Under Armour, Victoria’s Secret: Intellectual Property

A successful patent challenge the coupon website Groupon Inc. brought against Mobgob LLC and CY Technology Troup LLC was confirmed by a federal appeals court.

In its July 13, the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower-court holding that patent 7,672,897 was invalid. The court affirmed the lower court without issuing an opinion.

The disputed patent, issued in March 2012, was related to a method of community purchasing.

Groupon’s case was argued by David W. Abel of Chicago-based DLA Piper LLP. Cy Technology Group and Mob Gob’s case was argued by Alexander C.D. Giza of Russ August & Kabat of Los Angeles.

The appeals court case is Cy Technology Group LLC v. Groupon Inc., 2011-1568-1598, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Cy Technology Group LLC v. Groupon Inc., 10-7287, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Bose Loses Patent Challenge to Speaker-Docking Device Makers

Bose Corp., the maker of high-end audio equipment, lost a patent challenge it brought against a number of manufacturers of speaker docking devices.

In a July 10 ruling, U.S. District Judge William G. Young said that 143 of the 144 products Bose accused didn’t infringe the company’s patent 7,277,765. As far as the remaining product is concerned, he said no reasonable jury could find that its manufacturer “had the intent necessary to support a finding of inducement or contributory infringement.”

He didn’t address the issue of the patents’ validity, saying this would be matter for what are known as reexamination proceedings within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based Bose filed the suit in federal district court in Boston in August 2009.

The case is Bose Corp v. SDI Technologies Inc., 1:09-cv-11439-WGY, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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Under Armour’s Infringement Claim Overreaches, Body Armor Says

Body Armor Nutrition LLC has responded to a trademark infringement suit, saying Under Armour Inc.’s claim is “a prime example of trademark bullying by a corporate giant seeking to stifle an innovative startup company.”

Under Armour, the Baltimore-based maker of sports apparel and goods, sued Body Armor in federal court in Baltimore in April, saying the use of “Body Armor” by the nutrition company infringes multiple trademarks.

Both companies target the same class of customers, Under Armour claimed, causing the public to be confused and to assume falsely that a connection exists between the two entities, according to court papers.

In its July 12 response, Los Angeles-based Body Armor said that the main business of the Baltimore company is “focused exclusively on sports apparel” and it is “impossible” for consumers and retailers to confuse the two entities.

The California company noted that multiple companies possess trademarks containing the word “armour” or “armor” and listed examples that included makers of golf equipment, footwear, vitamin supplements, and meats.

The case is Under Armour Inc. v. Body Armor Nutrition LLC, 1:12-cv-01283-JKB, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Baltimore).

Limited’s Victoria’s Secret Sues Cosmetics Maker

Limited Brands Inc.’s Victoria’s Secret unit sued a competing cosmetics company for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed July 11 in federal court in New Jersey, accused Black Knight Holdings LLC of Sparta, New Jersey, and its affiliated Rise Global Products LLC of Waco, Texas, of infringing trademarks associated with Victoria’s Secret’s “VS Fantasies” lines of hand and body creams.

Packaging for the defendants’ Cielo line of body-care products “consists of slavish copies” of the VS Fantasies’ packaging, according to court papers. The Cielo products “use the same size and shape container, the same colors, gradations, layout and overall design” as Victoria’s Secret uses for is VS Fantasies, the company says in its pleadings.

The defendants operate www.risingglobalproducts.com, which advertises and promotes the allegedly infringing products, according to the complaint. The website has shoe photos of three products and invites potential customers to “compare these products to Victoria’s Secret.”

Victoria’s Secret says packaging choices for the Cielo products “far exceed the legal limits of comparison branding or legitimate private label trade dress and packaging.” The company said it is harmed by this, and the packaging is likely to cause “confusion, mistake or deception.”

It asked the court to bar the manufacturing, sale and distribution of the allegedly infringing products and to order the seizure and destruction of all objectionable products and promotional material. Victoria’s Secret also seeks money damages, and the defendants’ profits attributable to their alleged infringement.

Additionally, Victoria’s Secret asked that damages be tripled, to punish the defendants for their actions.

Drew Kevin Murray of Pompton Plains, New Jersey, is trademark counsel for Black Knight. He said yesterday he hadn’t yet seen the complaint, so could not comment on the dispute.

The case is Victoria’s Secret Stores Brand Management Inc. v. Black Knight Holdings LLC, 2:12-cv-04269-KSH-PS, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

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Jessica McClintock Sued for Infringement by Fabric Manufacturer

Jessica McClintock Inc., the San Francisco-based clothing manufacturer best known for prom, wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses, was sued for copyright infringement by a New York-based fabric company.

According to the complaint filed July 11 in federal court in Los Angeles, Jessica McClintock is accused of selling dresses made from fabric that infringes the copyright of the “Dandelion” fabric pattern belonging to New York-based Premier Fabrics Inc.

Macy’s Inc., which sells McClintock dresses, is co-defendant with the San Francisco company, as are 10 unnamed defendants.

Premier claims that copies of its design were distributed without authorization either through access to its showroom or design library, third-party vendors such as overseas printing mills, or garments made with fabric lawfully obtained from the company.

It claims to have suffered “substantial damage” and asked the court to bar further infringement of the design. Additionally, it seeks awards of profits all defendants derived from the alleged infringement, together with attorney fees and litigation costs.

Jessica McClintock didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for damages.

Premier is represented by Stephen M. Doniger, Scott A. Burroughs and Annie Aboulian of Doniger/Burroughs APC of Culver City, California.

The case is Premier Fabrics Inc. v. Jessiva McClintock Inc., 2:12-cv-05982-PLA U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

FBI Expands Access for Copyright Holders to Anti-Piracy Seal

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has developed a new anti-piracy warning seal that it will permit all copyright holders to use, according to a notice published in the Federal Register July 13.

Rules permitting this use go into effect August 13. The aim of its use is to remind the public of the FBI’s authority and mission with respect to intellectual property rights, the agency said. The seal will be made available on the FBI’s website for downloading for use without charge on all eligible works.

Previously anyone who wanted to use the seal had to enter into a written agreement with the FBI regarding its use. One of the reasons for the change in policy was that the volume of requests it received and the costs involved in negotiating agreements with individual copyright holders.

Use of the seal is barred on works that can’t be legally distributed in the U.S. by mail or affecting interstate commerce, such as child pornography.

For more copyright news, click here.

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