LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in Los Angeles denied defendants’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit against GrooMore, over allegations of trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement in relation to Moement, Inc., a SaaS company focusing on the pet grooming business. The court denied the motion to dismiss because Moement’s complaint has sufficiently pled strong evidence showing GrooMore’s copying and substantial similarities between the parties’ user interface designs.
The case came after Moement’s former employee, Jie Zhang allegedly used his employee credentials to download a full copy of Moement platform’s confidential backend source code shortly before quitting to join GrooMore, a company co-founded by Chunliang Lin, who also previously worked for Moement. Moement took four years to develop a leading, all-in-one scheduling software – MoeGo for pet groomers. GrooMore leveraged Zhang’s copy of the MoeGo backend source code and launched a comparable, competing pet groomer scheduling software in just four months.
Moement sued GrooMore and Lin and Zhang in April 2022. Instead of answering, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss seeking to defeat Moement’s claims on the merits. On November 29, 2022, the judge denied GrooMore’s motion to dismiss in all aspects and ordered GrooMore and Lin to answer by January 16, 2023.
In his 21-page written order, Judge Fitzgerald found that Moement’s complaint has sufficient allegations about how the defendants misappropriated Moement’s source code. Quoting from the judge’s order: Moement’s Complaint sufficiently “alleges that Defendants improperly acquired, disclosed, and/or used its source code.” “As circumstantial evidence of use, Plaintiff points to the fact that GrooMore launched ‘a comparable online platform and mobile applications within months after its founding and with minimal resources, which would not have been possible if GrooMore had independently developed its own code.'”
The court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim, because plaintiff sufficiently alleged substantial similarity. “The substantial similarities between the websites are clear. They not only have the same category of interfaces, the word selection and layout of those interfaces, is remarkably similar. . . . While some of these may be inevitable features of a pet grooming scheduling program, there are several ways to present such features to the user. It is not functionally required that each of these interfaces be presented separately within their own tab as part of a table of contents on the left side of the screen. Further, the actual look and features within the interfaces are quite similar; they both contain color-coded, interactive calendars that display the same categories of information with the same naming conventions (whether the appointment is confirmed; the pet’s name, the groomer’s name, and the type of service booked). . . . Both sites also use a nearly identical interactive map, which is used to find groomers near the clients. And while there are some subtle differences in color scheme and layout, ‘No plagiarist can excuse the wrong by showing how much of his work he did not pirate.’ (page 17)
About Moement, Inc.
Moement is a SaaS company focusing on the pet grooming business, dedicated to empowering all pet groomers for success. Its leading, all-in-one scheduling software – MoeGo – is a cloud-based pet grooming solution that allows salons and groomers to manage customer appointments, communications, and service agreements all from one place. MoeGo’s scheduling tool allows users to view bookings, generate client-specific notes and reminders, manage employee accounts, and more. MoeGo integrates with a variety of third-party apps, including Stripe, Quick books and Google Maps, and more. The software is accessible for free as well as on a monthly subscription basis.
Moement seeks to create the most reliable, effective, yet simple-to-use solutions for everyone in the pet industry, enabling groomers to thrive and realize their aspirations. With a vision of building a harmonious and prosperous pet economy, Moement leverages its tech advantages that benefit more businesses and adorable pets.
For more information, please visit MoeGo.
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