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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Washington, D.C. – Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Tom Marino (R-Pa) proposed legislation to create an alternative forum to facilitate the adjudication of “small” copyright claims. 

H.R. 5757, titled the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2016, would establish a Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”) within the U.S. Copyright Office. Adjudication with the CCB is intended to be simpler and less expensive than proceeding in federal court. These cases would be heard by a CCB panel of three Copyright Claims Officers. Adjudicating in the CCB forum would be voluntary and respondents could opt out. 

The jurisdiction under CASE would be limited to civil claims of copyright infringement of $30,000 or less in damages. The CCB would also be authorized to hear claims of abusive takedown notifications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

Northern District of Indiana – Copyright lawyers for Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC of Omaha, Nebraska filed three intellectual property complaints in the Northern District of Indiana alleging copyright infringement.

Plaintiffs are in the business of creating, marketing, publishing and licensing the use of architectural works and technical drawings of those works. Defendants are Indiana home designers and homebuilders.

Defendant in the first lawsuit is Miller Builders Inc. of St. Joseph County, Indiana. In the second lawsuit, two Defendants are listed, Citation Homes, Inc. and Citation Partners, LLC d/b/a Citation Partners, both of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Defendants in the third lawsuit are Sky Hill Homes, Inc., By Larry Myers d/b/a Sky Hill Homes; Sky Hill Enterprises, LLC; Fall Creek Homes, Inc.; Fall Creek Development Corp. and Barry Light, all of Allen County, Indiana. W. L. Martin Home Designs LLC of Jacksonville, Florida joined as a second Plaintiff in the Sky Hill litigation.

Design Basics asserts that Miller Builders violated the copyright of a single work titled “Plan No. 2244 – Standley,” which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Certificate Nos. VA 434-218 and 752-162.

Defendants in the Citation and Sky Hill lawsuits are accused of violating multiple copyrighted works. Design Basics contends that Citation Defendants infringed copyrights in the following works:

Title                                       Registration Certificate Nos.
Plan No. 1330 – Trenton           VA 314-016, 694-094 & 756-041
Plan No. 1380 – Paterson         VA 314-024 & 694-094
Plan No. 1748 – Sinclair            VA 371-214, 694-094 & 726-353
Plan No. 1752 – Lancaster        VA 371-204, 694-094 & 756-041

Design Basics and Martin Home Designs list numerous allegations of copyright infringement in the lawsuit against the Sky Hill Defendants:

Title                                      Registration Certificate No.
Plan No. 1019 – Hazelton         VA 314-029, 726-355 & 694-093
Plan No. 1032 – Monte Vista    VA 282-203 & 752-162
Plan No. 1551 – Logan             VA 344-872 & 752-162
Plan No. 2219 – Shannon         VA 434-181, 752-162 & 1-950-217
Plan No. 2235 – Albany            VA 1-929-121, 434-219 & 756-041
Plan No. 2281 – Ingram            VA 434-179, 752-162 & 1-3340447752
Plan No. 3577 – Bennett           VA 682-208, 682-207, 694-095 & 710-605
Plan No. 4642 – Ackerly           VA 1-302-564
Plan No. 8013 – Gabriel Bay     VA 729-243 & 729-218
Plan No. 8031 – Robins Lane    VA 729-280 & 729-256
Plan No. 8103 – Deer Crossing  VA 726-352 & 726-446
Plan No. 8524 – Elgin               VA 1-074-917 & 1-077-469

Defendants in each lawsuit are accused of having infringed the copyrighted architectural works by “copying, publishing, distributing, advertising, marketing, selling and/or constructing in the marketplace” various works, such as plans, drawings and houses, that were copied or otherwise derived from Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.

Plaintiffs seek damages, injunctive relief, costs and attorneys’ fees.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Trademark attorneys for Eye 4 Group, LLC Corporation (“E4G”) of Fishers, Indiana filed an intellectual property lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana. Defendants are Indianapolis Signworks, Inc. (“ISW”) of Indianapolis, Indiana and Andrew Chapman of Carmel, Indiana, the owner of ISW.

Plaintiff E4G is in the business of graphic design, sign manufacturing, metal fabrication, promotional material and apparel. It owns a registration for the trademark EYE 4 GROUP, Reg. No. 4,694,655, which has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It has also an application for the registration of a second trademark for EYE 4, pending under Serial No. 87/018,205.

E4G states that Defendant ISW is a direct competitor in the business of making signs as well as associated tools and products. E4G, which owns and operates the website eye4group.com, contends that ISW has used the internet domain name “eyefourgroup.com” and, in doing so, has infringed E4G’s intellectual property. E4G asserts that Defendants’ actions constitute a knowing infringement of its trademark rights and that those actions were intentional, willful and in bad faith.

In this Indiana lawsuit, Plaintiff alleges direct and contributory trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition arising under the Lanham Act; dilution under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act; violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and related wrongdoing under Indiana state law.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary relief, including punitive damages, attorney fees and costs of the litigation.

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New Albany, Indiana – Patent attorneys for Ligchine International Corporation of Floyds Knob, Indiana initiated a patent lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement. Defendant is Somero Enterprises, Inc. of Houghton, Michigan.

This federal lawsuit is in response to a June 2016 letter sent to Ligchine by patent lawyers for Somero. In this letter, Somero asserted that Ligchine was engaged in the manufacture, use, offer for sale, sale and/or distribution of concrete screeding machines containing a “Paver/Superflat Combo Screed Head that includes a powered roller option.” Somero contended that such conduct infringed Somero’s patent rights in U.S. Patent Nos. 9,234,318 and 9,353,490, which have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Somero threatened litigation if the alleged infringement did not cease.

Ligchine asserts that it has not infringed either patent and asks the court for a declaration of non-infringement for each of the two patents-in-suit. It also asks the court to order reimbursement of its costs of the lawsuit, including attorneys’ fees.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – An Indiana patent attorney for VOXX International Corp. of Indianapolis, Indiana filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Indiana alleging patent infringement.

Plaintiff VOXX manufactures and supplies consumer electronics in the automotive, audio and consumer-accessory industry, including developing products sold under the Klipsch® and RCA® brands.

At issue in this Indiana litigation are patents that relate to overhead video units that can be mounted to the ceilings of vehicles as well as video units that are located in the headrests of vehicles. These patents have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Patent Nos. 7,653,345; 8,255,958; 9,114,745 and 9,348,368.

VOXX contends that Defendant Johnson Safety, Inc. of San Bernardino, California has infringed these patents, asserting both direct and indirect infringement.

In a complaint filed by an Indiana patent lawyer, VOXX asks the federal court for a judgment of infringement of the four patents-in-suit, injunctive relief, damages, attorneys’ fees and costs of the litigation.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – Patent lawyers for Plaintiffs Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana, Eli Lilly Export S.A. of Geneva, Switzerland and Acrux DDS Pty Ltd. of West Melbourne, Australia initiated patent infringement litigation in the Southern District of Indiana.

Defendants are Apotex Corp. of Weston, Florida and Apotex Inc. of Ontario, Canada. Both companies manufacture, market and distribute generic pharmaceutical products. This lawsuit was initiated in response to an Abbreviated New Drug Application submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to market a generic version of Lilly’s Axiron®, a prescription testosterone product used to treat males for conditions associated with a deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone.

Defendants are accused of infringing Plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights in seven patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 8,419,307; 8,177,449; 8,435,944; 8,807,861; 8,993,520; 9,180,194 and 9,289,586.

In a 28-count complaint, filed by Indiana patent attorneys for Plaintiffs, 21 counts of patent infringement are listed, including a count of direct infringement, a count of inducement to infringe and a count of contributory infringement for each of the seven patents-in-suit. The remaining seven counts seek declaratory judgment of infringement of each of the seven patents.

In addition to relief for the wrongdoings alleged in the 28 counts, Plaintiffs seek reimbursement of the costs and attorneys’ fees associated with this lawsuit.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana – Plaintiff Angela Brooks-Nwenga of Fort Wayne, Indiana, acting pro se, filed two intellectual property lawsuits. The two complaints, comprising hundreds of pages, include allegations of copyright infringement.

Defendants in these lawsuits, both filed in the Northern District of Indiana, are National Heritage Academies, Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan and “Bart Peterson’s The Mind Trust” of Indianapolis, Indiana. Bart Peterson, the former mayor of Indianapolis, co-founded The Mind Trust in 2006.

Plaintiff Brooks-Nwenga alleges that Defendant National Heritage Academies infringed her rights in “Transitioning Into Responsible Students” (“TIRS”), which has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office under Registration No. TX-6-628-223. Plaintiff asserts that she developed and piloted this program at Gambold Middle School in 2002 and that she owns the copyright.

The second lawsuit makes similar allegations of copyright infringement of TIRS against Defendant Bart Peterson’s The Mind Trust. Plaintiff contends that “Andrew Brown Education Model” and “Bridges to Success Model” are replicas of her copyrighted work.

Brooks-Nwenga previously sued The Mind Trust, United Way of Central Indiana, Central Indiana Education Alliance, Phalen Leadership Academies, and Indianapolis Public Schools asserting similar misconduct. That lawsuit, also filed in the Northern District of Indiana, was transferred to the Southern District of Indiana.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, damages and costs.

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The U.S. Patent Office issued the following 160 patent registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in June 2016, based on applications filed by Indiana patent attorneys:

Patent No. Title
1 D760,062 Addison lock escutcheon
2 D760,060 Decorative heavy duty door closer body
3 D760,059 Decorative heavy duty door closer cover
4 9,380,387 Phase independent surround speaker
5 9,379,313 Non-volatile spin switch
6 9,377,452 Method for monitoring the use of a consumable in a disposable design in one or more analyzers
7 9,377,373 System and method for analyzing verbal records of dictation using extracted verbal features
8 9,377,257 Systems for firearms
9 9,376,947 Hybrid valve for attenuation of low frequency noise
10 9,376,491 IL-17 antibody formulation and method of treatment using same

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The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following 212 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in June 2016 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Registration No.  Word Mark Click To View

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