BLOGS: Georgia IP Litigation



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Thursday, April 18, 2013, 1:13 PM

Patent Case Transferred from Eastern District of Texas to Northern District of Georgia

Over the past year, Swipe Innovations, LLC ("Swipe"), a Houston, Texas-based company, has filed 30  cases in the Eastern District of Texas against over 50 defendants, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 5,351,296, titled "Financial Transmission System" ("the '296 patent").   One of the 30 cases was filed against Alpharetta, Georgia-based Ingenico Corp. and Ingenico Inc., and French company Ingenico S.A. d/b/a Groupe Ingenico (collectively, "Ingenico").  On March 5, 2013, Judge Ron Clark of the Eastern District of Texas granted Ingenico's motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of Georgia.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:51 AM

RE/MAX Sues Local Realtor Over Blue, White, and Red Sign Background

On April 5, 2013, RE/MAX, LLC (“RE/MAX”) filed a trademark lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia against Cumming, Georgia-based McFarland Realty Enterprises, Inc. and two of its principals (collectively, “McFarland”).  The complaint lists federal counts of trademark infringement and unfair competition, and state law counts of dilution, violation of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, common law trademark infringement and unfair competition, and violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-390 et seq.
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Thursday, April 4, 2013, 5:21 PM

Essentially in Breach? E. T. Horn Co. Sued for Breach of Settlement Agreement and on TM-Related Counts

On March 20, 2013, Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Essential Ingredients, Inc. (“EI”) filed a complaint in the Northern District of Georgia against California-based E. T. Horn Company (“Horn”).  EI alleges that Horn, after having entered into a 2008 settlement agreement promising to stop using the term ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS GROUP or any confusingly-similar variant thereof, began using the term ESSENTIALS in its description of its “Ingredients Division.”  EI asserts that such usage not only breaches the settlement agreement, but also violates EI’s rights concerning its ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS® trademarks.  EI’s complaint recites counts of trademark infringement and dilution under federal law, related state law claims, and breach of contract.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 3:12 PM

Paradise Troubled by Alleged Unfair Competition involving CERTIFIED SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST Mark

Introduction

What impact, if any, does a federal service mark registration for the stylized logo shown at left have concerning asserted rights to a subset of words recited in that logo, where those words were disclaimed in the registration?  If none, does a supplemental registration for the words alone make a difference?

On March 27, 2013, Paradise Media Ventures, LLC d/b/a Interactive Media Ventures a/k/a Social Media Marketing University (“Paradise”) filed a two-count complaint in the Northern District of Georgia against Minnesota resident Eric Mills.  Count one recites a cause of action for unfair competition, and count two recites an action for violation of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“GUDTPA”), both counts predicated on Mills’ alleged use of the word mark CERTIFIED SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST.[1]  The complaint seeks injunctive and monetary relief, plus costs awardable under GUDTPA.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 11:12 AM

Take Me Back to Chicago: Second of Joao Bock’s 3 Patent Cases Filed in Aug. 2012 Transferred to another District Court

Out of three patent infringement cases filed in August 2012 by Joao Bock Transactional Systems, LLC (“JBTS”) in the Northern District of Georgia, one case was transferred to the Northern District of California, one case has just now been transferred to the Northern District of Illinois, and one case has a motion pending for transfer to the Eastern District of Missouri.

On March 29, 2013, the Northern District of Georgia entered an order granting a motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois.  Defendant OptionsHouse, LLC (“OptionsHouse”) had filed that motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), on the grounds that Chicago is its principal place of business, that none of the likely trial witnesses or documents are located within the Northern District of Georgia, and that “only 2.7% of its customers reside in Georgia.”  Additionally, OptionsHouse pointed out that JBTS had filed another lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois, involving one of the three patents it asserted against OptionsHouse.
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Monday, April 1, 2013, 4:56 PM

The Pedowitz Group and Jeff Pedowitz accuse Jeff Ogden and Find New Customers of Looking for New Customers in the Wrong Places

A new employment agreement for a key role at The Pedowitz Group, LLC (TPG) quickly went south as the employee went north in less than a month, allegedly with trade names, confidential information, and a propensity to talk and write about them and his former employer. 

TPG and Jeff Pedowitz (Pedowitz) filed suit on March 15, 2013 against Jeff Ogden (Ogden) and Find New Customers (FNC).  The complaint includes multiple counts of common law trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, breach of confidentiality agreement, tortious interference with contract, and defamation – seeking injunctive relief and damages, as well as enhanced damages.
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Audit Results in TM and Breach-of-Contract Action by California Closet Co. against Franchisee and its Guarantor

An audit of a franchisee’s records, which allegedly revealed sales activity outside licensed territory and evidence of efforts to conceal that activity, has spawned a new trademark lawsuit.  On March 19, 2013, California Closet Company (“CCC”) filed a complaint in the Northern District of Georgia against Lawrenceville, Georgia-based Stadco, Inc. (“Stadco”) and its license agreement guarantor, Lance Stadmiller.

CCC’s complaint asserts counts of federal trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, and Georgia law unfair competition (O.C.G.A. § 23-2-55) against both defendants, a breach of contract action against Stadco as to a franchise agreement, and a breach of contract action against Stadmiller as guarantor of Stadco’s franchisee obligations.
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“FIT U” Health Clubs Appeal Preliminary Injunction in TM Case to 11th Circuit, but War Rages On in District Court

Introduction
Motion for sanctions.  Motion for contempt.  Motion to set aside default.  Motion for permanent injunction.  Motion to dismiss counterclaims.  March 29 Order to Show Cause.  All currently stand as pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  The March 12 appeal of a preliminary injunction order has thus far done nothing to diminish district court activity.

On March 15, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit docketed an appeal filed on March 12, 2013 by Pleasanton Fitness, LLC, OM Fitness LLC, Zeus Fitness, LLC, and Monterey Fitness, LLC (collectively “Appellants”).  They appealed from a February 11, 2013 order from the Middle District of Florida, which granted a motion for preliminary injunction brought by You Fit, Inc., YF Holdings, Inc., and You Fit Enterprises, Inc. (collectively “Plaintiffs”). 
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Jewelry Design Theft Raised by Ronaldo Designer Jewelry Against The Southern Link in new Copyright Suit

Ronaldo Designer Jewelry (Ronaldo) asserts copyright infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition and unfair trade practices under the Lanham Act, and unfair and deceptive trade practices under the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act against The Southern Link of Georgia, Inc. ("The Southern link"), John Does d/b/s New Dimensions, and 99 John Does (reproducers, manufacturers, copiers, importers, distributors, displayers, and sellers for or on behalf of The Southern Link, including agents).

The verified complaint identifies the infringing works, beginning with “The Power of Prayer Bracelet” pictured on page 5 with the accused infringing products pictured on page 6.  The complaint also alleges infringement of “The Wide Power of Prayer Bracelet,”  the “Stackable Bracelet,” the “Waverly Bracelet,” the “Pearl of My Heart” bracelet, “THE LOVE KNOT” bracelet, and the “Rediscovered Treasure Bracelet.”  All but “THE LOVE KNOT” and “Rediscovered Treasure Bracelet” were alleged as infringed in Ronaldo’s earlier suit against Golden Stella and were pictured in our January blog on that suit at http://georgiaiplit.blogspot.com/2013/01/jewelry-design-theft-raised-by-ronaldo.html

Ronaldo receive United States Copyright Office Certificate of Registration VA 1-815-649 with an effective registration date of April 20, 2012, for “THE LOVE KNOT” and Registration VA 1-125-963 with an effective registration date of December 7, 2001 for the “Rediscovered Treasure Bracelet.”

For a history of Ronaldo please see our earlier blog.

Ronaldo alleges that the infringement began in November 2012 and is deliberate and continuing and has caused irreparable harm.  Ronaldo seeks damages, including actual damages and profits or statutory damages, along with willfull copyright damages and trebled damages under the Lanham Act, and a permanent injunction.


The case is Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. v The Southern Link of Georgia, Inc., et. al,  No. 1:13-cv-993-JEC, filed 03/27/13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Julie E. Carnes.

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