RIPL Corp. v. Google Inc.

Filing 1

COMPLAINT against defendant(s) All Plaintiffs (Receipt # 0981-3023402), filed by RIPL Corp.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Mann, Philip)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON 8 9 10 RIPL CORP. Cause No. Plaintiff, 11 14 COMPLAINT FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT, FALSE DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN AND UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES 15 JURY TRIAL DEMANDED v. 12 13 GOOGLE, INC. Defendant. 16 17 18 Plaintiff RIPL Corp. (“RIPL”) complains of Defendant Google, Inc. (“Google”) as follows: 19 20 NATURE OF LAWSUIT 1. This is an action for infringement of federally registered and common law 21 trademark rights (Counts I and II), false designation of origin under Section 43(a) of the 22 Lanham Act (Count III), Unfair Competition (Count IV) and violation of the Washington 23 Consumer Protection Act (Count V). 24 25 26 THE PARTIES 2. RIPL is a Washington Corporation having a principal place of business in this District at Seattle, Washington. 27 28 COMPLAINT - 1 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 3. RIPL Corp. was founded in 2005 as Kahuna Technologies, Inc. to develop and 2 operate proprietary software for the purpose of facilitating and intelligently automating the 3 sharing of content among Internet users, and specifically to promote and depict and exploit 4 the effect that occurs as content is shared from person to person in a social network. After 5 successfully obtaining the Internet domain name “ripl.com” in early 2006, Kahuna 6 Technologies changed its name to RIPL Corp. and began establishing itself with investors and 7 partners under the name and trading style, “RIPL.” Since that time essentially all of Plaintiff's 8 efforts, activities and resources in fund raising, software engineering, product design, 9 developer evangelism, business development, marketing and promotions have been dedicated 10 to reinforcing the association between “RIPL” and the propagation of content in a social 11 network. Plaintiff's consumer service was released using the name RIPL in March of 2007, 12 and extensive marketing activities were initiated at that time to establish the consumer brand. 13 Plaintiff later conducted extensive business development and outreach activities to establish 14 the RIPL brand with major media companies, advertising agencies, investors and technology 15 companies including Google, Inc. Among the benefits to advertisers that Plaintiff has 16 associated with its RIPL brand is its ability to analyze, identify and communicate with users 17 who are particularly influential in propagating specific types of content. At all relevant times, 18 RIPL has been doing business and providing such services and goods under the name and 19 trading-style, “RIPL.” 20 4. RIPL is the owner of United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 21 (duly and legally issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on August 19, 22 2008) which protects one or more aspects of the name, “RIPL” as used by RIPL in providing 23 its goods and services. 24 No. 3,490,487 is attached as Exhibit A. 25 5. A true and correct copy of RIPL's U.S. Service Mark Registration The distinctive appearance, sound and associated connotations of the “RIPL” 26 name and mark are the subject matter of the aforementioned United States Servicemark 27 Registration and is protected under and by that United States Registration. 28 COMPLAINT - 2 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 6. Upon information and belief, Google Inc., (“Google”) is a Delaware 2 Corporation having a principal place of business at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain 3 View CA 94043. 4 7. Upon information and belief, Google transacts business and has offered 5 services to customers and users in this judicial district and throughout the State of Washington 6 services and products that are the subject of this action as hereinafter described. 7 8 9 10 JURISDICTION AND VENUE 8. This Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1338(a). 9. Personal Jurisdiction over the defendant is proper in this Court. Venue is also 11 proper in this district under Title 28 U.S.C. §§1391(b), (c) and/or 1400(b) in that Google 12 conducts business in this district, caused damage and injury to RIPL in this district, and/or is 13 subject to personal jurisdiction in this district. 14 15 16 DEFENDANT'S ACTS OF TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT, FALSE DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN AND UNFAIR COMPETITION 10. Defendant Google is the world’s leading seller and distributor of 17 advertisements. 18 hardware devices and on those of its partners, accounting for billions of advertising 19 impressions each month. To create advertising inventory and generate targeting data, Google 20 provides and markets numerous, popular, Internet-based and Internet-connected services and 21 products to consumers and users throughout the world, such as its popular Internet search 22 engine and its Android operating system for mobile phones. One such service is an Internet- 23 based social networking service launched publicly by Google on or about October, 2011 24 under the name “Google+.” Through the Google+ service, users are able to develop social 25 contacts and otherwise share information and communicate with each other. The Google+ 26 service has met with success in the marketplace among consumers, and upon information and 27 belief Google has used the data generated by Google+ users to expand and improve the 28 COMPLAINT - 3 Such advertising appears on Google's own web sites, applications and MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 advertising products it sells to marketers and to refine its proprietary targeting algorithms, 2 business processes and strategies. Google has continued to offer new and advanced services in 3 connection with the Google+ service. 4 11. As a core component of its of Google+ product, Google, in or about October, 5 2011, introduced a new service that it offers under the name and trading style “RIPPLES.” 6 The “RIPPLES” service that Google offers displays how content is shared and distributed 7 among users of the Google+ service. In this manner, users of the Google+ service are able to 8 see which of their various posts are shared by others and to whom they are distributed in the 9 social network. Upon information and belief, Google also monitors and analyzes such sharing 10 and other information about both the people and content involved and uses such information 11 to offer advertisers and potential advertisers (a) improved access to consumers who meet 12 specific criteria and (b) improved insight, through its reporting services, on the types of 13 content and messages that are most effective with any specified audience. This formula 14 permits Google to deliver higher response rates to its paying advertisers than would be the 15 case without the RIPPLES service, achieve better utilization of its advertising inventory, and 16 monetize all of its audiences more effectively on all of the platforms and devices on which it 17 operates. 18 12. Upon information and belief, Google uses the data generated by the Google+ 19 service to identify users who are particularly influential in propagating specific types of 20 content. Upon information and belief, the RIPPLES feature offered by Google is designed to 21 evidence Google’s ability to identify and contact such users on behalf of its advertiser clients. 22 13. On October 24, 2011, Google filed an application with the United States Patent 23 and Trademark Office for registration of the “RIPPLES” service mark, claiming the 24 “RIPPLES” mark is used in conjunction with “Marketing, advertising and promotion 25 services” in International Class 35 and in conjunction with “Providing temporary use of 26 online non-downloadable software for the visualization of user-generated content in online 27 member communities” in International Class 42. 28 COMPLAINT - 4 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 2 COUNT I 3 (INFRINGEMENT OF REGISTERED TRADEMARKS) 4 5 6 14. RIPL repeats and realleges the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 13 as if fully set forth herein. 15. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 7 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 infringes RIPL’s rights in 8 contravention of Title 15 U.S.C. §1114. 9 16. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 10 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 has caused and will cause RIPL 11 great and irreparable harm unless enjoined by this court. 12 COUNT II 13 (INFRINGEMENT OF COMMON LAW TRADEMARK) 14 15 16 17. RIPL repeats and realleges the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 16 as if fully set forth herein. 18. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 17 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 infringes RIPL’s trademark rights 18 in contravention of the common law of Washington and other states in which Google sells or 19 otherwise offers such hinges. 20 19. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 21 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 in contravention of the common 22 law of Washington and other states in which Google sells or otherwise offers such hinges, has 23 caused and will cause RIPL great and irreparable harm unless enjoined by this court. 24 COUNT III 25 (FALSE DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN) 26 27 20. RIPL repeats and realleges the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 19 as if fully set forth herein. 28 COMPLAINT - 5 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 21. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 2 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 falsely designates the origin of 3 Google’s service in contravention of Title 15 U.S.C. §1125(a). 4 22. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 5 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 in contravention of Title 15 U.S.C. 6 §1125(a), has caused and will cause RIPL great and irreparable harm unless enjoined by this 7 court. 8 COUNT IV 9 (UNFAIR COMPETITION) 10 11 23. RIPL repeats and realleges the allegations in Paragraphs 1 through 22 as if fully set forth herein. 12 24. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 13 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 constitutes unfair competition 14 under the common law of Washington and other states in which Google sells or otherwise 15 offers such hinges. 16 25. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described 17 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 in contravention of the common 18 law of Washington and other states, has caused and is causing RIPL great and irreparable 19 harm unless enjoined by this court. 20 21 COUNT V 22 (VIOLATION OF WASHINGTON CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT) 23 24 25 26. RIPL incorporates the allegations made in paragraphs 1-25 as if fully set forth 27. Google’s offering, distribution and provision of services of the type described herein. 26 in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487 falsely suggests a connection 27 between RIPL's services on the one hand, and its own services on the other to promote the use 28 COMPLAINT - 6 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 of its competing services and to deceive consumers as to the actual origin of the services 2 offered, distributed and/or sold through their respective businesses and are having a 3 deleterious impact on the public interest and have cause injury to RIPL's business or property. 4 5 6 28. Google's actions as alleged above amount to a violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW § 19.86 et seq. 29. RIPL is and will continue to be irreparably harmed by Googl'es actions unless 7 Google is enjoined from continuing its unauthorized use of RIPL's registered service mark 8 and other materials and from falsely representing the actual origin of its own goods and 9 services. 10 11 30. RIPL is entitled to collect damages under RCW 19.86.090 for Google's willful actions, as well as trebling of damages and an award of attorney's fees. 12 13 PRAYER FOR RELIEF 14 WHEREFORE, RIPL Technologies, Inc. demands judgment as follows: 15 A. That Google and all its agents, servants, employees, attorneys and all others 16 holding by, or through it, or controlled by it, or controlling it, or in act of concert or 17 participation with it, be temporarily and permanently enjoined and restrained from: 18 19 (1) distributing selling, advertising or offering for services of the same or confusingly similar type described in United States Service Mark Registration No. 3,490,487; 20 (2) doing any act or thing in breach of any duty owed RIPL; 21 (3) doing any other act or thing calculate to, tending to, or likely to compete 22 23 unfairly with RIPL. B. That Google be ordered to pay over and account to RIPL for all damages 24 suffered by RIPL and all profits wrongfully derived by Google as a result of its 25 misappropriation and misuse of RIPL’s service mark and other rights. 26 C. That RIPL be awarded its costs and reasonable attorneys fees. 27 28 COMPLAINT - 7 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900 1 2 D. That RIPL be awarded such other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper. 3 4 RIPL demands a trial by jury on all issues presented in this Complaint. 5 6 Dated this 21st day of November, 2012. 7 Respectfully submitted, 8 /s/ Philip P. Mann Philip P. Mann, WSBA No. 28860 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 (206) 436-0900 Fax (866) 341-5140 phil@mannlawgroup.com 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Attorneys for Plaintiff RIPL Corp. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 COMPLAINT - 8 MANN LAW GROUP 1218 Third Avenue, Suite 1809 Seattle, Washington 98101 TELEPHONE: 206.436-0900