September 24, 2015

Indiana Copyright Law: Court Will Not Reconsider Dismissal of Pro Se Litigant's Lawsuit

Indianapolis, Indiana - The Southern District of Indiana denied Plaintiff Larry Philpot's 

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motion to reconsider the dismissal of his 2014 lawsuit alleging copyright infringement.

Acting as his own copyright lawyer, Philpot, a professional photographer of Indianapolis, Indiana filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Music Times, LLC of New York, New York. He alleged that Defendant infringed his copyright on a photograph of Norah Jones taken during a performance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The photo had been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office as Certificate No. VAu 1-164-648.

Prior to this motion to reconsider, Philpot had last taken on the case on December 15, 2014. He had then failed to prosecute the case further. On April 17, 2015, the court set an April 30th deadline by which Philpot must show good cause for his failure to take additional actions to advance the copyright infringement lawsuit. Philpot did not respond and, on August, 26, 2015, the court dismissed the litigation.

Plaintiff Philpot, upon being notified of the court's dismissal of the lawsuit, filed a motion asking the court to reconsider. He stated that he had not received notice of the court's April 17th order and that his failure to prosecute had been a result of being "completely overwhelmed" due to having filed "too many actions." On these grounds, he asked the court to reverse its earlier entry of judgment against him.

The court declined to do so. Under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 59(e), a court is permitted to alter or amend its judgment "only if the petitioner can demonstrate a manifest error of law or present newly discovered evidence." Because Plaintiff did not demonstrate either - and because his failure to do so would not be excused merely due to his pro se status - the court denied the motion to reconsider.

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September 23, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Latitude 360 Indianapolis Sued for Copyright Infringement

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Jacksonville, Florida - A copyright lawyer for Universal Music Corp., WB Music Corp., EMI April Music, Inc., Bovina Music, Inc., and B.I.G. Poppa Music, all members of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers ("ASCAP"), sued in the Middle District of Florida asserting copyright infringement against Latitude 360 Nevada, Inc., Latitude 360 Jacksonville LLC, Latitude 39 Group LLC, Latitude 360 Indianapolis LLC and Brent W. Brown. ASCAP is headquartered in New York, New York. Among the Defendants is Indianapolis restaurant Latitude 360 Indianapolis.

ASCAP is a membership association. It licenses and protects the public performance rights of more than half a million members, including songwriters, composers and music publishers. Latitude 360 Indianapolis is a place of business that offers public entertainment and refreshment.

Plaintiffs have asserted that Latitude Indianapolis 360 infringed multiple copyrighted works by permitting unlicensed performances of copyrighted works belonging to Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs claim that, since November 2012, they have attempted to contact Latitude 360 Indianapolis and/or other Defendants more than 40 times to offer an ASCAP license but that these offers were refused. Four causes of action for copyright infringement have been alleged in this copyright lawsuit.

Plaintiffs ask for injunctive relief against Defendants ordering them to cease publicly performing Plaintiffs' compositions; and a judgment for statutory damages, attorney's fees and costs.

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September 21, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: CelebrityCafé.com Dismissed from Copyright Lawsuit; Court Allows New Defendants to be Added

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Indianapolis, Indiana - The Southern District of Indiana has granted a motion by Defendant The Celebrity Café.com, Inc. ("Celebrity") to dismiss the copyright infringement complaint filed by Larry G. Philpot of Indianapolis, Indiana. The court also granted Philpot's motion to amend his complaint.

Plaintiff Philpot is a professional photographer who photographs concert events across the country. He copyrights his photographs and licenses them to others. In December 2014, Philpot sued Celebrity of Oceanside, New York asserting that it had infringed his copyrights by posting two photographs that Philpot had registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The photos at issue are a 2009 photograph of Willie Nelson and a 2013 photo of Kid Rock.

An Indiana copyright attorney for Defendant Celebrity moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Defendant was not subject to personal jurisdiction in Indiana and that the Southern District of Indiana was an improper venue. A short time later, Philpot asked the court's permission to amend his complaint to include additional defendants. By this order, the court granted both parties' requests.

On the issue of jurisdiction, the court held that Philpot had failed to meet his burden to demonstrate the necessary minimum contacts between Celebrity and the State of Indiana. The court found Celebrity to be a New York business that "is not registered to do business in Indiana. It does not have any offices, paid employees, members, agents, or operations in Indiana. Celebrity has no telephone or fax listings in Indiana. It also has no bank accounts in Indiana, has never paid taxes in Indiana, and does not own, lease, or control any property or assets in Indiana. Dominick Miserandino, Celebrity's sole member, has been to Indiana only twice in his life...."

Moreover, the court held that Celebrity's use of its website, which it had owned and operated from January 2003 to December 3, 2014, was insufficient to confer jurisdiction upon an Indiana court. Quoting the Seventh Circuit, it stated:

Courts should be careful in resolving questions about personal jurisdiction involving online contacts to ensure that a defendant is not haled into court simply because the defendant owns or operates a website that is accessible in the forum state, even if that site is interactive. Beyond simply operating an interactive website that is accessible from the forum state, a defendant must in some way target the forum state's market. If the defendant merely operates a website, even a highly interactive website, that is accessible from, but does not target, the forum state, then the defendant may not be haled into court in that state without offending the Constitution.

be2 LLC v. Ivanov, 642 F.3d 555, 558-59 (7th Cir. 2011) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

The court noted that, while it might appear that advertisements on Celebrity's webpages were targeting Indiana residents due to Indiana-specific content, those advertisements were not the result of Celebrity's actions to target Indiana. Instead, the advertisements were shown as a result of internet "cookies" that tracked the location of internet end users and then selected and displayed location-specific content from third parties, including content that was specific to Indiana.

Thus, an exercise of personal jurisdiction over Celebrity in Indiana was found to be improper. For similar reasons, venue in the Southern District of Indiana was also held to be improper. The court did, however, permit Philpot to amend his complaint, finding that his request to do so had been timely filed.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: CelebrityCafé.com Dismissed from Copyright Lawsuit; Court Allows New Defendants to be Added " »

September 18, 2015

Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation: J & J Sports Files New Lawsuits in Southern District of Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana - Via its intellectual property counsel, Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. of Campbell, California ("J & J Sports") filed two separate intellectual

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 property complaints in the Southern District of Indiana alleging unlawful interception and broadcast of "The One" on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The Defendants in the first lawsuit are Alejandro Soriano Perez, individually and d/b/a El Palenque Restaurant, and El Palenque, #1 LLC, of Noblesville, Indiana. In the second lawsuit, J & J Sports sued Edis Mejia, individually and d/b/a LaCasacada Authentic Mexican Restaurant and Mejia-Miranda, Inc. of Elwood, Indiana.

J & J Sports states that it is the exclusive domestic commercial closed-circuit distributor of the Program. It has sued the Defendants under the Communications Act of 1934 and The Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. Specifically, Defendants have been accused of violating 47 U.S.C. § 605 and 47 U.S.C. § 553 by displaying the Program at issue on September 14, 2013 without an appropriate license. A count of conversion is also included in both lawsuits.

Plaintiff has sued the non-LLC Defendants as individuals, alleging that they had the right and ability to supervise the activities of the commercial establishments that allegedly engaged in the illegal interception. J & J Sports asserts that the activities that they supervised included the unlawful interception of Plaintiff's "The One" Program.

J & J Sports also contends that the individual Defendants specifically directed the employees of the restaurants to unlawfully intercept and broadcast Plaintiff's Program at the commercial establishments or, if they did not, that the actions of the employees of the restaurants are directly imputable to the Defendants sued as individuals by virtue of their purported responsibility for the activities of their respective establishments.

In these two Indiana interception complaints, the intellectual property attorney for J & J Sports listed the following counts:

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

• Count III: Conversion

J & J Sports asks for damages, as well as costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation: J & J Sports Files New Lawsuits in Southern District of Indiana" »

September 17, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Attorney/Photographer Sues Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo

Indianapolis, Indiana - Filing on his own behalf, copyright attorney and professional photographer Richard N. Bell of McCordsville, Indiana initiated litigation in the Southern District of Indiana alleging copyright infringement by KG American Real Estate Holdings, LLC ("KG") of Duluth, Georgia.

In 2000, Plaintiff Bell photographed the downtown Indianapolis skyline. Bell claims that the KG used this photo, U.S. Copyright Registration No. VA0001785115, without Plaintiff's permission. Bell states that KG created "a website to promote and advertise its own real estate business" and displayed Bell's copyrighted photo on that website. Bell further claims that this company "willfully and recklessly falsely claimed that it owned the copyrights of all images and photos" contained on its website, http://richliferealestate.com/location/indianapolis-metro/, including Bell's photo of Indianapolis.

In this Indiana federal litigation, a single count is listed: copyright infringement and unfair competition. Bell asks for injunctive relief to prevent KG from using Bell's copyrighted photo without consent as well as a judgment for damages, attorney's fees and costs.

Practice Tip: Richard Bell has sued hundreds of defendants for copyright infringement in Indiana's federal courts. Previous blog posts regarding his litigation include:

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-Base 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 Georgia Real Estate Company for Infringing Copyrighted Photo" »

September 16, 2015

Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation: J & J Sports Files Three New Lawsuits in Northern District of Indiana

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Fort Wayne, Indiana - Via its intellectual property counsel, Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. of Campbell, California ("J & J Sports") filed three separate intellectual property complaints in the Northern District of Indiana alleging unlawful interception and broadcast of "The One" on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The Defendants in the first lawsuit are Leonor Navarro and Sergio Navarro, individually and d/b/a La Santa Anita Family Grill, and Navarro Family Restaurant LLC, also d/b/a La Santa Anita Family Grill, all of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the second lawsuit, J & J Sports sued Marco Puente, individually and d/b/a Estrella's Sports Bar and Rumurs LLC, also d/b/a Estrella's Sports Bar, both of Hammond, Indiana. Defendant Virginia Ramirez of Fort Wayne, Indiana was sued individually and d/b/a La Puerta Negra in the third complaint.

J & J Sports states that it is the exclusive domestic commercial closed-circuit distributor of the Program. It has sued the Defendants, both individually and doing business as commercial entities, under the Communications Act of 1934 and The Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. Specifically, Defendants have been accused of violating 47 U.S.C. § 605 and 47 U.S.C. § 553 by displaying the Program at issue on September 14, 2013 without an appropriate license. A count of conversion is also included in each lawsuit.

Plaintiff has sued the non-LLC Defendants as individuals, alleging that they had the right and ability to supervise the activities of the commercial establishments that allegedly engaged in the illegal interception. J & J Sports asserts that the activities that they supervised included the unlawful interception of Plaintiff's Program.

J & J Sports contends that the individual Defendants specifically directed the employees of the restaurants to unlawfully intercept and broadcast Plaintiff's Program at the commercial establishments or, if they did not, that the actions of the employees of the restaurants are directly imputable to the Defendants sued as individuals by virtue of their purported responsibility for the activities of their respective establishments.

In all of these Indiana interception complaints, the intellectual property attorney for J & J Sports listed the following counts:

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

• Count III: Conversion

J & J Sports asks for damages, as well as costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Intellectual Property Litigation: J & J Sports Files Three New Lawsuits in Northern District of Indiana" »

September 15, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Former School Employee Sues Schools for Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Program

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South Bend, Indiana - Pro se Plaintiff Angela E. Brooks-Ngwenya, of Fort Wayne, Indiana has filed a copyright complaint in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that The Mind Trust, United Way of Central Indiana, Central Indiana Education Alliance, Phalen Leadership Academies, and Indianapolis Public Schools ("IPS"), all of Indianapolis, Indiana, committed copyright infringement.

Plaintiff contends that she piloted a program, Transitioning Into Responsible Students ("TIRS") at Gambold Middle School in 2002. She claims that she filed for copyright protection on TIRS in 2006 and that she received a copyright registration in 2008 from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Brooks-Ngwenya claims that her copyrighted material has been infringed by several of Defendants' programs, including Bridges To Success Education School Model and the Phalen Leadership Academies Education Model.

According to documents filed with the court, prior federal litigation between Brooks-Ngwenya and IPS, which included allegations by Plaintiff of race and gender discrimination, was concluded through a confidential settlement agreement between the parties. Brooks-Ngwenya asserts that these current claims of copyright infringement were excluded from that settlement agreement. Prior litigation between the parties in Marion County court included disability claims made by Brooks-Ngwenya.

Plaintiff drafted a cease and desist order for the court's review as part of her filing and asked that the court enforce it pending a settlement. She also requested a mediation hearing.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: Former School Employee Sues Schools for Unauthorized Use of Copyrighted Program" »

September 11, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: BMI Asserts Copyright Infringement Against Hardy's Café

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New Albany, Indiana - A copyright attorney for Broadcast Music, Inc. ("BMI") of New York, New York filed a complaint for copyright infringement in the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division against Philkerr, LLC d/b/a Hardy's Café and Steven Phillips, individually, both of Scottsburg, Indiana.

BMI asserts that it has been granted the right to license the public performance rights of approximately 8.5 million copyrighted musical compositions. In this Indiana copyright litigation, BMI alleges 15 counts of copyright infringement. In addition to Plaintiff BMI, this lawsuit was instituted on behalf of twenty-five other Plaintiffs. These Plaintiffs claim ownership to the copyrighted compositions at issue.

The Defendants in this lawsuit are Philkerr LLC and Steven Phillips, the owner of Philkerr. They are accused of having infringed the copyrights-in-suit by causing the unauthorized public performance of BMI members' musical works at Hardy's Café.

Through this lawsuit filed by their copyright lawyer, Plaintiffs ask for an injunction restraining Defendants from publicly performing Plaintiffs' compositions without authorization from BMI and a judgment for statutory damages, attorney's fees and the costs of the litigation.


Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Litigation: BMI Asserts Copyright Infringement Against Hardy's Café " »

September 9, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Court Allows Copyright Plaintiff to Add New Defendants

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Acting as his own Indiana copyright lawyer, Larry G. Philpot of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed a motion to amend his complaint in the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division in his ongoing intellectual property litigation against Mansion America, LLC and Oak Ridge Boys Theater of Branson, Missouri.

This lawsuit, which was filed in August 2014, alleges that Defendants Mansion America, LLC and Oak Ridge Boys Theater infringed the copyright of a photo that Plaintiff Philpot took of Willie Nelson during a 2009 performance in St. Louis, Missouri. A copyright to the photograph, Certificate Number VAu 1-132-411, was issued by the U.S. Copyright Office in 2012.

Mansion America filed a motion to dismiss the copyright litigation. The court granted Philpot leave to conduct limited discovery to assist him in responding to that motion. Plaintiff Philpot now indicates to the court that the discovery provided him with additional information, including the identities of additional parties who had been before been unknown to him. Philpot consequently asked the court for leave to amend his complaint.

The court noted that that, while the time for amending the complaint as a matter of right had elapsed, it was still within the court's discretion to allow the amendment and that, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court should "freely give leave when justice so requires." Finding that there had been "no undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, undue prejudice, or futility of amendment," and that Philpot had "diligently pursued discovery and prosecuted his case," the court found that justice required that leave be granted to Philpot to amend his complaint.

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September 3, 2015

196 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in August 2015

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 196 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in August 2015 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.  Word Mark Click To View
4803991 AUGUSTA VIEW
4803938 STERI-SPRAY VIEW
4803791 THE CLEAN BETWEEN VIEW
4803717 VIEW
4803704 HEALTHY SPRING VIEW
4805563 LINCOLN WEALTHADVANTAGE VIEW
4803411 MYIPS VIEW
4803409 CHOOSEIPS VIEW
4803311 A VIEW
4803288 GLOBEHOPPER VIEW
4803230 BE THE PILOT IN COMMAND! VIEW
4803171 BUSCH CHIROPRACTIC VIEW

Continue reading " 196 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in August 2015" »

September 1, 2015

Patent Office Issues 151 Patents To Indiana Citizens in August 2015

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 151 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in August 2015, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

 

PAT. NO.

 

Title

1

D737,243

 

Wall mount DVD/radio

2

D737,215

 

Electrical connector

3

9,117,015

 

Management method and system for implementation, execution, data collection, and data analysis of a structured collection procedure which runs on a collection device

4

9,116,247

 

Stereo detection circuit for detecting neutrons

5

9,116,156

 

ASC as a marker for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

6

9,116,154

 

Ion generation using wetted porous material

7

9,116,126

 

Techniques for removing a contaminant layer from a thermal barrier coating and estimating remaining life of the coating

8

9,115,748

 

Axial sliding bearing and method of reducing power losses thereof

9

9,115,664

 

Engine control systems and methods

10

9,115,630

 

Diagnostic for a mid-catalyst NH3 sensor


Overhauser Law Offices, the publisher of this site, assists with US and foreign patent searches, patent applications and assists with enforcing patents via infringement litigation and licensing.

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 151 Patents To Indiana Citizens in August 2015" »

August 31, 2015

Indiana Patent Law: Court Orders TapLogic to Provide Additional Detail Regarding Non-Infringement Contentions

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Fort Wayne, Indiana - Magistrate Judge Susan Collins ordered TapLogic, LLC to serve Agri-Labs with more-detailed preliminary non-infringement contentions ("PNICs") in the ongoing patent litigation between TapLogic and Agri-Labs Holdings, LLC over TapLogic's smart phone application "Ag PhD Soil Test."

At issue in this patent litigation is U.S. Patent No. 8,286,857 (the "`857 Patent" or the "patent-in-Suit"), to which Agri-Labs claims ownership. The patent-in-suit, which was issued based upon an application filed by inventor Tony Wayne Covely, has been registered by the U.S. Patent Office. The `857 Patent generally relates to a system and method for performing soil analysis that uses smart phones, applications for smart phones, soil containers having unique identifiers, and global positioning ("GPS").

In January, an Indiana patent attorney for Agri-Labs filed an intellectual property complaint in the Northern District of Indiana Fort Wayne Division alleging that TapLogic infringed on the '857 Patent. TapLogic counterclaimed. It asked the court for a declaratory judgment that it has not infringed Agri-Labs' patent and that the claims of the patent are invalid. On July 1, 2015, the parties exchanged their respective contentions regarding infringement.

The instant order addresses Agri-Labs' request that the court order TapLogic to provide a more detailed PNIC. Agri-Labs asserts that the PNICs it received were deficient, providing "nothing more than vague, conclusory language that simply mimics the language of the claims when identifying its theories of non-infringement."

As is true for a party serving preliminary infringement contentions ("PICs"), a party serving PNICs must provide an infringement-claim chart for each accused product or process (the "accused instrumentality"). Each claim chart must contain the following contentions: (1) "each claim of each patent in suit that is allegedly infringed by the accused instrumentality;" (2) "[a] specific identification of where each limitation of the claim is found within each accused instrumentality, including . . . the identity of the structures, acts, or materials in the accused instrumentality that performs the claimed function"; and (3) "[w]hether each limitation of each asserted claim is literally present in the accused instrumentality or present under the doctrine of equivalents."

The court noted that TapLogic's PNICs merely recite the language of each claim and then deny that its Ag PhD Soil Test performs that function or includes that feature. As an example, one portion of Claim 1 was described as "scanning said unique identifier associated with said soil sample container containing said at least one soil sample with a handheld remote terminal, wherein said handheld remote terminal includes a handheld remote terminal sampling application." In reply, Agri-Labs stated that its application "does NOT scan said unique identifier associated with said soil sample container containing said at least one soil sample with a handheld remote terminal, wherein said handheld remote terminal includes a handheld remote terminal sampling application."

Consequently, the court agreed that TapLogic's PNICs were inadequate because they lacked sufficient detail. It ordered TapLogic to serve Agri-Labs with detailed PNICs.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Law: Court Orders TapLogic to Provide Additional Detail Regarding Non-Infringement Contentions" »

August 27, 2015

Indiana Trademark Litigation: New Zealand Stroller Company Sued for Use of Navigator Trademark

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana trademark attorneys for Baby Trend, Inc. of California filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement. The company claims that Phil and Teds Most Excellent Buggy Company Limited ("Phil and Teds"), a New Zealand-based enterprise, infringed U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,514,646, which has been registered by Baby Trend in the U.S. Trademark Office.

Plaintiff Baby Trend is in the business of designing, manufacturing and marketing juvenile products. It claims that it has made extensive use of the mark NAVIGATOR in connection with its strollers and related products for over 15 years.

Baby Trend has sued Defendant Phil & Teds contending that Defendant uses a mark that infringes Baby Trend's NAVIGATOR trademark in connection with its stroller and stroller-related goods. This use is alleged to have taken place online at Phil & Teds' online marketplace, www.philandteds.com, as well as on third-party websites that offer Defendant Phil & Teds' stroller products, such as Toys R Us/Babies R Us and the BuyBuyBaby website. Baby Trend further states that products bearing an infringing NAVIGATOR mark are also sold in brick-and-mortar stores, directly by Phil & Teds and/or through others. According to Baby Trend, offers for the sale of products bearing an infringing mark have taken place in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The complaint states that Baby Trend asked Phil & Teds "at least as early as June 30, 2015" to discontinue use of the NAVIGATOR mark but that Phil & Teds refused. The complaint subsequently contends that Phil & Teds' conduct was done willfully, intentionally, knowingly, and in reckless disregard of the consequences to Baby Trend.

In this federal intellectual property litigation, Indiana trademark lawyers for Baby Trend make the following claims:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement 15 U.S.C. § 1114
• Count II: Federal Unfair Competition and False Designation of Origin 15 .S.C. [sic] § 1125(a)

• Count III: Common Law Unfair Competition and Trademark Infringement

Baby Trend seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief; a declaration that Phil & Teds infringed Baby Trend's rights in its intellectual property in a deliberate, willful, and/or reckless manner; damages, including treble damages; and costs, litigation expenses and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: New Zealand Stroller Company Sued for Use of Navigator Trademark" »

August 26, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Court Permits Bonutti to Withdraw Counterclaim, Denies Attorneys' Fees to Biomet

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Hammond, Indiana - In the matter of Biomet, Inc. v. Bonutti Skeletal Innovations, LLC, the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division granted Defendant Bonutti's motion to dismiss with prejudice its counterclaim. Bonutti's counterclaim alleged that Biomet had infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,806,897 (the "'897 patent"). Patent attorneys for Biomet Inc. asked the court to impose attorneys' fees as a condition of the dismissal but this motion was denied.

On March 8, 2013, patent lawyers for Plaintiff Biomet filed an action for declaratory judgment against Bonutti Skeletal Innovations LLC. At issue were contentions of patent infringement of fifteen patents. Bonutti counterclaimed against Biomet and several other counterclaim Defendants. This multi-faceted dispute had been resolved with respect to some of the patents prior to this order. Other allegations of patent infringement remained.

Among the assertions by Bonutti that had remained was a counterclaim that Biomet had infringed the '897 patent. In this order, the court granted Bonutti's request under Rule 41(a)(2) to dismiss this counterclaim with prejudice. The court also addressed Biomet's contention that it should be awarded attorneys' fees as a "prevailing party" in this portion of the patent litigation.

The court denied attorneys' fees to Biomet on several grounds. First, it noted that, while attorney's fees are available as part of a Rule 41(a)(2) dismissal without prejudice, this is justified as compensation for requiring a defendant to incur unnecessary litigation expenses. That same rationale does not apply where, as in this case, the dismissal is with prejudice.

Additionally, the court noted that any request for attorneys' fees was premature. Such fees are only available to the "prevailing party" and Biomet had not established itself as such a prevailing party. Biomet may yet be able to recover attorneys' fees if, at the conclusion of the patent lawsuit, Biomet is held to be the prevailing party.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Court Permits Bonutti to Withdraw Counterclaim, Denies Attorneys' Fees to Biomet" »

August 24, 2015

Introduction to Criminal Copyright Infringement - Fourth Element: Commercial Advantage or Private Financial Gain

The fourth element of a criminal prosecution for copyright infringement requires that the 

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government prove that the defendant engaged in an act of copyright infringement "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain." It is unnecessary that a profit be made as a result of the infringing activities. This interpretation was intended to exclude from criminal liability those individuals who willfully infringe copyrights solely for their own personal use, although those individuals may still be pursued by the copyright holder in civil court.

It is a common misconception that if infringers do not charge subscribers a monetary fee for infringing copies, they cannot be found guilty of criminal copyright infringement. While evidence of discrete monetary transactions (i.e., the selling of infringing goods for a particular price) provides the clearest evidence of financial gain, such direct evidence is not a prerequisite for the government to prosecute.

Instead, the government gives a broader interpretation to the requirement of a "commercial or financial purpose." The Department of Justice's interpretation of the phrase "for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain" does not require the payment in money for infringing works. Instead, payment by trading anything of value for infringing copies could constitute seeking a "commercial advantage or private financial gain." Thus, "bartering" (i.e., the practice of exchanging infringing works for other infringing works) that results in the unauthorized dissemination of infringing product can trigger criminal prosecution.