Articles Posted in New Litigation

Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, CityMoms, Inc. (“CityMoms”) incorporated in the State of Delaware, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana seeking a declaratory judgment that its use of “CityMoms” does not infringe the rights of Defendant, theCityMoms Greater Indianapolis LLC (“theCityMoms”) of Indianapolis, TheCityMoms-TM-BlogPhoto-300x75Indiana, or theCityMoms’ Trademark Registration No. 4,588,132 (the “‘132 Registration”) for “theCityMoms”. In the alternative, if there is a likelihood of confusion found between the two parties’ marks, CityMoms is claiming its use of the term predates that of theCityMoms. As such, CityMoms is seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement, and in the alternative, injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

According to the complaint, CityMoms conducts business online and offers, among other things, a mobile app and software system “that helps local businesses book unused spots in their kids’ activities programs and family events.” TheCityMoms is alleged to provide “a sisterhood for the modern mom” that offers a support network for moms, events and activities, and an official membership. CityMoms claims that theCityMoms has threatened to take action against it for trademark infringement and unfair competition and has interfered with CityMoms’ ability to sell its app to a third party.

CityMoms’ services are alleged to have begun in 2012 with theCityMoms filing its application for the ‘132 Registration on January 2, 2014. This application was given Serial No. 86156171 (the “‘171 Application”) and was filed for the goods and services of International Class 041, which includes “Educational and entertainment services, namely, providing motivational and educational speakers; Organizing, arranging, and conducting playdates, mom-only evenings, open play times, shopping parties, fitness classes, volunteering and cultural events”. The ‘171 Application was submitted with a statement by Melissa Kondritz and Jeanine Bobenmoyer that “theCityMoms” was used in commerce and related with the company at least as early as March 1, 2013. However, CityMoms claims that the domain name http://thecitymoms.org/ was not registered until March 8, 2013 and therefore could not have existed prior to that date. CityMoms further claims it has found no evidence theCityMoms provided motivational and educational speakers on or before January 2, 2014 as part of its business and therefore, the ‘171 Application was filed with “willfully false material statements that constituted fraud” and should make the ‘132 Registration invalid and unenforceable.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, F.F.T., LLC (“F.F.T.”) having a principal place of business inFFT-BlogPhoto-300x65 Seattle, Washington, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Thomas Sexton, Ph.D. (“Sexton”), Functional Family Therapy Associates, Inc. (“Functional Family Therapy”), Astrid Van Dam (“Van Dam”), and FFT Partners, LLC (“FFT Partners” and collectively “Defendants”), infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Nos. 4,389,569 for the mark FFT-CW®, 4,435,321 for the mark FFP®, and 5,267,897 for the mark FUNCTIONAL FAMILY THERAPY CHILD WELFARE®. F.F.T. is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

F.F.T. claims it “is an organization dedicated to training psychotherapists in the ‘Functional Family Therapy’ protocol that its founder, Dr. James F. Alexander (“Dr. Alexander”), developed through decades of research and practical application.” According to the complaint, F.F.T. conducts business in thirty-three states and ten foreign countries. Sexton and Van Dam are individuals, alleged to be residing in Bloomington, Indiana. Functional Family and FFT Partners are a corporation and limited liability company, respectively, each alleged to have a principal place of business in Bloomington, Indiana.

According to the Amended Complaint, Dr. Alexander began studying and developing his family based method of therapy for delinquent adolescents in the 1960s and began referring to his therapy model as “Functional Family Therapy” in 1982 with the publication of his first book. F.F.T. claims this protocol has become very successful and is now referred to simply as “FFT.” Dr. Alexander along with non-party, Richard Harrison (“Harrison”), and Sexton allegedly formed FFT, Inc. in 1998 to train therapists in the Functional Family Therapy protocol. Per the complaint, Harrison left the company four years later and Douglass Kopp (“Kopp”) entered the company as CEO and Managing Member. F.F.T. claims it was formed to pursue the same efforts as FFT, Inc., which was subsequently administratively dissolved.

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Attorneys for Plaintiff, Marco Verch (“Verch”) of Germany, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana allegingVerch-BlogPhoto-300x89 that Defendant, Toolfarm.com, Inc. (“Toolfarm”) of South Bend, Indiana, infringed his rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-106-766.  Verch is seeking actual damages, profits, income, receipts, or other benefits received by Toolfarm, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, and pre-judgment interest.

According to the complaint, Verch is a professional photographer claiming Toolfarm has reproduced and publicly displayed his copyrighted photograph of traditional Russian wooden dolls (the “Photograph”). Verch claims Toolfarm ran the Photograph on its website without a license, permission, or consent from Verch. As such, Verch is seeking damages for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 106, 501, and 504.

This case was filed by Verch’s attorney, Mr. Leibowitz, just six days after he was ordered to personally pay $28,567.50 to a defendant in another case.  In that case, Mr. Leibowitz was found to have engaged in discovery misconduct by failing to identify witnesses as required by Rule 26.  The court stated that Mr. Leibowitz was:

more focused on the business of litigation than on selling a product or service or licensing their copyrights to third parties to sell a product or service. A copyright troll plays a numbers game in which it targets hundreds or thousands of defendants seeking quick settlements priced just low enough that it is less expensive for the defendant to pay the troll rather than defend the claim.

The Court then ordered his client to post a $50,000 bond to continue with the case.  When his client failed to do so, the court dismissed the case.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Dean Potter LLC (“Potter LLC”), an Indiana limited liability company, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, LG Electronics USA, Inc. (“LG”), a Delaware corporation, and DOES 1 – 10, infringed its intellectual property rights, including the right of publicity. Potter LLC is seeking injunctive relief, judgment including statutory damages, and attorneys’ fees.

According to the Complaint, Potter LLC “is the exclusive owner of the name, likeness, image, right of publicity and endorsement, trademarks,Potter-BlogPhoto-300x240 and other intellectual property rights of the late Dean Potter.” Potter LLC claims Mr. Potter was a well-known extreme sports athlete who was featured in National Geographic for his stunts including highlining, BASE jumping, and rock climbing. Mr. Potter was allegedly featured traversing a highline in the short film entitled Moonwalk, that was shot in 2011 and published by 2012. It is alleged that no one else has recreated Mr. Potter’s performance in Moonwalk and that Potter LLC is the owner of Mr. Potter’s right of publicity and common law trademark rights in the film.

Potter LLC alleges Defendants utilized footage from Moonwalk in which Mr. Potter was traversing the highline in its commercial entitled “Listen. Think. Answer.” (the “Commercial”). According to the Complaint, LG is a multi-billion dollar corporation that has previously protected and enforced its intellectual property rights, meaning it is aware of the need to obtain a license for using Mr. Potter’s right of publicity and or likeness or commercial purposes. However, Potter LLC claims it was not approached by Defendants regarding a license for the Commercial and it never authorized Defendants to use Mr. Potter’s likeness. Potter LLC further claims Mr. Potter, during his life, “rejected the corporate, commercial, and competitive worlds that sought to profit from his art without understanding it”.

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Hammond, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Three Floyds Brewing LLC (“Three Floyds”) of Munster, Indiana filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendants, Floyd’s Spiked Beverages LLC and Lawrence Trachtenbroit, both of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, infringed its rights in United States Trademark Registration Nos. 3,853,136, 4,759,863, 4,341,332 and 5,781,941 (collectively the “Three Floyds’ Marks”). Plaintiff is seeking actual damages, punitive damages, pre and post judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees..

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Three Floyds claims to be one of the top craft brewers in the United States, selling under the trade name and mark “THREE FLOYDS” since 1996. Two of the Three Floyds’ Marks at issue in this case are claimed to be incontestable by Three Floyds pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1065. Three Floyds further claims that its marks have become publicly identifiable and that its customers frequently shorten the Three Floyds’ Marks to “‘FLOYDS’ and refer to ‘FLOYDS’ as the source of Three Floyds’ products and services.”

According to the Complaint, Defendants produce and sell alcoholic lemonade and tea beverages under the name “Floyd’s”. Defendants allegedly filed U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 87922801 (the “First Application”) with the USPTO for a stylized FLOYD’s logo (the “Floyd’s logo”) for “Alcoholic beverages, except beer” on May 15, 2018. Defendants claimed to have used the Floyd’s logo in commerce since at least May 1, 2018. On or about November 5, 2018, it is alleged that Defendants filed U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 88181124 (the “Second Application”) with the USPTO to register the mark “FLOYD’S”  for “Beer-based coolers” and claimed to have used the mark in commerce since at least January 1, 2018.

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Elkhart, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Paul Steeger (“Steeger”) of Germany, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging thatGoodLiving-BlogPhoto-300x143 Defendant, Good Living Enterprises Inc. (“Good Living”) of Elkhart, Indiana, infringed his rights in United States Copyright Registration No. VA 2-056-056. Steeger is seeking actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, pre-judgment interest, and any other relief the court deems proper.

Steeger, a professional photographer, claims he is in the business of licensing his photographs for a fee. In this case, Steeger claims he photographed a leaf in water (the “Photograph”) and registered it with the United States Copyright Office. Steeger claims Good Living posted the Photograph on its website without a license, permission, or consent from Steeger. As such, Steeger is seeking damages for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501.

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South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiffs, Stoett Industries, Inc. (“Stoett”) of Hicksville, Ohio and Newline International, LLC (“Newline”) of Culpeper, Virginia, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana Stoett-BlogPhoto-217x300alleging that Defendant, Irvine Shade & Door, Inc. (“Irvine”) of Elkhart, Indiana, infringed their rights in United States Patent No. 6,470,511 (the “‘511 Patent”) for “SHOWER SCREENS”. Plaintiffs are seeking preliminary and permanent injunction, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, expenses, costs, and other relief the court deems proper.

According to the Complaint, Newline was founded in New Zealand in 1983 and expanded its sales and facilities for shower screens into the United States in 2002. While Newline is the owner of the ‘511 Patent, Stoett claims to be the exclusive distributer for products covered by the ‘511 Patent in the United States via a licensing agreement dated December 2, 2012. Stoett allegedly sells a single shower screen for about $215.00 and has sold over 90,000 shower screens throughout the United states.

Plaintiffs believe Irvine has entered into contracts or has relationships with third-parties to make or sell infringing shower screens which either have or will result in lost sales for Newline and Stoett. As such, Plaintiffs are seeking damages for the alleged infringement of the ‘511 Patent pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 271. Second, Plaintiffs are alleging Irvine has participated in state deceptive trade practices in violation of Ohio’s deceptive trade practice laws, Ohio Rev. Code § 4165.01, et seq. Finally, Plaintiffs are seeking damages for the alleged unfair competition by Irvine and unjust enrichment.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Closure Systems International, Inc. (“CSI”) of Indianapolis, Indiana, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana seeking a correction in inventorship for two U.S. Design Patents issued to Defendant, Novembal USA Inc. (“Novembal”) of Edison, New Jersey. The patents at issue in this case are United States Patent Nos. D836,442 (the “‘442 Patent”) and Closure-BlogPhoto-300x279D838,171 (the “‘171 Patent”) (collectively the “Patents in Suit”). CSI is seeking preliminary and/or permanent injunctions, attorneys’ fees, costs, and any other relief the Court deems proper.

CSI claims three of its employees, Arnold Benecke, Bill Moll, and John Edie, developed a closure for a bottle (the “Option 2 Closure”) for its customer, Nestle Waters (“Nestle”) on or about January 27, 2011. This invention was allegedly assigned to CSI pursuant to assignments from the three inventors. According to the Complaint, on March 9, 2011, CSI sent a presentation concerning the Option 2 Closure and another option to Nestle that stated that it would have “Prototypes molded by April 1” and “Small quantity of slit samples will be sent by April 13”. CSI claims it emailed Nestle a drawing of the Option 2 Closure on March 10, 2011.

CSI claims Nestle trialed different closures from CSI and at least two other competitors, including Novembal, and CSI delivered 100 samples of the Option 2 Closure to Nestle in or about June 2011. CSI alleges each of the manufacturers at the Nestle trials witnessed each closure and saw all the samples provided to Nestle. After the trials, Nestle awarded the business to Novembal, not CSI.

According to the Complaint, Nestle asked CSI to replace Novembal and inquired as to its ability to supply the Option 2 Closure in early 2018. CSI claims it began supplying a similar closure to the Option 2 Closure to Nestle, but it was slightly different (the “New Closure”). On or about May 24, 2019, CSI claims it was informed by Nestle that the New Closure infringed one or more Novembal patents. Just six days later, Novembal allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to CSI stating that the New Closure infringed the ‘442 Patent.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, Transaction Secure, LLC (“Transaction”) a foreign limited liability company, filed suit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Formstack, LLC (“Formstack”) of Fishers, Indiana, infringed its rights in United States Patent No. 8,738,921 (the “‘921 Patent”) for “System and Method for Authenticating a Person’s Identity Using a Trusted Entity”.Transaction-BlogPhoto-300x253 Transaction is seeking damages, attorneys’ fees, and any further relief the Court deems proper.

Transaction claims the ‘921 Patent, issued on May 27, 2014, teaches an advancement over two-factor authentication for protecting sensitive information from identity theft. Formstack’s website allegedly operates as the “Accused Product”. Transaction alleges that the Accused Product infringes at least Claim 1 of the ‘921 Patent as it is a trusted entity to authenticate account holders “by using non-personal information for securing personal data.”

According to the complaint, users provide personal information to Formstack to create an account from a trusted computer system. Formstack then allegedly stores the user information confidentially and provides the user with an authorization login that is associated with the user but does not contain the user’s personal information. After the user requests resource access from Formstack using their login, Formstack allegedly “provides an authorization code to obtain the access token and ID token for accessing the services”. Transaction claims “the user identity is verified by the resource server by using the authorization code to allow the user to access the code” in the Accused Product. Transaction claims Formstack’s Accused Product infringes the ‘921 Patent in violation of 35 U.S.C. § 271. As such, Transaction is seeking damages pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 284 and 285.

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TAOD-BlogPhoto-300x124South Bend, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, The Art of Design, Inc. (“TAOD”) of Elkhart, Indiana, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Sharpline Converting, Inc. (“Sharpline”) of Wichita, Kansas, infringed its rights in United States Copyright Registration Nos. VA 1-979-388 and 2-149-309 (the “‘388 Design”) and VA 1-982-002 and 2-149-316 (the “‘002 Design”). TAOD is seeking judgment, actual damages, profits, and any further relief as the Court deems proper.

TAOD claims it is a highly respected and successful business engaged in custom airbrushing and the designing of fine art. According to the complaint, TAOD employs very talented individuals who create original two-dimensional designs (the “TAOD Designs”) that are applied to boats, RVs, airplanes, cars, and helicopters. TAOD claims the TAOD Designs are copyrightable and that it owns all right, title, and interest in the TAOD Designs. The ‘388 Design and ‘002 Design are both designs known as the “Shatter Graphics”.

Per the complaint, Sharpline designs and manufactures vinyl graphics for a diverse market, including the marine industry. Sharpline allegedly sells vinyl graphic image products to Pontoon Boat, LLC, doing business as, Bennington and Bennington Marine (“Bennington”). According to the complaint, Bennington provided Sharpline with unauthorized copies of the Shatter Graphics in 2012, which Sharpline then copied, created a vinyl graphic product, and distributed to Bennington for application on Bennington’s boats and boat motors. TAOD claims one of the images provided to Sharpline from Bennington was a photograph of one of Bennington’s boats painted by TAOD with the Shatter Graphics. TAOD alleges Sharpline has reproduced, copied, and distributed unauthorized copies of the TAOD Designs and as such is seeking damages for copyright infringement and inducing copyright infringement.

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