VirnetX, Erdogan, Microsoft, DuPont, `Jersey Shore': Intellectual Property

VirnetX Holding Corp., which reached a $200 million settlement with Microsoft Corp. over patents for ways to communicate privately over the Internet, sued Apple Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. over the same technology.

VirnetX also named Aastra Technologies Ltd. and NEC Corp. in the complaint filed Aug. 11 in federal court in Tyler, Texas. The Scotts Valley, California-based company is seeking cash and an order to ban further use of its patented inventions.

The patents cover use of a domain-name service to set up virtual private networks, through which a website owner can interact with customers in a secure way or an employee can work at home and access a company’s electronic files. The technology stemmed from work performed for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, VirnetX has said.

Apple, Cisco, Aastra and NEC are accused in the complaint of infringing at least one of five patents. Cupertino, California-based Apple’s iPhone, iPod music player and iPad tablet computer infringe two patents, according to VirnetX.

The complaint also lists communications manager products, routers and servers made by San Jose, California-based Cisco; Clearspan and Pointspan products from Concord, Ontario-based telecommunications equipment maker Aastra, and Communications Server by Tokyo-based NEC.

Messages seeking comments from Apple, Cisco, NEC and Aastra weren’t immediately returned.

Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, agreed to pay $200 million in May to end a patent dispute that involved some of the same patents as in the latest case. Defense contractor SAIC Inc. received a portion of the payment.

The case is VirnetX Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc., 10cv417, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Patents His Initials, NTV Says

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan patented his initials, NTV television reported on its website yesterday.

Erdogan applied to the Turkish Patent Institute and was granted a patent for the initials “RTE,” written in a blue font, to be used as a brand, the Istanbul-based news channel reported.

The RTE brand is to be used for “items like printed documents, publications, calendars, posters and photographs” in the fields of public relations, radio and television broadcasts and education, NTV said.

The prime minister also applied this month for the web address, it said.

Microsoft, Datel End Patent Fight Over Xbox 360 Controllers

Microsoft Corp. settled its patent fight with Datel Holdings Ltd. over controllers used in the Xbox 360 video-game system. An antitrust dispute remains.

Terms are confidential, Kevin Kutz, a spokesman with Microsoft, said yesterday. The agreement ends a case with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington and a mirror lawsuit in federal court in Seattle. The two companies “have reached an agreement to resolve all of the issues” in the pending ITC case, they said in an Aug. 10 filing with the trade agency.

Microsoft had filed infringement claims over the TurboFire and WildFire controllers made by Staffordshire, England-based Datel, saying they copied patented designs. The controllers can turn single-shot pistols used in games such as “Call of Duty” into fully automatic weapons.

In an Aug. 11 filing in the federal antitrust case in San Francisco, Martin Glick, Datel’s lawyer, said the company “continues to assert that its initial controllers did not infringe Microsoft’s design patents and that those patents are invalid.”

Datel’s antitrust lawsuit accuses Microsoft of trying to monopolize the market for multiplayer, online gaming systems and for accessories not sold with the Xbox. Datel claims that Microsoft deployed a software update to the Xbox to ensure that Datel memory cards wouldn’t work with the system. This created fear among consumers about using other Datel products, including the controllers, the company said.

In a telephone interview, Glick said the antitrust case “is continuing forward full-steam.”

Microsoft said it was within its rights to provide the update to protect its copyrights, and any depression in sales was because consumers “have not shown any interest in Datel’s controllers.”

More than 74 million Xbox 360 game controllers have been sold worldwide since 2005, including about 40 million in the U.S., according to the ITC complaint. Microsoft said it has sold or licensed more than $7 billion worth of products whose designs are covered by the patents in the case.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Game Controllers, 337- 715, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The antitrust case is Datel Holdings Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp., 09cv5535, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more patent news, click here.


DuPont Sues Carpet-Cleaning Company over Teflon Trademark Use

DuPont Co. sued a Florida carpet-cleaning company for trademark infringement.

Magic Touch Cleaning & Restoration Inc., of Tavares, Florida, is accused of infringing DuPont’s Teflon trademarks for its polytetrafluoroethylene products. According to the complaint filed Aug. 11 in federal court in Orlando, Florida, the carpet- cleaner is using the Teflon mark without a license.

DuPont says customers are misled by Magic Touch’s ads, and mistakenly assume there is an affiliation between the two companies.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based chemical company asked the court to bar Magic Touch’s unauthorized use of the Teflon mark, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Magic Touch couldn’t reached for comment. A telephone number listed for the company had been disconnected.

DuPont is represented by Philippe W. Deve of Miami’s Adorno & Yoss LLP, and Dickerson M. Downing and Julia K. Smith of Washington’s Crowell & Moring LLP.

The case is E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co v. Magic Touch Cleaning and Restoration Inc., 5:10-cv-00381-MMH-GRJ, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando).

Target Sued over Farouk’s ‘Chi’ Trademark for Hair Irons

Target Corp., the Minneapolis-based discount retailer, was sued for trademark infringement by a Dallas-based maker of hair goods.

Farouk Systems Inc. claims Target is selling counterfeit versions of Chi hair irons. The products aren’t made or approved by Farouk, according to court papers.

The Texas company’s “valuable reputation and significant goodwill associated with the Chi mark” have been damaged and consumers have been deceived by Target’s alleged sales of fakes, according to the complaint.

Farouk asked the court for awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees. Additionally, the company requested an order barring further infringement of its mark, and asked that the money damages be tripled to punish Target for its actions.

Target didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Farouk is represented by Anthony F. Matheny and Mark Chretien of Miami-based Greenberg Traurig LLP.

The case is Farouk Systems Inc., v. Target Corp., 4:10-cv- 02860, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

‘Jersey Shore’ Regular Can’t Register Name as Trademark

Nicole Polizzi, a member of the cast on “Jersey Shore,” was denied her request to register “Snooki” as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Polizzi is known as “Snooki” on “Jersey Shore,” a program on Viacom Inc.’s MTV network. She applied for the trademark in February. The patent office refused her application, saying the name sounded too much like part of an existing mark, “The Adventures of Snooky,” which is used for a series of children’s books.

Her application isn’t totally rejected. The patent office said it was only impermissible to register it for printed matter. She also seeks to register it for “entertainment in the nature of personal appearances,” which the patent office found acceptable.

Polizzi is represented in her quest for a trademark by Tara Hart-Nova of Phillips Lytle LLP of Buffalo, New York.

For more trademark news, click here.


Louisiana Man Acknowledges Pirating Xboxes, Video Games

A Louisiana resident pleaded guilty to violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, according to an Aug. 11 statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Reno Jean Daret IV, 28, of Thibodaux, advertised the modification of Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 video-game consoles and the sale of “back up” copies of games, prosecutors said in the statement. The term “back up copies” is frequently used to describe pirated software, according to the statement.

“Modification” generally refers to illegal circumvention of copyright-protection features on game consoles so that pirated copies can be used.

Undercover agents contacted Daret in November to have a game console modified and to buy pirated games. Following the purchase, agents raided Daret’s residence and found “numerous” Xbox 360 game consoles and computer-related items used to modify Xbox consoles and pirate video games, according to the statement.

Daret, who pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt, faces a maximum prison term of five years, a $500,000 fine and one year of supervised release

Bangkok TV Company Wins $8.3 million in Thai Copyright Case

Bangkok Broadcasting & Television Co. was awarded $8.3 million in damages in a copyright and trademark case, Northwest Asian Weekly reported yesterday.

IPTV Corp. and BKT Group and its management were found liable for copying, selling and broadcasting BBTV’s programs without authorization, according to the publication.

Bangkok Broadcasting sued in May 2009. After a five-week trial in May 2010, the jury found all defendants liable, according to the publication.

In addition to awarding Bangkok Broadcasting damages, the court ordered the defendants not to do anything that could infringe the television station’s rights in the future, Northwest Asian Weekly reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at

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