March 30, 2016

Indiana Copyright Law: Lawsuit by Frequent Copyright Litigant Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction

Indianapolis, Indiana - Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson dismissed a lawsuit by Indiana copyright attorney and professional photographer Richard Bell against Defendant Find Tickets, LLC of Alpharetta, Georgia for lack of personal jurisdiction.

In June 2015, Bell sued Find Tickets in the Southern District of Indiana asserting copyright infringement. He stated that the Georgia-based company had published a copyrighted photo on its website, www.findticketsfast.com, without his permission. The photo in question was one that Bell had taken of the downtown Indianapolis skyline. It had been registered by the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. VA0001785115.

On behalf of Find Tickets, a copyright lawyer asked the court to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, averring that Find Tickets "does not maintain any offices in Indiana, has no employees in Indiana, holds no assets in Indiana, pays no taxes to the state of Indiana, and has no bank or other financial institution accounts in Indiana." It was further stated that the business was owned by two Georgia residents, neither of whom had ever set foot in Indiana.

The court turned to a constitutional analysis of the due process requirements for personal jurisdiction, as elucidated by the Seventh Circuit in Advanced Tactical Ordnance Sys., LLC v. Real Action Paintball, Inc., 751 F.3d 796, 800-01 (7th Cir. 2014). Citing that appellate case, the district court stated:

Due process is satisfied so long as the defendant had "certain minimum contacts" with the forum state such that the "maintenance of the suit does not offend 'traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" The relevant contacts are those that center on the relations among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation. However, "[f]or a State to exercise jurisdiction consistent with due process, the defendant's suit-related conduct must create a substantial connection with the forum State." Thus, the relation between the defendant and the forum "must arise out of contacts that the 'defendant himself' creates with the forum . . . ." Moreover, although no special test exists for internet-based cases, the Court focuses on whether the defendant has purposely exploited the Indiana market beyond the availability of the website in the forum state. (Citations omitted).

The district court was unpersuaded by Bell's arguments, opining that the Seventh Circuit precedent set forth in Advanced Tactical "established that a defendant who 'maintains a website that is accessible to Indiana residents should not be haled into court simply because the defendant owns or operates a website that is accessible in the forum state, even if it is 'interactive.'"

The court similarly held that, as with Advanced Tactical, Defendant's sales to residents of the forum state were insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction as it had not been demonstrated that such sales were related to the lawsuit.

Finding no personal jurisdiction over Defendant, the court dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice.

Practice Tip: Overhauser Law Offices, publisher of this blog, represented Defendants Real Action Paintball, Inc. and its president in the appeal to the Seventh Circuit.

Continue reading "Indiana Copyright Law: Lawsuit by Frequent Copyright Litigant Dismissed for Lack of Jurisdiction" »

March 29, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Numerous Defendants Accused of Misusing Certification Marks

South Bend, Indiana - An Indiana trademark attorney for Plaintiffs National Association of Forensic Counselors, Inc. ("NAFC") and American Academy of Certified Forensic Counselors, Inc. d/b/a American College of Certified Forensic Counselors ("ACCFC"), both of Fort Wayne, Indiana, commenced litigation in the Northern District of Indiana alleging trademark infringement.

Plaintiffs offer certifications, for example "Master Addictions Counselor," to individuals working with criminal offenders in the fields of criminal justice, corrections, addictions and mental health. Defendants in this litigation include individuals as well as organizations offering such services. They are as follows:

NARCONON INTERNATIONAL of California; NARCONON OF GEORGIA, INC. of Georgia; FRIENDS OF NARCONON INTL. of California; PREMAZON, INC. of California; NARCONON SPRING HILL, INC., d/b/a SUNCOAST REHABILITATION CENTER of Florida; BEST DRUG REHABILITATION, INC. of Nevada; A LIFE WORTH LIVING, INC. d/b/a NARCONON COLORADO - A LIFE WORTH SAVING of Colorado; NARCONON FRESH START, INC. of California; NARCONON SOUTH TEXAS, INC. of Texas; NARCONON EASTERN UNITED STATES, INC. of Virginia; ASSOCIATION FOR BETTER LIVING AND EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL of California; RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER of California; NARCONON FREEDOM CENTER, INC. of Michigan; GOLDEN MILLENNIUM PRODUCTIONS of California; INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF SPECIALISTS of California; GREATCIRCLE STUDIOS of Florida; CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL of California; ROYALMARK MANAGEMENT of California; ROBERT J. HERNANDEZ of California; ROBERT "BOBBY" WIGGINS of California; JONATHAN BEAZLEY of California; JOSEPH GUERNACCINI of California; PHILIP R. KELLY II of California; THOMAS GARCIA of Florida; CLARK CARR of California; MICHAEL DAPALMA of California; DAVID MISCAVIGE of California; NICHOLAS THIEL of Michigan; DAVID S. LEE of Indiana; RICHARD "MATTHEW" HAWK of Louisiana; MARY RIESER of Georgia; ANTHONY BYLSMA of California; KENNETH POMERANCE of Florida; JAMES "JIM" WOODWORTH of Louisiana; CARL SMITH of California; JONATHAN MROETTI of California; GLEN PETCAVAGE of Colorado; DAPHNA HERNANDEZ of California; LURIA K. DION a/k/a KATHY DION of California; and NARCONON OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA d/b/a NARCONON VISTA BAY d/b/a NARCONON REDWOOD CLIFFS of California.

As part of its certification program, Plaintiffs utilize a federally registered trademark, which is included in Plaintiffs' logo:

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NAFC and ACCFC allege that Defendants have infringed its trademark, which has been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Federal Trademark Registration No. 3,585,933. Defendants are also accused of misusing Plaintiffs' certifications and logos.

The following violations of law have been alleged by Plaintiffs:

• Federal Trademark Infringement
• Common Law Trademark Infringement
• Federal Infringement Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1125

• Civil Conspiracy

Plaintiffs seek various forms of redress including preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorney's fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Numerous Defendants Accused of Misusing Certification Marks" »

March 28, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Great American Bagel Sues Over Sign Modified to Read "Great American Eagle"

Evansville, Indiana - An Indiana trademark lawyer for Plaintiff The Great American Bagel Enterprises, Inc. ("GAB") of Westmont, Illinois filed a trademark infringement complaint in the Southern District of Indiana against Defendants United HBA Corporation and Harbhajan Singh, d/b/a The Great American Eagle, both of Evansville, Indiana.

GAB owns, operates and franchises food-products stores known as The Great American Bagel. It owns a trademark for "The Great American Bagel," Trademark Registration No. 2,015,665, which is comprised of the phrase "The Great American Bagel" with stars and bands. The mark has been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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Defendant United HBA operates a gas station and convenience store, which offers retail food products. Defendant Singh is listed as the President and sole principal of United HBA. GAB contends that United HBA is displaying a sign that had previously been used as signage for a The Great American Bagel store. GAB states that Defendants modified "Bagel" to read "Eagle" by removing the "B" and adding an "E" but that the sign is otherwise unaltered.

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GAB alleges infringement of its trademark, stating that Defendants' use of the modified sign has caused customers to confuse the food products offered by GAB with those offered by Defendants. In this federal lawsuit, filed by an Indiana trademark attorney, the following claims are made:

• Count I: Federal Trademark Infringement
• Count II: False Designation of Origin, False Advertising and Unfair Competition under the Lanham Act Section 43(A)
• Count III: Unfair Competition - Trade Name Infringement
• Count IV: Unfair Competition - Passing Off

• Count V: Unjust Enrichment

GAB seeks equitable relief, damages, including punitive damages; costs and attorney's fees.


Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Great American Bagel Sues Over Sign Modified to Read "Great American Eagle"" »

March 25, 2016

Fox News Asserts Broadcast TV Database Infringes Copyright; EFF and Others Claim Fair Use

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San Francisco, California - A media monitoring service that creates a text-searchable database of television and radio content is defending its fair use rights before a federal appeals court. The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), New York University's Technology Law and Policy Clinic, and Public Knowledge urged the court Wednesday to protect this innovative technology--and others that have yet to be developed--from being shut down by copyright infringement claims.

"Search engines and book digitization have proven the enormous social benefits of indexing and archiving the media," said EFF Staff Attorney Kit Walsh. "This case is the latest in a long line of copyright-based challenges to these important tools, and it should fail just as the others have."

In this case, Fox News sued a company called TVEyes, claiming the company's broadcast content database--used by journalists, scholars, and political campaigns to study and monitor the national media--infringed its copyright in its programming. The district court acknowledged that the service is generally a fair use of copyrighted material, but then, in a second ruling, held that some of the features of the TVEyes database could facilitate infringement, including the ability to share links or search by date and time. In a departure from established legal precedent, the court ruled that this was enough to defeat TVEyes' fair use defense.

TVEyes appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, EFF and its partners argued that the law does not impose liability on a toolmaker based on the possibility that users will misuse a tool, except in limited circumstances not present here and not even alleged by Fox News.

"TVEyes' liability should not turn on the hypothetical conduct of its users," said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. "If the district court decision is upheld, all kinds of new technologies could be at risk. We are asking the appeals court to follow the law and reject Fox News' claims."

For the full amicus brief: https://www.eff.org/document/amicus-brief-37

For more on Fox News v. TVEyes: https://www.eff.org/cases/fox-news-v-tveyes

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.

March 24, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Donut Sellers Square Off Over Use of Term "Square Donuts"

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Hammond, Indiana - Trademark lawyers for Plaintiff Family Express Corporation of Valparaiso, Indiana filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of non-infringement and trademark cancellation in the Northern District of Indiana.

The Defendant in this litigation is Square Donuts Inc., which has stores in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Richmond, Indiana. Defendant owns two registered federal trademarks: SQUARE DONUTS, Trademark Reg. No.4341135 for "café services," and "SQUARE DONUTS" & Design, Trademark Reg. No. 4341136 for "retail bakery shops." It also holds an Indiana State trademark for the mark "Square Donuts, Inc." Both Plaintiff and Defendant sell donuts.

The dispute arose in 2006, when a trademark attorney for Defendant Square Donuts sent a letter to Plaintiff Family Express accusing it of "making square donuts and marketing the same under the name 'Square Donuts,'" which it asserted was a violation of Defendant's trademark rights. Legal counsel for Family Express responded that there was no trademark infringement, as "square donuts" was merely descriptive and, thus, could not be registered as a trademark without a showing of acquired distinctiveness. Family Express' trademark lawyer also noted that the trademark in question was not registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office but rather with the State of Indiana.

Ten years later, the dispute remains unresolved. Square Donuts, Inc. has acquired two federal trademarks and continues to express its concerns about Plaintiff's use of "square donuts" in the marketing its donut products. Plaintiff proposed a co-existence agreement but the notion of such an agreement was rejected.

In January 2016, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to register Family Express's "SQUARE DONUTS" mark, Application No. 86779997, in Class 030 for "donuts" and in Class 035 for "retail convenience stores" on the grounds of likely confusion with Defendant's preexisting trademark registrations for "SQUARE DONUTS."

In this litigation, Plaintiff Family Express seeks the following from the court:

• Count I: Declaration of Non-Infringement

• Count II: Cancellation

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Donut Sellers Square Off Over Use of Term "Square Donuts"" »

March 23, 2016

Copyright Litigation: Forensic Exam, Testimony Fail to Demonstrate Infringing Material on Defendant's Computer

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Chicago, Illinois - Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown of the Northern District of Illinois granted the motion for summary judgment of John Doe, the anonymous Defendant sued by pornographer Malibu Media LLC ("Malibu") on allegations of copyright infringement.

Plaintiff alleged that, between May 2013 and July 2013, Defendant infringed Malibu's copyright in 24 movies by downloading them from the internet using file-sharing software known as BitTorrent. Copyright attorneys for Malibu filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Defendant, stating that Defendant had been identified by the internet protocol ("IP") address that had been used to infringe. Defendant was permitted to litigate anonymously as "John Doe" ("Doe").

Malibu submitted various pieces of evidence to support its contentions that Doe had infringed the copyrights on Malibu's works, including a declaration by the founder of Malibu and declarations of various experts, such as forensic investigators. Doe denied Plaintiff's claims and contested its method of proof.

The court evaluated Malibu's evidence, noting that some of it was simply pro forma and included no relevant and particularized statements about the copyright infringement that Malibu alleged had been committed by Doe. The court stated that at least one pleading was described by Malibu as containing attached materials that had not, in fact, been attached. Other material was described by Malibu as having been sent to the court, while the court indicated that it had never been received.

The court also reproached Malibu's attorneys for misrepresenting to the court the court's earlier statements regarding the relevant evidentiary requirements to prove Doe's liability. It further noted that Malibu had failed to adhere to required procedures, such as the serving of several disclosures under Rule 26(a)(2). Because those disclosures had not been made, and because the court held that the failure to disclose was evidence of at least willfulness, if not bad faith, two of Malibu's declarations were stricken in their entirety as were portions of a third declaration. All of Malibu's statements of fact that relied upon the stricken material were also excluded from evidence.

The court subsequently concluded that "Malibu has no evidence that any of its works were ever on Doe's computer or storage device," stating that Malibu's contention that Doe had used visualization software to infringe Malibu's works was merely speculation:

Malibu admits that there is no evidence of visualization software on Doe's computer, and not even any evidence of the deletion of visualization software. Malibu says that is "beyond fishy," and speculates that Doe must have deleted visualization software from his computer in some way that hides the fact that it was deleted, and then extends the speculation to suggest that Doe must have done that deletion to hide his infringement of Malibu's works. That is not evidence that Doe copied or distributed Malibu's works.

The court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, which asked the court to conclude that Doe had infringed its copyrighted works, was denied.

Practice Tip #1: Malibu has filed a multitude of virtually identical lawsuits around the country. According to a recent case in New York, "Malibu is a prolific litigant: between January and May 2014, for example, Malibu was responsible for 38% of copyright lawsuits filed in the United States." Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, No 15 Civ. 4369 (AKH), 2015 WL 4092417, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. July 6, 2015).

Practice Tip #2: We have blogged about Malibu Media's litigation exploits before. Some recent posts include:

Magistrate Rejects Malibu Media's Request for Fees and Sanctions
Malibu Media Sues Nine Additional "John Does" Asserting Copyright Infringement
Fourteen New Lawsuits Asserting Copyright Infringement Filed by Malibu Media
Malibu Media Alleges Infringement of Thirty Copyrighted Works

Another John Doe Sued by Malibu Media on Allegations of Copyright Infringement

Continue reading "Copyright Litigation: Forensic Exam, Testimony Fail to Demonstrate Infringing Material on Defendant's Computer " »

March 21, 2016

Indiana Trademark and Copyright Litigation: Sweetwater Contends Hello Music Copied its Website, Infringed its Intellectual Property

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Fort Wayne, Indiana - Indiana intellectual property lawyers for Plaintiff Sweetwater Sound, Inc. ("Sweetwater") of Fort Wayne, Indiana filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Northern District of Indiana.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Hello Music, LLC of Austin, Texas infringed its trademarks, which have registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Trademark Nos. 3,652,255 and 3,652,249. In addition, Sweetwater Sound contends that Hello Music infringed its copyright, issued by the U.S. Copyright Office as TX 8-064-067, which protects the contents of its website. Other counts of alleged wrongdoing, including claims under Indiana law, have been asserted.

Hello Music is accused of duplicating copyrighted content from Sweetwater's website and using that protected content on its own website. Sweetwater contends that part of the content purportedly copied includes the Sweetwater trademark. Sweetwater also asserts that these acts by Hello Music constitute a willful and deliberate attempt to trade on Sweetwater's goodwill.

In the complaint, filed in federal court Friday, the following claims are made:

• Count I: Copyright Infringement
• Count II: Trademark Infringement (False Designation of Origin)
• Count III: Trademark Dilution

• Count IV: Unfair Competition

Sweetwater asks the court to grant equitable relief, including the destruction of infringing materials. It also seeks actual and treble damages, disgorgement of all profits that resulted from infringing acts, litigation costs and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark and Copyright Litigation: Sweetwater Contends Hello Music Copied its Website, Infringed its Intellectual Property" »

March 18, 2016

Indiana Trademark Litigation: Indiana-Based "Oak Motors" Sues California-Based "Oak Motors" for Infringement

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Plaintiff Oak Motors, Inc. of Anderson, Indiana ("Oak Indiana") filed a trademark infringement complaint in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Oak Motors, Inc. of San Mateo, California ("Oak California") is infringing U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,487,991, which was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Plaintiff Oak Indiana, a used-car dealership, has three locations in Indianapolis as well as a location in Anderson, Indiana and another in Muncie, Indiana. It focuses on offering cars to "customers with credit challenges." It has commenced trademark litigation against a California-based used-car dealership that offers primarily luxury-brand vehicles.

Plaintiff contends that, by using "Oak Motors" to promote its business, Oak California intended to cause, and has caused, initial interest confusion and actual confusion among consumers and potential consumers. Oak Indiana asserts that Oak California's actions are an intentional attempt to trade off the goodwill of Oak Indiana.

In addition to Oak California's use of "Oak Motors" as a business name, Oak Indiana also complains of Defendant's use of three websites, http://oakmotorsusa.com/, http://oakmotorsinc.com/ and http://www.oakmotorsca.com/default.aspx, claiming that the use of those websites is calculated to create consumer confusion regarding whether the two companies are related.

In this federal lawsuit, filed by Indiana trademark lawyers for Oak Indiana, the following claims are asserted:

• Count I: False Designation of Origin and False Description - 15 U.S.C. §1125(a)
• Count II: Common Law Trademark Infringement
• Count III: Unfair Competition
• Count IV: Cybersquatting - 15 U.S.C. §1125(d)

• Count V: Declaratory Judgment

Oak Indiana seeks equitable relief, including the transfer of domain names referencing the "Oak Motors" trademark; Oak California's profits from the sale of all infringing goods; damages, including actual damages, punitive damages, statutory damages and treble damages; costs of litigation and attorneys' fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Trademark Litigation: Indiana-Based "Oak Motors" Sues California-Based "Oak Motors" for Infringement" »

March 17, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Lilly Sues Alleging Infringement of Patented Osteoporosis Drug

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Indianapolis, Indiana - An Indiana patent lawyer for Plaintiff Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana ("Lilly") filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana. The allegations of infringement have been directed at Defendants Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. of North Wales, Pennsylvania and its parent company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. of Israel.

This lawsuit was instituted in response to Abbreviated New Drug Application ("ANDA") No. 208569, which was filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by Teva USA. The ANDA seeks approval to market a generic version of Forteo®, a prescription drug offered by Lilly to treat osteoporosis.

At issue in this litigation are Lilly's U.S. Patent Nos. 6,770,623; 7,144,861; 7,550,434; 6,977,077; 7,163,684; and 7,351,414. All have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Lilly contends that the filing of the ANDA constitutes direct infringement, inducement to infringe and contributory infringement of these patents under U.S. patent law.

Lilly seeks equitable relief, costs and attorney's fees.

Continue reading "Indiana Patent Litigation: Lilly Sues Alleging Infringement of Patented Osteoporosis Drug" »

March 16, 2016

Hoosier Veteran, Sued on Allegations of Defamation in 2013 by Wound Warrior Project, Feels Vindicated

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Indianapolis, Indiana - Dean Graham, founder of now-defunct Help Indiana Vets, Inc. ("HIVI"), both of Acton, Indiana, was interviewed by Indianapolis television station Fox 59 regarding recent publicity about lavish spending of Wounded Warrior Project, which Graham and HIVI had first alleged in 2010. Indianapolis intellectual property attorney Paul Overhauser, publisher of this blog, was also interviewed.

History

Graham, a retired veteran, founded HIVI in 2010. HIVI operated with a few thousand dollars in outside donations and over $27,000 donated by Graham and his wife from their personal savings. Of those donations, 100% was spent directly on providing assistance to veterans in need.

To help raise awareness of the needs of injured veterans, as well as to ask for charitable donations, HIVI had operated a website. That website included statements criticizing how WWP of Jacksonville, Florida was run, including that WWP was "a fraud," that it "needs to be investigated immediately" and that it "ha[s] an army of lawyers on staff to punish all those who try to expose [it]."

In response to these statements and others, WWP in November 2013 engaged lawyers from two law firms, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, one of the largest law firms in the United States, and Kutak Rock LLP,  a 500-plus attorney firm, to jointly sue HIVI and Graham on WWP's behalf. The complaint asserted, inter alia, defamation and false advertising under the Lanham Act.

Attorney Overhauser, whose practice of law focuses on intellectual property litigation, volunteered to provide some assistance to Graham and HIVI in defending against WWP's allegations. Nonetheless, by June 2014, concerned for the effects that the lawsuit was having on his family, Graham acceded to WWP's demands. He shuttered his charity and its website.

Recent Attention in the Media

Following a story first broken in January by the New York Times, titled "Wounded Warrior Project Spends Lavishly on Itself, Insiders Say," the national media have recently covered WWP extensively. Much of the attention has been focused on WWP's "aggressive styles of fund-raising, marketing and personnel management" as well as the millions of dollars in "lavish spending on luxury travel, fancy meals and swanky getaways that rivals the amount spent on its combat stress-recovery program." According to Fox 59, research revealed that about 40 cents of each dollar donated went to lavish spending. After an independent review of the organization's finances, WWP dismissed its Chief Executive Officer, Steve Nardizzi, and its Chief Operating Officer, Al Giordano.

In addition to the New York Times, the allegations against Wounded Warrior Project have been covered by many national media outlets, including:

• ABC: Wounded Warrior Project Like a 'Frat Party,' Former Employee Says
• CBS: Wounded Warrior Project accused of wasting donation money
• Fox News: Wounded Warrior Project's top execs fired amid lavish spending scandal
• NBC: Wounded Warrior Project' CEO, COO Fired Amid Lavish Spending Scandal
• New York Post: Wounded Warrior Project probed for lavish spending while vets suffer

• UPI (United Press International): Wounded Warrior Project founder, top executive fired after damning CBS report

This story was also covered on a local Indiana channel, Fox 59, in an interview featuring both Graham and Overhauser. "We knew about activities [like] large parties and expenses. It was even bigger than I imagined," said Graham. "I hope that this really does clean up from top to bottom and [cause] some changes that will be positive for veterans.

"Dean Graham has been trying to get this information out into the public for years but he was squashed by this lawsuit and had to discontinue his efforts," said Overhauser. "The truth has come out."

A video of the interviews featured on Fox 59 can be viewed here: http://via.fox59.com/prxMt.

Continue reading "Hoosier Veteran, Sued on Allegations of Defamation in 2013 by Wound Warrior Project, Feels Vindicated" »

March 10, 2016

Federal Circuit Patent Litigation: En Banc Federal Circuit Retains Its Rules of Patent Exhaustion

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Washington, D.C. - The Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, reaffirmed its rules of patent exhaustion in a 10-2 decision. It concluded that the Supreme Court decisions in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., did not require any change in the law of patent exhaustion. The 99-page decision was consistent with the position argued in the amicus brief filed by the American Intellectual Property Law Association.

Specifically, the Federal Circuit held that a patentee, when selling a patented article subject to a single-use/no-resale restriction that is lawful and clearly communicated to the purchaser, does not give the buyer, or downstream buyers, the resale/reuse authority that has been expressly denied. Explaining that the ruling in Mallinckrodt, Inc. v. Medipart, Inc., 976 F.2d 700 (Fed. Cir. 1992) remains unchanged, Judge Taranto wrote the following:

Such resale or reuse, when contrary to the known, lawful limits on the authority conferred at the time of the original sale, remains unauthorized and therefore remains infringing conduct under the terms of § 271. Under Supreme Court precedent, a patentee may preserve its § 271 rights through such restrictions when licensing others to make and sell patented articles; Mallinckrodt held that there is no sound legal basis for denying the same ability to the patentee that makes and sells the articles itself. We find Mallinckrodt's principle to remain sound after the Supreme Court's decision in Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., 553 U.S. 617 (2008), in which the Court did not have before it or address a patentee sale at all, let alone one made subject to a restriction, but a sale made by a separate manufacturer under a patentee-granted license conferring unrestricted authority to sell.

The Federal Circuit also held that a U.S. patentee, by merely selling or authorizing the sale of a U.S.-patented article abroad, does not authorize the buyer to import the article and sell and use it in the United States, which are infringing acts absent authority from the patentee. Explaining that the ruling in Jazz Photo Corp. v. International Trade Comm'n, 264 F.3d 1094 (Fed. Cir. 2001), remains unchanged, Judge Taranto wrote the following:

Jazz Photo's no exhaustion ruling recognizes that foreign markets under foreign sovereign control are not equivalent to the U.S. markets under U.S. control in which a U.S. patentee's sale presumptively exhausts its rights in the article sold. A buyer may still rely on a foreign sale as a defense to infringement, but only by establishing an express or implied license--a defense separate from exhaustion, as Quanta holds--based on patentee communications or other circumstances of the sale. We conclude that Jazz Photo's no-exhaustion principle remains sound after the Supreme Court's decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 1351 (2013), in which the Court did not address patent law or whether a foreign sale should be viewed as conferring authority to engage in otherwise infringing domestic acts. Kirtsaeng is a copyright case holding that 17 U.S.C. §109(a) entitles owners of copyrighted articles to take certain acts "without the authority" of the copyright holder. There is no counterpart to that provision in the Patent Act, under which a foreign sale is properly treated as neither conclusively nor even presumptively exhausting the U.S. patentee's rights in the United States.

Judge Dyk filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Judge Hughes, that generally agreed with the position argued in the government's amicus brief.

With respect to Mallinckrodt, Judge Dyk maintained that the decision was wrong from the outset and cannot now be reconciled with the Supreme Court's Quanta decision. "We exceed our role as a subordinate court by declining to follow the explicit domestic exhaustion rule announced by the Supreme Court," he added. With respect to Jazz Photo, he wrote that he would retain the ruling if read to say that a foreign sale does not always exhaust U.S. patent rights, but it may if the authorized seller failed to explicitly reserve those rights.

Background

Lexmark makes and sells patented ink cartridges for its printers. It sells cartridges under one plan that permits buyers to use them as they wish, and at a discounted price under a "Return Program" plan that limits buyers to a single use of the cartridge and requires the cartridges to be returned to Lexmark for recycling.

Lexmark brought infringement actions in the district court and the International Trade Commission against Impression Products and other makers of after-market ink cartridges for Lexmark printers. Most of the district court defendants settled the litigation with Lexmark.

As to Lexmark's action against Impression Products, the district court entered a stipulated judgment on Impression Products motion to dismiss. It held that Lexmark's patent rights in cartridges first sold in the United States were exhausted under Quanta, but that the rights were retained for cartridges first sold abroad under Jazz Photo.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit sua sponte granted en banc review of whether the appellate court's ruling on conditional sales in the U.S. must be overruled in light of Supreme Court's Quanta decision, and whether the appellate court's Jazz Photo ruling on international exhaustion must be overruled in light of the Supreme Court's ruling on copyright exhaustion in Kirtsaeng.

Continue reading "Federal Circuit Patent Litigation: En Banc Federal Circuit Retains Its Rules of Patent Exhaustion" »

March 7, 2016

Indiana Intellectual Property: Startups Based on Purdue Patents Raise Over $96 Million in Venture Funding

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West Lafayette, Indiana - Startups based on Purdue University patented intellectual property have raised more than $96 million in the past two years in local, state, federal and private funding and created 156 positions.

The funding was raised by the 24 members of the Purdue Startup Class of 2014 and the 25 members of the Purdue Startup Class of 2015. Both groups of startups licensed technologies from the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. In the same period, another 39 startups have originated from non-patented Purdue "know-how."

"In the past two years we have seen an incredible increase in startup creation that is demonstrated in Purdue's back-to-back record-breaking years," said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "As we have always known, even more important than the quantity of the startups is their subsequent impact on economic value and commercial execution. We are pleased with how this cohort of companies is progressing."

The startup class is composed of companies that operate in sectors such as engineering, industrial technology, information technology, life sciences, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and software. Positions created represent individuals working more than halftime at a company or working for equity in a startup.

Funding sources for startups include federal and state grants such as the Small Business Administration's SBIR/STTR, venture funds and private funding. Purdue-affiliated startups also received funds from a number of Purdue funding programs including Purdue Ventures, a $37 million venture fund, and the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, which is jointly operated by the Purdue Foundry and Elevate Ventures, a not-for-profit organization that supports startup creation and company growth in Indiana. Elevate Ventures has partnered with the State of Indiana's Economic Development Corporation.

"These results would simply not be possible without the great support of Elevate Ventures," said Greg Deason, director of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and Purdue Research Foundation. "With Elevate Ventures we have added $2 million of seed funding and have been able to expand our entrepreneurs-in-residence in the Purdue Foundry startup hub. These experienced business leaders have helped guide entrepreneurs and more than 100 new companies through the startup process."

The Purdue Startup Class of 2014 created their intellectual-property related startups during fiscal year 2014, and the Purdue Startup Class of 2015 was founded in fiscal year 2015. Fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30. Only one of the 49 startups that licensed a Purdue innovation in the past two years has moved into an inactive status.

"That is incredible when you think about the average success rate for startups," Deason said. "I have to believe that the tremendous success rate of Purdue-affiliated startups has much to do with the environment at Purdue and Greater Lafayette where we have entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs become successful."

"The fact that the vast majority of these startups have stayed in the Greater Lafayette area is a true testament to the entrepreneurial ecosystem that thrives in our community," said John Dennis, mayor of West Lafayette.

March 7, 2016

Patent Office Issues 154 Patents To Indiana Citizens in February 2016

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 154 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in February 2016, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

Patent No. Title
1 D749,991 Sheet for a patient repositioning system
2 9,269,246 Copper theft alarm for grain bin systems
3 9,267,957 Junction and system for transporting sample racks
4 9,267,953 Method for detection of specific immunoglobulin class G antibodies
5 9,267,911 Encoded biosensors and methods of manufacture and use thereof
6 9,267,773 Broadhead
7 9,267,597 System for adjusting fluid volume in a transmission and method thereof
8 9,267,582 System and method for multiplexing gear engagement control and providing fault protection in a toroidal traction drive automatic transmission

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March 4, 2016

122 Trademark Registrations Issued to Indiana Companies in February 2016

The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 122 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in February 2016 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.  Word Mark Click To View
4905154 VISUAL ENERGETICS VIEW
4905048 SPECK'S VIEW
4905047 SPECK'S VIEW
4904966 FLABONGO VIEW
4904951 AUTO-GUARD VIEW
4904930 NALC VIEW
4904925 URGENTDENT VIEW
4904903 YILO VIEW
4904629 PAYMENT PROTECT TAX RETURNS VIEW
4904596 DRINK & DISH LOCAL VIEW
4904582 KGSR VIEW

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March 1, 2016

Indiana Patent Litigation: Lilly Sues India Manufacturer of Generic Drugs for Infringement

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Indianapolis, Indiana - An Indiana patent attorney for Plaintiff Eli Lilly & Company ("Lilly") of Indianapolis, Indiana filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Biocon Limited of Bangalore, India will infringe its patented chemotherapy drug, which Lilly offers under the brand name ALIMTA.

At issue in this patent litigation is U.S. Patent No. 7,772,209 (the "'209 patent"). In February, Biocon notified Lilly that it had submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application ("ANDA") to the FDA. Lilly believes that the product that is the subject of the ANDA will be marketed as a generic version of ALIMTA and that such conduct will infringe the '209 patent.

This federal patent infringement lawsuit, filed by an Indiana lawyer on behalf of Lilly, lists a single count: Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,772,209.

Lilly states that it will suffer irreparable injury unless Defendant is "enjoined from infringing the '209 patent, actively inducing infringement of the '209 patent, and contributing to the infringement by others of the '209 patent." It seeks a declaratory judgment, equitable relief, damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

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