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R&L v. Alex & Ani - Complaint

R&L v. Alex & Ani - Complaint

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Published by slburstein
R&L v. Alex & Ani - Complaint
R&L v. Alex & Ani - Complaint

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Published by: slburstein on Mar 31, 2013
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03/25/2014

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IN THE UNITED STATES
DISTRICTCO
U
R
 T
FOR THE
DISTRICT
OF
 TENNESSEENASHVILLE DIVISION
 
R & L MERCHANDISE, LLC., d/b/a )BELLA RYAN, ))Plaintiff, ))v. ) Civil Action No.)ALEX AND ANI, LLC., d/b/a ALEX AND ) JUDGEANI, ))
 JURY
 TRIAL D
E
M
AND
E
DDefendant. )
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
COM
PLAINT
 
Plaintiff R & L Merchandising, LLC, d/b/a Bella Ryann brings this Declaratory JudgmentComplaint against defendant Alex & Ani, LLC, d/b/a Alex & Ani. This Declaratory JudgmentComplaint relates to R & L Merchandising, LLCs current efforts to resolve ongoing disputesbetween the parties – direct competitors in the field of jewelry – regarding their respective legalrights to manufacture and sell jewelry what is colloquially known as “bangle bracelets.”Specifically, R & L Merchandising, LLC seeks declaratory judgments of patent non-infringementand invalidity with respect to one Alex and Ani, LLC design patent directed to expandablebracelets, and of trade dress non-infringement with respect to a bangle bracelet sold by Alex andAni, LLC. Plaintiff R & L Merchandising, LLC alleges as follows:NATURE OF THIS A
CT
I
O
N1.
 
 This is an action seeking Declaratory Judgments that United States Patent No.D498,167 (“the 167 patent”), which is owned by Alex and Ani., LLC, has not been infringed by R& L Merchandising, LLC and/or is invalid and that R & L Merchandising, LLC has not infringed
Case 3:12-cv-01081 Document 1 Filed 10/19/12 Page 1 of 8 PageID #: 1
 
 
2any rights of Alex and Ani, LLC arising under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act.2.
 
 This action arises under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and2202, the Patent Laws of the United States, Title 35 of the United States Code, and Section 43(a)of the Lanham Act.3.
 
R & L Merchandising, LLC, d/b/a Bella Ryann, (“R & L” or “Plaintiff”) is alimited liability corporation organized and existing under the laws of the state of Tennessee, withits principal place of business located in Davidson County, Tennessee.4.
 
R & L manufactures and sells expandable bracelets with attached charms.5.
 
On information and belief, Alex & Ani, LLC, (“Alex & Ani” or “Defendant”) is anLLC organized and existing under the laws of the state of Rhode Island. Its registered agent forservice of process is Michael F. Sweeney, Esq., One Financial Plaza, Suite 1800, Providence, RI02903.6.
 
Alex & Ani and R & L manufacture and sell bangle bracelets. Alex & Ani and R &L have an ongoing dispute regarding their respective legal rights to manufacture and sell banglebracelets. Alex & Ani has indicated to R & L that Alex & Ani believes R & L is infringing itsbangle bracelet design. R & L seeks to resolve the parties’ current disputes regarding banglebracelets and thus R & L brings this declaratory judgment action, in which R & L seeks adeclaration that the patents have not been infringed by R & L and/or are invalid. JURISDICTION AND VENUE7.
 
 This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1338(a), 2201 and 2202.8.
 
 This action is filed to resolve an actual and justiciable controversy between the
Case 3:12-cv-01081 Document 1 Filed 10/19/12 Page 2 of 8 PageID #: 2
 
 
3parties hereto. Alex & Anis conduct towards R & L establishes that a real and substantial disputeexists between the parties regarding Alex & Anis allegations that R & Ls product infringes the167 patent and Alex & Anis trade dress rights. This dispute is both definite and concrete andadmits of specific relief through a decree of a conclusive character. As set forth in succeedingparagraphs herein, Alex & Ani has taken at least one affirmative act related to enforcement of itspatent and trade secret rights, and R & L is currently engaged in offering for sale a braceletalleged by Alex & Ani to infringe those rights. Accordingly there is a conflict of asserted rightsamong the parties and an actual controversy exists between R & L and Alex & Ani with respect tothe infringement, validity, and scope of the 167 patent and of Alex & Anis trade dress rights.9.
 
 This Court has personal jurisdiction over Alex & Ani because it has purposelydirected its activities at the State of Tennessee and purposely availed itself of the benefits andprotections of the laws of this State, including this Judicial District, by repeatedly directingcorrespondence to R & L alleging that bracelets currently being offered for sale by R & L infringeAlex & Anis patent and trade dress rights. Further, the Alex & Ani correspondence not onlythreatened litigation, but also demanded payment of $150,000, surrender of all R & L bracelets fordestruction, and ordered R & L to preserve allegedly relevant documents in eight specificcategories in anticipation of litigation.10.
 
 This Court also has personal jurisdiction over Alex & Ani because Alex & Ani’scontacts with the State of Tennessee are significant and pervasive. The State of Tennessee is alarge and important market for the sale of Alex & Anis products. Alex & Ani has salesrepresentatives, dealers, and distributors located in the State of Tennessee that market, promote,and sell Alex & Ani’s products. Alex & Ani has conducted business continuously andsystematically in the State of Tennessee and in this judicial district for many years and continues
Case 3:12-cv-01081 Document 1 Filed 10/19/12 Page 3 of 8 PageID #: 3

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