Oracle, News Corp., Georgia-Pacific, Shaolin Temple: Intellectual Property

Oracle Corp., the world’s second- biggest software maker, must face patent-infringement claims by a Texas company over ways to manage Web page requests, a U.S. appeals court ruled yesterday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said a judge erred in ruling that Oracle wasn’t infringing two patents owned by closely held Parallel Networks LLC. The decision to send the case back to the trial court was posted on the Federal Circuit’s Web site.

Oracle had sued, seeking a ruling that it didn’t infringe the patents, which cover a way to increase the efficiency of Web sites by determining how to retrieve data from different servers. The Oracle products include data management software and programs that store frequently requested Web pages and run Java-based applications.

A “reasonable jury” could find that the Oracle products act in ways covered by the patents, the Federal Circuit said. The court “remands the case for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.”

Officials with Redwood City, California-based Oracle and the lawyer for Parallel Networks didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment. Microsoft Corp. is the world’s biggest maker of software.

Oracle’s case was argued by Kevin J. Meek of Houston-based Baker Botts LLP. Parallel Networks’ argument was presented by James G. Gilliland Jr. of San Francisco’s Townsend & Townsend & Crew LLP.

The case is Oracle Corp. v. Parallel Networks LLC, 2009- 1183, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Oracle Corp. v. Parallel Networks LLC, 06CV414, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Blunt Wrap Sues Treezwrap for Infringing Six Cigar-Shell Patents

Blunt Wrap U.S.A., a maker of pre-rolled cigar shells, sued a Florida competitor for patent infringement.

Treezwrap Marketing and Distribution LLC of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, is accuses of infringing six patents covering pre-formed cylindrical cigar casings made from tobacco leaves, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in New Orleans.

Blunt Wrap, based in Covington, Louisiana, said Treezwrap is selling pre-formed cigar tubes for holding an end user’s tobacco fill material that infringe the patents.

Although the Blunt Wrap Web site specifies its products are “for tobacco use only,” numerous videos posted on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site demonstrate how the products can be used with marijuana.

The wraps, which come in flavors such as blueberry, apple, peach and strawberry, are targets of a campaign by Chicago police and clergy, the Chicago Defender newspaper reported. They are seeking a ban, claiming their sale promotes marijuana use.

In the infringement case, Blunt Wrap asked the court to order Treezwrap to halt its alleged infringement, and for an award of money damages, “no lower than a reasonable royalty.”

Blunt Wrap is represented by Randall A. Smith and A. Zach Butterworth of New Orleans-based Smith & Fawer LLP.

The case is Blunt Wrap U.S. A. Inc. v. Treezwrap Marketing and Distribution LLC, 2:10-cv-01212, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

Microsoft Says Google’s Android System May Infringe Patents

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, is demanding patent royalties from makers of mobile phones that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

HTC Corp., which makes Google’s Nexus One mobile phone, has agreed to pay under a patent licensing agreement, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in a statement yesterday without disclosing the amount. Motorola Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. also make mobile devices using Google’s Android.

The statement mentioned that Microsoft began its IP licensing program in December 2003, and now has more than 600 licensing agreements. Marshall C. Phelps, former vice president for IP and licensing at International Business Machines Corp. joined Microsoft that year with an eye to expanding the firm’s patenting and licensing activities.

Microsoft has been talking “with several device manufacturers to address our concerns relative to the Android mobile platform,” Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing, said in an e- mailed statement without naming the companies involved.

HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, also makes phones that run on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. Mountain View, California-based Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, offers Android for free, seeking to make money from mobile advertising in searches and other applications.

Copyright

Seinfeld’s Wife Wins in Cookbook Infringement Appeal

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, Jessica, defeated a lawsuit accusing her of copyright and trademark infringement as a federal appeals court upheld a lower-court decision in her favor.

Seinfeld didn’t infringe the copyright and trademark of Missy Chase Lapine, author of “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals,” appellate judges in New York ruled yesterday.

“Stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children’s food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted,” Judges Reena Raggi and Peter W. Hall said in a written order.

Lapine claimed in her lawsuit that Seinfeld’s 2007 book “Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food” was “substantially similar” to hers. A judge last September ruled in Seinfeld’s favor.

“Nothing was copied from Missy Chase Lapine and her baseless claims against Jessica were an abuse of the judicial system,” Orin Snyder, the lawyer at Los Angeles-based Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP who represented Seinfeld, said in an e- mailed statement. “Two different courts have now seen through these false allegations.”

Lapine said in her suit that publisher HarperCollins rejected her proposal for a book about hiding vegetables in children’s foods, then published one on the same subject by Seinfeld. Lapine’s book was later published by Perseus Books Group. HarperCollins is a unit of News Corp.

“This is one battle in a larger dispute,” Howard Miller, Lapine’s attorney with Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview. “Still pending in state court of New York is a suit against Jerry Seinfeld for defamation for comments against Missy Lapine, and that action is going forward.”

Jerry Seinfeld “made very derogatory comments” about Lapine on David Letterman’s television program, Miller said.

Also named as defendants in the infringement lawsuit were Jerry Seinfeld, HarperCollins Publishers and Departure Productions LLC.

The case is Lapine v. Seinfeld, 09-4423-cv, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan). The lower-court case is Lapine v. Seinfeld, 1:08-cv-00128, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Trademark

Koch’s Georgia-Pacific Sues, Says Toilet Paper Marks Infringed

Koch Industries Inc.’s Georgia-Pacific unit sued three Texas companies and four Texas residents for trademark infringement.

Inspiration Planet Inc., K.S. Dollar Inc. and HomeMax Inc. are accused of infringing trademarks Georgia-Pacific uses for its Angel Soft toilet paper. The Atlanta-based forest products company said it and its predecessors have used the mark “Angel Soft” for its toilet paper and other paper products for 66 years.

The marks are infringed by the “Angel” and “Baby Soft” toilet papers sold by Inspiration Planet and HomeMax, according to the complaint filed April 27 in federal court in Houston.

Georgia-Pacific also objects to applications filed to register “Angel” and “Baby Soft” as trademarks. The applications, filed by the Texas residents, use these terms in packaging designs that resemble those used by the forest products company, according to court papers.

The complaint features color photos of the allegedly infringing packaging used on toilet paper Georgia-Pacific says is stained. This packaging is likely to confuse customers and lead them to believe falsely that the products have some affiliation with Georgia-Pacific, the company claims.

Georgia-Pacific asked the court to order the companies to stop their alleged infringement, and the applicants to abandon their applications to register “Angel” and “Baby Soft” as trademarks.

Additionally, the company seeks an order for destruction of all infringing products and promotional materials, and an award of attorney fees, money damages, and profits the companies derived from their alleged infringement.

Georgia-Pacific is represented by Stephen P. Meleen and Susan J. Hightower of Pirkey Barber LLP of Austin, Texas.

The case is Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP v. K.S. Dollar Inc., 4:10-cv-01401, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

Pioneer Descendants’ Group Seeks Trademark for ‘The Alamo’

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a non-profit organization of women who are descendents of Texas pioneers, is seeking to register “The Alamo” as a trademark.

The application, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in October 2009, is for the use of the term with museum services. The Daughters have operated the Alamo in San Antonio since 1905.

The original name of the Alamo was Mission San Antonio de Valero. Constructed in 1724, the Alamo was the key battleground of the Texas Revolution.

In 1836 Mexican forces commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna defeated Texas volunteers who occupied the Alamo. Among those killed were Jim Bowie and David Crockett.

The site is the property of the state, and is deemed “the shrine of Texas Liberty,” according to the Web site.

The Daughters decided to register a mark so its use could be controlled, the Austin American-Statesman reported April 27.

A group the newspaper identified as a splinter group from the Daughters successfully registered “Friends of the Alamo” as a trademark April 20. According to the Patent Office database, the mark is to be used for charitable fundraising for the restoration, repair and operation of the Alamo.

According to the Friends of the Alamo Web site, participation is open to all and doesn’t “depend upon membership in an historic group.” The Friends site says the group was founded by a woman who was fired from the Daughters in 2008 after she raised $1.5 million for the Alamo’s restoration.

Shaolin Temple Can’t Use ‘Shaolin Medicine’ Mark, Court Rules

China’s Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing barred the China Songshan Shaolin Temple from using “Shaolin Medicine” on its products such as coffee and instant noodles, the People’s Daily reported yesterday.

The court affirmed a ruling by the Trademark Appeal Board that banned the temple’s use of the term on the grounds that people might mistakenly believe the items had pharmaceutical effects, according to the People’s Daily.

The temple appealed the board’s decision to the court, claiming the mark would be unlikely to mislead people, the newspaper reported.

The board, in refusing to register the mark, noted that the Shaolin Pharmacy once operated under the English name of “Shaolin Medicine” and diagnosed and treated the monks and the nearby populace, according to the newspaper.

IP Moves

Carroll Burdick Hires Townsend’s IP Litigator Robert McFarlane

Carroll Burdick & McDonough LLP hired Robert McFarlane for its litigation group, the San Francisco-based firm said in a statement.

McFarlane, who joins from San Francisco’s Townsend & Townsend & Crew LLP, has litigated patent and other IP disputes on behalf of clients whose technologies have included semiconductor fabrication processes, semiconductor power technologies, microprocessor design, computer hardware, FLASH and DRAM devices, optics and optoelectronics, circuits, textile chemistry, oil exploration, optical character recognition, transportation and consumer products.

He has an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering and political science from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.