PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh-based tile and ceramics company is suing an employee for her acts of threatening suit for alleged infringement of intellectual property associated with design work performed under employment.
Limelight Tile and Ceramics LLC filed a lawsuit Jan. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Shari Lynn Bennett, individually and doing business as Shari Lynn Bennett Designs LLC, seeking declaratory judgment.
According to the complaint, in late November 2012, Limelight purchased tile molds, tile designs, dies and the contents of the office of the former Magnificent Manufacturing Inc. Bennett was an employee of Magnificent and she had disclaimed authorship of various tile designs purchased by Limelight at the auction, the suit states.
Limelight contacted Bennett and informed her that it intended to purchase the designs, and Bennett indicated she would like to be employed by Limelight with the interest of a future profit-sharing arrangement, the suit states. Bennett allegedly created the accused intellectual property for Limelight, using Limelight’s resources on Limelight’s time, as an employee beginning September 2013. On Jan. 22, Bennett sent a letter to Limelight accusing the company of infringing copyrights and asserted ownership in the copyrights for the designs made for hire as part of her employment.
Limelight is demanding a jury trial, declaration that Limelight owns the accused intellectual property, has an implied license of the property and any claims of copyright infringement be barred, and damages, along with court and attorney fees. It is represented by John W. McIlvaine, James G. Porcelli and David A. DuMont of The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:16-cv-00122