uBeam Lawsuit

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

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  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 1 of 25

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

    NORA LILY DWECK,4615 Oceanfront WalkMarina del Rey, California 90292,

    PLAINTIFF,

    v. I CIVIL ACTION NO.

    MEREDITH E. PERRY,83 Berkley Avenue JURY TRIAL DEMANDEDBelle Mead, New Jersey 08502,

    DEFENDANT.

    COMPLAINT

    Plaintiff, Nora Lily Dweck, by counsel, as and for her Complaint, individually and

    derivatively, against Defendant, Meredith Perry, states and alleges as follows:

    THE PARTIES, JURISDICTION, AND VENUE

    1. Plaintiff, Nora Lily Dweck (hereinafter "Dweck"), is an individual who is a

    citizen of the State of California and who presently resides at 4615 Oceanfront Walk, Marina del

    Rey, California 90292.

    2. Defendant, Meredith E. Perry ("Perry") is an individual who, upon information

    and belief, is a citizen and resident of the State of New Jersey and resides at 83 Berkley Avenue,

    Belle Mead, New Jersey 08502.

    3. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332, because

    there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount in controversy

    exceeds $75,000.00.

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 2 of 25

    4. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Perry pursuant to applicable

    Pennsylvania law including, but not limited to, 42 Pa. C.S. 5322, in that, among other things,

    Perry transacted business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, caused harm and injury by acts

    and omissions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and otherwise engaged in conduct while a

    student at the University of Pennsylvania and thereafter which gives rise to personal jurisdiction

    over her.

    Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391(A)(2), because a

    substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred in this district.

    FACTUAL BACKGROUND

    6. In or about September, 2006, Dweck enrolled in and became a full-time student at

    the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Except for a leave of absence, she

    remained as a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania until her graduation in May,

    2011.

    7. In or about September, 2007, Perry enrolled in and became a full-time student at

    the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Perry remained and continued as

    a full-time student at the University of Pennsylvania until her graduation in May, 2011.

    8. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Dweck and Perry met each other, were

    in the same comedy troupe known as Bloomers and for a period of time beginning in or about

    August 2010, were roommates, and became close personal friends.

    9. For several years and, most particularly in 2010, after they became roommates,

    and the first part of 2011, Dweck and Perry spent extensive time together sharing creative ideas

    and encouraging each other to come forth with creative ideas.

    2

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 3 of 25

    10. At some time in 2010 during her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania,

    Perry had an idea for creating a different kind of laptop charger.

    11. Consistent with past and ongoing practices, Perry discussed her idea for a wireless

    charger with Dweck, just as they had routinely discussed their respective thoughts and ideas with

    one another on numerous occasions previously. They sought to encourage one another and to

    use their collective energies, intelligence, wisdom, and abilities to expand upon their respective

    thoughts and ideas and to endeavor to create a useful product.

    12. After discussing Perry's initial thoughts regarding a potential wireless charger,

    Dweck and Perry collaborated, brainstormed, and pooled their intellectual and other resources,

    and worked cooperatively together to see whether the idea could be developed into a marketable

    concept and product. They named the concept and the nascent product that they were working

    on collectively "uBeam."

    13. The uBeam product and concept was generated and evolved through Dweck's and

    Perry's collective and collaborative efforts. They initially proceeded as equals, as partners in the

    process. They held themselves out to others at least during the first five months of 2011 as

    equals and partners in the process with respect to uBeam.

    14. Dweck and Perry developed a concept of a uBeam "charge system." That charge

    system would have two components the uBeam Charge Station, which is an apparatus which is

    plugged into a wall socket and emits energy; and the uBeam Battery Adapter, which is plugged

    into electronic devices and receives and absorbs energy from the Charge Station.

    15. The uBeam Charge Station is, by way of analogy, like a speaker in a stereo

    system except, instead of emitting audio, it emits ultrasound. Ultrasound is a form of sound

    which can ultimately be converted into usable electrical energy. There is potential for ultrasound

    3

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 4 of 25

    to be converted into usable energy with the help of an energy converter sometimes referred to or

    known as a transducer.

    16. The uBeam product potentially represents a substantial improvement and

    advancement for the electronic industry. The uBeam product, if developed as envisioned by

    Dweck and Perry working together, provides a remote charging modality as an alternative to

    electronic charging modalities typically used now plugging electronic equipment into a

    charger, plugged into an outlet. Perry and Dweck also thought of multiple applications

    including, for example, medical applications, for uBeam which were to be included within and

    protected by patent and included use of infrasound as a possible alternative to ultrasound.

    17. The uBeam product and approach has the potential to revolutionize the electronics

    industry.

    18. The uBeam product and approach has the potential to be worth substantial

    amounts, likely in the tens of millions of dollars.

    19. In addition to the work which they did collaboratively and for their benefit

    collectively in terms of developing the uBeam product and concept, Dweck and Perry also

    collaborated to develop a marketing strategy. That marketing strategy included, among other

    things, the concept of having both industrial and individual use models of their uBeam product.

    The industrial model would be intended for robust usage and commercial and public areas,

    whether coffee shops, book stores, train stations, airports, universities, apartment complexes, or

    otherwise. The personal model would be intended for single-person use in homes, offices, or

    small businesses.

    20. At the University of Pennsylvania there was in 2011, and had been during a

    number of prior years, a competition or contest known as PennVention. That is a program or

    4

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 5 of 25

    competition which is and has been held annually by the Weiss Tech House, which is a hub of

    technological innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. The Weiss Tech House encourages

    and supports students in the creation, development, and commercialization of innovative

    technologies.

    21. Each year, PennVention accepts applications/proposals from those who want to

    participate in the program and have innovative inventions, technologies or services which they

    want considered during the competition. Entrants must be interested in and intending to start a

    business for their service or technology.

    22. Dweck and Perry entered the PennVention competition to be held in April, 2011.

    They submitted uBeam for evaluation and consideration during the PennVention competition.

    That submission was made by them as partners, jointly presenting uBeam.

    23. Prior to the PeimVention Final Competition, Dweck and Perry each spent

    considerable time and energy with respect to various aspects of uBeam including research,

    development, and creation of business and marketing analyses and proposals or plans. They

    each benefited from the work of the other and collaborated in their efforts.

    24. With respect particularly to the PennVention competition, Dweck and Perry each

    spent a considerable amount of time and energy, using their abilities, collaborating and preparing

    for the presentation to be made. Among other things, they co-authored a business plan which

    they submitted in an early phase or round of the competition. They also co-authored and jointly

    prepared their PennVention PowerPoint presentations. They held themselves out to those

    viewing the competition and evaluating the competitors and products as a collaborative team, as

    equal partners in the process with respect to uBeam. During the competition, they announced

    publicly that they were the "BeamTeam" and that their product was uBeam.

    5

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 6 of 25

    25. As a result of their joint effort in developing and presenting uBeam in the

    PennVention competition, Dweck and Perry won the $5,000.00 First Prize. They also jointly, as

    a team, received four other awards: the Tapper Innovation Connect Award, with each of them

    receiving a round-trip plane ticket to London, hotel accommodations for two nights, $1,000 for

    expenses, and a private meeting to discuss their invention and product with the Chief

    Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Open Innovation at Unilever Plc.; the $3,000

    Design for Manufacturing Award, awarded by Warminster-based design Circle, Inc.; the QVC

    Consumer Innovation Award, which included $1,500 in cash and a one-hour meeting with a

    buyer from the West Chester-based shopping network; and the $500 Audience Choice Award,

    given out based on a vote by the guests present for the contest finals at the Weiss Tech House.

    26. Dweck and Perry received those awards and accepted them jointly. They

    received them as a team, each as a partner with the other.

    27. As a result of and from their success in the PennVention competition, the uBeam

    product began receiving publicity in the media. There were favorable articles in the local press,

    as well as favorable comments on the internet. They and uBeam were also the subject of one or

    more radio features.

    28. Dweck and Perry, as a team, were pleased to receive the positive feedback as it

    appeared through such publications.

    29. Dweck and Perry were the co-founders of uBeam the product, the strategy, the

    innovative technology, and the opportunity. They held themselves out to others as co-founders.

    They also held themselves out as equal participants in the project and equal participants availing

    themselves of the opportunity before them.

    6

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 7 of 25

    30. Dweck and Perry, collectively, recognized that they needed to take appropriate

    steps to protect the intellectual property rights relating to uBeam and any derivatives from it.

    With Perry's knowledge, and agreement, Dweck spent substantial time in that endeavor. Among

    other things, Dweck located and hired an attorney specializing in intellectual property rights and

    obtaining protections for such rights. Through Dweck's and Perry's efforts, patent counsel was

    engaged and a provisional patent application for the uBeam product was prepared.

    31. In accordance with their discussions and agreements, Dweck and Perry,

    collectively, took steps to protect the uBeam technology.

    32. They submitted a provisional patent application. Perry signed the provisional

    patent application for their uBeam product which they had presented at PennVention. Perry

    signed the provisional patent application on behalf of Dweck and Perry ostensibly to protect their

    shared and collective interests in uBeam.

    33. In the context of preparation and submission of the provisional patent application,

    Dweck and Perry discussed the assignment of the provisional patent and all right, title, and

    interest in uBeam and the technology to an entity which Perry and Dweck would jointly own. In

    May 2011, Perry represented, warranted and assured Dweck that that would be done. They

    agreed that the patent would be assigned and transferred to their jointly owned entity.

    34. Counsel provided the patent documents to Perry for signature to cause the

    assignment to be made. In late May, 2010, Perry assured Dweck that the rights to the patent had

    been so assigned. Perry told Dweck that she (Perry) had gone to a notary who had notarized the

    patent assignment documents and that she (Perry) had in turn, sent the signed assignment

    documents to their patent counsel.

    7

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 8 of 25

    35. In that same time frame, Dweck took the lead for herself and her partner, Perry, in

    developing a website for uBeam. She acquired domain names, including uBeam.com, and

    uBeam.org. She hired and paid others who worked with her to develop a website, uBeam.com.

    36. Initially, Dweck and Perry had used uBeam.org as their website, as someone else

    owned uBeam.com. Through Dweck's efforts, they were able to acquire the uBeam.com website

    and thereafter to use it.

    37. The uBeam.com website was designed, developed, and launched. Perry was

    consulted with, agreed to, and provided input with respect to the website and the information and

    materials to be included on it. Dweck and Perry both provided, approved, and endorsed the

    content and appearance of the uBeam.com website as published.

    38. The uBeam.com website identifies Dweck and Perry as co-founders ofuBeam.

    The website includes, among other things, the following statement regarding the co-founders:

    "they have filed a provisional patent, are securing angel money, and finding the right

    manufacturers to bring uBeam to market. They have created a small-scale proof of concept

    model, but need better equipment for the actual prototype. Perry and Dweck are in the R&D

    phase right now, and anticipate a finalized product by Fall 2011."

    39. On the website, there is a photograph of Dweck and Perry together. The caption

    to that photograph states "Meredith Perry (left) and Nora Dweck, with their invention, uBeam."

    40. The website and statements and representations on it have been available to the

    public for months. Dweck and Perry individually and jointly published materials on the website

    fully expecting others to view and rely on information on that website. Among other things,

    Perry viewed the website as an appropriate tool to promote Dweck and Perry's effort and

    opportunity with respect to the uBeam product.

    8

  • Case 2:11-cv-07057-SD Document 1 Filed 11/10/11 Page 9 of 25

    41. Dweck also created, with the assistance of others, the uBeam logo and uBeam

    business cards for herself and for Ms. Perry, as well as a pamphlet which could be distributed,

    among other places, at the "All Things Digital" Conference.

    42. Dweck and Perry were invited to attend a prestigious conference featuring

    innovative technologies known as the "All Things Digital" Conference to be held in Palos,

    Verdes, California, that is often times referred to as the "D Conference." At the D Conference,

    Dweck and Perry collectively and collaboratively were to have the opportunity to ma...