Articles Posted in Declaratory Judgments

2016-03-17-blogphotoIndianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Actavis LLC of Parsippany, New Jersey; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA of North Wales, Pennsylvania; and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. of Petach Tikva, Israel infringed its rights in United States Patent No. 7,772,209 (“the ’209 patent”) for “Antifolate Combination Therapies”. Plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, declaratory judgment, and damages including costs and attorneys’ fees.

Eli Lilly and Teva have been involved in numerous patent infringement lawsuits against each other in the past. In April, Eli Lilly sued Teva on a claim of patent infringement of the same drug involved in this case, Alimta. This new complaint is based on a filing by Defendant with the FDA “seeking approval to manufacture and sell its Pemetrexed Injection Concentrate.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Home Care Providers, Inc. and Dr. Dev A. Brar, of Indianapolis, Indiana filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana against Defendant, Shawn R. Bashore, of Carmel, Indiana. This suit was filed for inventorship of the United States Patent No. 9,668,328 (“the ‘328 Patent”), Night-Light2017-11-07-BlogPhoto-300x189 and Alert System, for constructive fraud, and conversion of the patent. Plaintiff is seeking declaratory judgment, lost profits, and reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees.

The ‘328 Patent is for a system including a mat and a wirelessly-connected light, the purpose of which is to allow an individual to rise from bed and turn on the lights by stepping on the mat.

According to the complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, while overseeing development of the invention, represented himself as a co-inventor on the patent application, which violated provisions of the employment agreement requiring that all material created would belong to Plaintiff. Further, according to the complaint, Defendant has attempted to profit from licensing the invention.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Uniloc, has targeted Binatone of Carmel, Indiana in its latest patent infringement suit.

Uniloc has been called a “Patent Troll in Chief” by, and reports that it is a party to at least 343 patent cases.  In just October of 2017, Uniloc has filed 17 patent infringement lawsuits. While most of Uniloc’s lawsuits have been filed in the patent-infringement-plaintiff-friendly State of Texas, the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in the TC Heartland case limits the venues for patent infringement cases.  This likely forced Uniloc to file this suit in Indiana where Binatone is located.


Uniloc USA, Inc. of Plano Texas, and Uniloc Luxembourg S.A filed their suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Exclusive Group LLC d/b/a/ Binatone North America, of Carmel, Indiana infringed on the U.S. Patent No. 6,216,158, System and Method Using a Palm Sized Computer to Control Network Devices (the ‘158 patent). Plaintiff is seeking declaratory judgment of infringement, damages suffered as a result of the infringement, and attorneys’ fees.

Plaintiffs Uniloc USA, as exclusive licensee of the ‘158 patent, and Uniloc Luxembourg, as owner and assignee of the ‘158 patent, filed suit alleging that a wide range of Binatone’s wireless products, such as wireless baby monitors, infringe the patent. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that Motorola’s products infringe the patent by performing the same functions that are covered under the patent; specifically, remotely controlling a wireless device over a wireless connection, using wireless commands to control the other device, and wireless control of the second device by the first device.

Plaintiffs also allege in their complaint that the Defendant indirectly infringes the patent by providing instructional videos, brochures, etc. for each product, explaining to customers how to operate the products.

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South Bend, Indiana – Stump Printing Co., Inc., also known as Shindigz, of South Whitley, Indiana filed a patent lawsuit in the Northern Shindigz-300x126District of Indiana seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement.

Defendant in the litigation is Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC (“ECT”) of Boynton Beach, Florida, which claims to be the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,373,261; 7,876,239 and 7,319,414.  These patents were issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In February 2017, ECT sent a letter to Shindigz claiming that Shindigz’s “order confirmation” and “shipping confirmation” systems “infringe claims of the ECT Patents.” The letter demanded that Shindigz pay a fee of $30,000 to license the use of those systems.

In response, Indiana patent lawyers for plaintiff filed this lawsuit asking the court to find the ECT patents ineligible for patenting, not infringed, and invalid.  The complaint accuses ECT of being a “patent troll,” stating that the company makes a practice of “calibrating the amount of [its] settlement demands to be lower than the perceived cost of litigation, to try to ensure that practicing entities settle rather than pursue challenges to the eligibility of validity of the patents through dispositive motions or trial.”  The complaint also asserts that ECT and predecessor in interest Eclipse IP have filed approximately 250 patent lawsuits since 2011.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees as well as two counts of declaratory judgment:

  • Count I: Declaratory Judgment of Noninfringement

Count II: Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity

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Huber-2-300x224New Albany, IndianaHuber Orchards, Inc. of Borden, Indiana filed a trademark lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana.  Defendants in the litigation are C. Mondavi & Family (“CMF”) and C. Mondavi & Sons, Inc., both of St. Helena, California.  Huber filed the lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that its mark “Huber Winery Generations Indiana Red Wine” does not infringe Defendants’ trademark.

Both Plaintiff and Defendants produce and offer wine products.  In February 2017, CMF sent a cease and desist letter to the president of Huber stating that CMF owns a federally registered trademark for GENERATIONS for wine.  This trademark has been registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as U.S. Reg. No. 2,236,517.

In the letter, sent to Huber by a trademark lawyer for Defendants, CMF asserts that Huber’s use of the word “Generations” in conjunction with the sale of wine violates the Lanham Act by infringing and diluting CMF’s trademark.  The letter demanded that Huber cease all use of the trademark GENERATIONS in connection with its Huber Winery Generation Indiana Red blend wines.  CMF further contended that Huber is liable for injunctive relief, damages, possible treble damages and attorneys’ fees.


Huber contends that it began selling its “Huber Winery Generations Indiana Red Wine” line locally in 1997, two years before CMF registered its trademark, and that it began selling the wine on the internet in 2004.  It further asserts that its use of its “Huber Winery Generations” common law trademark does not infringe any trademark in which CMF has right because there is no likelihood of confusion.  It asks the court to declare that Huber’s use of “Generations” and “Huber Winery Generations” do not infringe CMF’s GENERATIONS trademark.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – The Northern District of Indiana has denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue, citing the connection of the Northern District to the events underlying the litigation.

This Indiana trademark litigation, Family Express Corp. v. Square Donuts, Inc., was filed to resolve a dispute over the use of the words “Square Donuts” in connection with the sale of donuts by two different Indiana-based companies.

Defendant Square Donuts of Terre Haute, Indiana claims trademark rights to “Square Donuts” under federal and Indiana law. It currently sells its “Square Donuts” in bakeries located in southern and central Indiana, including locations in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Richmond.

Plaintiff Family Express of Valparaiso, Indiana operates convenience stores in northern Indiana and uses the term “Square Donuts” in conjunction with doughnut sales. Plaintiff states that both it and Defendant are expanding their respective businesses into new markets, with Defendant expanding to the north while Plaintiff expands to the south. Thus, territory in which both operate concurrently has become a possibility.

In 2006, Defendant sent a cease-and-desist letter to Plaintiff. Plaintiff and Defendant subsequently discussed the possibility of entering into a co-existence arrangement, but did reach an agreement.

This trademark lawsuit followed. Plaintiff asks the Indiana federal court to declare that its use of the term does not infringe on the trademark rights in “Square Donuts” asserted by Defendant. Plaintiff also asks the court to cancel Defendant’s existing Indiana and federal “Square Donuts” trademarks.

Trademark litigators for Defendant asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that it had been filed in an improper venue. In evaluating whether venue in the Northern District was permissible, the court first noted that, while it “must resolve all factual disputes and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor,” Plaintiff then bears the burden of establishing that venue is proper. It also noted that venue can be proper in more than one district.

The federal venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), provides that venue can exist in “(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants reside [in the same state]” or “(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of the property that is the subject of the action is situated.”

Plaintiff relied on subsection (b)(2), claiming that a substantial part of the events giving rise to the lawsuit took place in the Northern District of Indiana. To establish venue, Plaintiff pointed to the fact that Defendant’s cease-and-desist letter and other communications had been relayed to Plaintiff in the Northern District. At least some rulings by districts courts located within the Seventh Circuit have held that the requirements for venue “may be satisfied by a communication transmitted to or from the district in which the cause of action was filed, given a sufficient relationship between the communication and the cause of action.”

The Northern District of Indiana concluded that such communications, which would be a typical element of litigation under the Declaratory Judgment Act, would defeat the purpose of protecting a defendant from having to litigate “in the plaintiff’s home forum, without regard to the inconvenience to the defendant at having to defend an action in that forum or whether the defendant has engaged in substantial activities in that forum.”

Instead, the Indiana court considered the underlying substance of the dispute: “whether the Defendant’s Square Donuts trademark is valid and, if it is, whether the Plaintiff nevertheless has refrained from infringing on the trademark in connection with the sale of its Square Donuts.” The court concluded that, given the extent to which the claims and events at issue in the litigation took place in both the Northern and the Southern District of Indiana, venue was not improper in the Northern District of Indiana.

Practice Tip #1: If neither subsection (b)(1) nor (b)(2) of 28 U.S.C. § 1391 applies, a third subsection may be utilized. That subsection, 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(3), permits venue in “any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to such action.”

Practice Tip #2: An inquiry into proper venue for a lawsuit is different from one into personal jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction “goes to the court’s power to exercise control over a party,” while venue is “primarily a matter of choosing a convenient forum.”

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Patent attorneys for Plaintiff Interactive Intelligence, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana filed a lawsuit for declaratory judgment in the Southern District of Indiana against Defendant Avaya, Inc. of Santa Clara, California. At issue in this litigation is the proper scope of a patent licensing agreement between Plaintiff and Defendant.

In 2002, Interactive and Avaya agreed to license patents covering Avaya’s “call center” products. In exchange for this license, Interactive agreed to pay Avaya a royalty based upon Interactive’s sales. The patents-in-suit, which have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are as follows: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,802,058; 5,982,873; 6,009,386; 6,052,460; 6,173,399; 6,192,050; 6,208,970; 6,389,132; 6,392,666; 6,535,601; 6,560,330; 6,636,598; 6,665,395; 6,754,331; 6,850,602; 6,925,166; 7,023,980; 7,215,760; 7,542,558; 7,685,102; 7,702,083; 7,990,899; 8,107,401; 8,379,819; 8,897,428; 9,049,291; and 9,154,629.

In this federal complaint, filed by Indiana patent lawyers, Interactive states that, since 2002, its revenue has expanded to include many sources other than call center software, including “hardware resales, software maintenance and support, training, [and] subscription services for cloud based hosting.” It also contends that a “sizeable portion” of its revenue now comes from business outside of the United States.

Interactive claims that Avaya has misused its patents and misconstrued the agreement to require Interactive to pay royalties based on Interactive’s “global sales.” It argues that sales that are outside of the scope of Avaya’s patents, as well as at least some of its foreign sales, should not be subject to a royalty under the agreement. Interactive further asserts that Avaya’s “threats of potential patent infringement litigation resulted in Interactive paying significantly more than $1,000,000 in excess payments” under the agreement.

This lawsuit seeks a declaration of patent misuse by Avaya, as well as a declaration that Interactive does not infringe any of the patents asserted by Avaya. Interactive also seeks restitution and/or damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Evansville, Indiana – In the matter of Berry Plastics Corporation v. Intertape Polymer Corporation, Judge Richard L. Young of the Southern District of Indiana ruled on Defendant Intertape’s motion to reconsider the court’s conclusion of patent invalidity on the grounds of obviousness.

This Indiana patent litigation, filed in January 2010, sought a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,476,416 (the “‘416 patent”). Plaintiff Berry Plastics Corp. sued competitor Intertape Polymer Corp., which owns the ‘416 patent.

In the complaint, Berry asked the federal court to rule that it had not infringed the patent-in-suit, titled Process for Preparing Adhesive Using Planetary Extruder. In the alternative, it asked that the court rule that the patent was invalid and unenforceable. Among the reasons cited for this proposed conclusion were assertions that Intertape had engaged in improper conduct before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and that the patent was invalid as obvious.

The court held a jury trial in November 2014. The jury found, inter alia, that the ‘416 patent was not obvious. After the trial, the court heard additional argument on the issue of the validity of the patent and ruled for Berry, holding that the patent-in-suit was invalid as obvious.

In this recent entry, the court rules on Intertape’s motion to reconsider on the grounds that the court had ruled too broadly, inadvertently invalidating the entire patent instead of addressing only the asserted claims presented at trial. The court held that it was permitted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) to modify its previous order (“[A]ny order or other decision … that adjudicates fewer than all the claims …does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims …. “). It also concluded that, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50, it had the authority to enter judgment against a party after a jury trial as long as “a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue.”

The court first held that certain dependent claims had not been challenged as invalid at trial and, consequently, the court had no jurisdiction to rule on the validity of those claims. On these claims, it granted the motion to reconsider.

Regarding those dependent claims that had been asserted at trial, the court evaluated the evidence and testimony presented and concluded that the dependent claims added no patentable subject matter but were instead simply obvious selections of prior art used in an ordinary way. Consequently, the court denied Intertape’s motion to reconsider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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