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From Antitrust Law Daily, May 9, 2016

Disingenuous, last minute monopolization counterclaims rejected in copyright suit

By Greg Hammond, J.D.

A company that provides online ticketing and reservation services for bus companies could not bring monopolization counterclaims against a competitor, in an action alleging that the provider violated the Copyright Act. In denying the provider’s motion to amend its answer to bring two antitrust counterclaims, the federal district court in Boston concluded that the motion was disingenuous and brought at the “last possible minute” (IvyMedia Corp. v. iLIKEBUS, Inc., May 5, 2016, Gorton, N.).

IvyMedia Corp. and iLIKEBUS, Inc. both provide online ticketing and reservation services for bus companies. IvyMedia filed suit against iLIKEBUS, alleging that iLIKEBUS unlawfully copied IvyMedia’s website features for use on iLIKEBUS’ website, in an attempt to poach clients. The case was before the court on IvyMedia’s motion to amend its complaint to add false advertising, misappropriation, and other claims, and iLIKEBUS’ motion to amend its answer to add two counterclaims for monopolization and attempted monopolization.

False advertising. The court first rejected IvyMedia’s motion to amend, finding that the Lanham Act claims for false advertising, misappropriation, unfair competition, and false designation of origin were duplicative of the company’s copyright claim because they arose out of IvyMedia’s allegations that iLIKEBUS unlawfully “copied” and “misappropriated” certain features of IvyMedia’s website. In addition, the new state law claims for false advertising and common law claim of unfair competition were preempted by the Copyright Act because they were based on the same conduct at issue in the copyright claim.

Monopolization. iLIKEBUS’ motion to amend its answer to add monopolization and attempted monopolization counterclaims was also denied. The court found that the motion was a disingenuous response to IvyMedia’s motion to amend the complaint and that iLIKEBUS’ motion comes at the “last possible minute.” Instead of adding complex counterclaims and a six-month delay to the case, the court concluded that iLIKEBUS could file a separate complaint against IvyMedia if it wanted to pursue the antitrust claims.

The case is No. 15-11918-NMG.

Attorneys: Ye Huang for IvyMedia Corp. Zachary C. Kleinsasser (Greenberg Traurig, LLP) for iLIKEBUS, Inc.

Companies: IvyMedia Corp.; iLIKEBUS, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory Advertising Antitrust MassachusettsNews

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