Articles Posted in New Litigation

South Bend, Indiana – Savanna Campbell (“Campbell”), the Plaintiff, claims to have taken a photograph inside a Walmart of the child car seat section (the “Photograph”). Campbell apparently registered the Photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office and given Copyright Registration No. VA 2-204-282.

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According to the Complaint, Defendant Gray Television (“Gray”) used the Photograph on a television program and then on its website in an article entitled “Fact Check: Does Michigan’s stay-at-home order ban purchase of child safety seats?”. Campbell claims Gray did not have a license, her permission, or consent to use the Photograph in its television program or on its website. Therefore, Campbell is seeking damages for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 504 and 505. Continue reading

Indianapolis, Indiana3M Company (“3M”) claims there has been an increase in wrongdoers seeking to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic by using scams including those to price-gouge and offer3M-Blogphoto-use-300x106 fake sales of 3M-brand N95 respirators. 3M claims Defendants, Zachary Puznak, Zenger LLC d/b/a ZeroAqua, and John Does 1-10 offered Indiana an opportunity to purchase 3M N95 masks at approximately $2.82 each, which is more than double 3M’s price.

There were numerous allegedly false communications from the Defendants to various representatives of the State of Indiana, including Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Chief of Staff and the Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, regarding the sale of 3M-brand N95 respirators. When 3M became aware of the alleged price gouging and false communications, it filed this suit claiming the Defendants infringed its rights in United States Trademark Reg. No. 3,398,329 (the “‘329 Registration”) and Registration No. 2,793,534 (the “‘534 Registration”). 3M is further seeking damages for unfair competition, false endorsement, false association, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and false advertising. Finally, 3M filed multiple claims pursuant to the Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act for deception, conversion, and theft.

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Indianapolis, IndianaJeremy Meier d/b/a Meier Photography (“Meier”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a professional photographer and owner of U.S. Copyright Registration No. VAu 1-381-446 which includes 380 photographs taken in the Spring of 2019 (the “Registered Photos”). According to the Complaint, Kelley Global Brands, LLC d/b/a KLH Audio (“KLH”), the Defendant, manufactures and sells audio equipment. Meier claims KLH used and published some of the Registered Photos without paying for the use and without the authorized consent of Meier resulting in copyright infringement.

However, the Complaint further states, that Meier and KLH “entered into an agreement pursuant to which Plaintiff agreed to take certain photos in exchange for Defendant paying for the rights to use said photos (the ‘Agreement’).” This may create an issue over whether the copyright infringement can be maintained. If KLH obtained “rights to use the Photos,” it may have a valid defense of “license.”

A similar issue was raised in the famous case known as the “exploding yogurt factory case.”

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Lafayette, Indiana – Aaron Babcock (“Babcock”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a professional photographer in Lincoln, Nebraska. According to the complaint, Babcock photographed actor Bill Murray attending a Nebraska vs. Purdue football game (the “Photograph”). The Photograph was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. VA 2-126-687.

In the second of two lawsuits with identical parties, Babcock claims Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC (“Gannett”), the Defendant, ran four articles on its websites featuring the Photograph. Babcock first sued Gannett for copyright infringement of a different photograph in December 2019 in the Western District of Wisconsin. In this case, Gannett allegedly used the Photograph without a license or permission from Babcock. As such, Babcock is seeking damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees for copyright infringement.

The case was assigned to Chief District Judge Theresa Lazar Springmann and Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar in the Northern District and assigned Case 4:20-cv-00023-TLS-JPK.

Lafayette, Indiana – Professional photographer and Plaintiff, Bryan Glynn, managing member of BG Pictures LLC, claims Defendant Cigar Cigar LLC (“Cigar Cigar”) displayed his photograph protected by U.S. Copyright No. VAu 1-271-409  on its website without his consent. Glynn claims Cigar Cigar’s actions amount to copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501. Pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 504 and 505, Glynn is seeking Cigar Cigar’s profits from the use of the photograph, statutory damages, and attorney’s fees.

The case was assigned to District Judge Theresa L. Springmann and Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar in the Northern District and assigned Case 4:20-cv-00022.

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South Bend, Indiana – Real Clear Holdings LLC (“RCH”), the Defendant, is alleged to have copied Plaintiff Christopher Sadowski’s photograph of Mayor Bill de Blasio (the “Photograph”) without a license or authorization. Sadowski claims to be a professional photographer and owner of U.S. Copyright No. VA 2-175-419 for the Photograph. According to the Complaint, Sadowski licensed the Photograph to the New York Post who posted the Photograph with Sadowski’s name in an article on its website on July 25, 2019.

RCH allegedly took the Photograph from the New York Post’s website and used the Photograph on RCH’s website www.realclearmarkets.com/ in an article posted on September 9, 2019. Sadowski claims RCH did not license the Photograph from him and did not have his permission to utilize the Photograph. He further claims RCH removed the copyright management information identifying Sadowski as the photographer as shown on the New York Post’s website and instead credited “YouTube”. Therefore, he is seeking damages for copyright infringement and removal and alteration of copyright management information.

The case was assigned to District Judge Damon R. Leichty and Magistrate Judge Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. in the Northern District and assigned Case 3:20-cv-00215-DRL-MGG.

South Bend, Indiana – Kevin Jairaj (“Jairaj”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a professional photographer in the business of licensing his photographs including one of Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney (the “Photograph”). Jairaj claims to have registered the Photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office and granted Copyright Registration No. VA 2-112-984. According to the Complaint, Defendant Gray Television ran multiple articles on its websites regarding the alleged sexual abuse of McKayla Maroney featuring the Photograph without a license. Jairaj is seeking damages and statutory relief for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501 and intentionally removing copyright management information pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 1202.

The case was assigned to District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr., and Magistrate Judge Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. in the Northern District and assigned Case 3:20-cv-00156-RLM-MGG.

Complaint

Fort Wayne, Indiana – George Matula (“Matula”), the Plaintiff, claims to be a professional photographer in the business of licensing his photographs for a fee. Matula allegedly photographed a horse and registered the photograph as U.S. Copyright No. VA 2-154-421 (the “Photograph”) in 2018. According to the Complaint, Defendant Triple H Magazine ran the Photograph in its publication without licensing the Photograph from Matula in violation of the U.S. Copyright Act. Therefore, Matula is seeking damages for copyright infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 504(b).

The case was assigned to District Judge Holly A. Brady and Magistrate Judge Susan L. Collins in the Northern District and assigned Case 1:20-cv-00071-HAB-SLC.

Complaint

Hammond, Indiana – Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”), along with eleven other Plaintiffs (the “Copyright Owners”), filed suit against Backstage of Indiana, LLC d/b/a Backstage on Broadway (“Backstage”) and Marcell Jackson (“Jackson” and collectively “Defendants”) alleging copyright infringement of six different musical compositions. BMI alleges it has licensing rights to the six musical compositions at issue which are owned by the eleven Copyright Owners. Jackson is allegedly an owner of Backstage and is responsible for the operation and management of the establishment including the public performance of musical compositions. BMI and the Copyright Owners are seeking damages for six claims of willful copyright infringement after allegedly reaching out to Defendants over seventy times in an effort to educate them on the Copyright Act and license the musical compositions to Defendants.

The case was assigned to Northern District Judge Philip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar in the Northern District and assigned Case 2:20-cv-00010-PPS-JPK.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiffs, Esther A. L. Verbovszky (“Verbovzsky”) and Hug Me Joey, LLC (“Hug Me Joey”), less than a year after voluntarily Carseat-Photo-1-274x300dismissing a similar lawsuit, have once again filed a complaint against Defendant Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. d/b/a Maxi-Cosi (“Dorel”) claiming patent infringement. According to the Complaint, Verbovzsky strives to design and invent products to abate breathing and digestive issues in small infants during transport. Verbovzsky further claims to be the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,467,840 (the ‘840 Patent”) for “Child’s Car Seat Insert.” As the founder and CEO of Hug Me Joey, Verbovzsky allegedly licensed the ‘840 Patent to Hug Me Joey for the manufacturing of the Hug Me Joey child’s car seat insert (the “HMJ Insert”).

Diagram-Photo-278x300Apparently Dorel manufactures car seats, including 22 models that were nam ed in the Complaint as the “Accused Products”. Plaintiffs claim each of the Accused Products that are manufactured and/or sold by Dorel infringe the ‘840 Patent due to the “infant insert”, “insert cushion(s)”, “insert pillow”, “body pillow”, or “body insert pillow” that is stated to come with each car seat. The Plaintiffs believe the infringement by Dorel to be willful and knowingly. Threfore, they are seeking treble damages and a finding that this is an exceptional case pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 284 and 285, respectively.

The case was assigned to District Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Matthew P. Brookman in the Southern District and assigned Case 1:20-cv-00061-RLY-MPB.

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