In 2019, Monika was a first-year MBA student at Bassoon Univ…

Please refer to the attachment to see images. In 2019, Monika was a first-year MBA student at Bassoon University. She often attended crowded parties with her classmates at bars or at friends’ apartments. She disliked carrying a purse, and when she did carry one she often left it behind accidentally. Monika would frequently complain to her classmate Lucia and her roommate Jen, who commiserated that they had the same issue. When the pandemic hit, Monika found herself with more downtime as classmates no longer gathered in large groups. Over dinner at Lucia’s apartment one night in March of 2020, just the two of them, Monika and Lucia reminisced about the great parties they used to attend and renewed their gripe about having to carry purses and sometimes forgetting those purses. "I can stick my phone in my back pocket but I need somewhere to put my lip gloss and house key or whatever other tiny things I need," Lucia said. "Sometimes I just want to use my AirPods on the train and then stash them somewhere safe." "Yeah, I actually need to keep prescription medication with me and that’s basically the whole reason I carry a purse," Monika contributed. Lucia responded mischievously, "Speaking of drugs, sometimes I just want somewhere to hide mine where no one can find them so I won’t get caught with them, you know what I mean!?" … Monika considered. "Scrunchies1 are back in. What if we could use our scrunchies for storage? Like, what if you had a scrunchy that you could put your key or your pills inside? And then wear it on your wrist or use it to pull your hair back?" "Yes!" Lucia agreed. "With…a zipper or something so your stuff doesn’t fall out. Let’s do it. Let’s build a prototype and put our training to use. I think I have a sewing kit somewhere. And a bunch of scrunchies we can take apart and experiment with. We should give it a shot!" They stayed up past midnight working on their prototype. The next morning, Monika showed it to Jen, who was duly impressed. The following fall, in September of 2020, Monika and Lucia presented their business idea and prototype to 18 classmates in their Marketing Strategies course. Between March and October of 2020, Monika and Lucia worked diligently to plan their new business, getting together after school or work. In October of 2020, they incorporated as M&L Products, Inc. and launched their company, which sells velvet scrunchies with matching zippers in 8 colors (black, white, brown, blue, pink, purple, orange, and green) that enable users to stash small items inside them. They chose velvet because of its soft texture. They selected the brand name SMUGGLEES and set up a website at the domain name where they sell zipper scrunchies for $7.99 apiece. In addition to selling through their website, they also sell the scrunchies in an Etsy2 shop and … at craft fairs throughout their state and in two adjacent states. Each scrunchy is affixed with a small lavender label that features their logo, the word "smugglees" in black cursive on a purple background with a small hot pink heart next to it. Since December of 2020, Monika and Lucia have run advertisements on social media platforms Instagram and Facebook. The website, Etsy shop, and social media ads use the following photographs, two of which Monika took of Lucia’s hand using her iPhone and one of which Monika took of her own hand: (see attachement) The website also prominently displays the company’s stylized logo: (see attachment) The website, Etsy shop, and social media ads feature the following language: "Tired of carrying cash, keys, lipstick, AirPods, medicine, and more? Wish you could be hands-free and purse-free at the bar? Smuggle your essentials on your wrist or in your hair with SMUGGLEES hidden-pocket scrunchies." Since their launch, M&L Products have sold thousands of scrunchies to buyers in over thirty states as well as Canada and Mexico. In November of 2022, Monika and Lucia discovered that Monika’s former roommate, Jen, had launched a suspiciously similar business that same month selling nearly identical scrunchies with zipper compartments. The brand name Jen uses is SMUNCHYS and her products come a variety of fabrics and patterns, including velvet, and sell for $5.99 apiece. Monika and Lucia ordered two SMUNCHYS scrunchies to compare to their own brand and could not find any discernible differences between the velvet SMUNCHYS scrunchies and the SMUGGLEES scrunchies. To Monika and Lucia’s further horror, the SMUNCHYS website-available at the domain name smunchys com-appears to use the same photos of Monika and Lucia’s hands that M&L Products uses on the SMUGGLEES website, altered to display the SMUNCHYS mark in plain black text on a white tag instead: (see attachment) The SMUNCHYS website also displays the following marketing language: "Tired of carrying cash, keys, chapstick, breath mints, medicine, and more? Wish you could be hands-free and purse-free at the bar? Stash your essentials on your wrist or in your hair with SMUNCHYS hidden-pocket scrunchies." That text only differs from the text on the SMUGGLEES website by "SMUGGLEES." four words: "chapstick" replaces "lipstick"; "breath mints" replaces "AirPods"; "stash" replaces "smuggle"; and "SMUNCHYS" replaces Monika and Lucia emailed Jen immediately, accusing her of stealing their idea. Jen replied the next day, writing "I have just as much right to sell zipper scrunchies as you two do, if not more. I was there when we came up with the concept together! By the way, you shouldn’t show AirPods on vour website-that’s asking for trouble." She attached a utility patent that she had filed in December of 2021. The patent … claimed "A tubular fabric scrunchy, comprising an elastic band having two ends connected together to form a loop shape, a tubular fabric coating, and a hidden opening for storage that fastens with a zipper." At the time Monika and Lucia created the Smugglee prototype and at the time that M&L Products, Inc. launched and began selling it, there were no other scrunchies for sale with zippered compartments and no patents that claimed scrunchies with zippered compartments. There were, however: . A scrunchy with a hidden pocket and a hook-and-loop4 closure, for sale at popular retail store Claire’s5; . The D ‘313 patent, a design patent for a basic terrycloth scrunchy (expired); The ‘617 patent, a utility patent claiming the method of inserting small zippers to secure . items in hidden internal pockets on clothing, including jackets, shirts, pants, and hats; The ‘202 patent, a utility patent claiming the manufacture of garments with hidden GPS . devices inside huilt-in pockets. one of the narments claimed is a scrunchv. Question I FLAG QUESTION … devices inside built-in pockets; one of the garments claimed is a scrunchy; The ‘411 patent, a utility patent claiming a wearable power cord "wherein the tubular fabric covering is sized and shaped to cover substantially all of the length of the power cord when the apparatus is in the wearing configuration," as shown in the below figure: (see attachment) You have recently been admitted to the bar and joined a small intellectual property boutique, Nussle & Nussle. A partner at the firm, Aki, invites you to his first meeting with new clients Monika and Lucia in December, 2022. At the meeting, each of the clients wears a SMUGGLEES scrunchy on her wrist. The two share the details of their invention and marketing of SMUGGLEES and their anger at Jen, who they feel stole their idea and copied their marketing strategy. Aki listens and asks questions while you scribble down notes. "Have you applied for any kind of intellectual property protection?" he asks. Monika and Lucia say they have not. "That’s why we’re here today," Lucia says. "What Jen did made us realize we have to protect our IP. So we need to know what’s ninthathis and…-. … … Lucia says. "What Jen did made us realize we have to protect our IP. So we need to know what’s protectable and what we can do to take down Jen and her Smunchys before she destroys our business.’ After Monika and Lucia leave, Aki says "I have to run to another meeting. Why don’t you write me an email summarizing how you think we should advise M&L. I’ll review it and then we’ll schedule a follow-up meeting with them."6 You tuck your yellow legal pad into your bag and return to your office to start writing The brand name for hook-and-loop is Velcro. Hook-and-loop is a way to seal the pocket of the scrunchy so that nothing falls out. 5 Claire’s is a retail store that sells inexpensive jewelry and accessories, marketed toward children and teenagers. It has locations across the US. Plagiarism Free Papers
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