Netgear, Mamma Mia's, Intel, RIM, Stevie Wonder: Intellectual Property

Netgear Inc.’s victory over patent- infringement claims by Fujitsu Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. was upheld by a U.S. appeals court, while some allegations by Royal Philips Electronics NV were allowed to proceed.

Netgear’s wireless networking products don’t use technology patented by Fujitsu and LG, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said yesterday. The panel said “genuine issues of material fact remain” on a Philips patent regarding four Netgear models and ordered a lower court to rehear that part of the case.

LG, Fujitsu and Philips are part of a licensing pool for patents related to an industry standard for networking gear. Each claimed infringement of a different aspect of wireless communications. Netgear, based in San Jose, California, argued that it could comply with the industry standard without using the patented inventions.

“A district court may rely on an industry standard in analyzing infringement,” the three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled. Still, “an accused infringer is free to either prove that the claims do not cover all implementations of the standard or to prove that it does not practice the standard.”

The 802.11 standard that’s at the heart of the case is a protocol for wireless local-area networks that let computers talk to each other at high speeds.

The case is Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc., 2010-1045, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc., 07cv710, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

Mamma Mia’s Accuses Bagel Company of Making False Patent Claims

A Florida pizza parlor sued a bagel maker for making false patent claims.

Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. of Delray Beach, Florida, is accused of claiming it uses a “14-step patented process” to replicate city water from Brooklyn, New York. This process, according to the complaint filed Sept. 17 in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, is supposed to create a bagel identical to those made in Brooklyn, New York.

Mamma Mia’s Trattoria Inc. of Lake Worth, Florida, says of the seven patents the bagel company claims cover its process, four are expired, and the other three aren’t applicable to the process. None of the patents in any way covers a 14-step water- treatment process, Mamma Mia says in its court papers.

Brooklyn Water Bagel didn’t respond immediately to an e- mailed request for comment. According to the company website, the water process it is franchising nationwide enables replication of Brooklyn water, and will be monitored via satellite.

Larry King, who is retiring from Cable News Network’s Larry King Live is assisting the bagel company with franchise development, Brooklyn Water Bagel said in a statement.

Mamma Mia’s says the patent claims the bagel company makes have “wrongfully quelled competition and innovation,” harming the public, the U.S. and the pizza restaurant.

It asked the court to declare it can use its own water treatment apparatus and sell its food products despite what it says are the bagel company’s “false claims,” It also seeks awards of money damages, attorney fees, and litigation costs.

Water treatment is an important issue in some parts of Florida where the water may have an unpleasant taste because of a detectable sulfur content.

John P. Kelly of the Kelly Law Firm of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida represents Mamma Mia’s. The case is Mamma Mia’s Trattoria Inc., v. The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., 9:10- cv-81106-KLR, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach).

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

Bidding for SCO’s Unix Assets Starts After Court Approves Sale

The SCO Group Inc., which lost a court battle over the rights to the Unix operating system, is selling all its Unix assets, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The Lindon, Utah-based company had claimed it was owed royalties by International Business Machines Corp. for the unauthorized use of Unix code in the Linux operating system.

Novell Inc. of Waltham, Massachusetts, actually owned the rights, a Salt Lake City jury in federal court decided in March. In August the Delaware bankruptcy group gave the Utah company authorization to sell its software assets.

According to the SCO statement, bids must be submitted by October 5. The sale is being handled by Ocean Park Advisors LLC of Los Angeles.

The bankruptcy case is In re SCO Group Inc., 07-11337, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The case against Novell was SCO Group v. Novell Inc., 2:04-cv-00139-TS, U.S. District Court, District of Utah.

Intel Acknowledges Security Key Leaked, Will Sue Wrongdoers

Intel Corp., the world’s largest semiconductor maker, has acknowledged that a security key to a digital content protection technology it developed has been leaked via the Internet, Wired News reported.

The Santa Clara, California-based chip company said it would sue anyone who uses it to create devices to defeat the copy-protection technology, according to Wired.

Tom Waldrop, an Intel spokesman, told Wired that the key was probably not leaked by a human, but was cracked by someone who used “mathematics and computers” to work back to the key.

Release of the key could enable hardware makers to create devices that can defeat copy-protection technology for films and music, according to Wired.

Stevie Wonder Calls for Copyright Laws to Benefit Disabled

Stevie Wonder, the blind singer who was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace, told a UN agency that copyright law must take into account the needs of those with disabilities.

Speaking yesterday in Geneva at the annual meeting of the U.N’s Assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Wonder called for a “Declaration of freedom for people with disabilities.” He noted that the European Union, Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay, the U.S. and a group of African nations have proposed different plans for “cross-border transfer of information.”

Wonder said what was needed is “a protocol that has a binding effect and at the same time respects the rights of all involved.” The protocol must enable “the easy import and export of copyright materials so that people with print disabilities can join the mainstream of the literate world.”

He closed his remarks by singing two of his best-known songs, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” and “Mon Cheri Amour.”

Wonder was designated a UN Messenger of Peace in December 2009 for his work on behalf of people with disabilities. The other designated Messengers of Peace are conductor Daniel Barenboim, actor George Clooney, author Paulo Coelho, actor Michael Douglas, primatologist Jane Goodall, violinist Midori Goto, Jordan’s Princess Haya Bint al Hussein, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, actress Charlize Theron, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

RIM’s Canadian Trademark Filing May Be for Tablet Device

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry mobile communications device, is seeking to register “SurfBook” as a trademark, according to a filing with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

The mark is to be used for wireless handheld units, personal digital assistants, wireless phones, mobile phones, cellular phones, smart phones, video phones and tablet computers for the wireless transmission of data and voice signals, according to the application.

When accessed yesterday, the trademark database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had no filings or registered trademarks for “SurfBook.”

One application was filed with the patent office in May 2000 to register the term “Surf Book” for “an appliance providing access to a global computer network.” That application, filed on behalf of a Texas resident, was abandoned in December 2002.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, does have a tablet computer in the works. The device will run on software developed by the QNX Software Systems unit it acquired in April.

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

HP and Oracle Resolve Litigation on Hurd Employment

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Oracle Corp. said they resolved litigation over the appointment of Mark Hurd as a president of Oracle and reaffirmed the long-term partnership between the two companies.

“HP and Oracle have been important partners for more than 20 years and are committed to working together to provide exceptional products and service to our customers,” Cathie Lesjak, HP’s interim chief executive officer, said yesterday in a statement that came less than two weeks after the case was filed.

Hurd was sued in California state court Sept. 7 by HP, which tried to block his move. The company said working as a president at Oracle would make it “impossible” for him to avoid using or disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information. Hurd will adhere to his obligations to protect HP’s confidential information while fulfilling his responsibilities at Oracle, the companies said in yesterday’s statement.

As part of the resolution of the legal dispute, Hurd and HP agreed to modify terms of his separation agreement from HP, including waiving his rights to 330,177 performance-based restricted stock units granted in January 2008, HP said in a regulatory filing. Hurd also waived his rights to 15,853 restricted stock units granted in December 2009, HP said.

Legal experts have said that HP would be unlikely to prohibit Hurd’s move because California’s courts favor letting employees move freely. The theory that trade secrets will inevitably be disclosed “won’t work in California as a reason to prevent someone from taking a job,” Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School who specializes in intellectual property, said in an interview earlier this month.

The case was Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Mark Hurd, 1:10-cv- 181699, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County.

IP Moves

Andrews Kurth LLP hired two IP specialists and two patent agents for its IP group, the Houston-based firm said in a statement.

The new hires, all of whom joined from Atlanta’s Morris Manning & Martin LLP, are lawyers Robert A. Gutkin and Dr. Ping Wang, and patent agents Petr VanderVegt Jr. and Eggerton Campbell.

Gutkin, a litigator, has represented clients whose technologies have included surgical lasers, cryogenic devices, magnetic resonance imaging equipment, cellular technology, fiber optics, catalytic converters, lubricants for dental handpieces, gravity feed displays and smart card manufacturing.

He has an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the University of California at Davis.

Wang, who does both patent-application work and litigation, represents clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical/organic chemistry and medical device industries.

Before she became a lawyer she did research in the areas of molecular biology, immunology, neuroscience and cancer.

Wang has a medical degree from Kumming Medical University, and a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

VenderVegt is a former patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, focused on cellular and humoral immunology.

He has an undergraduate degree in biology and a doctorate in medical genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Campbell also is a former examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she handled patents in areas of nucleic acid detection via hybridization, nucleic acid amplification (PCR), detection of tumors/cancer via mutations, recombinant polypeptides, human genes, and bioinformatiocs.

She has an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and master’s and doctorates in biochemistry from Yeshiva university’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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