Recent patent infringement cases filed in U.S. District Courts

Marilyn Tennissen Oct. 8, 2008, 11:00am

Marshall Division

Oct. 3

  • In Zone Inc. vs. DAS Distributors Inc. et al

    According to the plaintiff's original complaint, In Zone makes and sells distinctive thermal insulated beverage containers comprising a keg-like shape and having a distinctive metal band around the middle of the container under the name "Bubba Keg" travel mugs.

    "The overall appearance of the various product configurations of In Zone's Bubba Keg beverage containers constitutes its legally protectable Bubba Keg trade dress," the suit states.

    In Zone claims it is the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. D507,458 issued July 19, 2005, for the ornamental design of the travel mug version of the Bubba Keg and began selling various versions of the beverage containers as early as March 2003.

    "In Zone's Bubba Keg trade dress is well-known in the beverage industry and is recognized by the consuming public as a source identifier," the suit states. "In Zone has developed valuable goodwill in its Bubba Keg trade dress."

    The plaintiff claims that on Oct. 2 two travel mugs were purchased at defendant Pilot Travel Center's convenience store in Orange, Texas, and a third was purchased at defendant Love's Truck Stop in Lufkin, Texas. The plaintiff believes the mugs are distributed by DAS under the name RoadPro stainless steel travel mugs.

    In Zone alleges that the RoadPro mugs infringe its design patent and are confusingly similar to the distinctive Bubba Keg trade dress.

    The plaintiff is alleging patent infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition under the Lanham Act and unjust enrichment.

    In Zone is seeking injunctive relief, compensatory and treble damages, attorneys' fees, costs, interest and other appropriate relief.

    The plaintiff is also asking that defendants be ordered to deliver up for destruction any containers, signs, labels, advertisements or other materials that are confusingly similar to Bubba Keg.

    John C. Cain of Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucceleri LLP in Houston is representing the plaintiff.

    The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward and has been referred to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham.

    Case No. 2:08-cv-376-TJW-CE

    Oct. 6

  • Andrew Katrinescz and David Byrd vs. Jo-Dan International Inc.

    Plaintiffs David Byrd, of Round Rock, Texas, and Andrew Katrinecz, of Shalimar, Fla., claim to own the rights to U.S. Patent No. 6,199,996 issued March 13, 2001, and No. 7,248,872 issued Oct. 23, 2007.

    The '996 and '872 Patents are for Low Power, Low Cost Illuminated Keyboards and Keypads.

    The plaintiffs allege that defendant Jo-Dan International, doing business as JDI Technology, infringes the '996 and '872 Patents.

    "Defendants' infringement … has injured plaintiffs, and plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages adequate to compensate it for defendants' infringement, which in no even can be less than a reasonable royalty," the original complaint states.

    According to the complaint, the defendants' infringements have been willful and deliberate.

    Plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief, compensatory damages, treble damages, attorneys' fees, costs, interest and other relief.

    Michael Smith of Siebman, Reynolds, Burg, Phillips & Smith LLP in Marshall and attorneys from Taylor, Dunham & Burgess LLP in Austin are representing the plaintiffs.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward.
    The plaintiffs filed similar suits involving the '996 and '872 Patents against separate defendants on Sept. 22, Sept. 24 and Sept. 26 in the Marshall Division.

    Case No. 2:08-cv-380-TJW

    Oct. 7

  • Emsat Advanced Geo-Location Technology LLC et al vs. Metropcs Communications Inc. et al

    Plaintiff Emstat claims it is the owner of three U.S. patents dealing generally with cellular telephone systems that use the position of a mobile unit to make call management decisions.

    The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent No. 5,946,611, U.S. Patent No. 6,847,822 and U.S. Patent No. 7,289,763 and are collectively referred to as the "Dennison Patents."

    The suit claims plaintiff Location Based Services LLC is exclusive licensee of the Dennison Patents.

    The Dennison Patents are used in cell phones with location-finding technology to determine the exact location of a caller, such as determining the location of a mobile phone by emergency call centers.

    According to the complaint, the Federal Communications Commission established the Enhanced 911 program, which required that all cell phone providers be capable of providing the location of a caller.

    The plaintiff claims that the methods and systems involved in deploying the E911 system are substantially similar to those required to deploy commercial location-based services to cell phone subscribers.

    "In fact, commentators have asserted that the FCC-required development of mobile E911 systems allowed the wireless carriers, such as defendants, to develop and deploy commercial location-based services," the complaint states.

    The commercial services allow the cell phone user to use the phone as a navigation device, to locate nearby products and services and to find friends, the plaintiffs state.

    The defendants, MetroPCS Communications Inc., MetroPCS Wireless Inc., Centennial Communications Corp., Leap Wireless International Inc., Cricket Communications Inc, ETEX Telephone Cooperative Inc. and ETEX Communications LP make, use or sell location-based services and systems for cellular phones that infringe the Dennison Patents.

    The plaintiffs are seeking no less than reasonable royalty, costs, interest, attorneys' fees and other just and proper relief.

    T. John Ward Jr. of Ward & Smith Law Firm in Longview and attorneys from Nelson Bumgardner Casto PC in Forth Worth are representing the plaintiffs.

    The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge David Folsom and referred to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham.

    Case No. 2:08-cv-381-DF-CE

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