United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.
case involves a copyright infringement dispute between two
competing businesses that provide online ticketing and
reservation services for bus companies. Plaintiff IvyMedia
Corporation (“IvyMedia” or
“plaintiff”) alleges that defendants iLIKEBUS,
Inc. (“iLIKEBUS”), Alan Zou and Tong Wei
(collectively, “defendants”) unlawfully copied
its website's characteristics. Pending before the Court
are plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint and
defendants' motion to strike. For the reasons that
follow, the motion to amend will be allowed and the motion to
strike will be denied.
Factual and Procedural Background:
a Massachusetts corporation, offers a web-based platform for
customers to make reservations and purchase bus tickets. Its
original website, www.IvyMedia.com, has been
operating since March, 2002. It also owns and operates the
website www.GotoBus.com which was launched in 2006.
IvyMedia acts as an independent contractor for bus companies
and receives a commission based on each ticket sale made
through its website.
iLIKEBUS is a Delaware corporation with its principal place
of business in Virginia. Zou is a director of iLIKEBUS and
resides in Maryland. Wei, the Chief Executive Officer of
iLIKEBUS, resides in Virginia. Collectively, defendants
operate the website www.iLIKEBUS.com.
filed suit against defendants in May, 2015 claiming,
inter alia, copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C.
§ 501, unfair competition in violation of the Lanham
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), and unjust enrichment.
Defendants responded the following month with a motion to
dismiss. This Court dismissed all of plaintiff's claims
with the exception of the copyright infringement claim.
Defendants answered in due course and the Court convened a
scheduling conference and set a deadline of January 31, 2016
for amended pleadings.
September, 2016 the parties attempted to arbitrate their
dispute. After arbitration failed, plaintiff moved to amend
its complaint. Defendants opposed that motion and moved to
strike plaintiff's reply to their opposition. Later that
same month, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
This memorandum and order addresses plaintiff's motion to
amend and defendants' motion to strike.
Motion to Amend the Complaint
court has set a deadline for amending the pleadings at a
scheduling conference, the “liberal amendment
policy” in Fed.R.Civ.P. 15 gives way to the “more
stringent good cause standard” in Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b).
O'Connell v. Hyatt Hotels of Puerto Rico, 357
F.3d 152, 154 (1st Cir. 2004) (internal quotations omitted).
In evaluating whether a party has shown good cause, courts
consider 1) “the diligence of the party seeking the
amendment” and 2) whether the opposing party would be
prejudiced if modification were allowed. Id. at 155.
“[I]ndifference by the moving party” weighs
against a showing of good cause. Id. (internal
rationale behind the good cause standard is that it provides
courts with the “devices necessary to manage [their]
docket[s]” and facilitates “effective case
management.” Id. (internal quotations
omitted). Trial courts are granted “great latitude in
carrying out case-management functions.” Jones v.
Winnepesaukee Realty, 990 F.2d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 1993).
Courts often consider efficiency and case management when
deciding a motion to amend. See Smith & Nephew, Inc.
v. Surgical Sols., Inc., 353 F.Supp.2d 135, 138 (D.
Mass. 2004); Abbott Labs. v. Inverness Med. Tech.,
No. 98-cv-10674-GAO, 2002 WL 1906533, at *3 (D. Mass. Aug.
moves to amend the complaint by adding the registration
number of its 2005 copyright, TX 6-211-055. It also seeks to
add that it holds another copyright, registration No. TXu
1-954-672, which is a supplement to its 2005 copyright that
became effective in July, 2015. In support of its motion,
plaintiff draws the Court's attention to emails showing
that it waited to file the motion to amend because of
negotiations with defense counsel and that defense counsel
was aware of both registrations by at least June, 2016.
Defendants respond that plaintiff has failed to show good
cause and that defendants would be prejudiced if the Court
allowed plaintiff's motion.
has met the good cause standard for amending the complaint.
The emails demonstrate that, rather than showing
indifference, plaintiff delayed filing its motion to amend
because defendants' counsel requested that it wait until
arbitration was completed. See O'Connell, 357
F.3d at 155. After the arbitration failed, plaintiff's
counsel attempted to obtain defense counsel's assent to
the motion before filing. In light of the pending arbitration
and the ...