Fort Wayne, IndianaGroup Dekko, Inc. and its subsidiary, Furnlite, Inc., have initiated legal proceedings against Metro Light & Power, LLC. The crux of the dispute lies in allegations of trade dress infringement under the Lanham Act, with Dekko and Furnlite seeking a declaratory judgment to invalidate Metro’s claims.

Metro Light & Power, LLC, based in Teaneck, New Jersey, has accused Dekko and Furnlite of infringing upon its trade dress rights. Specifically, Metro contends that Dekko’s Furnlite products bear a striking resemblance to Metro’s Bezel products, leading to consumer confusion. Metro has threatened legal action unless Dekko and Furnlite cease production and sales of their allegedly infringing products.Outlet-300x157In response to Metro’s allegations, Dekko and Furnlite have taken a firm stance, denying any wrongdoing. They assert that their products do not infringe upon Metro’s trade dress rights. Moreover, they argue that trade dress protection does not extend to functional features of a product, and they maintain that their own design patents predate Metro’s establishment.

Central to the dispute is the validity of Metro’s trade dress. Trade dress protection applies to the overall appearance of a product, but only if it serves as a source identifier and is non-functional. Dekko and Furnlite contend that Metro’s trade dress lacks distinctiveness and does not function as a source identifier. They argue that the design features highlighted by Metro serve functional purposes rather than acting as distinctive identifiers.

China – Plaintiff Guangzhou Shima Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. (Shima), a Chinese corporation specializing in home improvement items and building materials, has brought legal action against Shenzhen Ruimingxiang Technology Co., Ltd. (SRT) for alleged copyright infringement.

Shima, led by President Wentong Liu, claims it has carved a niche in designing and selling distinctive products. It goes onto explain that in 2004, Liu created a graphic work known as the “Diamond Tile,” a unique square or rectangular tile featuring a three-dimensional design composed of various diamond-like elements, which he had copyrighted with the United States Copyright Office in 2017.

According to the complaint, Shima is accusing SRT, another Chinese corporation (who happens to do business in Indiana), of importing, distributing, and/or selling copies of Liu’s “Diamond Tile” work on Shima alleges that SRT’s actions amount to willful infringement, resulting in substantial financial losses.

The U.S. Patent Office issued the following xxx patents to persons and businesses in Indiana in November 2023:

US 11826689 B2 Air filter arrangement; assembly; and, methods
US 11830717 B2 Ion focusing
US 11826832 B2 Passivation and alloying element retention in gas atomized powders
US 11830716 B2 Mass spectrometry analysis of microorganisms in samples
US 11828908 B2 Rack-mountable equipment with a high-heat-dissipation module, and transceiver receptacle with increased cooling

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The U.S. Trademark Office issued the following  178 trademark registrations to persons and businesses in Indiana in November 2023 based on applications filed by Indiana trademark attorneys:

Reg. Number Wordmark
7215755 FLEXRAKE
7222402 IN
7225878 PLANET 2050

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canelo-300x300Indianapolis, Indiana – Plaintiff G & G Closed Circuit Events, LLC, a California-based heavyweight in sports distribution, claims they owned exclusive distribution rights to the . They have brought suit against Defendant La Jalisco LLP, the owner and operator of a commercial restaurant and bar in Indianapolis, accusing them of illicitly showcasing the coveted Program.

Title 47 U.S.C. Section 605(a) specifically “prohibits the unauthorized interception, receipt, publication and use of communications, including satellite television signals.” G & G contends that La Jalisco LLP violated this law by knowingly and willfully advertising the viewing event on Facebook, intercepting the signal, and exhibiting the unauthorized Program within their establishment.

G & G is seeking statutory damages, claiming willful violations for commercial advantage. They seek an amount for each violation, alongside recovery of full costs and attorneys’ fees. In addition, Plaintiffs are asking for compensatory, exemplary, and punitive damages.

In a recent legal action, photographer Ivan Radic has filed suit against AllCity Adjusting LLC and Zor Development LLC for allegedly infringing upon his intellectual property rights. According to Radic, he is a seasoned professional photographer known for his diverse portfolio and creative styles.  He has accused the defendants of unauthorized use and distribution of his copyrighted work.

The complaint explains that the heart of the matter lies in Radic’s creation, a photograph titled “Plaster falling off the ceiling,” crafted in 2020 and officially registered under copyright law in 2021. Radic claims this work, publicly displayed on his Flickr page, was accompanied by explicit copyright management information and a denial of usage rights to the public.

Court documents state that Defendant AllCity Adjusting LLC, is a family-owned claims company aiding property owners in insurance claims and disaster relief.  Radic has accused AllCity and Zor Development LLC, the registrant of AllCity’s website, of copying and showcasing his work on their website’s blog section without Radic’s consent. Moreover, the defendants allegedly removed Radic’s copyright management information, in what he claims is a clear violation of his rights under the Copyright Act.

In the modern era of technological advancements and the burgeoning landscape of online commerce, the interconnection of patent law with the dynamics of e-commerce platforms presents intricate challenges. A recent legal dispute between Wenzhou Xin Xin Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. (“Sanitary Ware” or “Plaintiff”) and Delta Faucet Company (“DFC”) illuminates the complexities faced by international entities selling products on major online platforms like Amazon, particularly concerning allegations of patent infringement.

PatentPhoto-300x264According to the complaint, Sanitary Ware, a Chinese-based company operating as “HGN Sanitary Ware,” sells kitchen appliances and accessories, including glass rinsers, primarily through the Amazon Marketplace. Court documents also describe DFC, as an American plumbing fixture manufacturer under Masco Corporation, who is alleging patent infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 11,473,277 (“the ‘277 Patent”) against specific Xin Glass Rinsers listed by Sanitary Ware on Amazon.

DFC claims ‘277 Patent details a rinsing apparatus comprising components like a mounting base, fluid discharge member, valve member, and escutcheon. DFC says they initiated an Amazon Patent Evaluation Express (“APEX”) proceeding against Sanitary Ware’s Xin Glass Rinser based on claim 1 of the ‘277 Patent, and Sanitary Ware chose not to participate in the APEX, leading Amazon to remove the listing of the disputed Xin Glass Rinser.

SteamboatWillie-300x228On January 1, 2024, a significant shift in intellectual property rights occurred with the iconic American pop culture figure, Mickey Mouse, entering the public domain. The copyright for Mickey’s debut appearance in the 1928 short film, “Steamboat Willie,” finally expired, allowing a specific portrayal of the beloved character to become available for public use.

This momentous occasion follows a prolonged journey shaped by numerous extensions and revisions of copyright laws. Under U.S. copyright law, which typically spans 95 years, the extension became colloquially known as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” This extension, sought not only by Disney but also by a coalition of copyright holders, aimed to safeguard their works for an extended period.

Jennifer Jenkins, a law professor and director of Duke’s Center for the Study of Public Domain, compared this milestone to the puff of smoke from a steamboat, expressing her enthusiasm at the symbolic moment.

In a recent legal case involving Illinois Plaintiff, SAK Group, Inc. and Indiana Defendant, Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc., the complexities of trademark infringement and its legal implications came to the forefront.Pic-1-300x205

According to the complaint, SAK Group, Inc., is a renowned restaurant group operating under the trademark “Buttermilk Café.”  They initiated legal action against Blue Hill Hospitality, Inc., alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition. The Plaintiff asserted that Blue Hill Hospitality’s use of the name “Buttermilk Pancake House” and its similar mark posed a threat to SAK’s established trademark rights, leading to confusion among consumers.

The complaint filed by SAK Group, Inc. encompassed various legal claims, including federal trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, false designation of origin, passing off, unfair competition, and violation of state laws related to deceptive trade practices. Each claim was supported by specific allegations regarding the similarities in marks, potential confusion among consumers, and the alleged willful nature of Blue Hill Hospitality’s actions.

In a recent lawsuit filed by Perma-Green Supreme, Inc. against Dr. Permagreen, LLC, Michael Edward Klott, and FTW Investments LLC, Perma-Green, an Indiana entity in the commercial lawn-care equipment industry, alleges that the defendants engaged in the deliberate and unauthorized use of Perma-Green’s trademark, PERMAGREEN. The complaint asserts that the defendants sold products under the name ‘Dr. Permagreen,’ which, according to the Plaintiff, bears a confusing similarity to Perma-Green’s mark, misleading consumers into falsely believing that the products were affiliated with Perma-Green. These allegations suggest that the defendants’ actions caused consumer confusion, negatively impacting Perma-Green’s reputation and raising concerns about product safety.Pic-2-300x78

If the Plaintiff’s allegations are proven true, this infringement not only violates federal laws, particularly the Lanham Act but also raises ethical questions surrounding fair competition and consumer protection. Regarding potential consequences, the relief sought by Perma-Green includes injunctions, damages, and legal fees, indicating the potential ramifications faced by the defendants for trademark infringement and deceptive practices.

The case has been assigned to Judge Philip P. Simon and Magistrate Judge John E. Martin, in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana, and assigned Case No. 2:23-cv-00341-PPS-JEM.

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