Core Brands, LLC v. Cheung et al. (17-cv-12300).

Core Brands sued Jane Cheung and George Chan, Athome-products.com, AZ Electronics, AV Custom Pro for trademark infringement. Core Brands makes and sells audio, power management and control products under the brand names ATON, BlueBOLT, ELAN, Furman, Korus, Niles, Panamax, Proficient, SpeakerCraft, Sunfire, and Xantech through a network of authorized dealers.  Among other things, Core Brands’ agreement with its authorized dealers prevents the dealers from selling Core Brands products to other retailers or resellers.  The defendants are alleged to sell Core Brands products without authorization, of removing serial numbers from the Core Brands products, which voids the warranty, and of using Core Brands trademarks in advertising the products.  Core Brands brings counts of trademark infringement, counterfeiting, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and tortious interference with contractual relations.  The complaint does not made clear why the suit was brought in Massachusetts, as all parties are alleged to be California residents.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inc. et al. v. Perrigo Company et al. (13-cv-11640).

Judge Zobel denied Perrigo’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law that B&W lacked standing to sue and that U.S. Patent 5,229,137 was anticipated or obvious, but granted Perrigo’s motion that it did not infringe the patent.  The ‘137 Patent is directed to methods of treatment of episodic heartburn that involve co-administration of an antacid and a histamine H2-receptor antagonist in an amount effective to provide “immediate and sustained relief,” which was construed to mean relief that starts within 5-10 minutes and lasts for at least 4-6 hours.  In December of 2016, a jury had found the patent valid and infringed, and awarded B&W $10,210,071 in damages.

Perrigo’s standing objection was based on a requirement that B&W notify its then-licensee, Johnson & Johnson Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals, of the suspected infringement and allow Johnson & Johnson 120 days to file suit before B&W could sue.  Judge Zobel agreed that there was a notice requirement that was not met, but nevertheless found that B&W had standing because the license did not grant all substantial rights to JJMCP, leaving B&W as the owner of the patent.  On the validity issue, Judge Zobel agreed with Perrigo that B&W failed to corroborate its claim to a priority date that predated the filing of the application because B&W presented only unwitnessed lab notebooks as corroboration.  Despite this, she found that the prior art references at issue failed to disclose or teach the “immediate and sustained relief” limitation.  Judge Zobel did, however, rule in Perrigo’s favor on infringement.  B&W did not present direct evidence on how Perrigo’s drug performed, instead relying on Perrigo’s bioequivalence data from its ANDA as proof that it performed the same as JJMCP’s branded Pepcid Complete product.  Accordingly, to prove infringement, B&W had to prove that Pepcid Complete met all of the claim limitations.  Judge Zobel found that the data presented on Pepcid Complete failed to prove that it met the “immediate and sustained relief” limitation because the clinical studies from JJMCP’s FDA submission did not begin with a low enough pH to qualify as “episodic heartburn,” and that the pH data was not correlated with “relief from pain, discomfort, and/or symptoms associated with episodic heartburn” as the claim required.  In light of this, the damages award was overturned.

Anova Applied Electronics, Inc. v. Hong King Group, Ltd. et al. (17-cv-12291).

Anova sued a number of different Chinese businesses for trademark and trade dress infringement related to its Sous Vide Precision Cooker, a constant temperature immersion circulator that cooks food in a sealed bag at a constant temperature in a water bath.

Anova 2Anova designed its product in 2014 using funds generated via a Kickstarter campaign.  Anova registered the mark PRECISION, and asserts that the distinctive design of the product constitutes highly distinctive trade dress.  The product enjoyed considerable success, leading to Anova being purchased by Electrolux for $250 million in February of this year.  Anova asserts that the defendants make nearly-identical replicas and sell them through internet websites such as GlobalSources.com and Alibaba.com, as well as through U.S. distributors.  In addition to infringement, Anova asserts claims for trademark dilution, unfair competition, and false designation of origin.

School Family Media, Inc. v. School Tool Box, LLC (17-cv-12290).

School Family Media (“SFM”) sued School Tool Box (“STB”) under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and the Lanham Act. SFM runs a website, www.teacherlists.com, that allows teachers to list materials their students will need and allows parents to order the materials online by providing connections to school supply vendors.  SFM asserts that, as of November 2017, close to one and a half million supply lists were posted to the site and that the site had attracted nearly six million page views in 2017 alone.  Based on this, and on several awards that the site has received, SFM asserts that the (as-yet unregistered) TeacherLists™ mark is famous.  SFM obtained many similar sounding domain names to prevent others from selecting a domain name too close to its own, but mistakenly allowed its registration of “teacherlist.com” to lapse.  STB, a business that sells school supplies to PTO and PTA organizations, is alleged to have registered “teacherlist.com” and to have that site redirect traffic to its www.schooltoolbox/teacherlist/ site that is alleged to be substantially identical to SFM’s site.  SFM further alleges that the computer source code for the STB site was literally copied from SFM’s site.  Finally, SFM alleges that, after notifying STB of its concerns with the new website, SFM’s Facebook page was merged into a TeacherList Facebook page, believed to have been caused by STB.

Global Licensing, Inc. v. Club Déjà vu Inc. et a. (17-cv-12282).

Global Licensing filed suit against New Bedford’s Club Déjà vu and its owner, Kelvin Ortiz, for infringing on Global’s DÉJÀ VU family of trademarks and service marks in connection with strip clubs. Global licenses the DÉJÀ VU marks to companies throughout America, and apply variants of the mark to goods and electronic magazines.  Global asserts federal service mark infringement, unfair competition, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and common law trademark infringement.

Banertek LLC v. ecobee, Inc. (17-cv-12276).

Banertek sued ecobee, a Canadian company, for infringing U.S. Patent 6,839,731, “System and Method for Providing Data Communication in a Network Device.  Ecobee makes smart wi-fi thermostats and room sensors that, according to the complaint, communicate through a central communication device (e.g., a server) with sensors, heating/air conditioning equipment, and smartphones or tablets in a way that infringes the ‘731 patent.  Direct, contributory and induced infringement are alleged.  The case has been assigned to Judge Saris.

Sobol v. Canavan et al. (17-cv-12275).

Photographer Richard Sobol sued filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler for copyright infringement. Sobol alleges that the defendants, operating as Pack Creek Productions, used a number of Sobol’s photographs of ex-Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank in their 2015 documentary film Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank.  Sobol seeks destruction of all copies of the film and actual and/or statutory damages.  Judge Stearns was assigned to the case.