Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 5:57 AM

Collection Against Collezione

Two items of interest in the on-going saga of intellectual property enforcement against bankrupt Collezione Europa and its principals, Paul and Leonard Frankel.

AICO/Amini recently settled with the Frankels at the end of July after first bringing copyright and design patent infringement claims against Collezione Europa in federal court in New Jersey. The terms of that settlement are confidential but AICO's approach represents an aggressive strategy. When Collezione filed for bankruptcy in 2008, AICO went after the personal assets of the Frankels for their involvement in Collezione's infringing activities. The strategy paid off to some degree, although it sounds like AICO was not terribly thrilled with the dollar amount they got at the end of the day.

In another matter, Universal Furniture is continuing to pursue the individual assets of the Frankels in federal court in North Carolina, again after Collezione filed for bankruptcy. In the North Carolina case, Paul Frankel challenged the court's personal jurisdiction but his motion was denied. Leonard Frankel did not respond to the complaint and default has been entered against him. From the docket, it looks like the case is in the discovery phase now. The case is Civil Action No. 1:08-cv-395 (MDNC).

Although the strength of an infringement claim is of paramount importance in any patent, copyright, or trademark case, one should not forget that a judgment may be worth little if the defendant is judgment-proof.

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