Los Angeles, CA – Patent attorneys for Hanger Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, accusing KP Fashion Company and Universal Display and Design, Inc. of patent infringement. In 2003, the Plaintiff invented a new hanger design for high end clothing. U.S. Design Patent No. D502,008, entitled “Clothes Hanger Body” was duly issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on February 22, 2005. The Plaintiff claims that it marks every one of its hangers with its design patent number.

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The complaint alleges that Defendant Universal Display previously requested and was sent a quote for the subject hanger by Plaintiff. In addition, Defendant KP Fashion was provided with a quote by the Plaintiff, which included samples of the product with KP Fashion’s logo emblazoned thereon. Both Defendants, however, indicated to Plaintiff that they were not interested in purchasing the hangers. In August of 2008, Plaintiff saw hangers in Defendant KP Fashion’s retail stores which allegedly were exact copies of Plaintiff’s patented hangers. When an employee was asked regarding the source of the hangers, Defendant Universal’s box containing the hangers was allegedly provided. Needless to say, this lawsuit followed. The case is titled Hanger Corporation v. KP Fashion Company, Inc., CV 08-07342 SVW (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – Copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit was filed at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles to prevent sales of allegedly unauthorized sales of Betty Boop merchandise by numerous defendants. Plaintiff Fleischer Studios, Inc. is owned by the heirs of Max Fleischer, the creator of famous cartoon characters – including the well-known fictional Betty Boop character. Plaintiff Hearst Holdings, Inc., through its King Features Syndicate Division, produces and distributes cartoon features and characters in the merchandising business. In 1986, Fleischer entered into an agreement with King Features granting it the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute and/or license the Betty Boop character in the United States and throughout the world.

copyright-lawyer-trademark-cartoon-betty-boop.jpgBetty Boop first appeared in a “talkartoon” in 1930 titled “Dizzy Dishes” – she is very spry for being almost 80 years old – when the character was known as Betty. A year later, she became known as Betty Boop in the talkartoon titled “Minding the Baby,” which drawings of the character and cartoons – including several others – are all subjects of several U.S. Copyright Registrations. In addition, the character and name are subject to trademark protection and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted four federal trademark registrations for the Betty Boop word mark on a wide array of merchandise.

Plaintiffs allege that the numerous named defendants – that do not appear to be related in any way – have been selling and distributing merchandise bearing unauthorized depictions of the Betty Boop character and name. The complaint alleges that the infringement is “carried out with Defendants’ full knowledge that such elements are protected by copyright. In doing the acts complained of herein, the Defendants have willfully and intentionally infringed Plaintiffs’ copyrights” and trademark rights. The case is titled Hearst Holdings, Inc. v. Roger Lalwani, et al., CV08-06932 FMC (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – Patent attorneys for Maxon Lift Corp. (“Maxon”) filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit, at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, against The Braun Corporation and its U.S. Patent No. 7,422,408. Braun is the assignee of the inventions covered by the ‘408 patent, entitled “Lighted Vehicle Access System and Method,” which issued on September 9, 2008. The patent generally relates to vehicle access lifts, such as for wheelchair access to buses and vans.

patent-attorney-patent-declaratory-relief-maxon.jpgThe complaint alleges that shortly after the patent issued, counsel for Braun contacted counsel for Maxon and offered a non-exclusive license to practice the invention covered by the ‘408 patent because Maxon’s wheelchair lifts were believed to infringe thereon. Thereafter, Maxon allegedly received a draft non-exclusive license agreement from counsel for Braun. Because of Braun’s previous patent infringement lawsuit against Maxon, it believes that a justiciable controversy exists, thereby establishing jurisdiction for the declaratory relief action. The case is titled Maxon Industries, Inc. v. The Braun Corporation, CV 08-06730 PA (C.D. Cal. 2008).

los-angeles-trademark-attorney-genetic-projec-e.jpgLos Angeles, CA – Project E previously filed (posted here) a trademark infringement lawsuit, at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, against Genetic Denim over the use of the “XX” design stitched into jeans. Defendant Genetic Denim has countered with the filing of a third-party complaint (read here) against Michael D. Hecht, the owner of record of the USPTO registration of the “XX” trademark. Hecht allegedly licensed the “XX” trademark – on an exclusive basis – to Project E, the plaintiff in the action.

Genetic Denim quizzically asserts that Project E failed to allege the registered trademark in the initial complaint and contends the absence is based on the possible invalidity of the registration – i.e. “the mark was incapable of functioning as a trademark within the clothing industry as the XX cross-stitching was and is a common decorative element found on clothing.” Genetic Denim seeks cancellation of the trademark registration and monetary damages for unfair competition under the Lanham Act 43(a). The case is titled Project E, Inc. v. Genetic Denim, LLC, CV 08-04016 R (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – I previously posted (click here) about the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against movierumor.com by several motion production companies at the Federal District Court In Los Angeles, wherein it was alleged that movierumor’s compilation of links to websites that showed movies – currently playing in theatres – constituted copyright infringement. The production companies filed an ex parte application to conduct expedited discovery to determine the identity of the owners of the movierumor.com website. Having conducted discovery, the motion production companies have now filed a First Amended Complaint (read here) adding Ali Jaffar as an additional defendant.

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The case is titled: Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP v. Movierumor.com, CV08-04931 RSWL (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – In a complaint that is filled with as many twists and turns of a spy novel, CJ Environmental filed a trademark infringement lawsuit, at the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, over the use of the term “Cash 4 Gold” by a competing business. CJ alleges that it has operated as a precious metal recycling company since 2005 and has used the mark “Cash for Gold” on its website, which site was created by web designer Michael Scherenberg. Also, CJ alleges use of the “Cash for Gold” and “Cash 4 Gold” marks in various newspaper and media advertisements across the country.

los-angeles-trademark-lawyers-cash-4-gold.jpgThe complaint asserts that Defendant, long after CJ’s first use, created the www.cash4gold.com website using the same designer that CJ had used for its website, Mr. Scherenberg. “At the time Mr. Scherenberg created Defendant’s website, he still had access and control over Plaintiff’s website. On or about August 10, 2007, it is believed that Mr. Scherenberg was instructed by Defendant to remove the ‘Cash for Gold’ link and related image files from the Plaintiff’s website.” After months of back and forth letters among the parties’ lawyers, including take down notices to domain name registrants, this lawsuit was filed. The case is titled CJ Environmental, Inc. v. Cash4Gold, LLC, CV08-06689 R (C.D. Cal. 2008).

UPDATE 1/10/2010: Court rules that Upper Deck counterfeited Yu Gi Oh! cards. Details here.

Los Angeles, CA – Konami Digital Entertainment, through its trademark attorneys, commenced litigation for trademark infringement, Lanham Act 43(a) unfair competition, and copyright infringement lawsuit against Vintage Sports Cards, Inc. at the Los Angeles Federal District Court. Since 1973, Konami has developed and published popular trading cards, card games, interactive entertainment software products, collectibles and toys. Konami has registered numerous trademarks with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, including its word mark and numerous logos.

trademark-litigation-attorney-los-angeles-konami-yu-gi-oh.jpgKonami has created Yu-Gi-Oh!, a Japanese Manga (a form of comics), animation television series and card games. Konami has filed for and received numerous copyright registrations from the U.S. Copyright Office. The game’s rules ascribe a range of powers and relative values to specific cards, wherein “Rare Cards” are highly sought after by players and collectors and have the greatest commercial value. In the United States, Konami sells the game cards through its exclusive distributor, The Upper Deck Company.

Los Angeles, CA – Trademark attorneys for Mexico’s Club De Futbol America filed a trademark infringement, trademark dilution and Lanham Act 43(a) unfair competition lawsuit at the Los Angeles Federal District Court against operators of a soccer club using the Club America trademark in the United States. Club America is a professional soccer club formed in 1916 and is one of the most popular soccer teams playing in Mexico’s Primera Division. It has registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office the words “Club America” and its design trademark of a ball with the letters “C” and “A” on either side of the continents of North and South America. Club America also runs a soccer school under its word and design trademarks.

trademark-attorney-mexico-futbol-soccer-club-america.jpgClub Amercia accuses the Defendants of using the Club America trademarks in operating competing soccer training schools, whereby to “the average consumer, there is no way to distinguish promotion or advertising of the Counterfeit Schools from the Authentic Schools.” Defendants are accused of using the website www.clubamericaschool.com to promote the competing soccer training schools under the additional names of “Casa De Deportes,” “Centro De Formacion Club America,” “Club America,” “Club America School,” and/or “America School Professional Soccer Academy.” Defendants are accused of the deliberately infringing and causing confusion by using Plaintiff’s logo on their website, by displaying the team’s official eagle mascot, and having a prominent hyperlink to Plaintiff’s official website. Plaintiff alleges that defendants have failed to comply with three cease and desist letters, thereby forcing the filing of the instant lawsuit. The case is titled Club De Futbol America v. Mike Ochoa, et al., CV08-06563 MRP (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – Copyright attorneys for Tokyo Broadcasting System (“TBS”) filed a copyright infringement lawsuit at the Los Angeles Federal District Court, accusing American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (“ABC”) of copyright infringement over its “Wipeout” television show. TBS created and aired its Japanese reality television shows “Takeshi’s Castle,” “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” (“MXC”), “Sasuke,” “Kunoichi,” “Ninja Warrior” and “Women of Ninja Warrior.” TBS began airing “Takeshi’s Castle” in Japan from 1986 to 1989, which “involves laymen contestants who compete in a variety of silly physical challenges consisting of huge obstacle courses that most of the contestants are expected to fail. The contestants’ failed attempts to complete the challenges often look painful or ridiculous, but mostly they are comical in nature.” In 2003, “Takeshi’s Castle” was aired in the United States under the “MXC” name on the Spike television network.

los-angeles-copyright-attorneys-Takeshis-Castle-mxc.jpgTBS alleges that “Defendants had knowledge of and were familiar with the Shows before Defendants created – using that term loosely – ‘Wipeout.’ Indeed, it is a common custom and practice in the United States television industry to obtain copies of and view television programs (especially popular programs) airing in other countries, including Japan, and several of the Shows were and are broadcast in the United States.” The complaint continues by asserting that “before airing ‘Wipeout’ for the first time, Defendants took steps to ensure that a Google search of the terms ‘Takeshi’s Castle,’ ‘Ninja Warrior’ or ‘MXC’ would result in the Google Searcher being directed to ‘Wipeout on ABC’ as a Sponsored Link.” In addition to the copyright infringement claim, TBS asserts causes of action for California Statutory Unfair Competition under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 and common law unfair competition. The case is titled: Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., CV08-06550 SJO (C.D. Cal. 2008).

Los Angeles, CA – Trademark attorneys for Asics filed a trademark infringement, trademark dilution and Lanham Act 43(a) unfair competition lawsuit against Dolce & Gabbana at the Los Angeles Federal District Court. Asics has registered numerous trademarks with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for its stripe design having two relatively parallel vertical stripes intersected by two curving stripes connected at one end. Asics has used the stripe design trademark on shoes and apparel – for over forty years – since 1966.

los-angeles-trademark-attorney-shoes-asics-dolce-gabbana.jpgAsics also asserts that it has widely advertised and promoted its products with the stripe design trademark through numerous and diverse advertising media, including print, television and the Internet. Asics’ print advertising is alleged to have the following “look for” advertising: “The stripe design featured on the sides of ASICS shoes is a trademark of ASICS Corporation and is a registered trademark in most countries of the world.”

Asics alleges that Dolce & Gabbana is “selling shoes under its D&G line bearing a mark that infringes ASICS’ famous Stripe Design mark at retail shoe stores and via the Internet.” The complaint continues, on information and belief, that Dolce & Gabbana has “engaged in intentional infringement by designing shoes that include a stripe design that is confusingly similar to ASICS’ famous Stripe Design.” The complaint identifies five different Dolce & Gabbana shoes which bear the allegedly confusingly similar stripe design. The complaint asserts the following causes of action: (1) Federal trademark infringement 15 U.S.C. § 1114 [Lanham Act §32(1)]; (2) Federal unfair competition under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a); (3) Lanham Act dilution of famous trademark under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c); (4) Trademark infringement under California law [Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 14320]; (5) Trademark infringement under California common law; (6) Trademark dilution under California law [Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 14330]; (7) False advertising under California law [Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17500, 17535]; and, (8) Unfair competition under state law [Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 and §17203]. The case is titled Asics Corporation v. Dolce & Gabbana, CV08-06407 AHM (C.D. Cal. 2008).