Court documents say the current operational status of the Bend sex-tech startup is “entirely unknown.”
German sex-toy maker Novoluto has obtained a default judgment of more than $2 million against Uccellini, the Oregon sex-tech startup also known as Lora DiCarlo, in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed in 2020, court documents show.
Lora DiCarlo was founded in 2017 by Lora Haddock DiCarlo and Doug Layman. In its early years, the company received a blitz of press coverage hailing its high-end vibrators and its founder as a blend of technological savvy and sex-positive feminist leadership. In November the company abruptly went dark, taking its website offline and leaving orders unfulfilled. An investigation published by Oregon Business in February revealed the company was the subject of multiple Bureau of Labor and Industries claims alleging sexual harassment and unpaid wages. Earlier this month, Fortune published a feature on the company detailing allegations of financial mismanagement and harassment, with former employees telling the magazine they were asked to test “used, not-clean sex toys” as part of product development.
The company has not filed for bankruptcy, and the whereabouts of its principals are not known; when OB tried to reach Haddock this winter, an email request bounced back and her phone number was no longer in service. Recent court filings in an ongoing patent lawsuit show the company has not had legal counsel since November 2022 and has not responded to motions filed in the case this year, leaving the plaintiff pessimistic that it will receive damages in the case.
The company was headquartered in Bend but had filed incorporation papers in Delaware under the name Uccellini, with Lora DiCarlo listed as a trade name.
Novoluto, a competing sex-toy maker, sued Uccellini in December 2020 for patent infringement, asserting that Lora DiCarlo’s products — Osé, Osé 2 and Baci — infringe on the patent for its signature toy, the Womanizer.
On May 26, Novoluto filed a motion for a default judgment against the company, as well as an injunction prohibiting Uccellini and those associated with it (including directors and employees) from acting against the patent. Novoluto requested $2,165,351 in damages in the suit. The case’s docket history shows that on June 1, Magistrate Judge Mustafa T. Kasubhai signed an order granting that motion.
The judge’s order is sealed due to a protective order, but a redacted version of Novoluto’s May 26 motion says Uccellini “fails to provide discovery and fails to defend, generally, frustrating the patentee’s ability to prove its case,” and that the status of Lora DiCarlo remains unclear.
“Moreover, while Defendant has not declared bankruptcy or otherwise formally dissolved or gone out of business, its operating status, and whether it is solvent or insolvent, and if it is in some sort of suspension or is, instead, planning to resume business activities, is entirely unknown and unknowable (by Novoluto) at this time,” the motion says.
The document further argues that an injunction is necessary because the legal remedy would not be adequate given Uccellini’s status: “Novoluto’s chance of actually recovering any damages award from Defendant is ‘speculative at best.’”
As Oregon Business reported in February, both companies continued to file motions in the case through 2022, but in November of last year, Uccellini’s attorneys, Nathan Brunette and Steve Lovett, filed a motion to withdraw as the company’s legal counsel. A follow-up motion filed in December said the reasons for withdrawal could not be disclosed in the public record, but that “counsel has not received the needed instructions from Defendant regarding positions it wishes to take on the substance of this case.”
Brunette told OB he could not comment on the situation. Portland attorney Scott Davis, who has served as Novoluto’s lead counsel on the case, did not respond to a request for comment.