beIN Media filed an in rem complaint against a number of domain names, alleging violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. beIN broadcasts sporting events (e.g., U.S. Open gold and NBA games overseas, World Cup soccer qualifiers, professional tennis, and the like) worldwide via cable systems, Direct TV, and the internet. In connection with this, beIN owns several registrations to the mark “BEIN” in a variety of classes of goods and services. beIN asserts that UK resident Honza Jan Zicha registered a number of domain names through PRD Ltd. (doing business as publicdomainregistry.com), which is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts. Zicha is accused of running a business, “Buy Sell Dns Ltd.” for the sole purpose of buying and selling domain names, and the domain names in question generally redirected to a single site, bein.com, which has alternatingly indicated the site was under development or was up for sale, with a solicitation for offers. Zicha is further accused of seeking excessive money for the domain names ($1.5 million), with the threat to sell the names to a different entity, beoutQ, who allegedly pirates and rebroadcasts beIN’s content. beIN asserts that personal jurisdiction cannot be established over Zicha anywhere in the United States, and accordingly brings the complaint against the domain names themselves in rem, with the place of the business through which the domains were registered serving as the appropriate venue. beIN seeks transfer or cancellation of the domains.
FMR and Seaport Hotel Limited Partnership, collectively identified as “Fidelity,” filed suit against Omni Hotel and several other entities involved with construction of a new Boston waterfront hotel. Fidelity opened the Seaport Hotel twenty years ago, at a time when the south Boston waterfront consisted of little beyond parking lots, empty buildings and seafood shacks – I recall staying there when it first opened, and how little there was around. The hotel is located just down the street from the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse, which opened in 1999, and the World Trade Center, built in the mid-80’s. The hotel has been named one of the greatest in America by Forbes, and has received numerous awards. The waterfront has since seen phenomenal levels of growth, in office space, apartment buildings, restaurants and the like, with the Seaport Hotel serving as a cornerstone – the complaint suggests that the “Seaport District,” as the area became known, took this moniker from the Seaport Hotel. Recently, Omni Hotel announced plans to build a hotel a block away from the Seaport Hotel, with an announced name of “Omni Boston Seaport Hotel.” Fidelity contends that this mark is confusingly similar to their incontestable SEAPORT HOTEL and SEAPORT trademarks, and could only have been chosen to trade upon the fame, reputation and good will that resides in its mark. Fidelity believes that the Omni name will suggest that Omni bought the Seaport Hotel, much in the way Omni renamed the “Parker House” as the “Omni Parker House” when it was acquired. In addition to trademark infringement, Fidelity brings claims for unfair competition and dilution, and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, monetary damages, and fees and costs.
Helping Hand makes and sells a line of TRU-GRIP products for reaching and picking up objects. Helping Hand obtained a pair of design patents covering the gripping end of the products, and accuses Vive Health of infringing these patents. It seems unlikely that Massachusetts is the proper venue for this lawsuit; while Helping Hands has a division located in Stoughton Massachusetts, Vive Health is located in Florida, and there are no allegations that it maintains a regular place of business in Massachusetts.
Washington D.C. photographer Greg Kahn sued ISCC for copyright infringement, accusing ISCC of using his registered photographs of Virginia’s Rising Hope Mission Church on its “zcomm.org” website. Kahn asserts copyright infringement against ISCC, as well as contributory and/or vicarious liability against unnamed defendants who control the site.
Global Protection is a condom company formed by Tufts graduates in 1988. Global and its Malaysian owner/manufacturer, Karex Berhad SDN BHD, bring charges of trademark infringement, design patent infringement and unfair competition against Eric Arthur and his company, MSC of Fort Smith, doing business as MSCI. Global has an incontestable mark for “ONE” for use with condoms, and Karex owns a design patent on a foil package for a condom.
MSCI sells condoms in a similar foil package with a large “1” on the packaging, which Global alleges will likely cause confusion. Global seeks injunctive and monetary relief as well as fees and costs.
The jury reached a verdict on Wednesday in this litigation involving holographic printing patents. After Rolling Optics suffering a series of setbacks in orders leading up to the trial, the jury determined that Rolling Optics actively induced infringement on all of the accused products, which were imported into the United States by third parties, that Crane had provided actual notice of the infringement in April 2010, and that the infringement was willful. The jury further found that none of the asserted claims were invalid over the prior art admitted at trial, and that the on-sale bar did not apply to any of the claims. Finally, damages were pegged at $119,186. Defenses based on inequitable conduct were previously bifurcated, and remain to be determined.
Symbology accuses Massachusetts company Cable Matters of infringing three patents covering methods for enabling portable electronic devices to retrieve information about an object when the object’s Symbology is detected. Symbology, a Plano, Texas LLC, asserts that Cable Matters’ use of Quick Response Codes (a two-dimensional barcode) on its products and packaging. Upon scanning the code with a smartphone, users are sent information directed by the QR Code, such as a website with additional information about the product. I note that the plaintiff’s law firm, Ferraiuoli LLC of San Juan, Puerto Rico, have been involved with several other complaints in Massachusetts involving Plano non-practicing entities.