BLOGS: Georgia IP Litigation

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Thursday, April 17, 2014, 12:25 PM

Augusta-Based Eagle Parts Files Complaint Against Allshields, Inc. Alleging Infringment of "Windshield Fastening Device" Patent

On April 3, 2014, Eagle Parts & Products, Inc. of Augusta, Georgia (“Eagle”) filed a complaint against Allshields, Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina (“Allshields”) alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,380,860 (“the ‘860 patent”) for a “windshield fastening device.”

According to the complaint, Eagle is a leading manufacturer of golf carts, parts, and accessories and is the owner, by assignment, of the ‘860 patent which issued on June 3, 2008. Allshields manufactures and offers for sale its “Cart Armor” windshield as an upgrade or accessory for a variety of golf cart types. Eagle alleges that a number of Allshield’s products infringe at least two claims of the ’860 patent. Defendant’s allegedly infringing products include “Cart Armor” folding windshields with model numbers: 5-500A, 5-510A, 5-520A, 5-100A, 5-110A, 5-300A, 5-310A, 5-320A, 5-330A and other folding windshields bearing model numbers 7-110A and 7-510A.

Above: Images of Allshield's "Cart Armor" product
Below: Figs. 1, 2, 5, and 7 of the ’860 patent

Eagle is seeking a ruling that one or more claims of the ’860 patent have been infringed, a permanent injunction, and damages (to be enhanced by a finding of willful infringement), along with costs and attorneys' fees.

The case is Eagle Parts & Products, Inc. v. Allshields, Inc., Case No. 1:14-cv-00087-JRH-BKE filed in the United States District Court of the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division, and is assigned to Judge R. Randal Hall.

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Novel Aspect of Invention Determined in Favor of Datascape in Patent Dispute Against Sprint

Judge Clarence Cooper adopted Special Master Gale R. Peterson’s report in its entirety ruling in favor of Datascape, Inc., in denying the summary judgment motion of Spring Spectrum, L.P, and Sprint Solutions, Inc. (collectively “Sprint”) for Invalidity and Non-Enablement of the claims at issue in the five asserted patents [U.S. Patents Nos. 5,742,845, 5,905,908, 6,366,967, 6,684,269, and 6,745,259].  Michael Cicero previously posted an article on the claim construction order entered in this case on February 5, 2013. 

The key dispute between the parties over the Special Master’s report is set forth on page 3 of the Order:  “The parties disagree about whether a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been familiar with [telephones communicating over an open network] in 1995 and with how to connect the telephones to the open network.”  The Court found this aspect of the dispute to be fact intensive, requiring denial of summary judgment.  The Court disagreed with the supposition of Sprint that the novel aspect of the patent was the devices to be connected.  Rather, “[t]he novel aspect of the patent is the implementation and usage of extended open network protocols, which facilitate input/output operations with a non-standard I/O devices.”

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Monday, April 14, 2014, 2:24 PM

T-12 Entertainment Speaks Up in Trademark Complaint Over Use of "I Plead the 5th" Mark

On March 24, 2014, T-12 Entertainment, LLC and Kareem Hawthorne, both of Georgia (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), filed a complaint against Young Kings Enterprises, Inc., Ego Entertainment, LLC., Troy Williams, Anthony Adighibe, Charles Bryant Bourgeois, Desmond Key, Dae’shawn Shelton, and Korey Felder, all of Georgia, and Fred Clark, of Texas, (collectively, “Defendants”) alleging that the Defendants' use of the phrase "I Plead the Fifth" in connection with spring break events infringes their trademark rights.

Plaintiffs and Defendants are in the business of, among other things, planning and hosting Spring Break party and entertainment events. According to the complaint, Plaintiffs hosted a series of spring break events in Miami from 2009-2013 using the name "I Plead the 5th," and have accordingly developed trademark rights in it. In 2014, Plaintiffs allegedly learned that Defendants were planning to put on their own series of spring break events in Miami using the name "I Plead the Fifth."
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 4:55 PM

Intellectual Property in the Gutter: Claims Construed in Sewer Line Resin Lining Patent Dispute

Sumner C. Rosenberg issued a Special Master’s Report and Recommendation construing terms at issue in three patents -- U.S. Patent Nos. 5,927,341 ("the ‘341 patent"), 6,337,114 ("the ‘114 patent"), and 6,899,832 ("the ‘832 patent") -- asserted by Insituform Technologies, Inc., and INA Acquisition Corp. (collectively “ITI”) against AMerik Supplies, Inc., and Erik Nielsen who brought a third party complaint against Cosmic-Sondermaschinenbau GmbH (collectively “Defendants”).[1] The report updates a report of October 8, 2009, in view of the completion of reexaminations of the patents-in-suit.

The Special Master reviewed additional briefing, including objections by ITI to the initial report and response thereto, and held a hearing on February 19, 2014.
The Special Master noted that his report from October 8, 2009, remained unchanged except as to construction of the term “resin absorbable material,” addressed in Section IV.C. of the Report.  This was the only term addressed in the supplemental briefing.
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Owner of GLASS DOCTOR® Mark Aims to Break iGlass Doctor with Trademark Infringement Complaint

On March 20, 2014 Synergistic International, LLC. (“Synergistic”), of Waco, Texas filed a complaint against Kyle D. Berry of Atlanta, Georgia, individually and doing business as "iGlass Doctor," alleging Trademark infringement.
Synergistic International, LLC is a franchisor of a nationwide system of more than 180 licensed franchises known as the "Glass Doctor" in the United States and Canada, including a franchise in the Atlanta metropolitan area, that provide glass repair, replacement, and installation services to residential, automotive, and commercial customers.
Each authorized franchisee of Synergistic International, LLC allegedly operates under the name and mark GLASS DOCTOR® in word and design form, and operates pursuant to a franchise agreement under which Synergistic imposes certain obligations and retains certain rights to help ensure protection of their service marks and uniform quality of services. 
According to the complaint, Synergistic, its predecessors-in-interest, and their respective franchisees have used the GLASS DOCTOR® service mark since at least as early as September 1968 in connection with glass installation and repair services. On May 31, 1977, one of Synergistic’s predecessors in interest allegedly received United States Registration No. 1,066,929 covering the GLASS DOCTOR® service mark for “installation of glass in buildings and vehicles.”
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Monday, April 7, 2014, 2:42 PM

Verint Files Multiple Actions to Enforce Patented Call Center Technology

Verint Systems, Inc. ("VSI"), of Melville, New York, and Verint Americas, Inc. ("VAI"), of Alpharetta, Georgia (collectively, "Verint"), have filed several suits in the Northern District of Georgia against competitors to enforce various patents Verint holds generally relating to computer software and hardware for improved customer service and call-center operations.  As previously reported here, Verint filed a patent infringement action in August 2013 against Interactive Intelligence, Inc., alleging infringement of 20 U.S. patents.  Verint filed a voluntary dismissal without prejudice in that action on February 3, 2014.  Verint's three new complaints assert various subsets of those 20 patents against three new defendants.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 4:22 PM

Complaint Asserts Copyright Infringement over Hardwood Floor Pattern on Vinyl Wallcovering

U.S. Vinyl Manufacturing Corporation (“USV”) initiated an action for copyright infringement on March 12, 2014, against Colour & Design, Inc. (“Colour”), National Wallcovering, Inc. (“Wallcovering”), Larry and Michael Bixler (“Bixlers”).

USV is a Texas corporation headquartered in LaFayette, Georgia.  The defendants are residents of Arkansas.  Both USV and Colour are designers of vinyl wallcovering products and Wallcovering is a distributor of those products.  The complaint refers to prior litigation in Walker County, Georgia, initiated by USV against Colour that was removed by Colour to the federal court.  The case was settled and, as a part of the settlement, USV received a transfer of all rights to numerous wallcovering patterns as a part of the settlement.  One of the assigned patterns, according to the complaint, was Copyright Registration No. VA-1-719-253 (referred to as the “TOBA” [horizontal display] or “TARA” [vertical display] pattern).  A review of the assignment document shows the trademark was also transferred, but the complaint does not assert trademark infringement.
The copyright complaint arises, according to USV, as a result of Colour’s continuing unauthorized sales of the TOBA pattern.
Below are images of two sample TARA patterns from the USV website and a sample accused TOBA pattern.
USV seeks lost profits, an injunction, and attorney fees for willful copyright infringement by defendants.  On March 20, eight days after filing its complaint, USV served a motion for a preliminary injunction.
The case is U.S. Vinyl Manufacturing Corporation v. Colour & Design, Inc., National Wallcovering, Inc., Larry Bixler, individually, and Michael Bixler, individually, No. 4:14-cv-00052-HLM, filed 03/12/14 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division, and assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy.

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