Mitrend, a Marlborough company that provides software and services relating to datacenter infrastructure assessment and performance, accuses EMC and Dell of copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and unfair competition. Mitrend contends that EMC, a wholly-owned Dell subsidiary, began using Mitrend’s analysis service in 2006 under a master services agreement and a number of statements of work, using EMC software for data collection. Mitrend realized that the data collection process could be improved upon, and independently conceived of an automated and accelerated process for data collection that substantially reduced collection times. Mitrend contends that the new software was adopted throughout EMC and became the company’s primary data collection method. Mitrend’s relationship with EMC rapidly grew to several million dollars per year, and EMC did not develop its own competing software. Under the statement of work dealing with this, Mitrend’s software was deemed to remain Mitrend’s property, and all derivative works would belong to Mitrend. Further, a separate software license agreement prohibited reverse engineering of the software by EMC, as well as prohibiting removal of copyright notices. These terms were carried forward in a 2015 agreement between the businesses. In 2017, however, after EMC was acquired by Dell, EMC demanded changes to the license that would include transfer of ownership of the software IP to EMC/Dell. Mitrend refused, and provided notice of termination effective March 2, 2017, although at EMC’s request the parties subsequently agreed to extend the termination date to November 30, 2017. Shortly thereafter, EMC announced the launch of its own competing product. Mitrend contends that EMC sought the extension to develop and deploy its competing software, which it later discovered to be using the same scripts as the Mitrend product, which it alleges EMC copied. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.
Fenway Enterprises runs the “Verb” Hotel, a retro, music-themed hotel located just outside of Fenway Park that opened in 2014. As is mentioned on its website, the name for the hotel was chosen as a shortened form of the musical term “reverb,” as well as for signifying action.
Fenway asserts that Hard Rock’s planned launch of a series of musical themed hotels under the name “Reverb” will infringe its federally-registered “VERB” mark for hotel services, as well as its common law rights in the mark. Hard Rock has filed intent-to-use applications for “Reverb” and “Reverb by Hard Rock” for hotel, restaurant, bar and casino services, and already has a website devoted to the new hotel chain, www.reverbhotels.com. Fenway Enterprises asserts that its hotel’s success hinges on the authenticity of its hotel, which would be harmed by association with the Hard Rock’s “glitzy, overstated chain hotels,” expressly citing a giant, guitar-shaped hotel to be opened by the Hard Rock in Florida that has earned the description “monstrosity that has offended nature itself.” Fenway Enterprises further cites the reality television show Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel as associating the Hard Rock brand with drinking, drug abuse and debauchery. Fenway says that Hard Rock was notified of the Verb Hotel in March, but has thus far refused to rebrand the planned REVERB hotel franchise. In addition to trademark infringement, Fenway asserts violation of Ch. 93A, although it may have difficulty proving that the acts complained of occurred substantially within the Commonwealth – the first REVERB hotel is planned for Atlanta, with a second to follow in California.
Holistic Technologies filed suit against Lumina Group, seeking a declaration that it does not infringe Lumina’s TENDLITE product trade dress. The TENDLITE is a therapy device that uses red light to treat skin conditions such as wrinkles, scars, and the like. Holistic markets its own red light therapy device, the Quantum Rejuvenation device.
In late July, Holistic received a cease-and-desist letter from Quantum, asserting trade dress infringement and asserting that Holistic had copied Lumina’s advertising and packaging. Holistic denies copying the advertising and packaging, and asserts that the product design is generic, has not acquired distinctiveness, and thus unprotectible. Holistic further alleges that Lumina had the Quantum Rejuvenation product removed from Amazon and Google by asserting infringement of Lumina’s trademark in bad faith – Holistic used the mark to reference the Lumina product in a comparative advertisement, which would not constitute infringement. Lumina further posted on Holistic’s Amazon page that Holistic was running inaccurate and illegal advertisements, and is alleged to have posted negative reviews of the Holistic product. Finally, Holistic asserts that Lumina falsely claims that the TENDLITE is patented. In addition to the declaratory judgment claim, Holistic brings affirmative claims of unfair competition, false patent marking and violation of 93A. Holistic seeks an award of Lumina’s profits for the unfair competition claim, as well as its damages and attorneys’ fees. Judge Talwani has the case.
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.
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.
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.
Earthwatch is a non-profit corporation that supports scientific research through “citizen science.” Under this approach, Earthwatch joins ordinary citizens who are concerned about environmental issues together with world-class scientists to conduct environmental surveys and research, such as tracking chimpanzees through the Ugandan forests. Earthwatch has been in existence since 1971, and has won numerous awards and achieved many scientific publications of its work. Earthwatch has operated under a number of federally-registered EARTHWATCH marks in a variety of classes, which have become incontestible. DigitalGlobe is a Colorado company that offers high-resolution satellite imagery of the globe for, among other things, environmental monitoring. Among the products offered by DigitalGlobe is a customizable subscription service under the name “EARTHWATCH.” Earthwatch asserts that DigitalGlobe is thereby infringing its trademarks under both federal and common law, and moreover that the infringement is willful – DigitalGlobe initially operated as “EarthWatch Incorporated,” and changed its corporate name after a cease and desist demand from Earthwatch. In addition to the trademark counts, Earthwatch asserts violation of Ch. 93A. Earthwatch has been a client of my firm, Lando & Anastasi, for many years, and the case was filed by my colleagues Nate Harris and Peter Lando. The case is before Judge Woodlock.