Representative Cases*

Copyright

Design Basics, LLC, v. Campbellsport Building Supply, Inc., et al.; Case No: 2:13-cv-560; United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Design Basics creates and licenses residential architectural plans. Campbellsport  Building Supply owns and operates several home improvement centers throughout Wisconsin. Design Basics commenced suit against Campbellsport, alleging it had infringed over 100 of its residential architectural plans by redrawing them for builders and other customers, without license or permission. Campbellsport and its insurance carriers settled this suit shortly before trial, with no admission of liability, by payment of $2,000,000 to Design Basics.

Design Basics, LLC, et al. v. Acker Builders, Inc., et al.; Case No: 3:11-cv-124; United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin – Design Basics creates and licenses residential architectural plans. Acker Builders, Inc. is a home builder located in Western Wisconsin. Design Basics commenced suit against Acker, alleging Acker had built numerous homes using its plans, which Acker had not licensed. Without admitting liability, Acker and its insurance carriers settled the lawsuit by payment of a confidential sum to Design Basics.

Stellar Records, Inc. v. Thomas; Case No: 3:11-cv-3387; United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois – Stellar Records was in the business of creating karaoke recordings of popular songs, under license from the owners of copyrights in the music and lyrics. Thomas infringed Stellar’s copyrights in the karaoke sound recordings by reselling them without permission from Stellar. Judgment was entered against Thomas in the amount of $370,000.

Moran v. Ameritech Pulishing, Inc., et al.; Case No: 01-CV-138;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Bernie Moran, an artist from Green Bay, Wisconsin, owned the copyright in a pen and ink drawing of the Brown County Courthouse. Ameritech Publishing used the drawing in a Yellow Page® ad without Mr. Moran’s permission. Mr. Moran’s claim was settled several months after suit was commenced for $36,000.

Knappen v. Iowa Changers, Inc.; Case No: 07-CV-152;
U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa – Mr. Knappen, a software developer, filed a copyright infringement suit against Iowa Changers, Inc. A confidential settlement was reached.

Advertising Art Studios, Inc. v. Shore Tripps, LLC; Case No: 02-CV-856;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Advertising Art Studios, an ad agency, designed and developed an interactive website for Shore Tripps, a travel agency. Shore Tripps refused to pay the development costs even though it was using the site. A copyright infringement suit was commenced by Advertising Art. A settlement was reached which required Shore Tripps to make payment.

SLaM Architecture+Planning Inc. v. Pamperin, et al.; Case No: 06-CV-359;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – SLaM, an architectural firm, brought a copyright infringement action against a builder, designer, and homeowner for building a home which infringed one of SLaM’s custom home designs. Confidential settlements were reached with all Defendants.

Trademark

Baumann Farms, LLP, et al. v. Yin Wall City, Inc., et al.; Case No: 16-cv-605; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Baumann Farms, LLP and two other Wisconsin registered ginseng growers commenced a class action lawsuit against Yin Wall City, Inc. (a retail merchant with stores in Illinois and Texas), and related individuals and entities.  The class alleged Yin Wall City, Inc. had sold ginseng imported from China in packages indicating the product had been grown in Wisconsin, in violation of §43(a) of the U.S. Lanham Act (false advertising). Yin Wall City, Inc. denied these claims. The parties settled the litigation for $160,000.00 on a class-wide basis, following approval by the court.

Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Cheung, et al.; Case No: 06-CV-5533;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York – The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, a trade association representing Wisconsin ginseng farmers, commenced a trademark infringement action against a wholesaler of ginseng and products containing ginseng, such as tea and candy. A confidential settlement was reached.

Tanel Corporation v. Tommy Hilfiger Corp., et al; Case No: 03-CV-2987;
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Tanel Corporation, a company which designs athletic footwear, sued Tommy Hilfiger Corp. for trademark infringement. A confidential settlement was reached.

Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, Inc. v. KUB Corporation; Case No:3:13-cv-186; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, a trade association representing Wisconsin ginseng farmers, commenced suit against KUB Corporation for trademark infringement and false advertising. The case settled less than 30 days from commencement. KUB Corporation paid the Ginseng Board $35,000.00 in damages, and consented to the entry of of permanent injunction, barring KUB Corporation from further illicit activities.

General Pet Supply, Inc. v. OurPet’s Company; Opposition No: 91158622;
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – General Pet successfully opposed the registration of the “Our Cat’s Choice Litter” trademark by OurPet’s Company, which General Pet considered confusingly similar to its registered “Cat’s Choice” mark.

Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, Inc. v. Triple Leaf Tea, Inc.; Case No: 5:09-cv-1784; United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin, a trade association representing Wisconsin ginseng farmers, commenced suit against Triple Leaf for trademark infringement and false advertising. Triple Leaf (without an admission of liability), resolved the Ginseng Board’s claims by payment of $22,500.00 and agreeing to the entry of a permanent injunction against it.

Baumgartner Cheese Store Inc. v. Raettig, et al.; Case No: 03-CV-769;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – Baumgartner Cheese brought suit against Defendants for trade dress infringement involving a restaurant which Defendants opened in Milwaukee. A confidential settlement was reached.

Plus Relocations Services, Inc. v. Starck, et al.; Case No: 07-CV-588;
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania – Plus Relocations filed suit against Stark, et al., for unfair competition under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and for illicit use of an internet domain name under section 43(d) of the Lanham Act. A confidential settlement was reached.

Patent

Slaby v. Berndt, et al.; Case No: 06-CV-250;
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin – Ken Slaby is the inventor of a skid loader attachment for cutting silage on a dairy farm. Berlon Industries is a manufacturer of after market attachments for skid loaders. Berlon manufactured and sold eighteen silage cutter attachments which infringed two of Slaby’s patents. A patent infringement case was tried to a jury, which returned a verdict for Mr. Slaby. After the court enhanced the damages due to a finding of willful infringement and awarded Slaby attorney fees, judgment in excess of $830,000 was entered against Berlon. An appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Washington, D.C., was filed by Defendants. Mr. Slaby prevailed in the appellate court on summary affirmance.

Alpha Technology U.S.A. Corporation v. Mlsna Dairy Supply, Inc.; Case No: 13-cv-870-wmc; United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin – Both Alpha Tech and Mlsna Dairy sell automated hand-held devices used on dairy farms to clean a cow’s udder prior to milking. Alpha Tech sued Mlsna Dairy for patent infringement, arising from Mlsna Dairy’s manufacture and sale of its cleaning device. Following extensive discovery, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment and were awaiting a decision, with trial scheduled to begin in five months. Mlsna Dairy had presented evidence of a §102 invalidating public use of the patented invention by Alpha Tech, and alleged fraud on the patent office in obtaining the patent at issue. Rather than proceed through motions and trial, Alpha Tech filed covenants not to sue with the court, stripping it of jurisdiction (no further case or controversy existed). Consequently, the case was dismissed, and Mlsna Dairy was free to continue making and selling its cleaning systems.

OverEnd Technologies, LLC v. Invista S.A.R.L., et al.; Case No: 05-CV-800;
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin – OverEnd designed and manufactured unwinding equipment used in the manufacture of disposable diapers. Invista (owned by Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held conglomerates in the world) acquired competing technology in the form of a pre-existing patent. Invista took the position that OverEnd’s unwinder infringed its patent. OverEnd filed suit, seeking a declaration of non-infringement, a finding that Invista’s patent was invalid, and requesting damages for Invista’s alleged violation of U.S. antitrust laws. OverEnd was successful in defeating a motion to dismiss filed by Invista. A confidential settlement was reached shortly thereafter.

Nifty Home Products, Inc. v. Kraft Foods, Inc.; Case No: 08-CV-921;
U.S. District Court for the District of MinnesotaNifty commenced suit against Kraft Foods, alleging infringement of a design patent for a coffee pod turnstile. A confidential settlement was reached before a responsive pleading was filed.

Vent Matic Company Incorporated v. Perlick Corporation; Case No: 03-CV-307;
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin – Vent Matic was the assignee of a patent for a beer faucet/tap for use in bars and restaurants. Perlick manufactures restaurant and bar equipment. After a joint venture between the parties ended, disputes arose over the ownership of certain issued patents and of inventions for which patent applications were pending. A settlement was reached on the eve of trial which clarified title and included negotiated licenses, allowing Perlick to use certain inventions in exchange for payment of royalties to Vent Matic.

* Party represented depicted in bold