Audio company Kicker sued Techtronics, theXmarketing.com, and Amazon resellers Techtronics Inc. and Amazing Dealzzz, accusing the defendants of improperly selling Kicker products, using Kicker trademarks, and altering or removing serial numbers from Kicker products that they were selling. Kicker uses the registered KICKER mark on audio components, primarily speakers, that it sells through authorized resellers. It asserts that the defendants, who are not authorized resellers, are nonetheless selling Kicker speakers bearing the KICKER trademark. The defendants did not receive Kicker training in proper installation of its speakers, and speakers sold through defendants do not come with Kicker’s warranty. Thus, according to the complaint, the defendants’ KICKER goods are materially different than those of Kicker and its authorized resellers. Kicker brings claims of trademark infringement, tortious interference with business relations in connection with defendants receiving inventories of Kicker speakers from authorized Kicker dealers, and unfair competition. It is not clear why Kicker chose to file suit in Massachusetts, given that it is an Oklahoma corporation and it asserts that defendants are located in California. The case is before Judge Zobel.
DiscoverOrg, a company that provides business-to-business marketing data, sued Timlin Enterprises for copyright infringement. DiscoverOrg provides its marketing information to customers through a password-protected on-line user interface. According to the complaint, a Timlin employee accessed the database while employed by a licensed company, downloaded the data, and took it with him when he moved on to work for Timlin. A second person, meanwhile, who worked with the first accessed the database from their new, licensed company, and the data made its way to the first employee now working for Timlin. DiscoverOrg asserts that Timlin knowingly used the misappropriated data in marketing efforts. In addition to copyright infringement, DiscoverOrg asserts federal and state trade secret misappropriation (the state claim under Washington law, as DiscoverOrg is a Washington-based company), unjust enrichment, tortious interference with contractual relations, negligence for failure to properly train and supervise its employees regarding misappropriation of trade secrets, and violation of Ch. 93A. The case was assigned to Judge Zobel.
Global merchandising, who had exclusive rights to the OZZY OSBOURNE mark, filed a preemptive trademark suit in advance of Osbourne’s upcoming show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. Global seeks a TRO and preliminary injunction prohibiting the unknown defendants from making, distributing or selling merchandise bearing the mark or Osbourne’s likeness. As with the majority of these types of cases, Judge Zobel has been assigned to handle this matter.
Three Ten Merchandising, a concert merchandising company for Beyonce, sued unnamed persons and corporations to preempt sales of counterfeit merchandise bearing any of Beyonce’s registered or pending trademarks – BEYONCE, BEYHIVE, BEYGOOD, #BEYGOOD, and YONCE – at or around Gillette Stadium during her August 5th concert. Three Ten seeks an injunction and an order that U.S. Marshalls and local and state police seize and impound any such merchandise. This preemptive, effectively ex-parte mechanism is permitted under 1984 amendments to the Lanham Act. Judge Zobel, who has been assigned to the case, seems to be the Massachusetts judge for such matters – she has had a number of similar cases involving artists such as Pink, Coldplay, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga .
Jaho sued Adagio Teas for infringement of Jaho’s ZODIAC TEA trademark. Jaho began using the mark in 2004 and obtained an incontestable federal registration on the mark. Jaho asserts that Adagio Teas sells a line of tea blends that it calls “the Zodiac Series,” and uses “Zodiac” and “Zodiac Gifts” on its website in connection with tea blends. Jaho brings claims of state and federal trademark infringement and unfair competition. The case is assigned to Judge Zobel.
Judge Zobel, having issued a claim construction that rendered Emseal’s infringement position unfeasible, issued a final judgment of non-infringement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). MM Systems had opposed Emseal’s motion for entry of final judgment of non-infringement on the grounds that, absent a tolling of the statute of limitations on its counterclaims, it would most likely lose the ability to pursue those claims. Emseal had sought to have the counterclaims dismissed with or without prejudice, or in the alternative to enter final judgment under Rule 54(b) and stay the counterclaims. MM Systems was concerned that, with the litigation having been filed in 2014, a dismissal of its counterclaims would result in their not being capable of being refiled, as a dismissed complaint is treated as though it never existed for Federal statute of limitations purposes, and provides for refiling within one year for state statute of limitations purposes. MM Systems also asserted that the Federal Circuit would not accept jurisdiction if the counterclaims were stayed rather than dismissed (although I note that the principal case cited for this proposition, Pause Technology v. TiVo, notes that the Federal Circuit lacks jurisdiction in such circumstances “short of meeting the conditions specified in Rule 54(b)…”). Judge Zobel stayed any activity relating to the counterclaims pending the outcome of the appeal.
Oomph Hair filed suit against Hair Illusions and its founder, Salvatore Passariello, accusing them of infringing Oomph’s trademark, cybersquatting, falsely disparaging Oomph products, and other forms of unfair competition, as well as seeking declaratory judgment that Hair Illusion’s “hairline enhancement” trademark application is invalid as merely descriptive. Hair Illusions is purported to control 90% of the real hair fiber market (real hair fiber is, as near as I can tell, small hair fibers, that are temporarily adhered to natural hair, making thinning hair look fuller). Oomph claims that Hair Illusions uses unfair and tortious means to maintain this market share, such as threatening Oomph and Oomph customers with patent lawsuits, despite having no patent to assert (Passariello had a pair of application undergoing prosecution at the time; they have since gone abandoned). Oomph also asserts that Hair Illusion registered domain names confusingly similar to Oomph’s registered HAIR FUSION trademark, which disparage Oomph’s product (e.g., alleging that the product contains parasites) and redirect customers to Hair Illusion’s on-line store. Oomph seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, transferal of the offending domain names, and monetary damages. Oomph filed a motion for a preliminary injunction concurrently with the filing of the complaint. Judge Zobel scheduled a hearing on the motion for March 28.