Vitaminsea LLC v. BeautyMark.International, LLC (D. Me. 20-cv-00284).

Vitaminsea accuses BeautyMark of infringing its federally-registered VITAMINSEA trademark.  Vitaminsea manufactures bath and beauty products that utilize seaweed as a key ingredient, and has used the VITAMINSEA mark on such goods continuously since 2011.  BeautyMark  also makes beauty products containing seaweed, and at some point adopted VITAMINSEA.BEAUTY as a mark.  BeautyMark sought to register this mark in 2018, but abandoned the application after receiving a rejection over Vitaminsea’s mark.  Vitaminsea asserts that BeautyMark nevertheless continues to use the mark on similar products that are sold through similar channels of trade, including via Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores.  Vitaminsea points to instances of actual confusion, where consumers contacted Vitaminsea looking for assistance with BeautyMark products.  Vitaminsea also asserts unfair competition under the Lanham Act.

Fitzpatrick v. Kulesh et al. (D. Me. 20-cv-00247).

Brad Timothy Fitzpatrick, who does business as “207 Threads,” sells printed t-shirts and stickers bearing original designs.  He obtained a copyright registration on a recent design of a skull wearing a gas mask, surrounded by “Essential Worker COVID-19 2020.  He accuses Victoryia Kulesh, who does business through an Amazon storefront known as “Tuopedia,” and Katsiaryna Dulevich, who operates the storefront “Katyalike,” of selling stickers that infringe this design.  He asserts that Kulesh and Dulevich, who are each alleged to reside in Minsk, Belarus, consented to personal jurisdiction in Maine, although he does not indicate how.  Fitzpatrick claims the accused stickers are either direct copies or derivative works that infringe, and seeks monetary and injunctive relief.  Judge Woodcock has been assigned the case.

Toddle Inn Franchising, LLC v. KPJ Associates, LLC et al. (D. ME. 18-cv-00293).

Toddle Inn, a franchisor of educational and day care service, sued former franchisee KPJ Associates in 2018, asserting breach of contract, Lanham Act unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation in connection with KPJ’s continuing use of the Toddle Inn marks and materials.  The parties were ordered to arbitration pursuant to the franchise agreement.  On March 31, 2020, following completion of the arbitration process, Judge Levy confirmed the arbitration award and deemed it a final judgment.  A writ of execution to enforce the judgment was entered on May 7, 2020, followed a day later by KPJ’s filing of an emergency motion to quash the writ and asserting that the judgment was not yet final, in that the time to appeal had not yet passed.  Judge Levy granted KPJ’s motion.  He determined that General Order 2020-2, which the Court had issued on March 18th in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and which extended all deadlines in civil cases by thirty days, applied to deadlines for appeals to the First Circuit.  This pushed the deadline for KPJ to appeal from the original April 30, 2020 date to May 30th, making the writ premature.  He rejected Toddle Inn’s contention that any extension of the deadline for appeal must originate from the First Circuit, noting that Fed. R. App. P 4, which governs the time for appeal, expressly permits district courts to extend the deadline.  Further, under that Rule, if a party moves to extend the deadline for appeal within 30 days of its passing and demonstrates excusable neglect or good cause, the deadline can be extended regardless of whether General Order 2020-2 automatically did so.  KPJ orally requested extension at a May 12th videoconference hearing, within 30 days of the initial April 30th deadline, and demonstrated good cause in that the plain wording of the General Order supported KPJ’s belief that the deadline had been extended.   Thus, either way, KPJ’s motion to quash the writ of execution would be granted.

Note – While this blog has thus far focused exclusively on intellectual property in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, I am expanding the scope to cover northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) as well.  The name of the blog will remain the same.