Bravado is a merchandising company that has exclusive rights to sell products bearing the federally registered ARIANNA GRANDE mark, a logo for which registration is pending, and/or Grande’s name and likeness. Bravado brought this suit in advance of Grande’s upcoming performance at the TD Garden in Boston to prevent bootleggers from offering infringing merchandise in or around the arena, and to obtain an order for authorities to seize and impound any such merchandise. As with other such pre-emptive suits, Judge Zobel is assigned to this matter.
ROAM Fitness, which opened a fitness center for travelers in 2017 at the Baltimore International Airport, sued Worcester resident Dianne Lesage, who runs a company called the “Roam Team” that connects hotel guests with personal trainers, accusing Lesage of trademark infringement and false designation of origin. ROAM Fitness, who plans to expand to other airports in the country, obtained a federal registration for ROAM FITNESS for health club services in June 2017. ROAM Fitness says that Lesage approached them about a potential partnership between the two companies, which led to the discovery of the extensive use of “Roam Team” on Lesage’s website. After several requests to have Lesage change the name of her business, ROAM Fitness filed suit.
Channing Bete filed suit against Dr. Mark Greenberg for trademark infringement, tortious interference with business relations, and violations of non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. Dr. Greenberg jointly developed a curriculum for the social and emotional development of children, known as the “PATHS® Program,” in 1993. This curriculum was exclusively licensed to Channing Bete predecessor Developmental Research Programs, Inc., who registered the PATHS® trademark in 1995. Dr. Greenberg continued to develop the program, resulting in a “PATHS® Preschool/Kindergarten Program,” and jointly registered copyright in these developments. Channing Bete obtained exclusive rights to this program as well, and has since worked with Dr. Greenberg and the other authors to develop additional program-based materials to cover elementary-school children. Channing Bete partnered with a training organization run by Dr. Greenberg, “PATHS® Education Worldwide (PEW), to train purchasers of the PATHS® programs, and licensed PEW certain rights in the programs.
In the summer of 2014, Channing Bete decided to sell its rights in the PATHS® programs. They allege that Dr. Greenberg immediately began to interfere with its efforts to sell. According to the complaint, this interference led to the major large publishers refusing to consider a purchase. Channing Bete subsequently put the program out for bid, requiring non-disclosure agreements from any bidder. PEW placed a bid and executed an NDA, as did Dr. Greenberg personally. Channing Bete subsequently notified Dr. Greenberg that they had selected a different buyer, who would need to coordinate with Dr. Greenberg and the other authors. Dr. Greenberg was reminded of his non-disclosure obligations in this communication. The complaint alleges that Dr. Greenberg threatened to withhold assent to the transfer of the curriculum unless he received concessions for himself and PEW. It further alleges that Dr. Greenberg directly contacted the buyer on multiple occasions, indicating again that he intended to block the sale unless he received concessions and revealing the contents of his communications with Channing Bete, in violation of the NDA he had signed. Channing Bete then received an offer from a different party, seeking to buy the curriculum at the same terms offered by PEW. Channing Bete subsequently received communications from other authors of curriculum materials, each threatening to withhold consent to the sale, that Channing Bete alleges to have been orchestrated by Dr. Greenberg. Finally, Dr. Greenberg has published books laying out “PATHS Plus” that he has marketed as an alternative to the PATHS® program, allegedly in violation of non-compete language contained in his original exclusive license to Channing Bete.
LILLEbaby sued Columbus Trading Partners and its German corporate parent, Cybex GmbH, accusing them of infringing two patents covering child carriers having adaptive leg supports. LILLEbaby sued several other importers and sellers in California, Colorado, Connecticut and Ohio, and filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission seeking to bar entry of the accused products into the United States.
South Shore Health Care (“SSHC”) has been offering health care services under the “South Shore Health Care” and “South Shore Health Center” marks in Braintree since 1993. SSHC has had a Massachusetts state registration in the “South Shore Health Center” mark for “physician’s office providing primary health care (family health care), preventative medicine and occupational health services” since 1993, expanded by a subsequent 2018 registration for “medical services,” and began using the “South Shore Health Care” mark in 2008. SSHC filed an application for a federal registration on “South Shore Health Care” last month. SSHC asserts that their state and common law trademark rights are infringed by South Shore Health Systems (“SSHS”) and South Shore Health Express (“SSHE”). According to the complaint, SSHS was formed in 1922 under the name “Weymouth Hospital,” which was changed to “South Shore Hospital” in 1945. In 2016, Defendants allegedly registered the domain name <southshorehealth.org> and used it to promote not only the hospital, but also other parts of its organization, such as health care services such as South Shore Medical Center and South Shore NeuroSpine. In 2018, SSHE formally adopted that moniker, a change from its previous name “Health Provider Services Organization of the South Shore.” Defendants further moved towards partnering with or purchasing Health Express Urgent Care, a business having multiple urgent and primary care clinics in the South Shore region, triggering newspaper reporting that referred to Defendants as “South Shore Health.” Plaintiffs allege a distinct loss of business, as well as actual confusion, resulting from these actions. While Plaintiffs acknowledge that many other health care providers have used the term “South Shore” in their names (e.g. South Shore Urology, South Shore Orthopedics, and South Shore Medical Center), they assert that no other entity has used the exact three-word phrase “SOUTH SHORE HEALTH” in the 25 years that they have operated under that name. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants have “never used their obscurely-registered corporate name” as a trademark or service mark. Plaintiffs bring claims for state, federal and common law trademark infringement, cybersquatting, and unfair competition.
Australia’s Cochlear sued North Carolina-based MED-EL for infringement of three patents relating to implantable hearing aids. Cochlear asserts that MED-EL’s “Synchrony” Implant System directly and indirectly infringe the subject patents. Cochlear asserts jurisdiction in Massachusetts based on MED-EL being incorporated in the Commonwealth.
Plum Island Soap Co. filed a lawsuit involving its “THE MAN CAN” trademark and trade dress, the second such suit over the past two years. Plum Island Soap has sold packages of men’s toiletries in a paint can, “The Man Can,” since 2004, and it has already obtained injunctive relief relating to the now-registered mark and trade dress in a 2013 decision. Plum Island Soap alleges that Duke Cannon sells sets of men’s toiletries in identical paint cans, under the names “The Handsome Man Grooming Can” and “The Dapper Gentleman’s Grooming Can.” Plum Island Soap urges federal and common law trademark and trade dress infringement, unjust enrichment, injury to business reputation, and violation of C. 93A, although proving that the infringing acts occurred primarily and substantially within the state may be difficult, given that Duke Cannon is a Delaware company whose connection with Massachusetts appears to be the operation of a generally-available website.