On Monday, July 31st, San Marcos, CA-based consumer hardware developer Snap Light LLC filed a patent infringement complaint against Kimsaprincess Inc., a company owned by American reality television personality Kim Kardashian West. The patent suit targets West and her company over claims that she has endorsed a phone selfie case which infringes on a U.S. patent. The suit has been filed in the Central District of California.
Snap Light’s complaint alleges that West promotes LuMee-branded selfie cases, an add-on for smartphones which help to provide bright, even lighting of subjects being captured by a smartphone camera. Snap Light alleges that West endorses and uses LuMee selfie cases and has partnered with LuMee to design cases for the firm.
However, LuMee cases, which are distributed by large retailers like Urban Outfitters (also a defendant in this case), allegedly infringe upon U.S. Patent No. 8428644, titled Integrated Lighting Accessory and Case for a Mobile Phone Device. Issued in April 2013 to Hooshmand Harooni of Los Angeles, CA, it claims an apparatus having an integrated lighting accessory and a case for a mobile phone device; the apparatus includes an integrated ring of light emitting diode (LED) devices to provide illumination for functions native to the phone device, the LED ring being recessed in the case and each LED covered by a lens to diffuse the illumination. The case also extends USB and other ports native to the phone device. The diffused light source is designed to be used in conjunction with professional videography or photography.
Harooni, the inventor of the ‘644 patent, is listed as an involuntary plaintiff in the Snap Light patent complaint. According to a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, LuMee had previously sued Snap Light for patent infringement on its own patents. Snap Light both challenged the validity of those patents on multiple and discovered the existence of the ‘644 patent owned by Harooni as part of that case. Reportedly, Snap Light licensed the rights to that patent before filing this suit to counter LuMee’s own infringement action; that suit is still open and is being fought in the District of Delaware.