Friday, November 1, 2013

Design Patent Roundup - Nov. 1, 2013

This Thursday being Halloween, a holiday dedicated to inventive and novel designs, it seems fitting that this was a particularly active week for design patent filings in the United States District Courts. Unfortunately, this week’s litigants chose to eschew the spirit of the holiday in favor of designs primarily related to industrial and commercial products. 

The Eastern Co. v. Westmount Indus., Ltd., No. 5-13-cv-02378 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 25, 2013)
On Friday, October 25, 2013, The Eastern Company, an Ohio based industrial hardware, security products and metal castings company, filed suit in the Northern District of Ohio against Westmount Industries Ltd., alleging infringement of a utility and a design patent directed to a handle and housing assembly. The patent at issue, U.S. Design Patent No. D578,373 is directed to only a portion of the housing and handle assembly claimed in the utility patent. A comparison between the claimed housing and the accused latch is shown below. The case has been assigned to Judge John R. Adams. The Plaintiff is represented by Walker & Jocke. The Defendant has not yet entered an appearance. 

Rubio v. Productos Familia de Puerto Rico, Inc., No. 3-13-cv-01818 (D.P.R. Oct. 28, 2013)

Next, on Monday, October 28, 2013, plaintiff Ilse Rubio filed suit against defendants Productos Familia de Puerto Rico, Inc. and Productos Familia SA in the District of Puerto Rico alleging infringement of five patents, including U.S. Design Patent No. D426,887 directed to feminine hygiene pads. An image of the claimed feminine hygiene pad design is shown below, alongside an image believed to be the accused “Nosotras String Pad.” Plaintiff Rubio is represented by Fiddler Gonzalez & Rodriguez and Tripp Scott. Productos Familia has not entered an appearance. The case is not presently assigned to a judge. 

Milo & Gabby, LLC v., Inc., No. 3-13-cv-01932 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 24, 2013)

In an apparent false start for the plaintiffs in a case we reported on last week, the suit filed by Milo & Gabby, LLC against with regard to Milo & Gabby’s “Cozy Companion” line of children’s pillow cases, Milo & Gabby, LLC v., Inc., No. 3-13-cv-05941 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 24, 2013), has been dismissed in favor of the above captioned lawsuit filed on the same day. The issues and parties remain the same. See our previous coverage for more information.

Mullinix Packages, Inc. v. Anchor Packaging, Inc., No. 1-13-cv-00316 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 29, 2013)

On Tuesday, Mullinix Packages, a manufacturer of plastic packaging for commercial and industrial use, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of noninfringement, invalidity and unenforceability of three design patents assigned to Anchor Packaging, U.S. Design Patent Nos. D678,587, D675,919 and D570,681, entitled “Plastic food tray,” “Plastic side dish tray” and “Polypropylene tray” respectively. Mullinix’s unenforceability claims are derived from allegations that Anchor Packaging had access to Mullinix’s own prototype package design drawings at the time they filed their design patent applications. Mullinix has stated that their accused designs are manufactured for Bob Evans brand mashed potatoes, and a comparison between a figure from the D’919 Patent and publically available images of Bob Evans packaged mashed potatoes is shown below. Mullinix is represented by Barrett & McNagny. The case has been assigned to Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey. 

Kidd v. Rostra Tool Co., No. 2-13-cv-00404 (D. Me. Oct. 31, 2013)
On Thursday, Daniel Kidd, filed suit in the District of Maine against Rostra Tool Co. and Reliance Worldwide Corp. alleging infringement of a utility and design patent for a tool designed to crimp rings that secure PEX plumbing A figure from U.S. Design Patent No. D646,537 is shown alongside an image of a Sharkbite PEX Crimp Tool allegedly produced by the defendants. Mr. Kidd is represented by Tredecim. The case has been assigned to Judge Nancy Torresen and Magistrate Judge John H. Rich, III.

FrenchPorte IP, LLC v. Martin Door Mfg’g, No. 1-13-cv-01329 (E.D. Va. Oct. 29, 2013)

This Thursday also saw the filing of a suit for the infringement of nine patents, including seven design patents, filed by FrenchPorte IP, LLC and FrenchPorte, LLC against a laundry list of ostensibly related defendants: Martin Door Manufacturing, Martin Doors, Martin Factory Direct, Martin Factory Sales, Martin Factory Sales & Service, Martin Factory Service, Martin Freighting, Martin Garage Door Factory Outlet, Martin Garage Doors, Martin Garage Doors Factory Direct, Martin Garage Doors Of Salt Lake. The design patents in question are, U.S. Design Patent Nos. D452,979, D464,142, D464,143, D464,736, D486,241, D486,585 and D505,495, all relating designs for garage door facades made to resemble French doors. A comparison between a figure from the D’495 patent and a image alleged to be Martin’s Avignon line of garage doors is shown below. FrenchPorte is represented by Potomac Law Group, and the defendants have not yet entered an appearance. The case has been assigned to Judge T.S. Ellis, III and Magistrate Judge Thomas Rawles Jones, Jr. 

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