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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY ____________________________________________x MAMIYA AMERICA CORPORATION : (d/b/a MAC GROUP), and

: BENRO PRECISION INDUSTRIAL CO. LTD. : : Plaintiffs, : : -v.: : MANFROTTO DISTRIBUTION INC. : LINO MANFROTTO & COMPANY, S.P.A., and : VITEC GROUP PLC. : : Defendants. : ____________________________________________x

Civil Action No. JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT Plaintiffs Mamiya America Corporation, d/b/a MAC Group (hereinafter MAC Group) and Benro Precision Industrial Co. Ltd. (hereinafter Benro and together with MAC Group, Plaintiffs), by and through their undersigned attorneys, hereby file their Complaint against Defendants Manfrotto Distribution Inc. (hereinafter Manfrotto), Lino Manfrotto & Company, S.P.A. (hereinafter Lino Manfrotto), and Vitec Group Plc (hereinafter Vitec Group and collectively with Manfrotto and Lino Manfrotto, Defendants), and allege as follows:

NATURE OF ACTION 1. This is a civil action regarding allegations of non-infringement and

invalidity of U.S. Patent No. 8,028,963 (hereinafter the 963 Patent) arising under the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101 et. seq., in which MAC Group and Benro seek declaratory relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201 et. seq.

THE PARTIES 2. Plaintiff MAC Group is a domestic business corporation organized and

existing under the laws of the State of New York, and located and doing business at 75 Virginia Road, North White Plains, New York 10603.

3.

MAC Group markets and distributes in the United States, including in this

jurisdiction, image-making photographic equipment and accessories for professional photographers, filmmakers, educators, students, and others, and markets and distributes to end users largely through numerous retailers in the United States, including Unique Photo of Fairfield, New Jersey and C&A Marketing of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, as well other retailers in other states, such as B & H Photo of New York, New York. In particular, MAC Group markets and distributes product in the United States manufactured by Benro.

4.

Plaintiff Benro is a foreign business corporation organized and existing

under the laws of the Peoples Republic of China, and located and doing business at The Third Industrial Zone, Tanzhou Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong, China 528467

5.

Benro manufactures image-making photographic equipment and

accessories for professional photographers, filmmakers, educators, students, and others, and markets and distributes in the United States and in this jurisdiction through MAC Group.

6.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Manfrotto is a domestic business

corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of New Jersey located at 10 Mountainview Road, Ste 320 South, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458.

7.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Manfrotto is a wholly owned

subsidiary of Vitec Group.

8.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Manfrotto imports, markets, and

distributes photographic, video, broadcast, and lighting imaging products, including single-pole camera mounting devices (monopods) in the United States and in this District.

9.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Lino Manfrotto is a registered

corporation organized and existing under the laws of Italy and located at Via Valsugana 100, Cassola (VI), Italy 36022.

10.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Lino Manfrotto is a wholly owned

subsidiary of Vitec Group.

11.

Upon information and belief, Lino Manfrotto markets photography

accessory products, including monopods, in the United States to Manfrotto, who then markets and distributes Lino Manfrotto products to retailers in the United States.

12.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Lino Manfrotto is the owner of the

963 patent, which is the subject of the declaratory judgment counts of this action.

13.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Vitec Group is a public limited

company, organized and existing under the laws of the United Kingdom and located and doing business at Bridge House, Heron Square, Richmond, United Kingdom, TW9 1EN.

14.

Upon information and belief, Defendant Vitec Group markets and

distributes worldwide a wide variety of photography, film, and image-making devices, including monopods in the United States and in this District.

15.

Upon information and belief, Defendants are doing business in this

district, transacting business within this District, operate websites accessible from this District, and deriving revenue from intrastate and interstate commerce within this District, and Defendants are otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of this Court.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE 16. This is a civil action regarding non-infringement and invalidity arising

under the Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. 101 et. seq., in which MAC Group and Benro seek declaratory relief under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201, et. seq. Thus, this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1338, 2201, and 2202.

17.

A definite and concrete, real and substantially judiciable controversy exists

between the Plaintiffs and the Defendants regarding, inter alia, the non-infringement and invalidity of the 963 patent, which is of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a Declaratory Judgment.

18.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Manfrotto in that Manfrotto

conducts business, including selling products within the State of New Jersey and this judicial district. Further, Manfrottos principal place of business is in the State of New Jersey. Upon information and belief, Manfrotto is incorporated in the State of New Jersey. Upon information and belief, Manfrotto, directly or through intermediaries, distributes, offers for sale, sells, markets, promotes and/or advertises its products in the State of New Jersey and in this judicial district. As a result, Manfrotto purposefully avails itself of the privilege of doing business in the District of New Jersey. Moreover, by doing business in the District of New Jersey, Manfrotto avails itself of the protections of the District of New Jersey.

19.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Lino Manfrotto in that Lino

Manfrotto conducts business, including selling products within the State of New Jersey and this judicial district. Upon information and belief, Lino Manfrotto, directly or through intermediaries, distributes, offers for sale, sells, markets, promotes and/or advertises its products in the State of New Jersey and this judicial district. As a result, Lino Manfrotto purposefully avails itself of the privilege of doing business in the District of New Jersey.

Moreover, by doing business in the District of New Jersey, Lino Manfrotto avails itself of the protections of the District of New Jersey.

20.

This Court has personal jurisdiction over Vitec Group in that Vitec Group

conducts business, including selling products within the State of New Jersey and this judicial district. Upon information and belief, the Imaging Division of the Vitec Group makes known on its website that it has a presence in New Jersey. On information and belief, Vitec Group, directly or through intermediaries, distributes, offers for sale, sells, markets, promotes and/or advertises its products in the State of New Jersey and this judicial district. As a result, Vitec Group purposefully avails itself of the privilege of doing business in the District of New Jersey. Moreover, by doing business in the District of New Jersey, Vitec Group avails itself of the protections of the District of New Jersey.

21.

Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391 and 1400.

STATEMENT OF FACTS 22. MAC Groups lines of products include a line of monopods sourced from

Benro. Several monopods sourced from Benro are included in a line of monopod products marketed by MAC Group (hereinafter, the Benro monopods).

23.

MAC Group has marketed and distributed the Benro monopods at least

since early May 2013.

24.

On October 4, 2011, the United States Patent and Trademark Office

(PTO) issued U.S. Patent No. 8,028,963, entitled Monopod Support Especially For Video Filming, to Lino Manfrotto, the assignee of named inventor Paulo Speggiorin. A copy of the 963 patent is attached as Exhibit 1.

25.

Manfrotto, Lino Manfrotto, and Vitec Group have indicated that they will

vigorously protect and enforce the 963 patent and will specifically direct their protection and enforcement efforts against MAC Group.

26. 963 patent.

Upon information and belief, Lino Manfrotto is the current assignee of the

27.

The 963 patent includes 16 claims. All claims are directed to a monopod

support, and all claims include a particular type of shock absorbing element interposed between two other elements of the monopod support.

28.

All of the Benro monopods function similarly, differing only in size,

materials used, head size, and locking mechanism. None of the Benro monopods has any shock absorbing element as described in the 963 patent claims.

29.

In June 2013, at least one MAC Group retailer in the United States

received a letter (the Manfrotto retailer letter), on Lino Manfrotto letterhead and signed

by the Managing Director of Manfrotto and a Divisional CEO of Vitec Imaging Division, explicitly indicating that Manfrotto has filed a patent infringement suit in China against Benro, that at least one allegedly identical patent has been granted in the United States, and alerting the retailers that further action by Manfrotto may ensue if they continue selling the Benro product offered by MAC Group. A copy of one such letter with the addressees name and address removed, is included as Exhibit 2.

30.

Attached to the Manfrotto retailer letter and included in Exhibit 2 is a May

31, 2013 letter from Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office, LLC, indicating that legal proceedings in China were initiated against Benro for alleged infringement of an identified Lino Manfrotto Chinese patent. Upon information and belief, the cited Chinese patent and the 963 patent claim priority to the same patent filings.

31.

In early October 2013, Mr. Jan Lederman, President of MAC Group,

received a letter dated October 1, 2013, from counsel for Manfrotto and Lino Manfrotto, formally asserting that, relative to two monopods, specifically models A38FBS2 and A48TBS4, MAC Group was willfully infringing the 963 patent and demanding that all importation, marketing, offers for sale, and sales of the two monopod products immediately cease. The two named monopods are among the Benro monopods. A copy of this letter with attachments is included as Exhibit 3.

32.

The attachments to Exhibit 3 also include what appear to be photographs

of the two monopods identified in the October 1, 2013 letter.

33. Attached to the October 1 letter were two claim charts, apparently prepared by Manfrotto or Lino Manfrotto, comparing the two Benro monopod products to selected claims of the 963 patent. Although the claim charts appear to detail alleged infringement, the charts appear to compare only the external appearance of the Benro monopods and not the functionality of the Benro monopods. There is nothing in the claim charts describing any actual shock absorbing element in the Benro monopods.

34.

Exhibit 4 is a drawing showing the internal portions of the area between

the base and the rod of one of the Benro monopods, the A48TBS4 model. This model is one of the Benro monopods identified in the October 1, 2013 letter. It is clear from this drawing that the A48TBS4 monopod does not have a shock absorbing element in this area.

35.

The remaining monopods in the Benro monopods are similarly structured

and do not have a shock absorbing element either.

36.

MAC Group has not infringed and does not infringe, either directly or

indirectly, any valid and enforceable claim of the patent-in-suit.

37.

Further, upon information and belief, prior art references known to the

Applicant of the 963 patent application and which appear to be relevant, were not timely disclosed to the PTO for consideration in the application and were therefore not

considered in the 963 patent applications prosecution. Exhibit 5 is a copy of an Information Disclosure Statement from the file history of the 963 patent showing receipt by the Patent Office on September 16, 2011. Upon information and belief, the Statement was submitted after the issue fee was paid. Exhibit 6 is a copy of the issue payment statement from the file history of the 963 patent, showing the August 2011 date that the issue fee was paid.

38.

In addition, upon information and belief, the 963 patent claims rely on

particular functional components but the 963 patent does not describe the materials required, or dimensions or volumes of the functional components.

39.

As a result, the claims of the 963 patent are invalid, void, and/or of no

legal consequence.

40.

By virtue of the foregoing, a substantial controversy exists between the

parties that is of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant declaratory relief.

COUNT I (DECLARATION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,028,963) 41. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each allegation in paragraphs 1-40 as if set

forth in full herein.

42.

As a result of the acts in the foregoing paragraphs, a substantial

controversy of sufficient immediacy and reality exists to warrant the issuance of a

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declaratory judgment.

43.

Plaintiffs are entitled to a declaratory judgment that they have not and do

not infringe, directly or indirectly, any valid or enforceable claim of the 963 patent.

44.

Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek a judgment declaring that they have not

infringed and do not infringe, directly or indirectly, any valid or enforceable claim of the 963 patent.

COUNT II (DECLARATION OF INVALIDITY OF U.S. PATENT NO. 8,028,963) 45. Plaintiffs repeat and reallege each allegation in paragraphs 1-44 as if set

forth in full herein.

46.

As a result of the acts in the foregoing paragraphs, there exists a

substantial controversy of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment.

47.

The 963 patent and its claims, are invalid, void and/or of no legal

consequence under 35 U.S.C. 101, 102, 103, and/or 112 or the rules, regulations and laws related thereto, without limitation.

48.

Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek a judgment declaring that the claims of the

963 patent are invalid, void, and/or of no legal consequence.

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PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, MAC Group prays for a judgment in its favor, including: A. A declaration that Plaintiffs MAC Group and Benro have not and are not infringing any valid claim of the 963 patent; B. A declaration that each of the claims of the 963 patent is invalid, void, and of no legal consequence; C. An injunction prohibiting any and all Defendants, their officers, and directors from alleging infringement of the 963 patent against MAC Group and Benro; D. E. F. A declaration that this is an exceptional case pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 285; An award of reasonable attorney fees, costs, and expenses; and Such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL Pursuant to Rule 38(b). Fed. R. Civ. P., Plantiffs MAC Group and Benro demand a jury trial of all issues triable as a right by jury. GOTTLIEB, RACKMAN & REISMAN, P.C. Attorneys for Plaintiffs MAC Group and Benro 270 Madison Avenue New York, New York 10016 Tel.:(212) 684-3900 FAX: (212) 684-3999 By____/s/ Barry R. Lewin________________ Barry R. Lewin (blewin@grr.com) Marc P. Misthal (mmisthal@grr.com) Dated: October 24, 2013 New York, New York 12