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Fulwider Patton Successfully Obtains Summary Judgment of No Trade Libel

Fulwider Patton LLP is pleased to announce that on March 21, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California granted summary judgment dismissing the trade libel claims against its client, Foundations Worldwide, Inc., a leading supplier of cribs and play yards to the hospitality industry.

Oliver & Tate Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Coverplay, filed a lawsuit against Foundations alleging patent infringement as well as state law claims such as trade libel. Coverplay sells slipcovers for play yards, and its complaint accused Foundations' SleepFresh® crib cover of infringing Coverplay's patents. Coverplay also asserted trade libel claims based on letters Foundations had written to its customers stating that Foundations did not recommend the use of third party slipcovers on its play yards, and disclaimed liability for such use, because of safety concerns over slipcovers not designed for a specific play yard.

After Foundations served a Rule 11 motion, Coverplay dismissed its patent infringement claims. Coverplay also later promised not to sue Foundations over the accused SleepFresh® crib cover. Coverplay, however, continued to assert its state law claims including trade libel.

After the close of discovery, Foundations served a motion for summary judgment against Coverplay's remaining state law claims, and the District Court granted summary judgment against Coverplay's trade libel claim. The District Court found Foundation had not made any false statements with actual malice, and concluded that "summary judgment is appropriate on Plaintiff's Trade Libel claims."

While another state law claim, intentional interference with contractual relations, remains pending in the case, Foundations' counsel, James Juo, is confident Foundations ultimately will prevail on those claims as well.

The case is entitled Oliver & Tate Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Coverplay v. Foundations Worldwide, Inc., No. 13-1683 (C.D. Cal.).

The Fulwider team included James Juo and Kenya Williams.

Fulwider Patton LLP is a leading intellectual property law firm with a focus on patents and trademarks. The Firm represents some of the world’s largest corporations, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, and individuals.