Colorado-based PMG sells aftermarket auto parts online. It publishes copyrighted advertising listings in electronic format on Amazon, eBay, and others in connection with this. PMG accuses Texas individuals Jose Martinez Ramos and Noemi Martinez, who are alleged to do business as Customz Liners, of copying verbatim its listings on competing Amazon and eBay sites. PMG identifies a number of its listings that were put up in November 2017 and were alleged to be copied in whole or in large part by the defendants. PMG seeks actual or statutory damages and injunctive relief.
Tyger manufacturing sued Timothy Jacobs, who is said to do business as The Glass Blunt Store or G.B.S., accusing Jacobs of infringing Tyger’s copyright in “loading instructions” for glass smoking products having a screw-like insert that allows for the removal of spent ash. Tyger asserts that the instructions are included with four different G.B.S. products and are found throughout the G.B.S. website, and seeks injunctive relief and an accounting of sales of the four products. It is unclear why Tyger, a California company, sued Jacobs, who is alleged to have a principal place of business in Denver, in Massachusetts; personal jurisdiction and venue are alleged solely on alleged sales of products into the Commonwealth. Tyger is represented in the case by Massachusetts counsel, but has filed lawsuits over the past several years in a number of different jurisdictions, and appears to have already sued Jacobs in his home state of Colorado in 2018, accusing him of infringing design and utility patents relating to glass smoking devices. In October 2018, that complaint was amended to bring copyright infringement counts, although it appears that while an application had been filed, the copyright registration had not yet issued as of the amended complaint. That case subsequently settled.
Holistic Technologies filed suit against Lumina Group, seeking a declaration that it does not infringe Lumina’s TENDLITE product trade dress. The TENDLITE is a therapy device that uses red light to treat skin conditions such as wrinkles, scars, and the like. Holistic markets its own red light therapy device, the Quantum Rejuvenation device.
In late July, Holistic received a cease-and-desist letter from Quantum, asserting trade dress infringement and asserting that Holistic had copied Lumina’s advertising and packaging. Holistic denies copying the advertising and packaging, and asserts that the product design is generic, has not acquired distinctiveness, and thus unprotectible. Holistic further alleges that Lumina had the Quantum Rejuvenation product removed from Amazon and Google by asserting infringement of Lumina’s trademark in bad faith – Holistic used the mark to reference the Lumina product in a comparative advertisement, which would not constitute infringement. Lumina further posted on Holistic’s Amazon page that Holistic was running inaccurate and illegal advertisements, and is alleged to have posted negative reviews of the Holistic product. Finally, Holistic asserts that Lumina falsely claims that the TENDLITE is patented. In addition to the declaratory judgment claim, Holistic brings affirmative claims of unfair competition, false patent marking and violation of 93A. Holistic seeks an award of Lumina’s profits for the unfair competition claim, as well as its damages and attorneys’ fees. Judge Talwani has the case.
BMI, an entity that manages licensing and copyright fees for 14 million copyrighted musical compositions, filed suit against The Establishment, a bar/restaurant/function room in Chelmsford, as well as its manager and members. According to the complaint, BMI had reached out to The Establishment more than 40 times in the past year, demanding that the bar either cease and desist the public performance of BMI-controlled music or pay the appropriate license permitting such performance. When no response was received, BMI filed suit, alleging infringement of eight BMI-controlled songs on April 26, 2019. BMI seeks statutory damages plus attorneys’ fees.
New England Wheels (“NEW”), a Billerica business that (among other things) retrofits vehicles for disabled drivers and passengers, seeks a declaration that it does not infringe two patents directed to retrofitting sliding doors in vans. Delphini, whom NEW asserts to be a non-practicing entity, first asserted these patents by sending a cease and desist letter in June 2019, accusing NEW’s Ford Transit, Ram Promaster, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter retrofitted vans of infringing the two patents, but identifying no specific claims alleged to be infringed and providing no infringement analysis. As NEW had already moved away from retrofitting van doors, agreed to remove the portions of their website showing such and to cease and desist with so doing moving forward. Undeterred, Delphini responded by demanding a full accounting for past work, which NEW asserts is prohibited due to lack of notice that would preclude past damages. NEW noted that it had been retrofitting van doors since 2007, well before the patents were filed. NEW further noted that Delphini had sent cease and desist letters to other entities, using images from NEW’s website of both accused and un-accused products as proof of infringement, and demanded Delphini stop with this practice. When Delphini again responded with a demand for an accounting dating to the publication date of the earlier patent, NEW filed the instant declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration that the two patents are invalid and not infringed and alleging tortious interference with advantageous business relations based on Delphini’s having sent cease and desist letters to customers and potential customers of NEW that included photographs of a new NEW product, the “Frontrunner” bus, suggesting that the bus infringes, despite Delphini having acknowledged to NEW that the Frontrunner does not infringe.
Bio-Rad and the University of Chicago accuse French company Stilla of infringing patents related to droplet digital PCR, a method of genetic analysis in which DNA molecules are separated into individual water droplets in an oil emulsion, eliminating the need for multiple test tubes or wells and allowing for analysis of smaller sample sizes than other PCR systems. Bio-Rad asserts that it spent more than $500 million developing the technology, through research and strategic acquisition, and that it has an extensive patent portfolio covering the technology. Bio-Rad accuses Stilla’s Naica System, introduced in 2016, of infringing two of those patents, one of which is owned by the University of Chicago and exclusively licensed to Bio-Rad and the second of which is owned directly by Bio-Rad. Personal jurisdiction is asserted in Massachusetts on the basis of Stilla’s recently-formed and Beverly-based U.S. entity, as well as on Stilla’s demonstration of the Naica System at the Circulating Biomarkers World Congress in Boston in March 2018, prior to the founding of Stilla’s U.S. entity. The case has been assigned to Judge Young.
ProStairs Fitness and Richard Mullen sued Collis Brown and Coliseum, LLC over a fitness product made up of a set of stairs and a slide, permitting users to work out by climbing the stairs while eliminating the stress of impact that would result from descending the stairs. According to the complaint, Mullen provided more than a quarter of a million dollars in funding to the development and production of the product, with the expectation that he would market the product with Brown and Coliseum.
When Brown declined to proceed, Mullen began marketing the product through ProStairs Fitness. In response to Brown’s subsequent threat to sue Mullen for infringing U.S. Patent No. 9,114,271, on which Brown is the sole named inventor, Mullen filed the instant complaint, seeking a declaration that the ProStairs exercise apparatus does not infringe the ‘271 patent.