Zito LLC announced that it filed suit in the District of Maryland against Cal Ripken, Jr.’s companies, CRJ, Inc. and Ripken Baseball Camps and Clinics LLC, case No. 1:17-cv-1733, for patent infringement of User-Specific Dispensing System as relates to Baseball Practice Machine
PR-Inside.com: 2017-06-26 14:59:45
Zito LLC announced that it filed suit for patent infringement in the District of Maryland against Cal Ripken, Jr.’s companies, CRJ, Inc. and Ripken Baseball Camps and Clinics LLC, case No. 1:17-cv-1733.
Plaintiff Zito LLC is the owner and assignee of all substantial rights, title and interest to U.S. Patent No. 7,398,921 (“the 921 Patent”) and U.S. Patent No. 9,443,369 (“the 369 Patent”), and patents pending, which derive from the 921 Patent issued to Arthur Zito Jr. by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 15, 2008.
Arthur Zito, owner and CEO of Zito LLC, explains: “Each of these patents, titled ‘User-Specific Dispensing System,’ I would describe in a non-limiting way to be the first customized dispensing system based on user characteristics such as age, gender, demographics, legal authority or role that a user has within a group. The patents cover customized vending machines and sports ball dispensers such as baseball pitching machines that adjust the dispensation based on the user, among other applications.”
Cal Ripken’s companies are accused of using a Fungoman ® FM-250 Automated Baseball Practice Machine and identification methods for identifying user characteristics to adjust the machine for Ripken’s Performance Metrics (“RPM”) system.
Zito asserts in its Complaint that Ripken’s companies derive millions of dollars in annual revenue from participants and sponsorships with its baseball camps, clinics, and skills training seminars by using the Fungoman ® machine that directly infringes Zito’s patents.
Mr. Zito first identified his patented intellectual property to Ripken’s companies in 2013, and he provided them published documents for his 921 Patent and his then pending patent application for his now issued 369 Patent in March 2014 with the intent to partner with Ripken’s companies in developing the valuable and innovative technology described in his patents. Ripken’s companies have no license rights to the 921 and 369 Patents. Over the past several years, Mr. Ripken and top executives at Ripken’s companies have declined a business relationship with Mr. Zito and have instead opted to incorporate the Patents’ claimed features into the RPM system without authorization.
Mr. Zito filed his application for the 921 Patent in 2004, and has several additional patents that cover similar innovative technology. He says: “My patents for a User-Specific Dispensing System represent the first technology for customized vending that dispense items, services, or more, including how an item is dispensed based on user characteristics, such as demographics and other user-specific information. Mr. Ripken and his companies are knowingly and willfully infringing my patents. I have tried everything possible to invite Mr. Ripken to do the right thing and develop a business relationship associated with my intellectual property. Unfortunately, those efforts have not worked, and Mr. Ripken has left my company little choice but to protect its patent rights and file suit against Mr. Ripken’s companies.”
Zito LLC is represented by Peter Corcoran of Corcoran IP Law PLLC and Jan Berlage of Gohn Hankey Stichel & Berlage LLP.