Global Manufacture Group v. Gadget Universe.Com

417 F. Supp. 2d 1161 (2006)

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Global Manufacture Group v. Gadget Universe.Com

United States District Court for the Southern District of California
417 F. Supp. 2d 1161 (2006)

Facts

Inspired by the Segway gyroscopic scooter, Global Manufacture Group, LLC (Global) (plaintiff) designed and marketed an upright, motorized scooter called the Q Electric Chariot (Q scooter). The Q scooter, which was intended to serve as an alternative to a traditional wheelchair, differed from the Segway in that the Q scooter had four wheels, not two, and did not have a gyroscope balancing system. The Q scooter also had a unique steering system that could be turned gradually by leaning in the desired direction or sharply by turning the handlebar. The Q scooter’s inventor chose the shape and length of its platform for its visual appeal. The design also included a curved handlebar and recessed headlight. Global first sold the Q scooter on Wal-Mart’s website in October 2003, and Global’s advertising focused on the engineering advantages of the Q scooter. In mid-2004, Gadget Universe.Com (Gadget) (defendant) began to market its Rietti Civic Mover Electric Scooter (Gadget scooter). Like the Q scooter, the Gadget scooter had four wheels. Other manufacturers sold scooters with different designs, including one that was shaped like a wheelbarrow and available in several colors. In 2005, Global received a utility patent on seven claims for the Q scooter’s steering method and ability to convert to a cargo rack, as well as a design patent for its ornamental design. Global sued Gadget for infringement of Global’s intellectual-property rights, including trade-dress infringement. Global moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Burns, J.)

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