De Beers, Windseeker, Perfect 10, Lorillard, Google: Intellectual Property

De Beers, which has used “a diamond is forever” to sell gems since 1947, sued a department store chain and three New York-based jewelry manufacturers for patent infringement.

The diamond company filed two suits in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, Aug. 25. Both are related to design patents for the De Beers Everlon Diamond Knot Collection the company has produced and sold through a network of licensed retail outlets since 2007, according to court papers.

The defendants are Kohl’s Corp. of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and Brilliant Jewelers /MJJ Inc., Adwar Casting Co. Ltd. and Dinaro Creations LLC, all of New York. De Beers also sued 10 unidentified defendants in each of the two suits.

Kohl’s, Brilliant’s and Adwar’s “Love Knot Collection” are accused of infringing the design patents, as are the “Hercules Knot Collection” made and sold by Dinaro.

De Beers asked the court to order the defendants to quit infringing the patents and seeks awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

The diamond company is represented by Andrea M. Kimball, Teresa A. Ascencio and Brian R. McGinley of Chicago’s Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.

The case against Kohl’s is De Beers UK Ltd. v. Kohl’s Corp, 4:10-cv-00842-JTM, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City). The other case is De Beers UK Ltd. v. Adwar Casting Co, 4:10-cv-00843-GAF, U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri (Kansas City).

Cedar Fair’s New Thrill Ride Infringes Patent, Funtime Claims

Cedar Fair LP is installing at four of its amusement parks a thrill ride that is the subject of a patent battle, the Sandusky Register reported.

The WindSeeker ride, made by Mondial of Terband-Heerenveen in the Netherlands, is to be installed at the Cedar Point, Canada’s Wonderland, Kings Island and Knott’s Berry Farm parks, according to the newspaper.

The Funtime Group of Bundall, Australia, is claiming the Windseeker infringes patent 7,666,103, which covers the Australian company’s StarFlyer ride, the newspaper reported.

A representative for Sandusky, Ohio-based Cedar Fair told the newspaper that Mondial’s U.S. patent attorney determined that the Funtime infringement claim has no merit.

Silicon Labs Settles Patent Infringement Case with Quintic Corp.

Silicon Laboratories Inc., a designer of chips for Apple Inc.’s iPod Nano and Garmin Ltd.’s GPS devices, settled a patent infringement suit it brought against a competitor, the company said in a statement yesterday.

In January 2010, Silicon Laboratories sued Quintic of Santa Clara, California, for infringing five patents related to chip circuitry. Austin, Texas-based Silicon Laboratories claimed Quintic and its Chinese subsidiary sold semiconductors that infringed the patents.

Quintic is what is known as a “fabless” semiconductor company, which means it didn’t itself fabricate the allegedly infringing chips.

According to the company statement, Quintic receives a limited license to Silicon Laboratories’ FM radio patents as part of a licensing and royalty arrangement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The case is Silicon Laboratories Inc. v. Quintic Corp., 1:10-cv-00066SS, U.s. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin).

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

Perfect 10 Claims Its Adult Content Infringed by Dutch Company

Perfect 10 Inc., a producer of what it says is “tasteful” adult entertainment products, is seeking more than $8 million from a Dutch company for alleged copyright infringement.

The Beverly Hills, California-based company claims it has been forced to close its Perfect 10 magazine because of “rampant infringement” and is no longer earning revenue from its sale of calendars and the licensing of downloaded images for cell phones for the same reason.

Its business “is almost entirely dependent on its intellectual property rights,” the company said in the complaint filed Aug. 25 in federal court in San Diego. The company is so concerned about IP issues that the home page of its website -- www.perfect10.com -- lists the name of a lawyer who will receive claims of copyright or other IP infringement.

Netsaits BV of the Netherlands and its Las Vegas-based Jennsights unit are accused of operating more than 150 websites where illicit copies of images and video clips belonging to Perfect 10 are stored, displayed and distributed.

Perfect 10, which provides content to subscribers who pay a monthly fee, says it “cannot fairly compete in the business of selling tasteful adult entertainment with Netsaits.” The California company, which “expends significant time, effort and money to develop and create its products only sells what it owns,” according to court papers.

Netsaits can “offer more than 50 times the amount of content” for approximately the same monthly fee as Perfect 10 because the Dutch company doesn’t pay for the content it provides others, Perfect 10 said in its complaint.

Perfect 10 claims Netsaits has sold “thousands of memberships” and that the Dutch company has profited from its alleged acts of infringement. The California company says it is suffering “great and irreparable injury” because of Netsaits’s actions.

It asked the court to order Netsaits to halt its alleged infringement, and for the destruction of all Perfect 10 content in its possession. Additionally, it seeks money damages, extra damages to punish Netsaits for its actions, and awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

In July, Perfect 10 lost a copyright infringement case against Google Inc. A federal judge in Los Angeles granted Google’s request for a ruling that it was immune from Perfect 10’s infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act with regard to its blogger and caching features.

The case was Perfect 10 v. Google Inc., 2:04-cv-09484, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

In the new case Perfect 10 is represented by Eric J. Benink of San Diego’s Krause Kalfayan Benink & Slavens LLP.

That case is Prefect 10 Inc. v. Netsaits Tv, 3:10-cv-01773, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

Lorillard Sues Convenience Stores Over Fake Newport Cigarettes

Lorillard Tobacco Co., the maker of Newport cigarettes, sued the operator of two Ohio convenience stores for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed Aug. 25 in federal court in Akron, Ohio, related to the importation and sale of counterfeit Newport cigarettes. Lorillard claims that recent increases in federal and state tobacco taxes have stimulated a trade in counterfeit cigarettes.

Under what Greensboro, North Carolina-based Lorillard calls “these high tax levels” bootleggers can “price counterfeit cigarettes below prevailing market prices and can pocket not only the profit on the cigarettes themselves but also a substantial portion of what would otherwise be owed to the government in taxes.”

According to the National Council of State Legislatures’ website, Ohio residents now pay $1.25 per pack state excise taxes on top of $1.00 per pack federal excise tax.

The tobacco company claims the cigarettes at issue and sold by Hamden Inc., of Canton, Ohio “have not been manufactured, approved or sold by Lorillard.” Hamden’s actions have damaged Lorillard’s reputation and deceived the public into thinking it is buying authentic goods, when consumers are only getting fakes, the company said in its pleadings.

Lorillard asked the court to bar Hamden from further infringement, and from selling any fake merchandise. It also seeks an order for the destruction of all infringing materials and products and awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

The North Carolina tobacco company is represented by William M. Thacker, Kathleen A. Lang and Nicole M. Wotlinski of Detroit-based Dickinson Wright PLLC.

The case is Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Hamden Inc., 5:10-cv- 01886, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Akron).

Google Applies for Trademark to Be Used for Computer Hardware

Google Inc., the search-engine company that said it would quit selling its Nexus mobile phones, maybe have another hardware venture in mind, if a new trademark application is any indication.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Mountain View, California-based company filed an application Aug. 18 to register the term “speedbook.”

The application specifies that the term would be used for computer hardware.

It was filed on behalf of Google by Christine Hsieh, an in- house trademark counsel.

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

IP Moves

Reed Smith Expands IP Practice, Hires Nixon Peabody’s Kaufman

Reed Smith LLP hired Marc Kaufman for its IP group, the Pittsburgh-based firm said in a statement.

Kaufman, who joins from Rochester, New York-based Nixon Peabody LLP, is a transactional lawyer. He has done licensing work, patent acquisition and patent strategy work for clients whose technologies have included reconfigurable processors, content aggregation and targeting, digital rights management, databases, document retrieval, search engines and data mining.

He has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Boston University and a law degree from Catholic University of America.

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

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