Matthew Chatham sued building company Canterbury Ventures, its owner Daniel Lewis, and real estate agent Patricia Bergevine for infringing his copyright in a house design. Mr. Chatham developed a set of custom plans for the design of a house, and has since registered his “architectural work” with the U.S. Copyright Office. He gave Canterbury permission to use the custom plans for the sole purpose of building the house for him on a lot that Canterbury was to purchase. Canterbury did not complete the house by the contracted closing date, and seven months later still had not completed the house. Mr. Chatham and his wife had earlier sued for breach of contract in state court. He filed this copyright case after learning that Canterbury was showing the partially-constructed house through defendant Bergevine, a real estate agent. The Chathams also obtained a lis pendens order, which in Massachusetts is recorded at the registry of deeds and puts prospective buyers on notice of the lawsuit, effectively clouding title on the real estate. Chatham seeks an order preventing sale of the house, that the house be placed in a constructive trust, and monetary damages and attorneys’ fees. (Full disclosure – Mr. Chatham is represented by Nathan Harris and John Anastasi of my firm, Lando & Anastasi LLP).
Capsule Collective filed suit against Tilt Lacrosse, alleging willful infringement of the “TILT” trademark and various stylized “TILT” marks and seeking cancellation of defendant’s Registration No. 4,818,851 for the “TILT” mark on t-shirts, hats, and other clothing. Capsule Collective claims to have first used the mark in commerce on clothing, hats, push scooters, and scooter accessories before Tilt Lacrosse’s first use in commerce. Additionally, Capsule Collective claims trademark and trade dress infringement, false designation of origin, passing off, violation of the Lanham Act and violation of M.G.L. 93A. It further seeks cancellation of Defendant’s “TILT” registration.
The Life Is Good Company filed another suit against a company allowing users to design and sell t-shirts and the like, this time going after the company behind www.teespring.com. The allegations are virtually identical to the complaint mentioned yesterday against Viral Style.
The Life Is Good Company sued Florida-based Viral Style LLC for trademark infringement, unfair competition, counterfeiting, and passing off. Viral Style operates www.viralstyle.com, which allowing users to design and sell their own t-shirts, hats, mugs and the like. Life Is Good alleges that Viral Style’s users have infringed it incontestable registration to “LIFE IS GOOD” and that Viral Style itself has infringed the mark by making the shirts designed by its users. Life Is Good further contests that Viral Style’s “Intellectual Property Complaint Policy” does not meet the safe harbor requirements of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DCMA”) because it provides no method for screening a design to ensure it does not infringe another’s intellectual property rights and does not bar repeat offenders from the site, and in any event that the DCMA safe harbor provisions apply only to copyright, and not to trademark claims.
Framingham, Massachusetts’ Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. filed separate patent infringement lawsuits, one against GeneAlign, LLC (17-cv-11412) and the other against Genelex Corp. (17-cv-11416). Both suits allege infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,455,194, titled “Diagnostic Methods” and directed to methods for detecting the susceptibility of an individual to statin-induced myopathy, and the plaintiff alleges itself to be the exclusive licensee with the “first right” to sue for infringement. Plaintiff alleges direct and induced infringement.
A complaint was filed by David Oppenheimer and his company, Performance Impressions, LLC, against CIEE, Inc., alleging misuse of an aerial photograph of the Isle of Palms in South Carolina taken by Mr. Oppenheimer. CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange) is an organization that runs study abroad programs. CIEE is accused of using one of Mr. Oppenheimer’s photographs on its website without authorization.
Merchant Consulting sells payment processing technology equipment and services. It accuses the defendants of infringing its registered stylized mark, Registration No. 3,556,016, which is a gray “M” in a blue and green circle imposed over a gray arrowhead, with the company’s name to its right. It alleges that it also operates under its initials, MCG. Merchant Consulting alleges that the defendants run fraudulent merchant processing companies that misappropriate its “Merchant Consulting Group” and/or “MCG” marks, resulting in actual confusion. Indeed, one example of confusion cited was that the Consumer Protection Division of Missouri opened a complaint against the plaintiff, mistaking it for the defendant. Merchant Consulting charges trademark infringement, unfair competition, and cyberpiracy under the Lanham Act based on defendants’ use of the domain name “www.choosemcg.com.”