October 16, 2015

Indiana Trademark Law: Trademark Plaintiff Abused Legal Process; Trademark Defendant Awarded an Additional $175,000 in Attorneys' Fees


Indianapolis, Indiana - In the trademark lawsuit between of Plaintiff Wine & Canvas Development, LLC ("WNC") and Defendants Christopher Muylle, Theodore Weisser, YN Canvas CA, LLC and Weisser Management Group, LLC, the Southern District of Indiana found that Plaintiffs had engaged in abuse of process and awarded an additional $175,882.68 in attorneys' fees and costs to Defendant Muylle.

Plaintiff WNC sued Defendants in 2011 on allegations of trademark infringement and false designation of origin after disputes arose regarding the parties' franchising agreement. Defendants counterclaimed for abuse of process against WNC and its principals Anthony Scott ("Scott"), Tamara McCracken Scott ("Ms. McCracken"), and Donald McCracken ("Mr. McCracken").

Following a November 2014 trial, the jury found in favor of Defendant Muylle, returning a verdict that there had been no trademark infringement or false designation of origin by Muylle. The jury also found for Muylle on his claim of abuse of process. It awarded him $81,000 from WNC, $81,000 from Scott, $81,000 from Ms. McCracken, and $27,000 from Mr. McCracken.

In this order, the court ruled on Muylle's most recent petition for attorneys' fees. These fees had been incurred after September 30, 2014 and consisted of attorneys' fees that had been neither requested from the jury nor already paid as part of any of three prior payments of Muylle's attorneys' fees that had earlier been awarded by the court as sanctions against Plaintiff for failing to follow discovery or court rules.

The court evaluated both whether the fees should be awarded and, if so, whether the amount requested, $175,882.68, was reasonable. Under Seventh Circuit jurisprudence, attorneys' fees are available when a trademark infringement lawsuit is deemed to be "exceptional." An example of such an exceptional circumstance under the Lanham Act would be if the plaintiff lost and was also guilty of abuse of process.

The Plaintiff in this litigation lost. At trial, Muylle contended that the trademark infringement lawsuit had been brought for the purpose of causing him to incur considerable litigation costs to put on a defense and, thus, force the closing of the business. Muylle claimed that Scott had told him during a telephone conversation that Scott expected to lose the lawsuit against Muylle but that winning was not the goal of the litigation. Instead his goal was to put Defendants out of business. The jury found that Plaintiff had engaged in abuse of process.

The court also considered whether the amount of the fees was unreasonable. Judge Walton Pratt admitted that, at first blush, the fees did seem questionable for two months of legal services. Upon reviewing the detailed time records, however, the court found that neither the amount of time nor the rates charged per hour were unreasonable. The full amount of attorneys' fees was awarded to Defendant.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Law: Trademark Plaintiff Abused Legal Process; Trademark Defendant Awarded an Additional $175,000 in Attorneys' Fees" »

October 15, 2015

DOJ Announces New Strategy to Combat Intellectual Property Crimes


Washington, D.C. - The Justice Department has announced a new approach to combat intellectual property crimes. Grants to state and local law enforcement agencies totaling more than $3.2 million were also announced.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch stated recently that the Justice Department will launch a new collaborative strategy to partner more closely with businesses in intellectual property enforcement efforts. Additionally, over $3.2 million will be awarded to ten jurisdictions to support state and local task forces in the training, prevention, enforcement and prosecution of intellectual property theft and infringement crimes.

"The digital age has revolutionized how we share information, store data, make purchases and develop products, requiring law enforcement to strengthen our defenses against cybercrime - one of my top priorities as Attorney General," said Attorney General Lynch. "High-profile instances of hacking - even against large companies like Sony and Target - have demonstrated the seriousness of the threat all businesses face and have underscored the potential for sophisticated adversaries to inflict real and lasting harm."

The new FBI collaborative strategy builds upon the work previously done by the department while also working with industry partners to make enforcement efforts more effective. As part of the strategy, the FBI will partner with third-party marketplaces to ensure that they have the right analytical tools and techniques to combat intellectual property concerns on their websites. The bureau also will serve as a bridge between brand owners and third-party marketplaces in an effort to mitigate instances of the manufacture, distribution, advertising and sale of counterfeit products. This new strategy will help law enforcement and companies better identify, prioritize and disrupt the manufacturing, distribution, advertising and sale of counterfeit products. Crimes will then be investigated by the FBI and other partners of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and finally prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Further, the Office of Justice Program's Intellectual Property Enforcement Program ("IPEP") will award $3.2 million in grants to aid state and local law enforcement in addressing intellectual property crimes.

Local award recipients announced included the following:

City of Austin Police Department: $400,000

City of Hartford Police Department: $399,545

Cook County State Attorney's Office: $400,000

Baltimore County Police Department: $120,174

North Carolina Department of Secretary of State: $367,076

New Jersey State Police: $269,619

City of Phoenix Police Department: $253,129

City of Portland Police Department: $373,569

Virginia State Police: $253,128

City of San Antonio Police Department: $400,000

Since IPEP's establishment in 2009, the department has invested nearly $14.8 million for 41 task forces across the country. These grants have supported the arrests of 3,522 individuals, the dismantling of 1,882 piracy or counterfeiting organizations and the seizure of $266,164,989 in counterfeit property, other property and currency in conjunction with IP enforcement operations.

The department also launched a new intellectual property website http://www.justice.gov/iptf to serve as a both a resource to companies facing intellectual property challenges as well as a mechanism to educate the public on how intellectual property theft is a growing threat to the country's public safety and economic well-being.

Practice Tip: Intellectual property theft refers to the violation of criminal laws that protect copyrights, patents, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets both in the United State and abroad. Faulty and counterfeit products are often sold to unsuspecting consumers and can pose a significant threat to their health and safety. In a few circumstances, these activities are used to fund dangerous or violent criminal enterprises or organized crime networks.

October 14, 2015

Indiana Patent and Trademark Litigation: Global Archery Sues Seattle-Based Company for Infringement


Fort Wayne, Indiana - An Indiana intellectual property attorney for Global Archery Products, Inc. of Ashley, Indiana commenced litigation in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark and patent infringement by Jordan Gwyther d/b/a Larping.org and UpshotArrows.com of Seattle, Washington.

Two patents are at issue in this lawsuit: U.S. Patent No. 8,449,413 (the "`413 Patent") and U.S. Patent No. 8,932,159 (the "`159 Patent"). Both are entitled "Non-Lethal Arrow." Also at issue are U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,208,867 and 4,208,868 for ARCHERY TAG for use in connection with non-lethal arrows. The patents and trademarks have been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Global contends that Jordan Gwyther d/b/a Larping.org ("Larping") is selling and offering for sale several products including a "Crossbow Bolt," a "Flat Tip Larp Arrow," a "Glow in the Dark Larp Arrow" and a "Round Tip Larp Arrow." These arrows are marketed at www.upshotarrows.com. Global asserts that Larping is violating Global's trademark rights by, inter alia, using the ARCHERY TAG trademark on advertising and as a paid "key word" on one or more search engines in connection with the marketing of these products. Global also claims that Larping's products infringe upon two of Global's patents.

In addition to patent infringement and trademark infringement, Global asserts various additional claims against Larping. The counts listed in this federal lawsuit are as follows:

• Count I: Infringement of the '413 Patent by Larping
• Count II: Infringement of the '159 Patent by Larping
• Count III: Infringement of Federal Trademarks
• Count IV: False Designation of Origin/Unfair Competition
• Count V: False Advertising
• Count VI: Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations
• Count VII: Tortious Interference with Business Relationships
• Count VIII: Criminal Mischief

• Count IX: Deception

Global seeks equitable relief along with damages, including punitive damages, costs and attorney fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent and Trademark Litigation: Global Archery Sues Seattle-Based Company for Infringement" »

October 12, 2015

Federal Circuit Law: Laches Preserved as a Defense to Patent Infringement


Washington, D.C. - The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided the matter of SCA Hygiene v. First Quality Baby Products, a case about adult incontinence products.

At issue in the case was the legal doctrine of "laches." The laches doctrine penalizes a plaintiff who "sleeps on" his or her rights by waiting a long time to file a lawsuit after learning of a violation of those rights. Laches, an equitable defense, protects those who would be harmed by the assertion of those rights after a plaintiff's delay. For example, in the case of a lawsuit asserting patent infringement, laches could work against a patent owner who saw an infringing product emerge in 2000 but waited until 2015 to sue, after a significant investment of time and resources had been put into the product.

The Federal Circuit had long recognized laches as a limitation on patent owners' rights. But a recent Supreme Court case, Petrella v. MGM, called the doctrine into question. In Petrella, the Supreme Court held that laches was not a defense in copyright cases. Given the ruling in Petrella, the Federal Circuit opted to hear this litigation en banc to determine whether laches should still be a defense in patent cases.

The court held that the defense should be preserved. Proponents of laches in the patent-infringement context (see, e.g., Electronic Frontier Foundation's friend-of-the-court brief), contend that patent defendants and copyright defendants are in very different positions when it comes to defending against stale claims. Patent defendants, unlike their copyright counterparts, often defend themselves by showing that the patent owner's claimed invention was obvious at the time of filing (thus making the patent invalid). But, by delaying a lawsuit, a patent owner can make it difficult for the defendant to find evidence of what people in the field knew about or would have found obvious back when the application was filed. This is especially true in the Internet age, those proponents argue. Websites are constantly rewritten. Software code gets lost or is not documented. In sum, without the defense of laches, patent owners can sit and wait for time to destroy the evidence that an alleged infringer needs to defend herself.

The decision came out 6-5, meaning five judges of the Federal Circuit think Petrella changed the availability of the doctrine of laches in both copyright infringement and patent infringement lawsuits. Given the closeness of the decision, this case may go to the Supreme Court.

This edited article was 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.

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October 7, 2015

Patent Office Issues 223 Patents To Indiana Citizens in September 2015

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 223 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in September 2015, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

PAT. NO. Title
D739,945 Blood glucose meter
D739,920 Valve
D739,723 Container
9,148,986 Multi-curved, unibody fiberglass touchscreen kiosk with interchangeable component cages
9,146,135 Meter display during power interruption
9,146,070 Modular adjustable cam stop arrangement
9,145,938 Metal matrix composite
9,145,566 Renewable engine fuel and method of producing same
9,145,451 Glucagon superfamily peptides exhbiting G protein coupled receptor activity
9,145,437 Urea compounds

Continue reading "Patent Office Issues 223 Patents To Indiana Citizens in September 2015" »

October 5, 2015

179 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in September 2015

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 179 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in September 2015 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.  Word Mark Click To View
4821913 TRI-CON LIVE
4821488 LIVE

Continue reading " 179 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in September 2015" »

October 2, 2015

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Indigo Vapor Enterprises Sues Indigo Vapor Company


South Bend, Indiana - Indigo Vapor Enterprises LLC of South Bend, Indiana commenced intellectual property litigation against Indigo Vapor Company, LLC, Robert Lee Martin and Charles Nandier of Tucson, Arizona.

Indigo Vapor Enterprises is in the business of selling "vaping" and e-cigarette materials across the United States and throughout the world. It alleges that Defendant sells similar goods in the same marketplace.

Plaintiff contends that Defendants infringed its trademarks, consisting of a stylized INDIGO VAPOR trademark, Registration No. 4,790,247, and a second trademark for INDIGO VAPOR, Registration No. 4,790,244 by using the Indigo Vapor Enterprises name and those trademarks to promote Defendants' competing products. These accused uses include the operation of a website at www.indigovaporcompany.com. Both trademarks have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff alleges trademark infringement, dilution and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act. It also asserts cybersquatting under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA") and trademark infringement and unfair competition under the common law of Indiana and other states.

In this lawsuit, filed by Indiana trademark attorneys for Indigo Vapor Enterprises, the following causes of action are listed:

• Count I - Federal Trademark Infringement - Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1114)
• Count II - Federal Unfair Competition - Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a))
• Count III - False Designation of Origin - Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B))
• Count IV - Federal Trademark Dilution - Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(c))
• Count V - Federal Cybersquatting - ACPA and Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125(d))
• Count VI - Common Law Trademark Infringement

• Count VII - Common Law Unfair Competition

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

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Indigo Vapor Enterprises Sues Indigo Vapor Company" »

October 1, 2015

Indiana Patent Litigation: Additional Complaint Asserting Patent Infringement Filed Against Lippert


Elkhart, Indiana - Indiana patent attorneys for Lifetime Industries, Inc. and LTI Flexible Products, Inc. of Modesto, California have filed another complaint asserting patent infringement against Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana. This lawsuit alleges that Defendant 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.

Lippert, a subsidiary of Drew Industries, is a supplier serving the recreational vehicle, manufactured housing, trailer, and bus industries. It offers a line of products intended to improve the mobile lifestyle. Although Plaintiffs have a principal place of business in California, both operate a manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana.

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 intellectual property litigation. 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 lawyers for Plaintiffs 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

Plaintiffs ask the court to enter a declaration of direct, induced and contributory infringement as well as a declaration that infringement has been willful. Plaintiffs also ask for injunctive relief; damages, including treble damages; and costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Additional Complaint Asserting Patent Infringement Filed Against Lippert " »

September 30, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Removed to Federal Court


Evansville, Indiana - Responding to a complaint filed in Indiana state court by Indiana copyright attorneys, a defense lawyer filed a motion to remove the lawsuit to a federal court in the Southern District of Indiana - Evansville Division.

Plaintiff Professional Transportation, Inc. of Evansville, Indiana ("PTI") is the former employer of Defendant Robert Warmka of Savage, Minnesota. Warmka worked for PTI from September 2012 to December 2013. PTI contends that this employment was governed in part by a trade-secrets agreement. Subsequent to leaving employment with PTI, Warmka began employment with Minnesota Coaches Inc. ("MCI") d/b/a Crew Motion, a competitor of PTI.

PTI filed this copyright lawsuit in Vanderburgh Superior Court alleging that Warmka infringed its intellectual property by his use of Plaintiff's copyrighted driver's manual within MCI's driver's manual. PTI contends that multiple sections of PTI's manual were reproduced nearly verbatim in MCI's manual. PTI claims that this manual was filed with the U.S. Copyright Office "on or before 2012." Plaintiff further contends that Defendant appropriated Plaintiff's confidential material and trade secrets in violation of a trade secret agreement executed by both parties in 2012.

In this lawsuit, filed by Indiana copyright lawyers, the following counts are asserted:

• Count I: Indiana Trade Secret Violation
• Count II: Unfair Competition

• Count III: Copyright Infringement

Plaintiff alleges loss of business and profits and seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

Copyright attorneys for Warmka filed a notice of removal, stating that federal subject-matter jurisdiction was proper on the basis of both federal-question jurisdiction and diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction.

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September 28, 2015

Copyright Law: Important Win for Fair Use in 'Dancing Baby' Lawsuit


San Francisco, California - Federal court of appeals affirms that copyright owners must consider fair use in online copyright takedowns.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed that copyright holders must consider whether a use of material is fair before sending a takedown notice. The ruling came in Lenz v. Universal, often called the "dancing baby" lawsuit.

In 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video to YouTube of her children dancing in her kitchen. The Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" was playing on a stereo in the background of the short clip. Universal Music Group sent YouTube a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), claiming that the family video infringed the copyright in Prince's song. The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") sued Universal on Lenz's behalf, arguing that Universal abused the DMCA by improperly targeting a lawful fair use.

The appeals court ruled that copyright holders like Universal must consider fair use before trying to remove content from the Internet. It also rejected Universal's claim that a victim of takedown abuse cannot vindicate her rights if she cannot show actual monetary loss.

"[This] ruling sends a strong message that copyright law does not authorize thoughtless censorship of lawful speech," said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. "We're pleased that the court recognized that ignoring fair use rights makes content holders liable for damages."

The ruling in the Lenz case comes at a critical time. Heated political campaigns - like the current presidential primaries - have historically led to a rash of copyright takedown abuse. Criticism of politicians often includes short clips of campaign appearances in order to make arguments to viewers, and broadcast networks, candidates, and other copyright holders have sometimes misused copyright law to remove the criticism from the Internet.

"The decision made by the appeals court today has ramifications far beyond Ms. Lenz's rights to share her video with family and friends," said McSherry. "We will all watch a lot of online video and analysis of presidential candidates in the months to come, and this ruling will help make sure that information remains uncensored."

This edited article was 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.

For more on this case see: https://www.eff.org/cases/lenz-v-universal.

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 


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.

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

September 23, 2015

Indiana Copyright Litigation: Latitude 360 Indianapolis Sued for Copyright Infringement


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


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


 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" »