B Luxe, Inc. v. B Luxe Aesthetics LLC et al. (18-cv-11988).

B. Luxe, a Medway hair salon, accuses Belmont’s B Luxe Aesthetics and Bianca Jacqueline Paraison of infringing its registered “B. LUXE” trademark in connection with hair and skin products and services. While the complaint does not clarify, it seems that Ms. Paraison is the owner of B Luxe Aesthetics. In addition to federal trademark and unfair competition claims, B. Luxe brings counts for state and common-law trademark infringement and unfair and deceptive trade practices under 93A.

Barth v. United States (18-cv-12001).

Maine resident John S. Barth, Jr., filed a pro se complaint against the United States and several individual defendants in connection with Barth’s alleged copyright infringement claims. Barth wrote a novel, The National Memorial, which was published in 2015. After sales were flat, Barth discovered a number of outlets offering low or no-cost digital versions on-line. In 2017, Barth instituted a lawsuit against several individuals and companies in the Central District of California, claiming copyright infringement and violation of the Racketeer influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). He sought to file the complaint under seal, and to undertake RICO-related discovery under seal to ascertain the entities or individuals who owned and operated the relevant websites, most of which were registered under false names, and the locations of their servers. He also filed a motion for discovery assistance, seeking assistance from federal agencies in obtaining this information. Judge Olguin denied the request that the complaint and discovery-related documents be accepted under seal and published the documents on PACER. Judge Olguin denied several follow-up motions to seal the information as well as a motion to disqualify himself. Barth now claims that the actions of Judge Olguin constitute willful collusion with the defendants in that it allowed them to transfer evidence and funds outside of the jurisdiction of the United States, denying Barth just compensation for his claims. Barth presses copyright infringement claims and RICO violations against the individual defendants, and brings a count against the United States for compensation for the taking of his private property, namely (as near as I can decipher) his right to bring the California case under seal. Judge Stearns has the pleasure of untangling this mess.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. PMN II, LLC et al. (18-cv-30150).

Mass. Mutual sued Chuck Yeager, his wife, PMN II and III  (partnerships involving the Yeagers – the name allegedly stands for “Protect My Name”), and a corporation and foundation owned and run by the Yeagers, seeking a declaration that Mass. Mutual has not violated Yeager’s rights of publicity, rights of privacy, trademark rights in the Chuck Yeager mark, and a determination of which defendant owns the rights in Yeager’s name. According to the complaint, Victoria Yeager has demanded that Mass. Mutual make payment for alleged violations of Yeager’s right of publicity. Her claim is based on an article written by a Mass. Mutual employee and published by BenefitsPRO, a trade journal, that made one use of Yeager’s name in an analogy likening the breakthrough of increased sales of group life insurance to the breaking of the sound barrier. After Victoria Yeager complained, Yeager’s name was removed from the article; Mrs. Yeager, who is Chuck Yeager’s legal guardian following his being deemed incompetent, persisted in demanding payment. Mass. Mutual asserts that Victoria Yeager was deemed to be a vexatious litigant by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California for repeated frivolous right of publicity filings.  Specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants is alleged to exist through the defendants’ repeated contacts with Mass. Mutual in connection with Yeager’s publicity rights as well as through the defendants’ operation of a “highly interactive” website, www.chuckyeager.com, that is available in Massachusetts and through a gofundme page alleged to have been set up by the defendants to create a Chuck Yeager documentary.

Global Merchandising Services, Ltd. v. Various John Does et al. (18-cv-11861).

Global merchandising, who had exclusive rights to the OZZY OSBOURNE mark, filed a preemptive trademark suit in advance of Osbourne’s upcoming show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. Global seeks a TRO and preliminary injunction prohibiting the unknown defendants from making, distributing or selling merchandise bearing the mark or Osbourne’s likeness. As with the majority of these types of cases, Judge Zobel has been assigned to handle this matter.

Sadowski v. EH Publishing Inc. et al. (18-cv-11819).

Professional photographer Christopher Sadowski accuses EH Publishing of infringing a copyright in his photograph of a gas leak explosion at a New York high school that was originally published by the New York Post in 2015. Sadowski alleges that EH Publishing utilized the photograph in an article on the explosion that appeared in print and on-line versions of EH Publishing’s Campus Safety Magazine, and of removing the attribution to Sadowski that appeared in the Post article.

Fotohaus, LLC v. Invested Development, LLC et al. (18-cv-11813) and Tocci Building Corp. (18-cv-11814).

Fotohaus accuses investment management firm Invested Development of infringing the copyright in a photograph of hands holding a lit lightbulb taken by Fotohaus manager Daniel Foster in connection with a webpage on sustainable energy, and of refusing to take the photograph down despite numerous requests. Fotohaus also sued Tocci, accusing the construction management firm of infringing its copyright in a photograph of a sandwich in connection with an article on packing a lunch for health and financial benefits. Fotohaus asserts alteration of digital copyright management information as well as copyright infringement.

Lickerish, Ltd. v. Rue La La, Inc. et al. (18-cv-11783) and Metro Boston, LLC et al. (18-cv-11790).

Lickerish is a British photographic syndication company that licenses professional photographs worldwide. Lickerish accuses on-line clothing retailer Rue La La of infringing its copyright in an Andrea Carter Bowman photograph of Lottie Moss, sister of supermodel Kate Moss, and of altering the digital copyright management information associated with the photograph, and accuses Metro Boston of infringing its copyright in a Richard Guaty photograph of model and Baywatch actress Kelly Rohrbach. Judge Gorton has both cases.