship Fight

Indianapolis, Indiana - An intellectual property attorney for J & J Sports Productions, Inc. of Campbell, California filed three new lawsuits in the Southern District of Indiana, each alleging interception.

Defendants in the three lawsuits are alleged to have unlawfully intercepted and broadcasted a championship fight, Floyd Mayweather, Jr vs. Marcos Rene Maidana, WBC Welterweight Championship Fight Program, on May 3, 2014. J & J Sports states that it is the exclusive domestic commercial distributor of this program.

The first lawsuit was filed against Luxe Lounge, Inc. and John Hawkins, an officer of the company. Both Defendants were sued doing business as Luxe Lounge, which operates in Indianapolis. Hawkins was also sued individually.

The second lawsuit lists as Defendants Rest Mex, Inc. as well as Samuel Barrera and Benito Brito Flores, both officers of the company. All Defendants were sued doing business as Taqueria Jalisco of Indianapolis, Indiana. Barrera and Flores were also sued individually.

The final lawsuit was filed against Don Marcos, Inc. and Jose Diaz-Chavez, an officer of the Indianapolis corporation. Both Defendants were sued doing business as Don Marcos Restaurante and Taqueria. Diaz-Chavez was also sued individually.

The three complaints, filed by intellectual property counsel for J & J Sports, are similar, each listing three claims:

• Count I: Violation of Title 47 U.S.C. Section 605
• Count II: Violation of Title 47 U.S.C. Section 553

• Count III: Conversion

J & J Sports asks the Indiana court for damages, attorneys' fees and costs.

Practice Tip: The interception claim has a two-year statute of limitations, which explains why these complaints were filed on April 29, 2016, almost exactly two years after the broadcast date of the program at issue. J & J Sports and similar plaintiffs are frequent litigants, filing thousands of lawsuits per year, usually seeking a settlement instead of litigation. It appears that many of them are also filed near the eve of the two-year anniversary of the broadcast of the program at issue in each individual lawsuit.

Continue reading "Indiana Cable/Satellite Litigation: Three Local Eateries Sued for Interception of Championship Fight" »