Massachusetts strip club owners beware – an IP firm is scouring advertising that falsely suggests that models are appearing at, or otherwise sponsoring, local establishments. The five cases here include These suits, which include more than thirty different plaintiffs (some of whom appear in several cases) follow the Mitcheson suit earlier this month, and include counts for false advertising and false association, rights of privacy and publicity, statutory unauthorized use of an individual’s name, portrait or picture, conversion, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit and negligence.
Ecobee filed suit against another set of Amazon sellers, accusing each of reselling ecobee products and using ecobee trademarks without authorization. As with its previous complaints, ecobee asserts that the defendants improperly acquire ecobee goods from authorized resellers who are contractually prohibited from selling to unauthorized sellers, and that the sales by defendants, which come without warranty and are not subject to the same quality controls as that of authorized sellers, render their offerings materially different than ecobee’s products as to render the use of the ecobee marks inappropriate. These are the latest in a series of such suits filed by ecobee in the District of Massachusetts
Motus, a mobile workforce and fleet management company headquartered in Boston, sued Event Solutions for infringement of its federally-registered MOTUS trademark. According to the complaint, Event Solutions rebranded itself as “Motus One” in September 2018, and provides similar consulting services for parking, transportation, and the like. Motus alleges that, following a cease and desist letter, Event Solutions agreed to transition away from the “Motus One” name by the end of June, 2019. Despite this, Event Solutions continues to use the “Motus One” name and has indicated an intention to keep it. Motus brings counts for breach of contract (relating to the agreement to cease use of the mark), federal and state trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition, and injury to business reputation.
Nuance, a designer of automated speech recognition (ASR) and transcription technologies, accuses Greek company Omilia of infringing eight patents related to ASR and conversational interactive voice response systems. Nuance states that Omilia was a licensee of the technology for use outside of the United States, but continued using the technology when the license terminated, subsequently expanding into the U.S. Nuance further alleges that Omilia was put on specific notice of the patents-in-suit by letter of October 8, 2018, but has refused to substantively respond or cease its activity.
A number of models, including first-named plaintiff Dessie Mitcheson, sued Springfield’s Aquarius Nightclub and its owner for false advertising and false association under the Lanham Act, as well as common law and statutory right of privacy, common law right of publicity and statutory unauthorized use of an individual’s name, portrait or picture in connection with the nightclub’s alleged use of photographs of the models in their advertising and promotional material. The models, who model for magazines such as Maxim, Stuff, Playboy and Glamour and appear in music videos, advertisements, assert that their being falsely associated with Aquarius, a strip club, injures their professional reputations and was done without their knowledge or consent and without payment. In addition to the above claims, the plaintiffs bring counts for conversion, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit and negligence.
Fantastic Sams accuses former Georgia franchisee Talukders of continuing to use Fantastic Sams’ trademarks following termination of the franchise agreement. Talukders became a franchisee in 2017, when it purchased the salon of a Sams franchisee. As part of the franchise agreement, Talkuders would be permitted to only offer, use and sell products and services that were prescribed or approved by Sams. According to the complaint, Fantastic Sams terminated the franchise agreement for cause when it discovered that Talukders was operating “unlicensed medical spas” in the franchised salons. Rather than cease using the registered marks, Sams asserts that Talukders transferred ownership of the salons to co-defendants Paula Gomez and Michelle Scott, who continue to use the “Fantastic Sams” marks or a “Fantastic Salon and Spa” mark that is asserted to be confusingly similar. Fantastic Sams asserts trademark infringement, unfair competition and breach of contract, and seeks specific performance on the contract claim.
John Epstein again sued Miller Brothers Furniture for copyright infringement related to the unauthorized use of promotional material he created for the company. Epstein had filed suit in April, alleging breach of contract in addition to copyright infringement, and Miller Brothers counterclaimed with interference with advantageous business relations and unfair competition claims. Epstein sought to add a second registration by amended complaint, but subsequently withdrew the amended complaint because the second registration had not issued prior to the initial filing of the complaint. This new complaint alleges infringement of both the new registration and the registration that was asserted in the original complaint, meaning the first registration is being asserted in both cases (although joinder of the two cases would resolve that issue). As with the initial case, this case is before Judge Mastroianni.