Music licensing entity BMI sued Sterling, MA’s Black Sheep Tavern in the Worcester Division of the District of Massachusetts, accusing Black Sheep of infringing a number of music copyrights though live and DJ performances that take place at the Tavern. BMI asserts that it contacted Black Sheep Tavern over 80 times seeking to have the Tavern take a license prior to filing suit. BMI seeks statutory damages and attorneys’ fees as well as injunctive relief.
Globys sued Sorriso, asserting that Sorriso’s Smart Suite infringes a pair of patents relating to computer-implemented digital invoicing. A review of the exemplary claims in the complaint suggests that the patents may have an Alice eligibility problem; claim 1 of U.S. 7,996,310, the first of the asserted patents, essentially recites a “computer-implemented method” comprising receiving billing information that includes a plurality of individual transactions; receiving selection of parameters for customizing an analysis of the billing information; analyzing the billing information using the parameters provided; and producing a report. The exemplary ”computing system” claim 1 of the second patent, a continuation of the ‘310 patent, includes no meaningful technical limitations, reciting an “analysis engine” and “user interface” as the sole components and describing the system in functional terms. The patent was filed in 2000 and issued in 2011, several years before the Supreme Court’s June 19, 2014 Alice decision on patent eligibility. While the second patent, U.S. 8,930,252, issued in January 2015, prosecution closed and a notice of allowance was sent in April 2014, again prior to the Alice decision.
Enchanted accuses Duracell’s “Powerbank” of infringing U.S. Patent 6,194,871, directed to charge and discharge control circuits for secondary batteries that prevent overcharge and overdischarge of the batteries. According to the complaint, the patented technology solves the problem of preventing a battery from being erroneously charged by another battery pack connected in parallel while also permitting recharge of a battery even when the voltage is completely discharged. The Powerbank products are portable chargers for USB devices and smartphones, and Duracell lists overcharge protection as one of the Powerbank’s safety features. Enchanted, a Plano, Texas corporation (and thus presumptively a Non-Practicing Entity), extensively pleads personal jurisdiction, based on Duracell’s having a principal place of business in Massachusetts, regularly conducting business and deriving substantial revenue in Massachusetts, offering products online to customers in Massachusetts, systematically conducting business in Massachusetts (including the accused activities), and having a regular and established presence in the district. The patent has changed hands a number of times, and was last assigned to Enchanted by Huawei Technologies. Enchanted seeks injunctive relief as well as monetary damages; injunctive relief may be hard to come by, however, as the patent claims priority to a December 3, 1999 Japanese application and will thus almost certainly expire prior to a decision in the litigation.
Hungarian company Graphisoft, along with its Waltham division, filed suit against Andr Roy Engineers Group, accusing it of infringing the copyright in Graphisoft’s ARCHICAD®584 and ARCHICAD®248 building information modeling software. Graphisoft embedded piracy detection and reporting security software in its ACHICAD code, so that it would be informed when the verification technology is hacked or bypassed. They assert that this software has indicated that Andr Roy is using unlicensed ARCHICAD software. Graphisoft says that Andr Roy never responded to cease and desist letters beyond a simple denial. Judge Talwani has the case.
Photographer Morgan Howarth specializes in interior architectural photography. Howarth accuses Mitchell Construction Group of copying a Howarth photograph of a kitchen cabinet and using it without license on Mitchell’s website. Specifically, the photograph is alleged to be included in Mitchell’s “5 Amazing Kitchen Cabinet Storage Options You Need To See!” on Mitchell’s blog. Howarth seeks injunctive relief, actual or statutory damages, and attorneys fees. The case is before Judge Saylor.
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.