Sunday, October 19, 2008, 8:23 AM

As Furniture Market Opens, Four New Law Suits Filed

As the High Point Market is set to open (Oct. 20-26, 2008), four new intellectual property law suits involving furniture have been filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Design patents are involved in all three and perhaps signal a new wave of design patents in view of the Federal Circuit recently strengthening design patents (see posting of Sept. 23, 2008 regarding the Egyptian Goddess case).

The first suit was filed Oct. 13, 2008 by Marge Carson, Inc. v. Schnadig Corporation. In this patent infringement action, Marge Carson asserts United States Patent No. D549,997 (the '997 Patent).

The accused product is the Bellini-A Room couch.

Addition views of the Bellini A Room couch may be found here.

One drawing from Marge Carson's '997 Patent shows the following design:





Marge Carson seeks preliminary and permanent relief, destruction of infringing products, and unspecified damages. The Marge Carson suit is Case No. 08-cv-737 (M.D.N.C.).

We note that Womble Carlyle represents plaintiff Marge Carson in this action.

Three additional actions were filed on Oct. 15, 2008. All three involve design patents. The first is Palliser Furniture, Ltd. v. Coaster Company of America, Case No. 08-cv-743 (M.D.N.C.) in which Palliser asserts infringement of United States Design Patent D493,966 along with statutory trade dress infringement, common law trade dress infringement, violation of North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Unfair Competition. The complaint alleges that Coaster infringes Palliser's intellectual property rights in its "Tracer Ottoman."

The second suit is Casana Furniture, Ltd. v. Coaster Company of America, Case No. 08-cv-744 (M.D.N.C.). In this action, Casana Furniture, a new furniture company created from Palliser's casegoods division, asserts infringement of its intellectual property rights in its VALENCIA through infringement of United States Design Patent D474,615, along with claims of statutory trade dress infringement, common law trade dress infringement, violation of North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Unfair Competition.

In the third action, Casana Furniture Company, Ltd. v. SLF, Inc. f/k/a Samuel Lawrence Furniture Company, Case No. 08-cv-746 (M.D.N.C.) asserts United States Design Patent No. D485,098, along with claims of statutory trade dress infringement, common law trade dress infringement, violation of North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Unfair Competition.

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