Exxon Mobile filed suit against Ayer, Massachusetts business Turbo Lube, accusing the repair shop of trademark infringement, dilution, counterfeiting, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. Exxon Mobile asserts a number of trademarks, including the “MOBILE” mark in red and blue, the red Pegasus mark, and “Mobile 1 Lube Express.” Exxon Mobile accuses Turbo Lube of misusing these marks in its on-site advertising, website, and even on the employees’ uniforms, and of ignoring Exxon Mobile’s cease and desist demand letter. Exxon Mobile seeks a finding of willful infringement, and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief as well as monetary damages.
Cynthia Foss, a graphic designer who has filed a number of pro se copyright suits in Massachusetts, filed suit against Spencer Brewery in July a day after filing a demand for arbitration on the same claims, and subsequently moved to compel arbitration. Judge Hollman denied Foss’ motion, finding her voluntary filing of suits in Federal Court to constitute a waiver of any arbitration rights she might have had. Judge Hillman noted that Foss had filed two civil actions against Spencer Brewery, had litigated for more than a year without seeking to require arbitration, and had had judgment entered against her in both litigations before filing the demand for arbitration – Judge Hillman granted both a motion to dismiss and a motion for judgment on the pleadings after Foss failed to oppose either, apparently thinking that Spencer Brewery still needed to, and failed to, answer the two complaints.
Music licensing giant BMI asserts that The Steel Pub of Athol, Massachusetts allows musical compositions to be performed without paying the appropriate licensing fees. BMI claims to have contacted the pub more than twenty times over the past three years, and asserts that the infringement was therefor willful.
Judge Saris denied Bassett’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the release of the accused films. The case was brought by Leah Bassett, a Martha’s Vineyard artist who rented her home to the defendants, who used the home as the setting for pornographic films. Bassett asserted copyright infringement, base don her original artworks in the house being displayed in the films. She filed suit nearly three years after discovering that the defendants were filming at her house, and first sought preliminary injunctive relief nearly eighteen months after filing suit. Judge Saris determined that Bassett could not make the requisite element of irreparable harm. She cited several reasons – Bassett had disavowed claims for actual damages and sought only statutory damages; all of the copyrighted articles were personal belongings not for sale, eliminating many of the categories of irreparable harm (reputational harm, tarnishment, dilution) that might exist for items that were the subject of commerce; the minimal use of the copyrighted material in the films; and Bassett’s delays in filing suit and then seeking the injunction, which undercuts the notion of irreparable harm. Judge Saris further noted that the Defendants had agreed to voluntarily remove all the films and photographs shot in Bassett’s home from distribution, leaving only bootleg copies that an injunction would not address in distribution.
Judge Saylor overruled Palomar’s objections to the Magistrate Judge Bowler’s order partially granting MRSI’s motion to compel, finding that her ruling was not clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. The discovery dispute surrounded the selection of search terms to search e-mail, that Palomar contended were over-broad and would result in a significant number of documents not related to the litigation and would result in the production sensitive personal information, in violation of the California state constitution. Judge Saylor found no reason that the constitution of the state should impact discovery in a federal case and based on federal, not California, law, and further determined that the argument was waived as not having been raised in the written responses to the discovery requests. Judge Saylor did, however, permit Palomar to submit for in camera review any specific documents for which it contends that the laws of California should control discovery (despite the case arising under federal patent law) and that the privacy concern was not waived.
Music licensing entity BMI sued Sterling, MA’s Black Sheep Tavern in the Worcester Division of the District of Massachusetts, accusing Black Sheep of infringing a number of music copyrights though live and DJ performances that take place at the Tavern. BMI asserts that it contacted Black Sheep Tavern over 80 times seeking to have the Tavern take a license prior to filing suit. BMI seeks statutory damages and attorneys’ fees as well as injunctive relief.
Globys sued Sorriso, asserting that Sorriso’s Smart Suite infringes a pair of patents relating to computer-implemented digital invoicing. A review of the exemplary claims in the complaint suggests that the patents may have an Alice eligibility problem; claim 1 of U.S. 7,996,310, the first of the asserted patents, essentially recites a “computer-implemented method” comprising receiving billing information that includes a plurality of individual transactions; receiving selection of parameters for customizing an analysis of the billing information; analyzing the billing information using the parameters provided; and producing a report. The exemplary ”computing system” claim 1 of the second patent, a continuation of the ‘310 patent, includes no meaningful technical limitations, reciting an “analysis engine” and “user interface” as the sole components and describing the system in functional terms. The patent was filed in 2000 and issued in 2011, several years before the Supreme Court’s June 19, 2014 Alice decision on patent eligibility. While the second patent, U.S. 8,930,252, issued in January 2015, prosecution closed and a notice of allowance was sent in April 2014, again prior to the Alice decision.