Callet World, LLC v. August Hat Company Inc. et al

Filing 1

COMPLAINT against Apple Inc., August Hat Company Inc. (Filing Fee $ 350.00, Receipt Number 465401063518)Document filed by Callet World, LLC.(jd)

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2. The Callet design features were carried over to mobile phone cases for products such as the iPhone and the Blackberry, some of the most ubiquitous communications products on the market today. 3. Callet World’s creative achievements have resulted in intellectual property protection for Callet World’s innovations, including a design patent. Nevertheless, Callet World’s innovations have been the subject of widespread emulation by its competitors, who have attempted to capitalize on Callet World’s innovations by imitating Callet World’s elegant and distinctive product design. One of the principal imitators is August Hat Company, Inc. d/b/a/ Hex (“Hex”), which recently introduced the Hex Solo Wallet Case and HEX X Pretty Sweet Solo Wallet Case line of mobile phone cases to compete with the Callet for the widely popular iPhone. On information and belief, instead of pursuing independent product development, Hex has chosen to slavishly copy Callet World’s elegant and distinctive product design, in violation of Callet World’s valuable intellectual property rights. As alleged below in detail, Hex has made its mobile phone cases work and look like Callet World’s products through widespread patent infringement. Hex’s knock off design is sold by many retailers including by defendant Apple Inc. (“Apple”). 4. By this action, Callet World seeks to put a stop to Hex’s and Apple’s illegal conduct and obtain compensation for the violations that have occurred thus far. THE PARTIES 5. Plaintiff Callet World LLC is a New York limited liability company having its principal place of business at 32 East 32nd Street, New York, New York 10001. 6. Defendant August Hat Company, Inc., is a California Corporation doing business as Hex with an address at 3051 Sturgis Road, Oxnard, California 93030. Defendant August Hart 2 Company, Inc. has designated Roque Valladares, having an address at 3051 Sturgis Road, Oxnard, California 93030, as its agent for service of process. 7. Defendant Apple Inc. is a California corporation having its principal place of business at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California 95014. Defendant Apple Inc. has designated CT Corporation System with an address at 111 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10011 as its agent for service of process. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 8. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question) and 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a) (any Act of Congress relating to patents or trademarks). 9. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Hex and Apple because Hex and Apple have committed and continue to commit acts of infringement in violation 35 U.S.C. § 271, and place infringing products into the stream of commerce, with the knowledge or understanding that such products are sold in the State of New York, including in this District. The acts by Hex and Apple have caused and continue to cause injury to Callet World within this District. Upon information and belief, Hex and Apple have derived and continue to derive substantial revenue from the sale of infringing products within this District, expect their actions to have consequences within this District, and derive substantial revenue from interstate and international commerce. 10. Venue is proper within this District under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391(b) and (c) because Hex and Apple transact business within this District and offer for sale in this District products that infringe the Callet World patent. In addition, venue is proper because Callet World’s principal place of business is in this District and Callet World suffered harm in this District. Moreover, a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred in this District. 3 FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS CALLET WORLD’S INNOVATIVE DESIGN 11. Callet World is a designer and manufacturer of cases for mobile communication devices. As a result of its research and development, Callet World has developed innovative designs that have changed the face of the mobile phone case industry in a way that has broadly appealed to consumers. 12. In 2009, Callet World introduced the Callet mobile phone case. The Callet combined in one small and lightweight case the protection functions and user interface accessibility required of a mobile phone case into an elegant design that gave the Callet an immediately recognizable look. 13. As a direct result of its innovative and distinctive design, the Callet was an instant success, and it immediately became uniquely associated with Callet World as its source. Reviewers universally praised the Callet as a “must have for 2011”. News outlets reported the Callet as “great” and an “unbeatable gift.” Star Magazine praised the Callet as a “Hot Accessory” on its hot list and celebrity users celebrated the Callet as “perfect for those always on the go…” 14. After introducing the Callet, Callet World continued to innovate and achieve success with a series of designs that were more sophisticated and advanced versions of the Callet. In its early years on the market, Callet World sold a substantial number of Callet units. Callet World’s Callet products have been extensively advertised throughout the United States, including network television, the Internet, and magazines, with the vast majority of the advertisements featuring photographs of the distinctive design of the Callet products. Callet 4 World’s advertising expenditures for the Callet products were substantial for a company of its size. CALLET WORLD’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS 15. Callet World has protected its innovative designs through a design patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Callet World design patent covers the many ornamental features of Callet World’s devices, such as the phone cover with integral card holder on the outwardly facing side of the phone cover. Callet World owns all right, title, and interest in and to the asserted design patent D653,656 (the “D’656 Patent”), a copy of which is attached as Exhibit 1. HEX’S AND APPLE’S INFRINGING PRODUCTS 16. Hex and Apple have imported into or sold HEX Solo Wallet Case and HEX X Pretty Sweet Solo Wallet Case in the United States, a product that infringes Callet World’s design patent. On information and belief, rather than innovate and develop its own unique style, Hex and Apple have chosen to copy or misappropriate Callet World’s innovative style and design in its infringing products. 17. Defendants’ Solo Wallet Case and Pretty Sweet Solo Wallet Case products are exemplary. The copying is so pervasive, that the defendants’ products appear to be Callet World products with the same rectangular shape with rounded corners, integral card holder on the outwardly facing side of the phone cover, and gently curving edges on the back and side. Hex had many options in developing its products. Indeed, earlier Hex products did not embody the same Callet World designs. On information and belief, Hex chose to infringe Callet World’s 5 patent rights through the design of its Solo Wallet Case, Pretty Sweet Solo Wallet Case and similar products and it did so willfully. Infringement of Callet World’s Patents 18. Defendants’ infringement of the Callet World design patent identified in this Complaint provides defendants with a unique design for their products that was the result of Callet World’s innovation, not defendants. Moreover, as the side-by-side comparison shown below reveals, defendants have misappropriated Callet World’s patented case design in the accused products, including the Solo Wallet Case depicted below. Defendants have not obtained permission from Callet World to use its inventions in the identified design patent. 6 19. An ordinary observer, giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, would consider the Solo Wallet Case and Pretty Sweet Solo Wallet Case to be substantially the same as the design of the D’656 Patent. FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF (For Infringement of the ‘D656 Patent) 20. Callet World incorporates and realleges paragraphs 1 through 19 of this Complaint. 21. Defendants have infringed and continue to infringe the ‘D656 Patent by using, selling and/or offering to sell in the United States, and/or importing into the United States one or more of the products identified in this Complaint, which embody the design covered by the ‘D656 Patent. 22. As a result of defendants’ acts and omissions complained of herein, Callet World has been damaged. PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, Callet World prays for relief, as follows: (a) A judgment that defendants have infringed the claim of Callet World’s asserted patent; (b) An order and judgment preliminarily and permanently enjoining defendants and its officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, affiliates, attorneys, and all others acting in privity or in concert with them, and their parents, subsidiaries, divisions, successors and assigns, from further acts of infringement of Callet World’s asserted patents; 7 Exhibit 1