Judge Zobel has been assigned yet another case involving pre-emptive blocking of the sale of bootleg concert merchandise, this time involving an upcoming show by Post Malone. In addition to the POST MALONE trademark, the artist has registrations on POSTY CO, POSTY, POSTY FEST and SHABOINK. Malone is playing the TD Garden later this week, and Bravado (who is licensed to sell Malone merchandise) looks to prevent bootleggers from selling merchandise bearing the Malone marks.
Mitrend, a Marlborough company that provides software and services relating to datacenter infrastructure assessment and performance, accuses EMC and Dell of copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and unfair competition. Mitrend contends that EMC, a wholly-owned Dell subsidiary, began using Mitrend’s analysis service in 2006 under a master services agreement and a number of statements of work, using EMC software for data collection. Mitrend realized that the data collection process could be improved upon, and independently conceived of an automated and accelerated process for data collection that substantially reduced collection times. Mitrend contends that the new software was adopted throughout EMC and became the company’s primary data collection method. Mitrend’s relationship with EMC rapidly grew to several million dollars per year, and EMC did not develop its own competing software. Under the statement of work dealing with this, Mitrend’s software was deemed to remain Mitrend’s property, and all derivative works would belong to Mitrend. Further, a separate software license agreement prohibited reverse engineering of the software by EMC, as well as prohibiting removal of copyright notices. These terms were carried forward in a 2015 agreement between the businesses. In 2017, however, after EMC was acquired by Dell, EMC demanded changes to the license that would include transfer of ownership of the software IP to EMC/Dell. Mitrend refused, and provided notice of termination effective March 2, 2017, although at EMC’s request the parties subsequently agreed to extend the termination date to November 30, 2017. Shortly thereafter, EMC announced the launch of its own competing product. Mitrend contends that EMC sought the extension to develop and deploy its competing software, which it later discovered to be using the same scripts as the Mitrend product, which it alleges EMC copied. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.
Photographer Alexander Stross accuses Lenox, Massachusetts construction company Allegrone of using one of his photographs extensively on its website, and of removing copyright management information in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The case was immediately transferred to the Western Division.
Fenway Enterprises runs the “Verb” Hotel, a retro, music-themed hotel located just outside of Fenway Park that opened in 2014. As is mentioned on its website, the name for the hotel was chosen as a shortened form of the musical term “reverb,” as well as for signifying action.
Fenway asserts that Hard Rock’s planned launch of a series of musical themed hotels under the name “Reverb” will infringe its federally-registered “VERB” mark for hotel services, as well as its common law rights in the mark. Hard Rock has filed intent-to-use applications for “Reverb” and “Reverb by Hard Rock” for hotel, restaurant, bar and casino services, and already has a website devoted to the new hotel chain, www.reverbhotels.com. Fenway Enterprises asserts that its hotel’s success hinges on the authenticity of its hotel, which would be harmed by association with the Hard Rock’s “glitzy, overstated chain hotels,” expressly citing a giant, guitar-shaped hotel to be opened by the Hard Rock in Florida that has earned the description “monstrosity that has offended nature itself.” Fenway Enterprises further cites the reality television show Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel as associating the Hard Rock brand with drinking, drug abuse and debauchery. Fenway says that Hard Rock was notified of the Verb Hotel in March, but has thus far refused to rebrand the planned REVERB hotel franchise. In addition to trademark infringement, Fenway asserts violation of Ch. 93A, although it may have difficulty proving that the acts complained of occurred substantially within the Commonwealth – the first REVERB hotel is planned for Atlanta, with a second to follow in California.
Ohio State Innovation Foundation, which holds title to intellectual property developed by and for The Ohio State University, brought suit against Akamai, accusing the company of infringing U.S. Patent No. 9,531,522, which covers systems and methods for proactive resource allocation by which an algorithm monitors mobile user device history to automatically provide information that any particular user repeatedly requests during off-peak hours. Dr. El Gamal, the lead inventor and OSU professor, approached Akamai in 2013 about licensing the patent. Dr. El Gamal’s company, Inmobly, Inc., executed an NDA with Akamai and provided demonstration software. Akamai ultimately turned down the license, and subsequently filed its own patent application on similar technology. OSU filed suit when Akamai released its version.
Akamai moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), asserting that OSU did not (and could not) make a plausible assertion that Akamai’s software involves the machine learning required by the claims of the ‘522 patent. Judge Burroughs disagreed, however, finding Akamai’s own publications describing its software map out to the ‘522 specification and identify “machine-learning-based algorithms,” and that therefore the complaint states a legally sufficient claim of patent infringement. Accordingly, she denied Akamai’s motion.
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.