PARKERSBURG – A California-based company that describes itself as "the leading provider of damper, louvers, silencers, and architectural sun control products" says a newly formed business used its photographs to sell similar products.
PCI Industries filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Atoms A.P., Gary Scott Jarvis, Dan Lott and Ken Blanchard.
Jarvis, Lott and Blanchard worked for PCI before the company closed its West Virginia-based facility on March 31, 2009, according to the complaint. During their work for the company, Jarvis, Lott and Blanchard had access to a repository of photographs PCI kept on its computers, detailing products offered in its catalogs, the suit states.
When PCI left its West Virginia premises, Jarvis, Lott and Blanchard submitted their letters of resignation. From there, they formed Atoms A.P. – a company that provides substantially the same products and services as PCI Industries, the complaint says.
"Upon information and belief, after forming Atoms A.P., the individual Defendants and Atoms A.P. reproduced PCI Industries' Copyrighted Works in promotional and advertising materials for Atoms A.P.," the suit states.
"None of the Defendants ever sought, and PCI Industries never gave any of the Defendants, approval for the reproduction of PCI Industries' Copyrighted Works."
After PCI discovered certain photographs on Atoms' web site that belonged to PCI, it sent a letter to each of the defendants on Oct. 1, 2009, reminding them of their duties not to use the company's information and property, it claims.
For a limited amount of time, Atoms stopped using the pictures, but then resumed utilizing them in catalogs and promotional materials, according to the complaint.
In its four-count complaint, PCI alleges copyright infringement of unpublished and published works, misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition and conversion.
It wants the court to prevent the defendants from infringing its copyrights, to order the defendants to recall all copies of the infringing work at their own expense and to order the defendants to deliver to it all copies of the infringing work so it can destroy it.
In addition, it wants the court to prevent the defendants from violating their confidentiality obligations to it and to order the defendants to return all of PCI's confidential information, to pay PCI all profits it gained from breach of the confidential obligations and to pay all profits gained from copyright infringement.
PCI also seeks compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.
Robert J. Kent of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love in Parkersburg will be representing it.
U.S. District Court case number: 6:10-cv-1257