Posted On: June 28, 2011

Enovsys Sues AT&T Mobility For Infringing Cell Phone Location Patents

patent-infringement-att-telenav-enovsys.jpgEnovsys filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Los Angeles against AT&T Mobility for infringing two patents: (1) US Patent No. 6,560,461, titled “Authorized Location Reporting Paging System” (“the ‘461 patent”), and (2) US Patent No. 7,925,273, titled “Method and Apparatus for Updating the Location of a Mobile Device Within a Wireless Communication Network” (“the ‘273 patent”). The ‘273 patent is a continuation of the application that resulted in the ‘461 patent, which means the ‘273 patent has the same invention disclosure as the ‘461 patent but with different claimed subject matter or scope.

The ‘461 patent’s invention uses satellites and ground control stations to determine a subscriber’s cell phone location and allows the subscriber to select which users can obtain the subscriber’s whereabouts. The patent also covers relaying the names and locations of nearby stores, restaurants, etc. based on the location of the cell phone. The ‘273 patent relates to a method of controlling the time intervals between updates to the cell phone’s location. The complaint accuses several AT&T applications of infringing the patents, including AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, TeleNav Track, and Xora GPS TimeTrack.

Enovsys also alleges that Sprint-Nextel is currently licensing the subject patents in addition to others. The earlier Enovsys v. Nextel-Sprint lawsuit resulted in a jury award of $2.78 million in damages and eliminated the lack of standing defense. In the Nextel case, the Federal Circuit – aside from rejecting Nextel’s invalidity and non-infringement arguments – affirmed the jury’s verdict that the inventor’s ex-wife did not have a community property interest in the patents and did not need to be a named plaintiff.

The case is Enovsys LLC v. AT&T Mobility LLC et al., CV11-05210 DDP (C.D. Cal. 2011).

Posted On: June 15, 2011

“Warhammer 40,000” Game-Based Movie Trapped In Copyright Infringement & Breach of Contract Battle

copyright-license-ultramarines-warhammer-40000-lawsuit-contract-breach-movie.jpgThe “Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie” is based on the popular “Warhammer 40,000” table-top war game. The movie is a science-fantasy action thriller set in the future where genetically enhanced super-warriors battle aliens to protect mankind. But in the present, a legal battle has commenced regarding distribution rights to the movie involving the production company and the distributor.

The scene opens with Anchor Bay Entertainment, Codex Pictures and BF1 Films entering into a series of agreements relating to the distribution of the movie. The picture was to be produced by Codex with financing from Aramid Entertainment. The agreements between Anchor Bay and BF1 allegedly granted Anchor Bay “the exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide home video and digital/electronic rights (among other rights) to eight” motion pictures. Anchor Bay selected Ultramarines as one of the pictures and advanced $495,000 to BF1.

Then, for a $200,000 advance, BF1 and Codex executed a North American distribution agreement (“NA Agreement”) for the exclusive right to exploit the movie in all home-video formats, which agreement is alleged to have been made expressly for Anchor Bay’s benefit and with Codex’s knowledge of the Anchor Bay and BF1 agreement. Later, Codex and BF1 also executed a rest of the world distribution agreement (“ROW Agreement”) for the same exclusive rights and referring specifically to Anchor Bay’s sub-licensee status. Anchor Bay and the rest of the parties also signed a deed of undertaking that was allegedly required by Aramid in order for it to finance the film.

By the time the movie was almost completed, Anchor Bay and Codex allegedly discovered that BF1 may have made misrepresentations regarding the movie, including failing to disclose a “holdback” provision in the distribution agreement granting Codex the right to simultaneously distribute a special edition DVD with different packaging and extras. Codex thus terminated the distribution agreements with BF1. But Anchor Bay contends that it still has the rights to distribute the movie because the agreements require Codex to honor all sublicenses despite BF1’s termination. Anchor Bay alleges that Codex and Aramid are seeking a more profitable distribution agreement and not honoring its enforceable agreement.

Anchor Bay is seeking the Court’s declaratory judgment that it has the right to distribute the movie under the Copyright Act as the worldwide licensee, in addition to asserting claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

The case is Anchor Bay Entertainment LLC v. Codex Pictures, Ltd., CV11-4891 DDP (C.D. Cal. 2011).

Posted On: June 12, 2011

Jeffrey Campbell Sues Steve Madden For Copying Lita Shoe Design

Los Angeles, CA – Jeffrey Campbell is taking an aggressive approach to protecting its shoe designs by recently suing Forever 21 for allegedly copying six of its shoe designs. Last week, Jeffrey Campbell filed a new design patent and trade dress infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Steve Madden for allegedly copying Jeffrey Campbell’s “Lita” shoe design. Although Jeffrey Campbell did not have any patents for the six shoe designs in the Forever 21 lawsuit, it was granted Patent No. D634,532 for the Lita shoe design. Having a design patent provides greater protection for fashion designs than trade dress alone and the causes of action can always be combined, as Jeffrey Campbell has done here. Campbell claims that Steve Madden’s $169.95 Carnby-L shoe design “is believed to be a copy or knockoff of Jeffry Campbell’s Lita Shoe design.” Steve Madden is no stranger to trademark lawsuits involving shoes, having previously settled with Asics for allegedly copying its stripe design.

design-patent-jeffrey-campbell-lyta-shoe-steve-madden.jpg

The patent provides another advantage by keeping copycats away while the product’s configuration attains secondary meaning in the consumers’ minds. Plaintiff contends that since “the release of the Lita Shoe by Jeffrey Campbell in or about the summer of 2010, the internet has been ablaze with, and blogs have raved about,” the shoe design. The significant publicity and promotion of the Lita shoe design has allegedly led to significant sales and acclaim, and widespread public recognition of the Lita Shoe Trade Dress, which is defined as:

Continue reading " Jeffrey Campbell Sues Steve Madden For Copying Lita Shoe Design " »

Posted On: June 9, 2011

Comic Book Artist Sues Sega For Copyright Infringement Over Sonic The Hedgehog Video Game

copyright-infringement-video-game-sega-penders.jpgLos Angeles, CA – This “Sonic The Hedgehog” video game copyright infringement claim appears to arise from an independent contractor’s contributions that were not properly acquired by or assigned to Sega. If you don't have a written agreement with an independent contractor, for example your website designer, the independent contractor owns the copyrights, not you. Comic book artist, writer and designer Kenneth Penders was an independent contractor for Sega’s licensee Archie Comic Publications from 1993 until 2005. Penders claims that he “was given the reins of a nascent fictional universe and dramatically expanded it, creating new, vibrant, and fully developed characters, settings, stories and themes that continue to run throughout the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series and spin-offs.” Even though he produced the work, Penders alleges that Archie did not pay him for several projects that he submitted for Sonic The Hedgehog, even after Archie gave Penders approval for further development of the Works.

Penders claims that he owns the copyright in the works that “include the substantial and fleshed out characters he created, including their physical traits, personality traits and back stories,” in addition to the dialogue, plots, themes, and settings. When Penders filed to register the copyrights, the U.S. Copyright Office “sent Sega written notice on April 21, 2010 of Penders’ filings for his [Sonic the Hedgehog] registrations” stating that the copyrights would not register if Sega objected within 30 days, which it allegedly failed to do.

Penders accuses the 2008 “Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood” video game of infringing several of his purported copyrights. The complaint states that “reviewers and players have stated their belief that the Infringing Game was adapted from or heavily influenced by the Archie comic book series, including the Works and other creative works that Penders developed and produced.” In addition to the copyright infringement claims, Penders asserts a cause of action for unfair competition under California law, which is preempted by the Copyright Act. Xerox Corp. v. Apple Computer, Inc., 734 F.Supp. 1542, 1550-51 (N.D.Cal.1990). He is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a permanent injunction.

The case is Kenneth W. Penders, II, v. Sega of Amercia, Inc., et al., CV11-04615 ODW (C.D. Cal. 2011).

Posted On: June 7, 2011

Shoe Designer Jeffrey Campbell Sues Forever 21 For Copying Six Shoe Styles

Los Angeles, CA – Following the trend of fashion designers filing trade dress infringement lawsuits to protect designs not covered by copyright law, Jeffrey Campbell is suing Forever 21 for allegedly copying six shoe designs. Like Givenchy v. BCBG and Marc Jacobs v. Christian Audigier before it, Jeffrey Campbell is forced to use trade dress law to protect its designs because copyright law views fashion products, for example pursues and shoes, as useful articles that cannot be copyrighted. Unlike UGG, however, many fashion designers are unaware that fashion designs can be protected through design patents, which must be filed within one year of the design’s public disclosure. Without a design patent, Jeffrey Campbell must now attempt the tougher climb of proving trade dress infringement.


fashion-trade-dress-design-patent-jeffrey-campbell-forever-21.jpg


Jeffrey Campbell claims that its shoe designs “have become the footwear brand to know in the United States” over the last ten years and that customers, based on extensive marketing and advertising, recognize the shoe designs as Jeffrey Campbell’s trade dress. Plaintiff contends that Forever 21, “having a business model that . . . focuses on selling knockoffs or cheaper copies of products designed by higher-end fashion companies,” has intentionally copied the Cast Sandal, 99 Boot, Splendid Sandal, City Wrap Boot, Alicia Fur Boot, and Swansong Sandal. Jeffrey Campbell also asserts that Forever 21’s intentional copying violates federal and state unfair competition laws. The amount of monetary damages are currently unknown to Plaintiff, but it is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Forever 21's future sales of the shoe designs.

The case is Jeffrey Campbell LLC v. Forever 21, Inc., CV11-04619 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2011).