June 5, 2015

Indiana Trademark and Patent Litigation: Simpson Sues Two Indiana Individuals Alleging Patent Infringement and Counterfeiting

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Hammond, Indiana - Trademark and patent attorneys for Simpson Performance Products, Inc. of Mooresville, North Carolina ("Simpson") and SFI Foundation, Inc. of Poway, California ("SFI") commenced trademark litigation in the Western District of North Carolina alleging that Robert Wagoner of North Judson, Indiana and Derek Randall Cathcart of Valparaiso, Indiana infringed the SIMPSON® family of trademarks, some of which have been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office. The case was transferred to the Northern District of Indiana. Among the trademarks at issue are U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 4,117,821; 1,243,427; 3,026,333; 3,026,334; and 3,050,920. Also at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 6,931,669 and 8,272,074.

Plaintiff Simpson is a manufacturer of automotive and motorsports specialty/performance products, including head and neck restraints for competitive racing. The Simpson brand of automotive and motorsports products has existed 1959. Plaintiff SFI was established to develop and administer minimum performance standards for the automotive aftermarket and motorsports industries, including standards for specialty/performance racing equipment.

Simpson offers for sale the SIMPSON® Hybrid PRO Rage™ head and neck restraint. Simpson indicates that this product is one of the few such devices to be certified under a special classification, SFI SPEC 38.1, for use in NASCAR competitions.

Defendants Wagoner and Carthcart have been accused of engaging in the business of providing specialty/performance racing equipment, including head and neck restraints that are counterfeit versions of Simpson products. Plaintiffs contend that Wagoner is offering counterfeit head and neck restraints through ebay.com. Plaintiffs allege that Cathcart offers counterfeit head and neck restraints via the website racingjunk.com.

These restraints, Plaintiffs contend, bear trademarks owned by Simpson, including the SIMPSON® federally registered trademark as well as the HUTCHENS Hybrid PRO™ and Hybrid PRO™ common law trademarks.

The accused products also allegedly bear a label that falsely states, "This product designed & manufactured by Safety Solutions, Inc. PATENT NO.: 6931669; other patents pending." According to Plaintiffs, the alleged counterfeiting activities of Defendants also constitute patent infringement.

In this lawsuit, filed by patent and trademark lawyers for Plaintiffs, the following causes of action are listed:

• Trademark Infringement
• Unfair Competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); False Designation of Origin; False or Misleading Advertising
• Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices under N.C. [North Carolina] Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1
• Patent Infringment [sic]

• Common Law Fraud

Plaintiffs ask for a finding in their favor on each of the counts alleged, including a finding that the conduct was knowing and willful, and entry against each Defendant jointly and severally. Plaintiffs seek costs, attorneys' fees and damages, including enhanced damages, as well as injunctive relief.

This federal trademark complaint was initially filed in the Western District of North Carolina in February 2015. In May 2015, District Judge Richard Voorhees ordered it to be transferred to the Northern District of Indiana, finding that the North Carolina court lacked personal jurisdiction over Defendants.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark and Patent Litigation: Simpson Sues Two Indiana Individuals Alleging Patent Infringement and Counterfeiting" »

June 4, 2015

151 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in May 2015

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 151 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in May 2015 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No. 
Word Mark Click To View
4741943 NATIONAL SELECT 7 ON 7 CHAMPIONSHIPS VIEW
4741942 NATIONAL SELECT 7 ON 7 CHAMPIONSHIPS VIEW
4745478 POND MAPPING CALCULATOR VIEW
4743607 CHRISTMAS COAL VIEW
4743447 EZWRENCH VIEW
4743127 INFORMED EMPLOYER BRIEFING VIEW
4743064 LANARK WALLCOVERING VIEW
4742912 PINWHEEL SCHOOL PORTRAITS VIEW

Continue reading " 151 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in May 2015" »

June 3, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Lippert Components Sued on Allegations of Patent Infringement

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Elkhart, Indiana - Indiana patent lawyers for LTI Holdings, Inc. of Modesto, California ("LTI") filed a patent-infringement complaint in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Lippert Components, Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana ("Lippert") infringed Patent Nos. 6,966,590 for a "Two-Part Seal for a Slide-Out Room," 7,614,676 for a "Resilient Seal for Mobile Living Quarters," and 7,614,677 for a "Seal Assembly for Mobile Living Quarters." These patents have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Indiana-based Lippert, a subsidiary of Drew Industries, is a large supplier serving the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing, trailer, and bus industries. It offers a line of products dedicated to improving the mobile lifestyle.

Three patents - Patent Nos. 6,966,590 ("the '590 patent"), 7,614,676 ("the '676 patent") and 7,614,677 ("the '677 patent") - are at issue in this federal intellectual property lawsuit. Defendant Lippert has been accused of making, offering for sale and/or selling products that infringe upon one or more of these patents. Some of these activities purportedly occurred on two or more recreational vehicles manufactured by facilities in Indiana.

The first accused product is a two-part seal that allegedly infringes one or more claims of the '590 patent. The second and third accused products, both "Slide Armor" seals, purportedly infringe as many as all of the patents-in-suit.

A cease-and-desist letter was sent to Jason Lippert, the CEO of Defendant, in March 2015. Plaintiff contends that, despite this letter and the communications that followed, Defendant's manufacture, offer for sale, and sale of each of the accused products has continued.

In this Indiana complaint, patent attorneys for LTI assert the following claims:

• Count 1: Direct Infringement of the '590 Patent
• Count 2: Direct Infringement of the '676 Patent
• Count 3: Direct Infringement of the '677 Patent
• Count 4: Induced Infringement of the '590 Patent

• Count 5: Contributory Infringement of the '590 Patent

Plaintiff asks the court to enter a judgment:

a) declaring the '590 patent is directly infringed by Defendant;
b) declaring the Defendant induced infringement of the '590 patent;
c) declaring the Defendant has contributorily infringed the '590 patent;
d) declaring Defendant's infringement of the '590 patent has been willful;
e) declaring Defendant be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from manufacturing, using, selling, and offering to sell the infringing products in the United States prior to the expiration of the '590 patent;
f) awarding damages adequate to compensate Plaintiff for Defendant's infringement of the '590 patent including lost profits, but in an amount no less than a reasonable royalty, and that such damages be trebled according to 35 U.S.C. § 284;
g) declaring the '676 patent is directly infringed by Defendant;
h) declaring Defendant's infringement of the '676 patent has been willful;
i) declaring Defendant be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from manufacturing, using, selling and offering to sell the infringing products in the United States prior to the expiration of the '676 patent;
j) awarding damages adequate to compensate Plaintiff for Defendant's infringement of the '676 patent including lost profits, but in an amount no less than a reasonable royalty, and that such damages be trebled according to 35 U.S.C. § 284;
k) declaring the '677 patent is directly infringed by Defendant;
l) declaring Defendant's infringement of the '677 patent has been willful;
m) declaring Defendant be preliminarily and permanently enjoined from manufacturing, using, selling, and offering to sell the infringing products in the United States prior to the expiration of the '677 patent;
n) awarding damages adequate to compensate Plaintiff for Defendant's infringement of the '677 patent including lost profits, but in an amount no less than a reasonable royalty, and that such damages be trebled according to 35 U.S.C. § 284; and

o) awarding all costs and expenses of this action, including reasonable attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Lippert Components Sued on Allegations of Patent Infringement" »

June 1, 2015

Patent Office Issues 162 Patents To Indiana Citizens in May 2015

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 162 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in May 2015, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

PAT. NO. Title
D730,410 Spreader output tray
D730,298 Electrical connector
9043840 Method and a system for television display of web feed content
9043061 Methods, systems, and apparatuses for driveline load management
9043060 Methods, systems, and apparatuses for driveline load management
9042964 System and method for fiducial deployment via slotted needle
9041546 System and method for position detection
9041440 Graphene-based frequency tripler
9041260 Cooling system and method for an electronic machine
9040824 Twinaxial cable and twinaxial cable ribbon

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 162 Patents To Indiana Citizens in May 2015" »

May 29, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Starmark Funeral Products Sues Matthews International Alleging Patent Infringement

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana patent attorneys for Vandor Corporation d/b/a Starmark Funeral Products of Richmond, Indiana filed a patent-infringement complaint in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Matthews International Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Matthews International - Cremation Division of Apopka, Florida (collectively, "Matthews") infringed Patent No. 8,104,151, entitled "Lightweight Casket Having Foldable Features," which has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff Vandor claims ownership of United States Patent No. 8,104,151 ("the '151 Patent"). Vandor indicates in this intellectual property complaint that it has sold a cremation-insert product that embodies claims of the '151 Patent since at least 2009.

Defendants are accused of the manufacture, use, offer for sale, and/or sale of the "Matthews Cremation Fold-Down Rental Insert," which Vandor contends directly infringes at least claim 1 of the '151 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a) literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents.

Plaintiff also claims that Matthews intended to induce patent infringement by others as well as has contributorily infringed the '151 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(c) literally and/or under the doctrine of equivalents. Finally, Vandor contends that Matthews been aware that it has been infringing since approximately January 2015. Consequently, Matthews' alleged infringement has been labeled as "willful and deliberate" by Plaintiff.

The Indiana patent lawyers for Plaintiff ask the Southern District of Indiana to:

• Declare that United States Letters Patent 8,104,151 was duly and legally issued, is valid and is enforceable;
• Enter judgment that Defendants have infringed at least claim 1 of the '151 Patent;
• Enter judgment that Defendants have induced infringement of at least claim 1 of the '151 Patent;
• Enter judgment that Defendants have contributed to infringement of at least claim 1 of the '151 Patent;
• Enter a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Defendants and their agents, from any further sales or use of their infringing products and any other infringement of claims of the '151 Patent, whether direct or indirect, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 283;
• Award damages to compensate Vandor for Defendants' infringement of the claims of the '151 Patent pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284;
• Award enhanced damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284;
• Award pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and costs to Vandor in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 284; and

• Deem this to be an "exceptional" case within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. § 285, entitling Vandor to an award of its reasonable attorney fees, expenses and costs in this action.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Starmark Funeral Products Sues Matthews International Alleging Patent Infringement" »

May 28, 2015

New EFF "404" Report Shows How Restrictive Copyright Policies Stifle Online Speech Worldwide

San Francisco, California - Overly-broad intellectual property ("IP") laws in Russia, Colombia, and Pakistan - which U.S. trade regulators say aren't tough enough - stifle access to innovation and threaten artists, students, and creators around the globe with prison, censorship, and state prosecution, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") said in a new report released recently.

EFF's "Special 404 Report" is a response to the "Special 301 Report." The latter report, which EFF called biased and "a deeply flawed annual assessment of international intellectual property rights policies," was released in April by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR"). The Special 301 Report is used to pressure countries to adopt IP laws supported by some powerful business interests.

In a first-of-its-kind analysis countering what EFF called the USTR's "name and shame" tactics, EFF argues that the Special 301 Report paints a one-sided picture of IP rights and fails to disclose the damaging results of draconian IP policies. Examples include a human rights activist in Russia who was targeted by prosecutors using criminal copyright law, a biologist in Colombia who faces prison for sharing research, and students in Pakistan who struggle to exercise their rights under local law to study academic papers.

"The Special 301 Report is built on an opaque process that echoes the desires of certain members of private industry, like Hollywood rights holders," said Jeremy Malcolm, EFF senior global policy analyst. "It's meant to push countries to adopt stiffer IP laws, even if such laws aren't in the best interests of the citizens of that country. Our report shows how, in countries targeted by the USTR report, stringent intellectual property laws have had shameful and frightening consequences."

EFF's 404 report - named after the error code that appears on the web to show browsers that something is missing - features case studies from Canada, Chile, Pakistan, Romania, Colombia, and Russia. In addition to showing the chilling effects of copyright policies that the Special 301 Report condemns as not tough enough, the 404 report also highlights how flexible fair use interpretations can benefit communities, culture, and the economy. Additionally, EFF covers flaws in the USTR report, including lack of balance, questionable legal basis, lack of set criteria for analyzing copyright policies, and exclusion of a means by which countries can challenge findings.

"Our report puts a human face on the victims of defective IP policy, and tells the story of Diego Gomez, a masters student in Colombia who could be jailed and face huge fines after the government criminally prosecuted him for sharing an academic paper on Scribd,'' said Maira Sutton, EFF global policy analyst. "Countries around the globe should be skeptical when considering the recommendations of the USTR Special 301 Report and push for fair use and open access when adopting and enforcing IP laws."

For the full report visit: https://www.eff.org/special-404

This edited article as provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group which advocates for innovators and users of technology. The article has been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

May 27, 2015

Chinese Professors Among Six Defendants Charged with Economic Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets

Los Angeles, California - Chinese professors have been accused of having stolen valuable technology from Avago Technologies and Skyworks Solutions to benefit a university in the People's Republic of China.

On May 16, 2015, Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States from the People's Republic of China ("PRC") in connection with a recent superseding indictment in the Northern District of California, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI's San Francisco Division.

The 32-count indictment, which had previously been sealed, charges a total of six individuals with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of universities and companies controlled by the PRC government.

"According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive U.S. technologies to illegally obtain and share U.S. trade secrets with the PRC for economic advantage," said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. "Economic espionage imposes great costs on American businesses, weakens the global marketplace and ultimately harms U.S. interests worldwide. The National Security Division will continue to relentlessly identify, pursue and prosecute offenders wherever the evidence leads. I would like to thank all the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this indictment."

"As today's case demonstrates, sensitive technology developed by U.S. companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology," said U.S. Attorney Haag. "Combating economic espionage and trade secret theft remains one of the top priorities of this Office."

"The conduct alleged in this superseding indictment reveals a methodical and relentless effort by foreign interests to obtain and exploit sensitive and valuable U.S. technology through the use of individuals operating within the United States," said Special Agent in Charge Johnson. "Complex foreign-government sponsored schemes, such as the activity identified here, inflict irreversible damage to the economy of the United States and undercut our national security. The FBI is committed to rooting out industrial espionage that puts U.S. companies at a disadvantage in the global market."

According to the indictment, PRC nationals Wei Pang and Hao Zhang met at a U.S. university in Southern California during their doctoral studies in electrical engineering. While there, Pang and Zhang conducted research and development on thin-film bulk acoustic resonator ("FBAR") technology under funding from U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After each earned a doctorate in approximately 2005, Pang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Avago Technologies ("Avago") in Colorado and Zhang accepted employment as an FBAR engineer with Skyworks Solutions Inc. ("Skyworks") in Massachusetts. The stolen trade secrets alleged in the indictment belong to Avago or Skyworks.

Avago is a designer, developer and global supplier of FBAR technology, which is a specific type of radio frequency (RF) filter. Throughout Zhang's employment, Skyworks was also a designer and developer of FBAR technology. FBAR technology is primarily used in mobile devices like cellular telephones, tablets and GPS devices. FBAR technology filters incoming and outgoing wireless signals so that a user only receives and transmits the specific communications intended by the user. Apart from consumer applications, FBAR technology has numerous applications for a variety of military and defense communications technologies.

According to the indictment, in 2006 and 2007, Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators prepared a business plan and began soliciting PRC universities and others, seeking opportunities to start manufacturing FBAR technology in China. Through efforts outlined in the superseding indictment, Pang, Zhang and others established relationships with officials from Tianjin University. Tianjin University is a leading PRC Ministry of Education University located in the PRC and one of the oldest universities in China.

As set forth in the indictment, in 2008, officials from Tianjin University flew to San Jose, California, to meet with Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators. Shortly thereafter, Tianjin University agreed to support Pang, Zhang and others in establishing an FBAR fabrication facility in the PRC. Pang and Zhang continued to work for Avago and Skyworks in close coordination with Tianjin University. In mid-2009, both Pang and Zhang simultaneously resigned from the U.S. companies and accepted positions as full professors at Tianjin University. Tianjin University later formed a joint venture with Pang, Zhang and others under the company name ROFS Microsystem intending to mass produce FBARs.

The indictment alleges that Pang, Zhang and other co-conspirators stole recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential and proprietary from the victim companies and shared the information with one another and with individuals working for Tianjin University.

According to the indictment, the stolen trade secrets enabled Tianjin University to construct and equip a state-of-the-art FBAR fabrication facility, to open ROFS Microsystems, a joint venture located in PRC state-sponsored Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), and to obtain contracts for providing FBARs to commercial and military entities.

The six indicted defendants include:

• Hao Zhang, 36, a citizen of the PRC, is a former Skyworks employee and a full professor at Tianjin University. Zhang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets. Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States on May 16, 2015.

• Wei Pang, 35, a citizen of the PRC, is a former Avago employee and a full professor at Tianjin University. Pang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.

• Jinping Chen, 41, a citizen of the PRC, is a professor at Tianjin University and a member of the board of directors for ROFS Microsystems. Chen is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.

• Huisui Zhang ("Huisui"), 34, a citizen of the PRC, studied with Pang and Zhang at a U.S. university in Southern California and received a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering in 2006. Huisui is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.

• Chong Zhou, 26, a citizen of the PRC, is a Tianjin University graduate student and a design engineer at ROFS Microsystem. Zhou studied under Pang and Zhang, and is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage, conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.

• Zhao Gang, 39, a citizen of the PRC, is the General Manager of ROFS Microsystems. Gang is charged with conspiracy to commit economic espionage and conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets.

The maximum statutory penalty for each of the charges alleged in the superseding indictment is as follows:

• Count One: conspiracy to commit economic espionage: 15 years imprisonment; $500,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years' supervised release; and $100 special assessment.

• Count Two: conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets: 10 years imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years' supervised release; and $100 special assessment.

• Counts Three through Seventeen: economic espionage; aiding and abetting: 15 years imprisonment; $500,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years' supervised release; and $100 special assessment.

• Counts Eighteen through Thirty-Two: theft of trade secrets; aiding and abetting: 10 years imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain/loss; three years' supervised release; and $100 special assessment.

Zhang was arrested on May 16, 2015, upon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from the PRC. He made his initial appearance recently in Los Angeles before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg of the Central District of California, who ordered the defendant transported in custody to San Jose for further proceedings. His next scheduled appearance will be before the U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila of the Northern District of California, at a date to be determined.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI's Palo Alto Resident Agency/San Francisco Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Parrella and Dave Callaway of the Northern District of California, in consultation with the National Security Division's Counterespionage Section.

Zhang Superseding Indictment

May 26, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Lilly Files a New Complaint Against HEC Pharm for Infringement of Effient Patents

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Indianapolis, Indiana - An Indiana patent attorney for Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana; Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan; Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey; and Ube Industries, Ltd of Yamaguchi, Japan filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that HEC Pharm USA, Inc. of Princeton, New Jersey and HEC Pharm Co. Ltd. of Yichang, China, infringed Patent Nos. 8,404,703 and 8,569,325, which cover the patented pharmaceutical Effient (pictured left). These patents have been issued by the U.S. Patent Office.

Effient products were approved by the FDA for the reduction of thrombotic cardiovascular events in certain patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) who are to be managed with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, or angioplasty). Effient products contain prasugrel hydrochloride, which is also known as 5-[(1RS)-2-cyclopropyl-1-(2-fluorophenyl)-2-oxoethyl]-4,5,6,7-tetrahydrothieno[3,2-c]pyridin-2-yl acetate hydrochloride.

The instructions accompanying Effient products state that patients taking Effient products should also take aspirin. The use of Effient products in combination with aspirin for the reduction of thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients with ACS who are to be managed with PCI is allegedly covered by the claims of the '703 and '325 patents.

In July 2014, Plaintiffs sued Defendants asserting infringement of the '703 patent. That complaint asserted patent infringement arising out of the filing by HEC Pharm of an Abbreviated New Drug Applications ("ANDA") with the United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") seeking approval to manufacture and sell generic versions of two pharmaceutical products - Effient 5mg and Effient 10mg tablets - prior to the expiration of the '703 patent. This patent covers a method of using Effient products for which Lilly claims an exclusively license. Specifically, HEC Pharm was accused of planning to infringe the patent-in-suit by including with its products instructions for use that substantially copied the instructions for Effient products, including instructions for administering HEC Pharm's products with aspirin as claimed in the '703 patent.

Plaintiffs contended in this earlier lawsuit that HEC Pharm knew that the instructions that HEC Pharm intended to include with its products would induce and/or contribute to others using those products in the allegedly infringing manner set forth in the instructions. Moreover, Lilly et al. also contended that HEC Pharm specifically intended for health care providers, and/or patients to use HEC Pharm's products in accordance with the instructions provided by HEC Pharm and that such use would directly infringe one or more claims of the '703 patent. Thus, stated Plaintiffs, HEC Pharm's actions would actively induce and/or contribute to infringement of the '703 patent.

This prior complaint, also filed by the Indiana patent lawyer who filed this lawsuit, listed two counts:

• Count I: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,404,703

• Count II: Declaratory Judgment of Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,404,703

That patent infringement lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice shortly thereafter. It has in effect been replaced with this current complaint, which includes the prior counts and adds the following:

• Count III: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,569,325

• Count IV: Declaratory Judgment of Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,569,325

Plaintiffs ask the court for: a judgment of infringement; injunctive relief; a judgment regarding the effective date of Defendants' ANDA; monetary damages; the case to be deemed exceptional; a judgment that the patents-in-suit remain valid and enforceable; and Plaintiffs to be awarded reasonable attorney's fees, costs and expenses.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Lilly Files a New Complaint Against HEC Pharm for Infringement of Effient Patents" »

May 22, 2015

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Hard Rock Hotel Sues Alleging Infringement of Trademarked "Rehab" Pool Party

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Indiana trademark attorneys for HRHH Hotel/Casino, LLC and HRHH IP, LLC, both of Las Vegas, Nevada (collectively, "HRHH"), commenced a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Bella Vita, LLC, Henri B. Najem, Jr. and 10 unknown defendants, all of Indiana, infringed various trademarks belonging to HRHH.

The HRHH entities together claim ownership to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas located in Las Vegas, Nevada, along with certain intellectual property rights used in connection with that establishment.

HRHH contends that it created a daytime pool party held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas known as the "Rehab Pool Party" or simply "Rehab". The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas indicates that the Rehab Pool Party was first held in 2004 and that the Rehab Pool Party is still being held regularly. HRHH asserts that its Rehab Pool Party has become famous and that it has licensed the REHAB marks to third parties for clothing and other merchandise.

Bella Vita, an Indianapolis provider of restaurant, bar and related entertainment services, has been accused of organizing and hosting weekly pool parties that are confusingly marketed as "Rehab+ Sundays".

This federal lawsuit has brought under trademark and anti-dilution laws of the United States, 15 U.S.C. § 1051, et seq., the trademark laws of the State of Indiana, Ind. Code § 24-2-1, and under the statutory and common law of unfair competition. The trademarks at issue, all of which have been registered by the U.S. Trademark Office, are as follows:

• Trademark Registration No. 3,873,673 REHAB
• Trademark Registration No. 4,524,097 REHAB
• Trademark Registration No. 4,611,979 REHAB RX
• Trademark Registration No. 3,182,848 Rxehab
• Trademark Registration No. 4,615,774 Rxehab

• Trademark Registration No. 3,170,859 Rxehab

In the complaint against Bella Vita, its managing member Najem and the unnamed Does, Indiana trademark lawyers for Plaintiffs assert the following causes of action:

• False Designation of Origin and Unfair Competition - 15 U.S.C § 1125(a)
• Trademark Infringement - 15 U.S.C. § 1114, Ind. Code § 24-2-1-13, and Common Law
• Dilution - 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)

• Unfair Competition

Plaintiffs ask the court for a finding that Defendants have engaged in trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition; for injunctive relief; for a finding that HRHH is the exclusive owner of the REHAB Marks and that such marks are valid and protectable; for an award of damages and profits earned as a result of infringing activity; for punitive damages; and for an award of interest, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Hard Rock Hotel Sues Alleging Infringement of Trademarked "Rehab" Pool Party" »

May 21, 2015

Committee Approves TROL Act to Squash Patent Trolls

WASHINGTON DC - The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently voted to approve H.R. 2045, the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters (TROL) Act, by a vote of 30 to 22. Authored by Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), the TROL Act was designed to help stop the practice of abusive patent demand letters while protecting the rights of legitimate patent holders to protect their intellectual property.

The TROL Act increases transparency and accountability in patent demand letters so businesses can weed out deceptive letters. The Act also establishes a national standard for the enforcement of abusive patent demand letters and allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general to levy fines on bad actors.

"This legislation takes on a costly scam that, by many accounts, continues to worsen," said Burgess. "The very real problem of abusive patent demand letters compels us to find a solution expressly designed to enable enforcement that's free of constitutional setbacks." To learn more about the TROL Act, click here.

This legislation is complemented by a patchwork of state legislation that was intended to accomplish similar goals. As of 2014, a significant number of states had proposed or passed measures to confront patent trolling. In 2015, Indiana HB 1102 was introduced. The Bill:

• Prohibits a person from asserting a claim of patent infringement in bad faith;
• Provides that a court may, upon motion, require a person to post a bond if the target establishes a reasonable likelihood that the person has made an assertion of patent infringement in bad faith;
• Establishes remedies and damages; and

• Exempts certain: (1) approved postsecondary educational institutions; (2) technology transfer organizations owned by or affiliated with approved postsecondary educational institutions; and (3) licensees holding patents from postsecondary educational institutions or technology transfer organizations owned by or affiliated with postsecondary educational institutions; from the provisions regarding bad faith assertions of patent infringement.

May 20, 2015

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Integrity Trade Services Sues Ex-Employees Alleging Conspiracy and Conversion

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South Bend, Indiana - Trademark attorneys for Integrity Trade Services, Inc. ("ITS") of Frankfort, Illinois filed an intellectual property complaint in the Northern District of Indiana naming as Defendants Integrity Employment Partners, LLC, Integrity Trade Services, LLC, Janice Hernandez, James Hernandez, Tiffany Heineman, Michaela Williams, and Jason Reis, all of Indiana, and alleging multiple claims, including trademark infringement, conversion of ITS trade secrets, breach of contract, and tortious interference with business relationships.

ITS is a national staffing services company, doing businesses in multiple states, including Indiana, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. ITS is wholly owned by John E. Cumbee, III. In 2008, ITS acquired all of the operational assets of the Knox, Indiana branch of a staffing company owned by CES America, Inc. ITS also hired most, if not all, of the CES employees then working at the Knox facility, including defendants James and Janice Hernandez.

ITS contends that, since purchasing the Knox facility, it has invested well over $1 million to build the Knox business and the ITS brand as it is related to that facility. It asserts in this federal lawsuit, inter alia, that Defendants conspired to convert ITS' customers, employees and trade secrets for their own use.

The accused in this case are husband and wife Janice Hernandez and James Hernandez; several family members of Janice Hernandez, including Tiffany Heineman, Michaela Williams, and Jason Reis; and two entities apparently owned by the Hernandezes, Integrity Employment Partners, LLC, Integrity Trade Services, LLC.

Defendant James Hernandez ("James") worked for ITS from the time that ITS acquired the business until April 30, 2015 when he was fired. ITS asserts that James engaged in a conspiracy to solicit away and convert (a) ITS' office employees at the Knox location, (b) at least the active ITS field employees servicing the Knox location, and (c) customers comprising the Knox-area business. He is accused of attempting to transfer them to Integrity Employment Partners, LLC, an Indiana limited liability company formed to process the Knox business converted from ITS for his benefit and the benefit of the other co-conspirators.

Defendant Janice Hernandez ("Janice"), also became employed by ITS when ITS was acquired from its prior owner. She has been accused of not only being an integral part of the alleged conspiracy but also of being "likely its "'mastermind.'" Defendant Tiffany Heineman ("Tiffany") is Janice's niece. Defendant Michaela Williams is Janice's daughter. Defendant Jason Reis is the ex-son-in-law of James and Janice, having been married to another of Janice's daughters.

ITS states that, in the last two weeks in April 2015, it discovered various anomalies in the Knox business. These anomalies alerted ITS to the activities that triggered this federal lawsuit. They included a drop off in weekly gross sales, the formation of Integrity Employment Partners, LLC ("IEP"), and checks issued by existing ITS customers made payable to IEP (and not ITS).

Defendants are accused of orchestrating a scheme to confuse ITS' customers and employees regarding with which staffing businesses using the name "Integrity" - Plaintiff's firm or Defendants' firms - those customers and employees were transacting business. In doing so, ITS contends, Defendants attempted with some success to convert ITS' business assets and relationships for Defendants' benefit. Allegations of criminal conduct by Defendants were also made. In a 48-page complaint, filed by trademark lawyers for Plaintiff, those claims and others are made:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count II: Federal Unfair Competition
• Count III: Illinois Deceptive Trade Practices Act
• Count IV: Breach of Fiduciary Duty
• Count V: Breach of Tiffany's Agreement
• Count VI: Tortious Interference with Contract
• Count VII: Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
• Count VIII: Conversion
• Count IX: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
• Count X: Uniform Trade Secrets Act
• Count XI: Civil Conspiracy
• Count XII: Unjust Enrichment

• Count XIII: Breach of Contract

Plaintiff asks the court for, inter alia, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, interest and costs.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Integrity Trade Services Sues Ex-Employees Alleging Conspiracy and Conversion " »

May 18, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Klink Trucking Sues Seaboard Asphalt for Declaration of Non-Infringement

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Fort Wayne, Indiana - Indiana patent attorneys for Klink Trucking Inc., K-Tech Specialty Coatings, Inc., BIT MAT Products of Indiana, Inc. and BIT MAT Products of Michigan, Inc. (collectively the "Klink Group"), all of Ashley, Indiana, initiated an intellectual property lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Seaboard Asphalt Products Company ("Seaboard Asphalt") of Baltimore, Maryland wrongly accused Klink Group of infringing Seaboard Asphalt's patented "Trackless Tack Coat," Patent No. 8,764,340, which has been issued by the U.S. Patent Office.

Seaboard Asphalt claims ownership of U.S. Patent No. 8,764,340 for a "Trackless Tack Coat" ("the '340 patent"). This patent protects an "asphalt emulsion available for high performing, trackless tack coat applications. The tack coat can be used with hot mix asphalt, warm mix asphalt or cold mix asphalt to provide a tack coat on an existing bituminous or concrete pavement surface. The tack coat can also be used for repair of potholes, utility cuts, and general pavement patching areas."

On April 28, 2015, Seaboard Asphalt contacted Klink Group. According to a document filed with the Indiana court, Seaboard Asphalt stated that it believed that Klink Group's "AE-NT Trackless Tack Coat" infringed Seaboard Asphalt's '340 patent and requested that Klink Group "discontinue production and distribution for sale of your AE-NT and all versions of Trackless Tack Coat which violate our Patent" until Klink Group and Seaboard Asphalt had entered into a licensing agreement.

This Indiana litigation arises from that assertion and request by Seaboard Asphalt. Klink Group asserts that it has no liability for infringement of the '340 patent because none of the Klink Group entities have infringed any valid and enforceable claim of the '340 patent. Plaintiffs have sued under the Declaratory Judgment Act. They ask the Indiana federal court for two declarations with respect to the patent-in-suit:

• Count I - Declaration of Non-Infringement

• Count II - Declaration of Invalidity

Plaintiffs also ask the court to declare this case to be exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and, pursuant to such a declaration, to award to Plaintiffs its reasonable attorneys' fees, expenses and costs relating to this patent litigation.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Klink Trucking Sues Seaboard Asphalt for Declaration of Non-Infringement " »

May 15, 2015

Congresswoman Susan Brooks of Indiana Listed as one of D.C.'s Top 50 Women in Tech

Indianapolis, Indiana - Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who represents the northern third of Indianapolis, was recently named as one of the District of Columbia's Top 50 Women in Tech. Her lawmaking focus includes legislation that will cause "our laws need to catch up with technology."

Rep. Brooks, the Republican co-chair of the Congressional High-Tech Women's Caucus, represents a burgeoning area of startups and entrepreneurship in the technology sector. In her first term, Brooks co-chaired a subcommittee focused on emergency preparedness, response and communications. Since then, she's introduced the Social Media Working Group Act, which passed the House twice, and is awaiting action in the Senate. If passed, the bill would codify the Homeland Security Department's Social Media Working Group, which meets regularly to improve the department's social media techniques. The bill would also bring representatives from academia and the private sector into the working group.

"I think our laws need to catch up with technology and some of the other things that we are also focused on," Brooks said. "Data breach notification is one of the top issues facing companies that hold personal information about our customers and our employees. We need to bring the government up to speed there, too."

Women promoting technology need to recognize and understand that there are not enough women in high-ranking technology positions, Brooks said. In response, those same female technology leaders need to open themselves to being mentors.

"The Women's High-Tech Coalition is about promoting women into high-ranking positions and organizations and then also with a focus on making sure that we are being role models and bringing more girls into the tech field," Brooks said. "I think the women who are promoting technology need to recognize that there aren't enough women in the tech industry."

Brooks ran for Congress to become that type of role model, she said.

"I realized I had an opportunity to be that role model and to encourage people to push themselves harder, to think bigger than maybe they had thought in the past about what their possibilities could be," Brooks said. "I think technology is the way we do that."

May 14, 2015

Ninth Circuit Copyright Proceedings: Prenda Law Parties Ask to be Prosecuted

San Francisco, California - A lawyer for Prenda Law argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and was heard by Judges Harry Pregerson, Richard Tallman and Jacqueline Nguyen. The appeal focused on the rulings of U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II.

The intellectual property attorney representing Prenda Law, the now-infamous copyright trolling law firm, squared off with the judges of the Ninth Circuit recently. In a hearing before the appellate court, he contended that the district court had denied due process to the Prenda Law parties. He noted that Judge Wright had threatened incarceration argued and, in doing so, Judge Wright had indirectly initiated a criminal contempt proceeding.

"The entire proceeding was tainted. Mark Lutz, the CEO of Ingenuity 13, was not allowed to testify. As soon as they asserted their Fifth Amendment rights, the judge stopped the proceeding," Prenda Law's lawyer said. "He can't use that against them," he continued, arguing that Judge Wright had punished the Prenda Law parties for invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination.

Judge Tallman countered, "Sure he can." Because this was a civil proceeding, Judge Wright was allowed to "draw adverse inferences" as a result of an invocation of the Fifth Amendment. Judge Pregerson added that the Prenda parties "should have taken the Fifth, because they were engaged in extortion. They sent out thousands of extortionate letters."

"Let's say you're right," Pregerson said. "Do you want us to send this back and have this turn into a criminal contempt proceeding?" The court was surprised when the answer was "yes."

Judge Pregerson continued: "They used our court system for illegal purposes to extort money--they used our discovery system. They bought these pornographic films, and seeded the Internet with them.... If they really want to have a trial on this, with all protections of a criminal case--burden of proof, and a prosecutor, and all the rest of it--you sure they want that?"

"I'm amazed that you are asking us to vacate the sanctions and send it back for an independent prosecutor to pursue," said Judge Nguyen added, noting that the case currently before the court was not the only matter that prosecution could include.

Judge Tallman also seemed surprised that Prenda Law had asked that the matter be considered as a criminal matter: "With a potential penalty of life in prison for criminal contempt? They're prepared to run that gauntlet?"

Prenda Law's attorney repeated that, yes, the Prenda Law parties wanted their day in court.

May 13, 2015

Patent Office Issues 173 Patents To Indiana Citizens in April 2015

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 173 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in April 2015, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

Patent No.  Title
D728,184 Bag holder 
D727,732 Baked goods box 
D727,713 Clip for an animal housing 
9021539 Leakage location methods 
9020878 Intelligent airfoil component surface inspection 
9020669 Hybrid vehicle driver coach 
9020262 Symbol compression using conditional entropy estimation 

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 173 Patents To Indiana Citizens in April 2015" »