Smartphone cases - Built to survive drops, floods - and lawsuits?
The Colorado-based company has filed lawsuits in federal court in its home state against LifeProof, also known as Treefrog Developments Inc, and Mophie LLC for alleged patent infringement involving waterproof cases for iPhones, iPods and other devices. Mophie and LifeProof in court papers have denied the allegations.
Otterbox and Mophie did not respond to requests for comment. LifeProof declined to comment on pending litigation. Company spokesman Jonathan Wegner said, however, that LifeProof has programs in place to protect its own intellectual property.
The Ballistic Case Co, based in Florida, has also been a repeat plaintiff. The company has sued rivals Cell-Nerds LLC and Boxwave Corp for allegedly copying the look of its rugged "Shell Gel" series of cases, which feature a dotted back and come in an array of colors.
Designers invest significant resources in case styles and deserve legal protection, said Alan Weisberg, a Ballistic attorney.
The company has sold more than $12 million worth of Shell Gel cases, according to court documents, and they are available at major retailers. Both Cell-Nerds and Boxwave are smaller enterprises that sell cases online. The Shell Gel models are priced at about $35, while similar Cell-Nerds and Boxwave cases go for less than $10.
Earlier this month, a Miami federal judge allowed Ballistic's case against Cell-Nerds to move forward, while the Boxwave case is in its early stages in the same court. Ballistic claims it has so-called "trade dress rights" to the design of its cases and wants similar, rival products
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