You should take the letter seriously and hire a California-licensed intellectual property attorney located in the Los Angeles area. Otter Products, via the Johnson & Pham law firm, does occassionally file suit against individuals who it believes have infringed one of more trademarks owned by Otter Products. See the link below. While most of the lawsuits are brought against allegedly infringing companies [who typically have the money to pay a judgment] sometimes individuals in situations like yours are also sued. In short, you should not ignore the demand letter. Good luck.
The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.
Hire an IP lawyer ASAP.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
That depends: did you sell them a counterfeit Otter box? If the answer is yes, do NOT say so online. Contact an Intellectual Property attorney and discuss the matter.
Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.
As my colleagues suggest, do not ignore the letter, and speak with an IP litigator promptly. And you should not respond to the letter without first speaking to an IP litigator. Your attorney will be able to guide you in how to respond to help protect yourself. It very well may be that you can settle this, but you should not try to do so yourself. Good luck.
The statements and views expressed in this posting are my own and do not reflect those of my law firm, are intended for general informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. This information is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without independent consultation and evaluation by an attorney. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney if you have any questions about the subject matter of the information above.
Johnson & Pham (JAP) not Johnson & Ham. You need to contact an IP attorney who deals with the defense of IP infringement. It does NOT need to be an IP attorney in Los Angeles where Johnson & Pham are located, despite LA area attorneys advising you it does. In fact, you will likely want to contact an IP attorney in the greater NYC area where you are located, so your communications will be easier rather than being cross-country. What is more important is that it is an attorney wth knowledge of JAP and their enforcement practices and customs. The attorney will review the demand letter and your product, which is likely fake, and advise. The major problem you have is that JAP work on contingency and so they tend to be very persistent in demanding you pay something sufficient to cover their costs in pursuing you, as otherwise they lose money on you.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
You definitely need to hire an attorney. Where is a question of where your sales have been. If you sold the product in California, then hiring a California firm may be a good idea. If not you should just hire someone local.
If J&P sues you as an individual, they have to sue you where they have jurisdiction and venue. They can sue you in New York. If you made sales in California, they may be able to sue you in California. Generally, an individual has to be sued where they reside unless a substantial part of the facts occurred in another jurisdiction. If you get sued in CA it will cost you more to have a NY attorney and local counsel in CA. If you have not sold in CA, however, you will be better served by local counsel you can speak with directly.
This is not legal advice. Even if it were, fee legal advice is worth what you pay for it. The facts of every case are different and should be addressed by a competent attorney who has all of the facts.