Pa. inventor sues Christmas Tree Shops for patent infringement

By Jon Campisi | Dec 11, 2013

A Pennsylvania man is suing Massachusetts-based Christmas Tree Shops Inc. and New Jersey-based Nantucket Distributing Co. in federal court in Philadelphia over allegations that the defendants stole his patent for a wine tote bag.

Daniel Berkowitz, who resides in Devon, Pa., along with Chester County business, Spectrum Imports Inc., jointly filed a civil action Dec. 6 at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the two defendants over claims that they violated Berkowitz’s trademarks for an invention called the “Bottle Carrier,” which is a small bag designed to carry wine and other bottles.

Spectrum, the suit says, is a wholesale distributor of coolers, picnic backpacks, picnic baskets, wine carriers, barbecue tool sets, portable outdoor furniture and other related items that has an exclusive license from Berkowitz to mark, carry, design, market and sell his product, according to the complaint.

The defendants have been, and still are, infringing on the plaintiff’s patents by making, selling, importing and/or using products “embodying the Plaintiff’s patented inventions,” the lawsuit states.

“Defendants’ infringement has caused Plaintiffs to suffer damages,” the complaint states.

The plaintiffs say they are entitled to an award of the defendants’ total profits earned from the alleged design patent infringement.

Spectrum also seeks damages for price erosion.

The plaintiffs seek attorney’s fees and treble damages because, as the suit states, “said infringement was willful.”

“Defendants have no authority to make, use, offer to sell, or import in the United States bottle carriers having a design that is protected by the,” plaintiff’s patent, the complaint reads.

The lawsuit contains photographs that are said to have been taken at the Christmas Tree Shop on Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, Pa. showing displays of the infringing wine purses offered for sale.

“Defendants’ infringement will continue unless enjoined by the Court,” the suit states.

In addition to the price erosion, treble damages and an award of the defendants’ total profits from the sale of the items, the plaintiffs seek both preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the defendants from continuing to sell the infringing product.

The complaint was filed by attorneys Frank J. Bonini, Jr. and John F.A. Earley, III, of the Valley Forge, Pa. firm Harding, Earley, Follmer & Frailey.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-07144-TON.

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