LG Electronics, Viacom, Sony, Real American Brands: Intellectual Property

LG Electronics Inc. won a patent- infringement ruling in a bid to block U.S. imports of flat-panel televisions made by Vizio Inc.

U.S. International Trade Commission Judge E. James Gildea said Vizio infringed an LG patent. Three other patents weren’t violated. The decision is subject to review by the six-member commission. If the commission finds there was a violation of any patent, it could ban U.S. imports of certain Vizio televisions.

LG claimed that some televisions made by closely held Vizio infringed U.S. patents for display controls, signal transmission for remote controls, and on-screen program guide data. Vizio, based in Irvine, California, vies with Samsung Electronics Co. for the lead in U.S. sales of LCD televisions.

Seoul-based LG said Sept. 4 that it aims to sell 35 million LCD televisions next year, 40 percent more than the projected 25 million this year. Sales including plasma TVs may reach 40 million sets next year from 29 million this year, according to Simon Kang, president of LG’s home entertainment division.

LG filed a patent complaint Sept. 16 against Vizio at the ITC, claiming infringement of three other LG patents. Also named in both complaints was Taipei-based AmTran Technology Co., which makes Vizio televisions. LG televisions are assembled in Mexico, and the company has facilities in Alabama and California, according to the complaint filed Sept. 16.

The case is In the Matter of Video Displays, 337-TA-687, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The new case is In the matter of Certain Digital Televisions and Components Thereof, 2755.

Cajun Chickcan Claims Patent for Chicken Roasting Rack Infringed

Cajun Chickcan of Texas LLP, holder of two patents for a chicken-roasting rack, sued a competitor for patent infringement.

The dispute has its origins in a method of roasting a chicken by inserting an open, half full can of beer into the bird’s body cavity before putting it into the oven. This dish is frequently called “Beer Butt Chicken,” “Drunken Chicken,” or “Beer Can Chicken.”

Patents 6,503,551, issued in January 2003, and patent 6,557,460, issued in May 2004, are in dispute, according to the complaint filed Sept. 16 in federal court in Houston. The patents cover vertical chicken-roasting racks.

Cajun Chickcan, of Houston claims the patent is infringed by the Vertical Chicken Roaster made and sold by Brinkmann Corp. of Dallas.

The Houston company asked the court for money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs and a court order barring future infringement of the patent.

Cajun Chickcan is represented by David Fink of Fink & Johnson of Houston.

The case is Cajun Chickcan of Texas LLP v. Brinkman Corp., 4:10-cv-03323, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

MTV Turkish Distributor MCD Files Counterclaim in Contract Case

Multi Channel Developers Inc., a Turkish television distribution company that is being sued by Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks, said it filed a counterclaim against Viacom in London.

Paul Renney, MCD’s U.K. lawyer, said the company filed a defense and counterclaim to the Viacom suit at the High Court in London on Sept. 15.

MTV claims in two lawsuits that MCD reneged on an agreement to pay for MTV and Nickelodeon content. MTV is seeking unspecified damages for misuse of its programming and a court order blocking the channels from being aired.

“MCD considers that both claims are incorrect and the agreement with respect to both channels was properly renewed,” Renney, a lawyer at Keystone Law, said in a telephone interview.

The cases are MTV Networks -and- MCD, HC 10C02362 and HC 10C2363.

Sony Corp. Unit, Robert Bradley Sued Over Music Copyrights

Sony Corp.’s RCA Music Group and R&B performer Robert Bradley were sued for copyright infringement by a Michigan music promoter and manager.

Shalan Samona of Farmington Hills, Michigan, claims a 1990 partnership agreement with Bradley entitles him to a 50 percent interest in any song created by the musician, according to the complaint filed Sept. 16 in federal court in Detroit.

At issue are copyrights for four songs Bradley created while under the management contract with Samona, the former manager said. They are “For the Night (Baby),” “I Remember,” “Willie Lee” and “Born in America.”

Samona claims that two songs on Bradley’s “Blackwater Surprise” album are “substantially similar, if not identical” to “For the Night” and “I Remember.”

He said that the performing and recording of these songs without his permission by Bradley and RCA constitutes copyright infringement, since the 1990 contract gave him 50 percent ownership. Samona also objects to the form of Bradley’s registration of the copyright for these songs.

Samona claims some of the registrations are invalid because Bradley failed to state that those songs were derived from earlier works created when he was under contract to Samona. He asked that the registration for these songs be declared invalid and improperly filed.

He also requested money damages for what he says is Bradley’s performance of the four disputed songs, an order barring the singer from future performances of the work, and the seizure and destruction of all allegedly infringing material. Additionally, he requested awards of litigation costs and attorney fee.

Samona is represented by Jeffery P. Thennisch of Pontiac, Michigan’s Dobrusin & Thennish PC.

The case is Shalan Samona v. Robert Bradley, 2:10-cv-13691- RHC-RSW, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

Masco Sued for Infringement by Owners of ‘Make a Mess’ Mark

Masco Corp., the maker of Delta faucets and Behr paint, was sued for trademark infringement by a New Hampshire company that provides children’s education and entertainment centers.

Make A Mess LC and Gigunda Group Inc., sister companies who share an address in Manchester, New Hampshire, object to the “Make a Mess” ad campaign presently used for the Delta Touch 02 faucet.

The New Hampshire companies claim their “make a mess” trademarks are infringed by this ad campaign. They also object to the Make a Mess app now available in Apple Inc.’s iTunes App Store, and also available through Research in Motion Inc.’s Blackberry online store.

Sherman Oaks, California-based eModeration Inc., which the New Hampshire companies claim created the campaign for Delta, is named as a defendant in the complaint along with Taylor, Michigan-based Masco and its Delta unit.

Although Delta was sent a cease-and-desist notice in July, the company continues its alleged infringement, and told the plaintiffs it wouldn’t halt its campaign, according to the complaint filed Sept. 16 in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire.

The alleged infringement causes the public to be deceived into believing an affiliation exists between the faucet company and the two New Hampshire entities, according to court papers.

Make A Mess and Gigunda asked the court to order the faucet company and the ad agency to stop their alleged acts of infringement. Additionally, they seek money damages, and asked they be tripled and that extra damages be added to punish the defendants for the actions. They also asked for attorney fees and litigation costs.

The two New Hampshire companies are represented by Teresa C. Tucker and Kevin J. Carroll of Grossman, Tucker, Perreault & Pfleger PLLC of Manchester, New Hampshire.

The case is Make A Mess LLC v. Masco Corp., 1:10-cv-00409, U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire (Concord).

Taiwan Director’s Trademark Opposed by Sediq Aboriginal Group

Taiwan’s aboriginal Sediq people are objecting to the issuance of a trademark to a production company involved with a film about their 1930 uprising against Japanese rule, Taiwan Today reported.

Director Wei Te-Sheng’s production company owns the right to the “Sediq Bale” mark and plans to use it with merchandise associated with his movie by the same name, according to Taiwan Today.

Bale told Taiwan Today his company’s rights to the name extend only to movie-related merchandise, and the trademark was sought to bar unauthorized use of the film’s name.

The head of Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office said the Sediq people could continue to use their name for such things as traditional contests, artifacts or clothing, according to Taiwan Today.

Real American Brands To Register ‘Green Blues’ Trademark

Real American Brands Inc., a sportswear company, received notice that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office will register “Green Blues” as a trademark, the Rancho Mirage, California- based company said in a statement.

The brand will be used for an American-made eco-friendly line of denim apparel, the company said. Although the clothing line will compete in the “premium denim category,” the company said it won’t be sold at premium prices.

Some of the company’s other clothing trademarks include “Brown & Bred in the USA,” “Lasso” “Lariat” “Riata” and “Billy Martin’s.”

Real American applied for the Green Blues trademark in May, 2009, with the assistance of John Alumit from Patel & Alumit PC of Encino, California.

For more trademark news, click here.

IP Moves

Idaho State Hires AMI Semiconductor Ex-GC for Tech Transfer

Idaho State University hired IP specialist Darlene Gerry for its office of general counsel, the Pocatello, Idaho-based school said in a Sept. 15 statement.

Gerry, whose background is in IP creation and licensing, will work in the technology transfer area.

She is a former senior counsel at International Business Machines Corp., and was the senior vice president, general counsel and secretary at AMI Semiconductor Inc. of Pocatello.

Gerry has an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine and a law degree from Western New England College.

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

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