Endobiotics accuses Design Standards Corporation (DSC) and Medrobotics Corporation of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,147,650, as well as trade secret misappropriation, violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, unfair competition, breach of contract, tortious interference, unjust enrichment and conversion. Endobotics’ predecessor in interest, Cambridge Endoscopic Devices, developed and patented a surgical instrument that improved the manipulative ability of tools affixed to the end of the instrument. Cambridge Endoscopy contracted with DSC to validate the design and manufacture of the instrument. Endobotics alleges that this agreement provided that Cambridge Endoscopy would exclusively own all products, inventions and designs arising from this work, and that the agreement included confidentiality and non-disclosure clauses that protected Cambridge Endoscopy’s trade secrets, although Endobotics acknowledges that it does not have a copy of the agreement. When Cambridge Endoscopy declared bankruptcy, Endobotics acquired the patent as well as Cambridge Endoscopy’s trade secret and know-how related to the instrument. In 2010, Endobotics executed an NDA with Medrobotics to explore producing the instrument for Medrobotics. According to the complaint, Medrobotics ultimately declined to enter into an agreement with Endobotics, and instead approached DSC directly to manufacture a competing system that improperly utilized Cambridge Endoscopy’s trade secret information. Endobotics discovered the Medrobotics system at a 2017 trade show, and further investigation resulted in this lawsuit. The case is before Judge Saylor.
Tile, which sells Bluetooth devices that can be attached to phones, car keys and the like and can be used to find the item to which it has been attached, sued S&W Dealz and Trend Goods, accusing them of infringing its federally-registered “TILE” trademark through their sale of Tile products through on-line commerce sites including Amazon.com. Tile sells its products through authorized resellers, who are limited in the locations and websites that they can offer the products. Authorized resellers are also prohibited from selling or otherwise diverting Tile products to any other party for subsequent resale. While the defendants sell Tile products (apparently liquidated or used), their sale outside of the authorized network are non-genuine in that they are not new (despite being so listed) and do not come with Tile’s warranty. Tile asserted trademark infringement unfair competition and false advertising under the Lanham Act, as well as state law unfair competition.
Tile’s complaint acknowledged that Tile did not know the name and address of either defendant, but did know the Amazon seller identification number for each. Accordingly, the same day that Tile filed the complaint, it filed a motion for alternative service of process, seeking leave to serve them through Amazon’s electronic mail service that the defendants use to communicate with customers. Under Massachusetts state law, which the Federal Rules refer to as an allowable means of service, service by alternative means can be used when a plaintiff cannot find the defendant, the last and usual abode of the defendant, or an agent on whom service can be made. So long as the alternative means of service is reasonably calculated, under the circumstances, to give notice of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to respond, due process is met. Judge Burroughs, who is assigned to the case, agreed and granted the motion for alternative service.
Stock photography company Minden Pictures accuses Find Import of copyright infringement and violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in connection with Find Import’s alleged use of a Minden-controlled photograph on its website. As has been the case with several similar Minden complaints filed in Massachusetts, this complaint alleges copying and removal of copyright management information without providing any suggestion of access and seek full statutory damages for willfulness without factual allegations of the same.
Richard Rogers, who runs Yourfavorite.com., accuses Federation of Exchange Accommodators (FEA) and a number of individuals of having wrongfully taken his copyrighted material for use on its own website. Rogers asserts that FEA’s publication titled “Member Guide to Internal Controls and Procedures for Handling Exchange Funds” contains material duplicated from an article he authored on 2007, titled “Reasons for Return.” He states that the infringement is willful and knowing, and that the Defendants ignored his cease and desist letter. The case is before Judge Casper.
Israeli photographer Sam Mugraby, who operates through his business Photos5.com, accuses UndercoverWear of infringing his copyright in a photograph entitled “Heart in the Sky” by placing a copy of the image in its website. Mugraby asserts copyright infringement and removal of copyright management information.
99 Ranch, an Asian supermarket, operates 53 stores in the United States, including their most recent store in Massachusetts (which just opened in January). The store has utilized a red “99” surrounded by green laurel leaves as a mark, as well as the name “99 RANCH MARKET” for thirty years, and has registrations on both. 99 Ranch asserts that 99 Asian Supermarket opened a store in Malden that utilizes a red 99 surrounded by green laurel leaves in an attempt to capture 99 Ranch customers, and that “99 Asian Supermarket” infringes the 99 RANCH MARKET mark. 99Ranch asserts trademark counterfeiting under 15 U.S.C. 1114(a), state and federal trademark infringement, state and federal unfair competition, and state federal trademark dilution.
Sonohm accuses Superlogics of infringing two patents, U.S. 6,651,207, related to improved voice quality in cordless communications utilizing frequency hopping, and U.S. 7,106,705, which is directed to methods and systems for transmitting data for multiple services via jointly used physical channels. The ‘207 patent is expired, while the ‘705 patent remains in effect only through May 2021. According to the assignment records of the PTO, Sonohm acquired both patents in September 2019, after the ‘207 patent had expired. Since then, Sonohm has filed seventeen infringement suits involving the two patents, nine of which settled within about six months. The case has been assigned to Judge Burroughs.
FabriClear, LLC developed a spray for treating bed bug infestations, and reached an agreement with Harvest Direct by which Harvest would advertise and sell the product, which was known as “FabriClear.” FabriClear asserts that, after several years of complying with the agreements with FabriClear, Harvest began re-labelling the product as “X-Out” and failing to pay FabriClear on sales of the same. FabriClear identifies several examples in which the “X-Out” label was simply superimposed directly over the “FabriClear” label. The complaint further alleges that Harvest essentially copied FabriClear’s label, packaging, website and advertisements for X-Out, including an advertisement in which the FabriClear bottle remained in several segments. FabriClear asserts breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, and false designation of origin, as well as unfair competition. Magistrate Judge Hillman has the case.
(Note – I filed this complaint on behalf of FabriClear. As I always do when reporting on cases in which I and my firm are involved, I blog about the issues presented in the pleadings or orders, and avoid adding any “insider information.”)
Ethic, an investment advisor that specializes in socially aware investing, filed suit against Admirals Bancorp and Ethic Wealth Advisors, LLC, accusing the two of rebranding to the “ETHIC” mark for the provision of similar services. Ethic asserts federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition and unfair trade practices. Ethic further asserts that the infringement was willful, because Admiral’s intent-to-use applications for registration of ETHIC and ETHIC A WEALTH BANK were each refused in light of Ethic’s prior registration. Ethic asserts that, in response to the latter rejection, Admiral misled the PTO as to the differences between the respective services, banking services versus investment advisory services, that rendered confusion unlikely. According to Ethic, at the time of this representation, Admiral had already taken steps to offer investment services under the “Ethic” mark, as evidenced by Admiral’s SEC filings. The case is before Judge Sorokin.
Wildlife Acoustics makes bioacoustics monitoring technology used to monitor various animal species around the world. This technology can supplement or replace other, more manpower-intensive monitoring methods. Wildlife’s recorder design allowed for a significant reduction in power usage, enabling the use of much smaller batteries and a smaller and lighter recording device that is considerably easier to pack into remote locations. Wildlife accuses Australia’s Frontier Labs of infringing its U.S. Patent No. 7,782,195, which covers these recording devices, through the sale of competing BAR audio recording devices. Judge O’Toole has been assigned to the case, which was filed by my firm, Lando & Anastasi.