Friday, November 19, 2010

Northern California Daily Digest

From the Courts opinion.
Here are some other cases going on in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Dioptics Medical Products v. IdeaVillage Products is a design patent infringement law suit.  Dioptics claims it owns two patents for wrap-around sunglasses which IdeaVillage infringes by selling similar wrap around sunglasses.  Magistrate Patricia Trumball used the figure shown to the right to explain the similarity.  Under Egyptian Goddess, Inc. v. Swisa, Inc., (Fed. Cir. 2008) (en banc),the designs of the allegedly infringing product, the prior art and the patented design are contrasted to determine whether an ordinary observer would purchase one instead of the other supposing it to be the former.  This is a question of fact, which cannot be resolved on a motion to dismiss.

In sum, Ideavillage has not shown that, as a matter of law, no ordinary observer could find that the designs of the accused products, the “HD Trap” and the “HD Vision Wrap,” are substantially the same as the ‘789 Patent and the ‘814 Patent, respectively. Thus, dismissal of the infringement claims is not warranted.
Judge Trumball denied the motion to dismiss.

Caesar v. Horel is a pro se prisoner civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.  Unlike most pro se prisoner lawsuits, Mr. Caesar is not proceeding in forma pauperis and has paid the full filing fee.  His complaint, nonetheless, is subject to preliminary review under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.  Mr. Caesar claims that the staff of Pelican Bay State Prison was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by failing to provide him a wheelchair and adequate "foot cream" among other things.  As Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong explains:

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that, as the warden, Defendant Horel handled Plaintiff's numerous appeals, which denied some of Plaintiff's requests for medical treatment. Plaintiff claims that, as the chief medical officer, Defendant Sayre was responsible for directing the medical staff to purposely deny him "fair medical care" for his chronic nerve pain and mobility problems.
She ruled that this adequately stated claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs for both individual and supervisor liability.

Vieste v. Hill Redwood Development is a real estate development project gone bad where the plaintiff is suing the defendants for fraud and similar torts.  The case is similar to Kennedy Funding, Inc. v. Chapman that this blog covered a few days ago.  According to court documents, Vieste alleges that it entered into a joint venture with the defendants to develop projects in Metropolis, Illinois and in Xalapa, Veracruz in Mexico. The defendants were suppose to pay it about $300,000 for services rendered and seed money for the rest of the projects. That never happened, Vieste sued. The defendants counterclaimed for negligent misrepresentation and Vieste moved to dismiss.

Judge Jeffery S. White noted that the counterclaim's factual basis:
Defendants allege that Vieste represented that the municipalities were prepared to sign joint operating agreements ("JOAs") with Vieste. Defendants allege that these representations were false, because, in fact, Vieste's negotiations with the municipalities were still in their very early stages.
Those JOAs were sufficient to state a claim for negligent misrepresentation.  He denied the motion to dismiss.

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