Posted On: October 29, 2009

Tag Toys Tags LeapFrog With Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Over Educational Toys

trademark-attorney-toy-tag-toys-leapfrog-trademark-infringement.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Tag Toys, Inc. (“BBI”) sued LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition under the Lanham Act § 43(a). Tag designs and manufactures infant and children’s toys that are sold throughout the U.S. under its TAG and/or “TAG THINK & GROW” trademarks, which marks have allegedly been used since 1979. Tag Toys has registered its trademarks with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and, because they have been registered for over five years, they have become incontestable.

Tag Toys accuses LeapFrog of using confusingly similar “Tag” trademarks on children’s toys that are marketed through the same channels. Tag alleges that LeapFrog filed a trademark application with the USPTO for its own “TAG” trademark, which application was refused registration by the Trademark Examining Attorney due to the existence of a likelihood of confusion with Tag Toys’ previously registered trademarks. Thus, Tag Toys alleges, LeapFrog was aware of Tag’s senior rights in the mark. The case is Tag Toys, Inc. v. LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., CV 09-07528 GHK (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 26, 2009

Neflix Sued For Copyright Infringement Over “I Am Waiting No More” Movie

copyright-attorney-motion-picture-waiting-no-more-jacoby.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Jacoby Entertainment, Ltd. sued Netflix, Inc. and Tango Entertainment, Inc. over releas and distribution of “I Am Waiting No More” motion picture. Plaintiff is owned by Joseph Jacoby, a motion picture director-writer-producer. In 1971, he completed the screenplay for the motion picture “Hurry Up, Or I’ll be 30,” which was fortunately and correctly registered with the Copyright Office – and not the WGA. Cinematic production was completed soon thereafter and the movie was released in theatres in 1973.

Plaintiff alleges that Netflix has been renting unauthorized copies of the motion picture under the changed name of “I Am Waiting No More.” The copies distributed by Defendants are allegedly of poor quality because they are derived from a physically worn print of “Hurry Up, Or I’ll be 30.” Plaintiff contends that Defendants have also altered the picture’s opening main title and removed the copyright notice. Further, the DVD jacket has also been changed by substituting a picture of Danny DeVito in his 50’s in place of the original picture when he was in his 20’s. The case is Jacoby Entertainment, Ltd. v. Netflix, Inc. et al., CV09-7557 PA (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 21, 2009

Bird-B-Gone’s Patent Infringement Lawsuit Tries To Shoo Away Competitor

patent-attorney-bird-repellent-spikes-patent-infringement.jpgSanta Ana, CA – Bird-B-Gone, Inc. (“BBG”) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Bird Barrier America, Inc. (“BBA”) over the sale of spike strips used to repel birds. BBG is the owner of US Patent No. 7,596,910 entitled “Unitary configured Bird Repellant Apparatus,” which was issued on October 6, 2009, but was filed over ten years ago – a rather long pendency period. The invention generally relates to a unitary piece of injection molded plastic with different sets of sharp spikes having variable heights and an elongated base that is attached to a surface. When mounted to a ledge, for example, the invention prevents birds from landing or perching thereon. The picture to the right, courtesy of Plaintiff's website, illustrates the invention at work. Defendant’s “Polly Spike” product is accused of infringing certain claims of the ‘910 patent. Plaintiff seeks an injunction and monetary damages in an amount to be determined at trial. The case is Bird-B-Gone, Inc. v. Bird Barrier America, Inc. et al., SACV09-01185 DOC (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 15, 2009

Denimxworks Sues Over “Habitual” Design Trademark On Denim Pocket

trademark-attorney-jeans-pocket-design-habitual.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Denimxworks, Inc. filed a trademark infringement, Lanham Act unfair competition, fraud, and breach of contract complaint against Laguna Beach Company and its owner, Steve Kim. Plaintiff alleges that it registered its Habitual plus cross design mark in August of 2007 and registered a cross design with the letter “H” used on jeans’ pockets in February of 2006. Although the marks have been registered for less than five years, Plaintiff incorrectly contends that the marks are incontestable under 15 USC § 1065. Plaintiff also asserts a cause of action for trademark dilution despite only spending $1 Million on advertising over the last seven years. It would be very difficult for Plaintiff to meet the requirements of the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006, which limits dilution causes of action to nationally famous marks.

Plaintiff alleges that in 2008, it discovered Defendants were selling clothing bearing infringing trademarks. Plaintiff contacted the Defendants and asked that they cease use of the marks. In May of 2008, in order to avoid litigation, Defendants allegedly agreed in writing to cease use of the mark and Defendant Kim signed a declaration representing that all inventory bearing the marks had been destroyed. Plaintiff contends, however, that Defendants were allegedly exhibiting jeans bearing the infringing trademark at the Project Jean Show in Las Vegas only two months after the date of the declaration. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants are secretively selling infringing product. The case is Denimxworks, Inc. v. J.L.J, Inc. et al., CV09-07207 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 12, 2009

Cybersitter Sues CBS For Software Copyright Infringement Under Both US and Chinese Copyright Law

copyright-attorney-copyright-law-chinese-software-cybersitter.pngLos Angeles, CA – Cybersitter, LLC filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against CBS Interactive, Inc. accusing it of software piracy, “wherein two Chinese companies, backed by the Chinese government, stole approximately 3,000 lines of code from [Cybersitter’s] software program, and disseminated it to tens of millions of end users in China and elsewhere with the willing participation of Internet sites such as [CBS’s] ZDNet China. CBS participated in this Chinese government-led initiative to proliferate the pirated program amongst the Chinese-speaking population by offering the program for free download on its website.”

CYBERsitter’s software is an Internet content filter program “designed to help parents protect their children from viewing inappropriate pornographic and violent content on the Web,” and was one of the first programs of its kind when introduced over 14 years ago. Plaintiff alleges that the Chinese government and software developers copied its code in their infringing filtering program known as “Green Dam Youth Escort.” The complaint contends that “unlike Cybersitter, the Green Dam program was found to contain filters to block political and religious content expressing views that differed from those of the Chinese government. The program was also found to have serious security vulnerabilities that would allow third parties to monitor or take control of the computers on which it was installed.”

Plaintiff alleges infringement under U.S. copyright laws, in addition to copyright infringement under the copyright laws of the People’s Republic of China: “The [PRC] is a signatory to the Berne Convention and has adopted laws that comply with the minimum standards set by the Berne Convention. Accordingly, because Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Works are foreign works under the Chinese copyright law, those works are entitled to full protection of the Chinese copyright laws from the moment they are created without and need for registration in China (or elsewhere).” Plaintiff alleges that its estimated damages are no less than $1.2 Million. The case is CYBERsitter, LLC v. CBS Interactive, Inc., CV09-7245 AHM (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 8, 2009

Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Filed by Stihl against Website, Registrar, and Identity Blocking Service

trademark-attorney-website-registrar-identity-stihl-chainsaw.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Plaintiffs Stihl companies filed a trademark infringement, Lanham Act § 43(a) unfair competition, and dilution lawsuit at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles against the unknown owner of the domain name Plaintiffs own several trademark registrations for the trademark “Stihl” in various forms that are used on different classes of goods. Defendant’s website acts as an online auction site where it allegedly uses Stihl trademarks in a manner that creates an impression that the site is associated or sponsored by Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs sent cease and desist letters to the email addresses located on the website, but received no response. The name of the registrant and administrator were hidden because the domain owner had subscribed to WhoIsGuard’s identity blocking service, which is owned by NameCheap, Inc. Plaintiffs sent correspondence to NameCheap requesting the contact information of the registrant or its administrator and received no response. “Despite the warnings and demands, Defendants have continued to use and maintain the Website and withhold the identity of the true registrant and administrator of it.” As a result, NameCheap was also named as a defendant in the complaint. The case is Stihl Incorporated v., CV 09-7171 RGK (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 5, 2009

Dreamworks’ “Flushed Away” Sued For Copyright Infringement

copyright-attorney-movie-script-buggs-dreamworks.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Screenwriter Yolanda Buggs sued Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement over the release of the animated feature “Flushed Away.” Buggs was enrolled in the American Film Institute’s screenwriting program in 1999 when she met Chris Kuser, a fellow student who was also an intern at Dreamworks. During her time at AFI, Buggs developed an idea for an animated picture and wrote a screenplay, which she entitled “Critter Island,” about a roach that is flushed down the toilet in N.Y. and must navigate the sewers to get back to the high society home in which he lived. Buggs, like all screenwriters should, registered two versions of her screenplay with the U.S. Copyright Office – and fortunately not the WGA. “Aware of Mr. Kuser’s employment at Defendant Dreamworks and in light of his encouraging support for her idea, Ms. Buggs gave Mr. Kuser a copy of each version of Critter Island to read and comment on,” according to the complaint.

After graduation from AFI, Buggs alleges that she contacted Kuser to set up a meeting for presenting Critter Island at Dreamworks, but instead of his past enthusiasm, Kuser discouraged her attempts and told her to hire an attorney to present the script. In 2003, Plaintiff alleges that she made an animated short film and sent a DVD to Kuser in a further attempt to garner interest, but she heard nothing.

Then in the fall of 2006, she saw a trailer for Flushed Away, a movie about a high society rodent who gets flushed down the toilet into the sewers of London and has to find his way home. The film credits Kuser as “Creative Executive,” which means that the “original concept” for the movie originated with him. Buggs alleges, however, that Kuser “stole that ‘original concept’ for the project from the Plaintiff.” Plaintiff alleges that Flushed Away bears substantial similarity to Critter Island, including the plot, characterization, theme, mood, sequence of events, and setting. The animated feature allegedly grossed in excess of $160 million in theatrical and video distribution, excluding video games, spin-off DVDs and other works based on Flushed Away. The case is Yolanda Buggs v. Dreamworks, Inc. et al., CV09-7070 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2009).

Posted On: October 1, 2009

Bump Babies Trademark and Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Filed

trademark-attorney-copyright-attorney-bump-babies.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Fund Babeez, LLC and its exclusive licensee Bump Babies, Inc. sued Defendants Baby the Bump, Inc., Eve Maternity, and Velva Lyn Stricker for trademark and copyright infringement over competing sales of maternity clothing. Plaintiff Fund Babeez owns a USPTO registered “[Bump] Baby Under Manufacturing Process” trademark and uses several other [Bump] composite marks. A third plaintiff, the individual owner of the companies, has a copyright registration for text and graphics used on maternity clothing.

In 2007, Defendants filed an “intent to use” trademark application to register the allegedly confusingly similar “B.U.M.P…Baby Under Mommy’s Protection.” Plaintiffs sent a cease and desist letter to Defendants putting them on notice of their prior use of the [BUMP] marks. Defendants then amended their application to a "use based" application, allegedly falsely claiming a date of first use in 1996. Also, Defendants allegedly claimed to be “the original BUMP” on their website. Defendants are also accused of copying Plaintiffs’ copyrighted designs. Plaintiffs have also sued Defendants for libel for the purported statement to Plaintiffs’ retail customers that “She [individual plaintiff] had copied [Defendant] only changing the phrase a little.” The case is Fund Babeez, LLC v. Baby The Bump, Inc. et al,, CV 09-6747 GHK (C.D. Cal. 2009).