MediaTek, Disney, Leap Wireless, Florida Atlantic: Intellectual Property

MediaTek Inc. signed a settlement agreement with BT Group Plc’s British Telecommunications unit over a patent-infringement lawsuit, the Hsinchu, Taiwan-based chip designer said in an exchange filing.

British Telecom will file for a dismissal of the suit it brought in Massachusetts in November as part of the settlement agreement, MediaTek said without providing details. BT had alleged that MediaTek’s wireless unit infringed patent 5,153,591, which covers a method and apparatus for data compression technology. The patent was issued in October 1992.

The case is British Telecommunications Plc v. MediaTek Wireless Inc., 1:09-cv-11871-WGY.

BackWeb Settles Patent Infringement Case Against Microsoft

BackWeb Technologies Ltd., a provider of Internet communication applications and infrastructure, said it settled a patent-infringement case against Microsoft Corp.

BackWeb, with operations in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel, and Santa Clara, California, sued Microsoft and three other companies in March 2009 in federal court in Oakland, California, accusing them of infringing patents related to the transmission of digital information.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, took a license to the disputed patents, BackWeb said in a statement. Other terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. BackWeb said it now has about $10 million in cash, “which reflects the impact of the patent litigation” and the previous year’s business operations.

The case is BackWeb Technologies Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp., 4:09-cv-01224-CW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

Disney Applies for U.S. Patent on ‘Edutainment’ Guitar Game

Walt Disney Co. applied for a patent on a musical computer game that can be used in connection with a real guitar.

Application 20100137048, filed in December 2008 and published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday, is for an interface to an electronic instrument that has frets and strings.

According to the application, an element of the system is a display with falling objects to indicate the timing of the performance. The display also has fret areas corresponding to the actual frets of the instrument, and game objects to demonstrate the strings on the instrument that should be strummed.

Disney characterizes the game as “musical edutainment,” and says that Electronic Arts Inc.’s “Guitar Hero” game doesn’t give users the actual experience of playing on a guitar. Burbank, California-based Disney says that while playing on simulated instruments such as Guitar Hero’s “may be entertaining,” it may not help improve the player’s skill in playing a real instrument.

Disney was assisted in the patent-application process by Farjami & Farjami LLP of Mission Viejo, California.

Trademark

Leap Wireless Unit Wins Arizona Trademark-Infringement Case

Leap Wireless International Inc.’s Cricket Communications unit won a trademark-infringement lawsuit against a seller of wireless services in Tucson, Arizona.

Cricket sued Abid Nazir and his GSM Cellular for trademark infringement in federal court in Tucson in May 2009. Nazir was accused of acting as if his three Arizona stores were authorized to sell Cricket products and of using Cricket’s mark on the stores and vehicles.

Although Nazir was sent cease-and-desist notices beginning in September 2006, he registered “Kricket” and “Kricket Cellular” as business names in Arizona in March 2008, according to court papers.

The court awarded Cricket almost $78,0000 in attorney fees and ordered Nazir to quit using the Cricket marks in any way, according to court filings.

Cricket was represented by Liza Martens and Andrew Abrams of Boston’s Fish & Richardson, and Shane Olafson of Phoenix’s Lewis & Roca LLP.

The case is Cricket Communication Inc. v. Nazir, 4:08-cv- 00295-JMR, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Tucson).

Copyright

Florida Atlantic University Accused of Copyright Infringement

Florida Atlantic University and one of its professors were sued for copyright infringement by the head of a Cincinnati- based organization that offers cultural education and assessment for health-care workers.

Josepha Campinha-Bacote and her Transcultural C.A.R.E Associates accused the university and Professor Sandra Gibson of using and distributing without authorization a survey tool Campinha-Bagote created.

The Ohio organization’s Inventory for Assessing the Process of Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals was used by Gibson, her students and other FAU faculty members, according to the complaint filed June 2 in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Campinha-Bacote said in her pleadings that she learned of the unauthorized use in a telephone call she received from Gibson, and that the FAU professor acknowledged she knew it was copyrighted and that her use was unauthorized.

Earlier, Campinha-Bacote had authorized a different FAU professor to use the inventory only through 2008, according to court papers.

After being told she was infringing, and that a fee would have to be paid for unauthorized use and permission would have to be granted in the future to use the inventory, Gibson refused to comply, according to the compliant.

Campinha-Bacote accused the defendants of deliberate infringement and asked the court for an award of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs, and for an order barring future infringement. She also requested seizure of all allegedly infringing material in defendants’ possession.

She is represented by Michael Weeks, of Weeks & Macon LLP of West Palm Beach, and Nadine Mireille Castillo of Ward Damon & Posner, also of West Palm Beach.

The case is Campinha-Bacote v. Gibson, 9:10-cv-80671-KAM, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach).

IP Moves

Stroock Hires Patent Specialist Irah Donner from Wilmer Hale

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP hired Irah H. Donner for its intellectual-property practice, the New York-based firm said in a statement.

Donner, a patent specialist, joins from Washington’s Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP. Before he was a lawyer, he designed software applications for large-scale computer systems at Bell Communications Research.

He does patent-application work, with an emphasis on business methods, Internet and computer hardware and software- related technologies. He also has done IP-related transactional work.

Donner has both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in systems engineering and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

DLA Piper Hires Nixon Peabody Lawyers for Sports/Media Group

DLA Piper LLP hired three former lawyers from Rochester, New York’s Nixon Peabody LLP for its new global sports, media and entertainment group, the Chicago-based firm said in a statement.

The new hires are Frank Ryan, Henry Liu and Nicholas Papastavros. Ryan served as an outside counsel to Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN sports television network, where he represented the company in issues related to ESPN’s worldwide IP rights. He has both an undergraduate degree and a law degree from Syracuse University.

Liu specialized in Asian-related legal issues, including business, financing and government regulation. He’s the former managing partner of Nixon Peabody’s China and Asian Pacific practice, and has done transactional work that’s included technology transfers.

From 1995 to 2000, Liu was general counsel and director- general at the China Securities Regulatory Commission. He has an undergraduate degree from China’s Nankai University and a doctorate in law from Peking University. He also has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Oxford and a master’s in law from Harvard University.

Papastavros does both technology-related litigation and licensing work around patents, trade secrets, copyright and trademarks. He has an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a law degree from Columbia University.

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

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