uBeam Lawsuit

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Nora Dweck sued Meredith Perry for membership interest in the company.

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<ul><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 1 of 25</p><p>UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA</p><p>NORA LILY DWECK,4615 Oceanfront WalkMarina del Rey, California 90292,</p><p>PLAINTIFF,</p><p>v. I CIVIL ACTION NO.</p><p>MEREDITH E. PERRY,83 Berkley Avenue JURY TRIAL DEMANDEDBelle Mead, New Jersey 08502,</p><p>DEFENDANT.</p><p>COMPLAINT</p><p>Plaintiff, Nora Lily Dweck, by counsel, as and for her Complaint, individually and</p><p>derivatively, against Defendant, Meredith Perry, states and alleges as follows:</p><p>THE PARTIES, JURISDICTION, AND VENUE</p><p>1. Plaintiff, Nora Lily Dweck (hereinafter "Dweck"), is an individual who is a</p><p>citizen of the State of California and who presently resides at 4615 Oceanfront Walk, Marina del</p><p>Rey, California 90292.</p><p>2. Defendant, Meredith E. Perry ("Perry") is an individual who, upon information</p><p>and belief, is a citizen and resident of the State of New Jersey and resides at 83 Berkley Avenue,</p><p>Belle Mead, New Jersey 08502.</p><p>3. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332, because</p><p>there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy</p><p>exceeds $75,000.00.</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 2 of 25</p><p>4. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Perry pursuant to applicable</p><p>Pennsylvania law including, but not limited to, 42 Pa. C.S. 5322, in that, among other things,</p><p>Perry transacted business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, caused harm and injury by acts</p><p>and omissions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and otherwise engaged in conduct while a</p><p>student at the University of Pennsylvania and thereafter which gives rise to personal jurisdiction</p><p>over her.</p><p>Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(A)(2), because a</p><p>substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred in this district.</p><p>FACTUAL BACKGROUND</p><p>6. In or about September, 2006, Dweck enrolled in and became a full-time student at</p><p>the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Except for a leave of absence, she</p><p>remained as a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania until her graduation in May,</p><p>2011.</p><p>7. In or about September, 2007, Perry enrolled in and became a full-time student at</p><p>the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Perry remained and continued as</p><p>a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania until her graduation in May, 2011.</p><p>8. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Dweck and Perry met each other, were</p><p>in the same comedy troupe known as Bloomers and for a period of time beginning in or about</p><p>August 2010, were roommates, and became close personal friends.</p><p>9. For several years and, most particularly in 2010, after they became roommates,</p><p>and the first part of 2011, Dweck and Perry spent extensive time together sharing creative ideas</p><p>and encouraging each other to come forth with creative ideas.</p><p>2</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 3 of 25</p><p>10. At some time in 2010 during her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania,</p><p>Perry had an idea for creating a different kind of laptop charger.</p><p>11. Consistent with past and ongoing practices, Perry discussed her idea for a wireless</p><p>charger with Dweck, just as they had routinely discussed their respective thoughts and ideas with</p><p>one another on numerous occasions previously. They sought to encourage one another and to</p><p>use their collective energies, intelligence, wisdom, and abilities to expand upon their respective</p><p>thoughts and ideas and to endeavor to create a useful product.</p><p>12. After discussing Perry's initial thoughts regarding a potential wireless charger,</p><p>Dweck and Perry collaborated, brainstormed, and pooled their intellectual and other resources,</p><p>and worked cooperatively together to see whether the idea could be developed into a marketable</p><p>concept and product. They named the concept and the nascent product that they were working</p><p>on collectively "uBeam."</p><p>13. The uBeam product and concept was generated and evolved through Dweck's and</p><p>Perry's collective and collaborative efforts. They initially proceeded as equals, as partners in the</p><p>process. They held themselves out to others at least during the first five months of 2011 as</p><p>equals and partners in the process with respect to uBeam.</p><p>14. Dweck and Perry developed a concept of a uBeam "charge system." That charge</p><p>system would have two components the uBeam Charge Station, which is an apparatus which is</p><p>plugged into a wall socket and emits energy; and the uBeam Battery Adapter, which is plugged</p><p>into electronic devices and receives and absorbs energy from the Charge Station.</p><p>15. The uBeam Charge Station is, by way of analogy, like a speaker in a stereo</p><p>system except, instead of emitting audio, it emits ultrasound. Ultrasound is a form of sound</p><p>which can ultimately be converted into usable electrical energy. There is potential for ultrasound</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 4 of 25</p><p>to be converted into usable energy with the help of an energy converter sometimes referred to or</p><p>known as a transducer.</p><p>16. The uBeam product potentially represents a substantial improvement and</p><p>advancement for the electronic industry. The uBeam product, if developed as envisioned by</p><p>Dweck and Perry working together, provides a remote charging modality as an alternative to</p><p>electronic charging modalities typically used now plugging electronic equipment into a</p><p>charger, plugged into an outlet. Perry and Dweck also thought of multiple applications</p><p>including, for example, medical applications, for uBeam which were to be included within and</p><p>protected by patent and included use of infrasound as a possible alternative to ultrasound.</p><p>17. The uBeam product and approach has the potential to revolutionize the electronics</p><p>industry.</p><p>18. The uBeam product and approach has the potential to be worth substantial</p><p>amounts, likely in the tens of millions of dollars.</p><p>19. In addition to the work which they did collaboratively and for their benefit</p><p>collectively in terms of developing the uBeam product and concept, Dweck and Perry also</p><p>collaborated to develop a marketing strategy. That marketing strategy included, among other</p><p>things, the concept of having both industrial and individual use models of their uBeam product.</p><p>The industrial model would be intended for robust usage and commercial and public areas,</p><p>whether coffee shops, book stores, train stations, airports, universities, apartment complexes, or</p><p>otherwise. The personal model would be intended for single-person use in homes, offices, or</p><p>small businesses.</p><p>20. At the University of Pennsylvania there was in 2011, and had been during a</p><p>number of prior years, a competition or contest known as PennVention. That is a program or</p><p>4</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 5 of 25</p><p>competition which is and has been held annually by the Weiss Tech House, which is a hub of</p><p>technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. The Weiss Tech House encourages</p><p>and supports students in the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative</p><p>technologies.</p><p>21. Each year, PennVention accepts applications/proposals from those who want to</p><p>participate in the program and have innovative inventions, technologies or services which they</p><p>want considered during the competition. Entrants must be interested in and intending to start a</p><p>business for their service or technology.</p><p>22. Dweck and Perry entered the PennVention competition to be held in April, 2011.</p><p>They submitted uBeam for evaluation and consideration during the PennVention competition.</p><p>That submission was made by them as partners, jointly presenting uBeam.</p><p>23. Prior to the PeimVention Final Competition, Dweck and Perry each spent</p><p>considerable time and energy with respect to various aspects of uBeam including research,</p><p>development, and creation of business and marketing analyses and proposals or plans. They</p><p>each benefited from the work of the other and collaborated in their efforts.</p><p>24. With respect particularly to the PennVention competition, Dweck and Perry each</p><p>spent a considerable amount of time and energy, using their abilities, collaborating and preparing</p><p>for the presentation to be made. Among other things, they co-authored a business plan which</p><p>they submitted in an early phase or round of the competition. They also co-authored and jointly</p><p>prepared their PennVention PowerPoint presentations. They held themselves out to those</p><p>viewing the competition and evaluating the competitors and products as a collaborative team, as</p><p>equal partners in the process with respect to uBeam. During the competition, they announced</p><p>publicly that they were the "BeamTeam" and that their product was uBeam.</p><p>5</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 6 of 25</p><p>25. As a result of their joint effort in developing and presenting uBeam in the</p><p>PennVention competition, Dweck and Perry won the $5,000.00 First Prize. They also jointly, as</p><p>a team, received four other awards: the Tapper Innovation Connect Award, with each of them</p><p>receiving a round-trip plane ticket to London, hotel accommodations for two nights, $1,000 for</p><p>expenses, and a private meeting to discuss their invention and product with the Chief</p><p>Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Open Innovation at Unilever Plc.; the $3,000</p><p>Design for Manufacturing Award, awarded by Warminster-based design Circle, Inc.; the QVC</p><p>Consumer Innovation Award, which included $1,500 in cash and a one-hour meeting with a</p><p>buyer from the West Chester-based shopping network; and the $500 Audience Choice Award,</p><p>given out based on a vote by the guests present for the contest finals at the Weiss Tech House.</p><p>26. Dweck and Perry received those awards and accepted them jointly. They</p><p>received them as a team, each as a partner with the other.</p><p>27. As a result of and from their success in the PennVention competition, the uBeam</p><p>product began receiving publicity in the media. There were favorable articles in the local press,</p><p>as well as favorable comments on the internet. They and uBeam were also the subject of one or</p><p>more radio features.</p><p>28. Dweck and Perry, as a team, were pleased to receive the positive feedback as it</p><p>appeared through such publications.</p><p>29. Dweck and Perry were the co-founders of uBeam the product, the strategy, the</p><p>innovative technology, and the opportunity. They held themselves out to others as co-founders.</p><p>They also held themselves out as equal participants in the project and equal participants availing</p><p>themselves of the opportunity before them.</p><p>6</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 7 of 25</p><p>30. Dweck and Perry, collectively, recognized that they needed to take appropriate</p><p>steps to protect the intellectual property rights relating to uBeam and any derivatives from it.</p><p>With Perry's knowledge, and agreement, Dweck spent substantial time in that endeavor. Among</p><p>other things, Dweck located and hired an attorney specializing in intellectual property rights and</p><p>obtaining protections for such rights. Through Dweck's and Perry's efforts, patent counsel was</p><p>engaged and a provisional patent application for the uBeam product was prepared.</p><p>31. In accordance with their discussions and agreements, Dweck and Perry,</p><p>collectively, took steps to protect the uBeam technology.</p><p>32. They submitted a provisional patent application. Perry signed the provisional</p><p>patent application for their uBeam product which they had presented at PennVention. Perry</p><p>signed the provisional patent application on behalf of Dweck and Perry ostensibly to protect their</p><p>shared and collective interests in uBeam.</p><p>33. In the context of preparation and submission of the provisional patent application,</p><p>Dweck and Perry discussed the assignment of the provisional patent and all right, title, and</p><p>interest in uBeam and the technology to an entity which Perry and Dweck would jointly own. In</p><p>May 2011, Perry represented, warranted and assured Dweck that that would be done. They</p><p>agreed that the patent would be assigned and transferred to their jointly owned entity.</p><p>34. Counsel provided the patent documents to Perry for signature to cause the</p><p>assignment to be made. In late May, 2010, Perry assured Dweck that the rights to the patent had</p><p>been so assigned. Perry told Dweck that she (Perry) had gone to a notary who had notarized the</p><p>patent assignment documents and that she (Perry) had in turn, sent the signed assignment</p><p>documents to their patent counsel.</p><p>7</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 8 of 25</p><p>35. In that same time frame, Dweck took the lead for herself and her partner, Perry, in</p><p>developing a website for uBeam. She acquired domain names, including uBeam.com, and</p><p>uBeam.org. She hired and paid others who worked with her to develop a website, uBeam.com.</p><p>36. Initially, Dweck and Perry had used uBeam.org as their website, as someone else</p><p>owned uBeam.com. Through Dweck's efforts, they were able to acquire the uBeam.com website</p><p>and thereafter to use it.</p><p>37. The uBeam.com website was designed, developed, and launched. Perry was</p><p>consulted with, agreed to, and provided input with respect to the website and the information and</p><p>materials to be included on it. Dweck and Perry both provided, approved, and endorsed the</p><p>content and appearance of the uBeam.com website as published.</p><p>38. The uBeam.com website identifies Dweck and Perry as co-founders ofuBeam.</p><p>The website includes, among other things, the following statement regarding the co-founders:</p><p>"they have filed a provisional patent, are securing angel money, and finding the right</p><p>manufacturers to bring uBeam to market. They have created a small-scale proof of concept</p><p>model, but need better equipment for the actual prototype. Perry and Dweck are in the R&amp;D</p><p>phase right now, and anticipate a finalized product by Fall 2011."</p><p>39. On the website, there is a photograph of Dweck and Perry together. The caption</p><p>to that photograph states "Meredith Perry (left) and Nora Dweck, with their invention, uBeam."</p><p>40. The website and statements and representations on it have been available to the</p><p>public for months. Dweck and Perry individually and jointly published materials on the website</p><p>fully expecting others to view and rely on information on that website. Among other things,</p><p>Perry viewed the website as an appropriate tool to promote Dweck and Perry's effort and</p><p>opportunity with respect to the uBeam product.</p><p>8</p></li><li><p>Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 9 of 25</p><p>41. Dweck also created, with the assistance of others, the uBeam logo and uBeam</p><p>business cards for herself and for Ms. Perry, as well as a pamphlet which could be distributed,</p><p>among other places, at the "All Things Digital" Conference.</p><p>42. Dweck and Perry were invited to attend a prestigious conference featuring</p><p>innovative technologies known as the "All Things Digital" Conference to be held in Palos,</p><p>Verdes, California, that is often times referred to as the "D Conference." At the D Conference,</p><p>Dweck and Perry collectively and collaboratively were to have the opportunity to ma...</p></li></ul>