Photographer sues Bend Real Estate Company for Copyright Infringement

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Here’s a single claim copyright infringement lawsuit involving a professional photographer and a Bend, Oregon real estate company that allegedly used one of his photographs on its website without permission.

Reed v. Alpine Real Estate LLC et al

Court Case Number: 6:17-cv-01396-TC
File Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Plaintiff: Aaron C. Reed
Plaintiff Counsel:Mathew K. Higbee, Esq. of HIGBEE & ASSOCIATES
Defendant: Alpine Real Estate, LLC, Does 1-10
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Thomas M. Coffin

Complaint:

Photographer Files Copyright Lawsuit After Settlement Negotiations Break Down over Confidentiality Clause

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The Plaintiff in this copyright lawsuit is a professional photographer from Sammamish, Washington. He sells “limited edition luxury nature photography.” Pretty cool stuff, go check it out.

The Defendants are a real estate agency located in Portland, Oregon, who allegedly used one of Plaintiff’s photographs on their website without permission.

That’s all pretty standard stuff for a copyright lawsuit. We see those types of photography lawsuits regularly, since copyright infringement is strict liability, meaning liability doesn’t depend on actual negligence or intent to harm. Even the proposed settlement amount was reasonable by all accounts, just $1000 (statutory damages are $750 minimum). The more interesting part of this lawsuit may be the reason why the parties couldn’t amicably settle the dispute outside of court.

Settlement discussions apparently broke down over a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. Per the Complaint (below), “Defendants’ counsel did not wish to be personally bound by confidentiality ostensibly on account of an article that Defendants’ counsel intended to submit to California Lawyer magazine.” Defendants’ counsel also “apparently believed that amicable settlement was not prudent, as these types of cases ‘need more exposure.'”

Of course, we’re more than happy to give Oregon trademark and copyright cases tons of exposure here at the Oregon Intellectual Property Blog. Stay tuned for updates (and perhaps eventually a California Lawyer article with more detail).

Reed v. Ezelle Investment Properties Inc. et al.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01364-BR
File Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017
Plaintiff: Aaron C. Reed
Plaintiff Counsel:Mathew K. Higbee, Esq. of HIGBEE & ASSOCIATES
Defendant: Ezelle Investment Properties Inc. d/b/a Ezelleinvestproperties.com, Glenn D. Ezelle Jr., Does 1-10
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown

Complaint:

Umpqua Bank sued over unauthorized sale of IP Catalog

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The Complaint (below) in this intellectual lawsuit has complicated facts that you’ll want to read for yourself. The lawsuit was originally filed in Delaware in February 2017 but recently transferred to the District of Oregon.

Digital Funding, LLC v. Umpqua Bank

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01321-PK
File Date: Friday, August 25, 2017
Plaintiff: Digital Funding, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard M. Beck, Sally E. Veghte of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP
Defendant: Umpqua Bank
Cause: Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations, Conversion, Direct Copyright Infringement, Vicarious Copyright Infringement, Contributory Copyright Infringement, Vicarious Trademark Infringement, Contributory Trademark Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Paul Papak

Complaint:

Photographer sues Grants Pass Restaurant for Copyright Infringement

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The Plaintiff in this copyright infringement lawsuit is a professional photographer who took two photographs of the Defendant’s business, the Taprock Northwest Grill in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The Complaint alleges that Defendant exceeded an oral license for use of one image (the Photographer was paid “$200.00 in cash and one gift card in an amount of $100.00″) and had no authority to use the second image. 

The dispute has been going on since July 2014 with apparently many failed attempts by Plaintiff to resolve the matter amicably. The Complaint alleges that Defendant has also filed a declaratory judgment action in Circuit Court, which Plaintiff intends to challenge with a Motion to Dismiss.

Mander v. Southern Oregon Elmer’s LLC

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-01298-CL
File Date: Monday, August 21, 2017
Plaintiff: Jasmandeep Mander
Plaintiff Counsel: Mathew L. Higbee, Esq. of Higbee & Associates
Defendant: Southern Oregon Elmer’s, LLC., abn Taprock Northwest Grill
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Mark D. Clarke

Complaint: 

Heart coffee v. Heart Pizza…are you confused?

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This Portland-centric trademark lawsuit has some interesting facts. Normally a consumer might not confuse coffee roasters with pizza makers, but what about when they’re just one block apart?

Apparently the individual Defendant, a well-known Portland restaurateur and owner of Blue Star Donuts, used to be a daily visitor to Plaintiff’s Heart cafe on SW 12th Avenue. In addition to their coffee, he also seemingly liked their name, deciding to start an unrelated pizza shop called Heart Pizza just 0.1 miles away.

The Complaint (below) asserts actual confusion and alleges false representations of permission made by Defendant. Cease-and-desist communications from Plaintiff were unsuccessful, hence this lawsuit.

Stay tuned for updates.

Heart, LLC v. Heart Pizza, LLC et al.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01297-YY
File Date: Monday, August 21, 2017
Plaintiff: Heart, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Kenneth R. Davis II, Parna A. Mehrbani of LANE POWELL PC
Defendant: Heart Pizza, LLC, Micah Camden
Cause: Unfair Competition, Oregon Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Youlee Yim You

Complaint:

Lawsuit filed over use of DRAGON’S BREATH trademark in connection with electronic cigarettes

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Since 2012, the Plaintiff, based in Medford, Oregon, has sold “chemical flavorings in liquid form to be used in electronic cigarette cartridges” using the registered DRAGON’S BREATH trademark.

The Defendant, a Kentucky limited liability company, sells an e-liquid product also using a DRAGON’s BREATH trademark.

Cease-and-desist communications from Plaintiff were unsuccessful, hence this trademark lawsuit. Stay tuned for updates.

ECBlend LLC v. The Mad Alchemist Elixirs & Potions LLC

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-01273-MC
File Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Plaintiff: ECBLend LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: James M. Blake, Willard L. Ransom of Sorenson, Ransom, Ferguson, Clyde, LLP
Defendant: The Mad Alchemist Elixirs & Potions LLC
Cause: Trademark Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Michael J. McShane

Complaint: 

Killer Burger sues former owner over stolen hamburgers

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Just in time for Portland Burger Week, we have a federal lawsuit over stolen burgers. The Plaintiff is Killer Burger, allegedly “the most popular burger restaurant in Portland, Oregon.”

The Defendants are a former owner of Killer Burger, his wife, and their new restaurant in downtown Portland, Rock and Roll Chili Pit.

The Defendants left Killer Burger in 2016 (apparently not on the best of terms) to start their new restaurant and are accused of “using and advertising two burgers which were stolen straight from the Killer Burger menu.”

Killer Burger considers their burger recipes to be confidential information. Defendants also allegedly used the same burger names (EPIC and BLACK MOLLY) on their menu, hence the trademark claim. Note that Defendant, in a social media video, apparently claims to be the original creator of the two burgers at issue and thus fully entitled to sell them at his new restaurant.

If you can’t get out for Burger Week and want to make the infringing burgers at home, here’s what you’ll need:

“The Epic includes pulled pork, bacon and coleslaw. The Black Molly includes a smokey house sauce, grilled onions and house-brined roasted green chilies.”

Yum. Enjoy Burger Week everyone!

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Photo credit: Bob Burchfield

Killer Burger, Inc. v. Rock and Roll Chili Pit, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01219-MO
File Date: Friday, August 4, 2017
Plaintiff: Killer Burger, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Thomas A. Ped, S. Ward Greene of Williams Kastner Greene & Markley
Defendant: Rock and Roll Chili Pit, Inc., Mark McCrary, Robin McCrary
Cause: Unfair Competition, Violation of ORS Chapter 647, Oregon Trademark Infringement, Violation of Common Law rights, Breach of Contract
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Michael W. Mosman

Complaint:

Trademark and Unfair Competition lawsuit filed over expired software license

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This lawsuit involves the registered trademarks LEXILE, LEXILE FRAMEWORK, LEXILE ANALYZER and METAMETRICS.

The parties previously had a license by which the Defendants could use Plaintiff’s software, but it apparently expired on June 30, 2017.

MetaMetrics, Inc. v. NWEA et al.

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01059-BR
File Date: Thursday, July 6, 2017
Plaintiff: MetaMetrics, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Jeff Pitzer of Pitzer Law
Defendant: NWEA (f/k/a Evaluation Association), Matthew Chapman, Jeff Strickler
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, False Designation of Origin, False Advertising, Copyright Infringement, Oregon Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Oregon Trademark Dilution, Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Common Law Unfair Competition, Common Law False Advertising, Breach of Contract, Tort of Conversion
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown

Complaint:

Local pizzeria owner may not be able to use own name

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Patsy (Pat) makes pizzas.

New York-style pies are his specialty.

Patsy opens a restaurant in Oak Grove, Oregon called, wait for it, Patsy’s New York Pizzeria. “Best New York pizza in Portland!” Business is good, customers love him, say “He’s everybody’s dad.”

But just when life looked like easy street for Patsy, there’s a trademark lawsuit at his door. The Plaintiff in this lawsuit, a New York corporation, has been operating pizzerias under PATSY’S PIZZERIA or PATSY’s trademarks since 1933 and franchising the PATSY’S PIZZERIA trademark since 1996. Frank Sinatra apparently gave them a shout-out during a live concert in 1976.

Additionally, the name wasn’t the only alleged similarity. The Complaint (below) alleges that Patsy’s (Oregon) offered the same specialty pizzas as Plaintiff’s original menu.

Early conversations in 2015 between Patsy’s and Plaintiff’s counsel were leading toward Patsy changing his pizzeria’s name. However, Patsy has persisted with the name and the Plaintiff now seeks intervention by thefederal court for the District of Oregon.

Stay tuned for updates.

 

I.O.B. Realty, Inc. v. Pasquale DeSiervi d/b/a Patsy’s New York Pizzeria

Court Case Number: 3:17-cv-01023-BR
File Date: Friday, June 30, 2017
Plaintiff: I.O.B. Realty, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: James F. Halley of Law Firm of James F. Halley, P.C., Paul Grandinetti, Rebecca J. Stempien Coyle of Levy & Grandinetti
Defendant: Pasquale DeSiervi d/b/a Patsy’s New York Pizzeria, John Does 1-10
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown

Complaint:

Trademark lawsuit erupts over use of SUNWORKS with solar energy

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Plaintiff, a California corporation, has used the registered SUNWORKS trademark since 2010 in connection with installation, maintenance and repair of solar energy systems.

Defendant has operated a solar energy equipment supplier called “Sunworks” in Jackson County, Oregon since 2011.

Plaintiff alleges instances of actual confusion and that Defendant’s operations in Jackson County are an impediment to Plaintiff’s “long standing plan for market expansion.” Defendant has refused to discontinue use of its trademark.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunworks United, Inc. v. Kirkland

Court Case Number: 1:17-cv-00896-AA
File Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Plaintiff: Sunworks United, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Richard Billin
Defendant: C.J.Kirkland d/b/a Sunworks
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Dilution
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Ann L. Aiken

Complaint: