Roger Hall designed the “Tote Towel” – a long towel with zippered pockets to hold keys and cell phones and such while you work out.
In early 2009, while a design patent application for the Tote Towel was pending, Mr. Hall met with Bed, Bath & Beyond to see if they would sell his Tote Towel. Mr. Hall gave towel samples to Bed, Bath & Beyond to show them how great the towel was. Bed, Bath & Beyond apparently liked the towels. So they stole the idea and made cheap copies of the towels in Pakistan, cutting Mr. Hall out of the loop.
Mr. Hall, not surprisingly, is really upset about all this. He sued Bed, Bath and Beyond in the Southern District of New York, bringing claims for design patent infringement, unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act, and New York state law claims for deceptive trade practices and unjust enrichment.
Mr. Hall’s complaint was lengthy and apparently pretty darn detailed. But the District Court dismissed all Mr. Hall’s claims for a variety of perceived inadequacies in the pleading.
The Federal Circuit reversed the dismissal of all of the claims against Bed, Bath & Beyond (the dismissal of claims against Bed, Bath & Beyond executive Farley Nachemin was affirmed, based on a failure to plead facts supporting piercing the corporate veil). Continue reading →