Photographer Morgan Howarth specializes in interior architectural photography. Howarth accuses Mitchell Construction Group of copying a Howarth photograph of a kitchen cabinet and using it without license on Mitchell’s website. Specifically, the photograph is alleged to be included in Mitchell’s “5 Amazing Kitchen Cabinet Storage Options You Need To See!” on Mitchell’s blog. Howarth seeks injunctive relief, actual or statutory damages, and attorneys fees. The case is before Judge Saylor.
Judge Saris denied defendant NetApp’s motion for leave to amend and supplement its invalidity contentions for failure to demonstrate good cause as required by the local rules. NetApp, who was sued separately from Lenovo and EMC but whose case was joined, failed to connect its proposed amendment to the claim construction ruling, and waited a year between discovering the new prior art and seeking to amend. Given this, and that fact discovery is now complete and expert disclosures are imminently due, Judge Saris determined that the case “is aging and needs resolution.”
Colorado-based PMG sells aftermarket auto parts online. It publishes copyrighted advertising listings in electronic format on Amazon, eBay, and others in connection with this. PMG accuses Texas individuals Jose Martinez Ramos and Noemi Martinez, who are alleged to do business as Customz Liners, of copying verbatim its listings on competing Amazon and eBay sites. PMG identifies a number of its listings that were put up in November 2017 and were alleged to be copied in whole or in large part by the defendants. PMG seeks actual or statutory damages and injunctive relief.
CadioNet sought to sever the patents that were found to be directed to ineligible subject matter from the remainder of the case, which remains to go to trial, so that the ruling on the two patents could be immediately appealed. Judge Talwani determined that, given the posture of the case, Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) should apply, rather than Rule 21 as had been argued by CardioNet. Noting the “long-settled and prudential policy against the scattershot disposition of litigation,” Judge Talwani determined that CardioNet’s decision to bring all four patent claims in a single action, “presumably based on its view that the claims are related and involve common sets of fact and law,” mitigate against entry of separate judgment on the two invalidated patents. She did note that CardioNet had a different pair of related patents that were invalidated on Alice grounds at the District Court level (also by Judge Talwani), and that she would likely have granted severance if CardioNet had sought it at the time the appeal on those patents was filed; but as the appeal in that case has been fully briefed, severing the claims in the current case would result in three different litigation tracks. Accordingly, CardioNet’s motion to sever was denied.
Tyger manufacturing sued Timothy Jacobs, who is said to do business as The Glass Blunt Store or G.B.S., accusing Jacobs of infringing Tyger’s copyright in “loading instructions” for glass smoking products having a screw-like insert that allows for the removal of spent ash. Tyger asserts that the instructions are included with four different G.B.S. products and are found throughout the G.B.S. website, and seeks injunctive relief and an accounting of sales of the four products. It is unclear why Tyger, a California company, sued Jacobs, who is alleged to have a principal place of business in Denver, in Massachusetts; personal jurisdiction and venue are alleged solely on alleged sales of products into the Commonwealth. Tyger is represented in the case by Massachusetts counsel, but has filed lawsuits over the past several years in a number of different jurisdictions, and appears to have already sued Jacobs in his home state of Colorado in 2018, accusing him of infringing design and utility patents relating to glass smoking devices. In October 2018, that complaint was amended to bring copyright infringement counts, although it appears that while an application had been filed, the copyright registration had not yet issued as of the amended complaint. That case subsequently settled.
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.
BMI, an entity that manages licensing and copyright fees for 14 million copyrighted musical compositions, filed suit against The Establishment, a bar/restaurant/function room in Chelmsford, as well as its manager and members. According to the complaint, BMI had reached out to The Establishment more than 40 times in the past year, demanding that the bar either cease and desist the public performance of BMI-controlled music or pay the appropriate license permitting such performance. When no response was received, BMI filed suit, alleging infringement of eight BMI-controlled songs on April 26, 2019. BMI seeks statutory damages plus attorneys’ fees.