Anova Food wins case against King Tuna
Anova Food on Friday announced that it has won a lawsuit against Joaquin “Jake” Lu’s King Tuna.
The case dates back to November 2007 when two of Lu’s companies sued Anova for false advertising and for infringing Lu’s patent for a filtered wood smoke process to preserve tuna. The infringement suit was dismissed early, and Lu’s other claims were tried in 2010. The court found in Anova’s favor on all claims, including Anova’s counterclaims for false advertising, unfair competition and false patent marking.
U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II recently ruled that King Tuna be awarded nothing and that all its claims against Anova Food be dismissed.
In its counterclaims, Anova Food claimed that Lu’s King Tuna falsely marked and advertised Lu’s tuna with Yamaoka patent No. 619. The judge found that King Tuna knew it was not processing its filtered wood smoke treated tuna according to Lu’s patent since October 2006, yet continued to market the tuna until October 2008.
“If there were ever a case where a false marking award was appropriate, this would certainly be it,” said Randall Huff, counsel for Anova Food.
Judge Wright ruled that Lu’s company must give all its profits unjustly earned through false advertising, totaling more than USD 1.5 million, to Anova Food. The court also fined King Tuna an additional USD 1.85 million for falsely marking its products with the Yamaoka patent No. 619, half of which will go to Anova Food and the other half to the United States Treasury. This is the largest fine for false marking to date, according to Anova Foods.
The court found that Lu and his family controlled King Tuna and its two suppliers, Mommy Gina Tuna Resources (MGTR) and Citra Mina Seafood Corp., during the entire relevant damages period. “It will be difficult for King Tuna or any successor company organized during this lawsuit to ever do business in the United States without having to pay Anova the judgment, including any attorney’s fees the court may allow,” said Huff.