A summary of recent patent case filings in the Northern District of Georgia is below.
Pedicure Business Sues Former Partner Over Foot Tub Design Patent
On October 23, 2012, Salon Spa Supply LLC (“SSS”) of Norcross, Georgia, filed a Verified Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Damages against Touspa, LLC (“Touspa”) of Atlanta, Georgia, Minh-Tuan Jgoc Hoang (“Tony Huang”) of Tucker, Georgia, and Tran Pham of Loganville, Georgia. The 67-page complaint includes nine counts, including design patent infringement, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contractual relations, unfair competition and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act, and unfair competition under the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The lengthy complaint details the story of a broken partnership involving nail salons, foot tub designs, and overseas illegal activity. The primary focus of the complaint is on a certain partnership agreement and a non-compete agreement, which SSS contends have been breached. SSS alleges that it is the owner of all right, title, and interest to U.S. Patent Number D622,858 S. According to SSS, Tony Huang, while still a partner at SSS, shipped a sample of SSS’s patented foot tubs to a relative in Vietnam for the purposes of copying and mass-producing the tubs. SSS claims that shortly thereafter Huang left SSS and started Touspa, which now produces the allegedly infringing foot tubs. Then the defendants allegedly opened a competing nail salon within an area prohibited by the non-compete agreement.
SSS is asking the Court for a variety of relief, including injunctive relief and liquidated damages of $144,000 pursuant to the non-compete agreement, actual and punitive damages, costs, and attorney’s fees.
The case is Salon Spa Supply LLC v. Touspa, LLC et al., No. 1:12-cv-03701-AT, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg.
Architectural Wall Design Patent Action
On October 24, 2012, 3form, Inc. (“3form”) of Salt Lake City, Utah, filed a complaint against Meridien Accents, Inc. (“Meridien”), a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in LaGrange, Georgia, alleging infringement of its design patent directed to an architectural wall design.
3form claims to be the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. D621,068 S, titled “Architectural Panel with Thatch Reed Design.” 3form alleges that Meridien’s products designated as “MA9002” and “MA9054” infringe the ‘068 patent. 3form also alleges that Meridien’s actions have been willful, such as to make the case exceptional under 35 U.S.C. §§ 284 and 285 and entitle 3form to enhanced damages and attorney’s fees.
The case is 3form, Inc. v. Meridien Accents, Inc., No. 3:12-cv-00156-TCB, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten.
UPDATE: The parties have settled and a permanent injunction was entered on November 13, 2012 (see November 16 post).
Disposable Cooking Thermometer Patent Case
On October 29, 2012, Volk Enterprises, Inc. (“Volk”) of Alpharetta, Georgia, filed a complaint against Jaccard Corporation (“Jaccard”) of Orchard Park, New York, alleging that Jaccard’s use and sale of its “Safe Cook Timers” infringe two Volk patents.
Volk claims to be the owner of all right, title, and interest in U.S. Patent No. 5,799,606 and U.S. Patent No. 5,988,102, both titled “Pop-Up Temperature Indicating Device.” Volk alleges that Jaccard’s use and sale of “disposable cooking thermometers and temperature indicating devices for use in cooking food” sold under the “Safe Cook Timers” name infringe the ‘606 and ‘102 patents. Volk also contends that Jaccard’s alleged infringement has been willful, and that Volk has and continues to suffer immediate and irreparable injury as a result of Jaccard’s activity. According to the complaint, Volk claims to be entitled to damages, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.
The case is Volk Enterprises, Inc. v. Jaccard Corp., No. 2:12-cv-0253-WCO, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge William C. O’Kelley.