Mozilla, Viacom, USC: Intellectual Property

Mozilla Corp., the Mountain View, California-based developer of the Firefox Web browser, has taken a license to the patents of the Open Invention Network collaboration, according to a statement from the network.

International Business Machines Corp., Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. are also part of the network, which develops an open-source ecosystem around the Linux operating system.

Patents owned by the network are available royalty-free to any company or institution that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux system.

Myhrvold Gets Patent for Surgical Stapler Powered by Explosive

Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft Corp., is a named inventor on a patent for a surgical stapler that was issued Sept. 21.

Myhrvold, now the chief executive officer of Intellectual Ventures of Bellevue, Washington, frequently participates in “invention sessions” in which scientists from a range of disciplines gather around a table at the company and work at inventing new technology to solve existing problems.

On the newly issued patent, 7,798,385, Myhrvold is one of 12 named inventors. A number of the others named -- such as Roderick Hyde -- are also listed on the Intellectual Ventures website as members of the invention staff.

The patent is assigned to the Invention Science Fund LLC, also of Bellevue. Most of the recent inventions on which Myhrvold is a named inventor are assigned to corporate names other than Intellectual Ventures that are also located in Bellevue.

The surgical stapler can apply staples or adhesives, according to the patent. It uses a “force releasing mechanism” to emit a staple.

The patent specified that the force-releasing mechanism on the stapler can be “at least one of a pressurized gas canister/cartridge, a spring, a lever, an explosive charge, a piezoelectric actuator, an electric motor, an electroactive polymer or a solenoid.”

The application for the patent was filed in September 2007.

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

‘Disturbia’ Doesn’t Copy Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window,’ Judge Rules

“Disturbia,” the 2007 film made by Steven Spielberg’s production company, didn’t infringe the copyright of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” or the short story on which the older movie was based, a judge in New York federal court ruled.

The Spielberg film isn’t “substantially similar” to the murder mystery “Rear Window,” U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said in a partial summary judgment ruling filed Sept. 21 in federal court in Manhattan.

The Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust, the copyright holder for the story on which “Rear Window” is based, sued Spielberg, Dreamworks LLC and Viacom Inc.’s Paramount studio, alleging similarities between the two works.

“Murder From a Fixed Viewpoint” was written in 1942 by Cornell Woolrich and first appeared in “Dime Detective Magazine,” according to court papers. Hitchcock’s adaptation came out in 1954.

Sheldon Abend, who died in 2003, was a literary agent who in 1990 won a U.S. Supreme Court case brought by actor James Stewart over the copyright to the detective story on which “Rear Window” is based.

According to the court opinion, Abend acquired the copyright for $650 and 10 percent of the proceeds from the exploitation of the work from Chase Manhattan Bank, Woolrich’s executor. Stewart and Hitchcock’s production company had sought to show the film on television and otherwise exploit it.

Abend sued for copyright infringement, claiming he had the right to control derivative works.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor agreed, writing for the high court that because Woolrich didn’t reassign the copyright to the film company, Abend’s rights governed the use of the material.

That case was Stewart v. Abend, 88-2102, Supreme Court of the United States.

In “Rear Window,” James Stewart plays an injured photographer convalescing at home who spies on neighbors in a New York apartment building and comes to suspect one of them murdered a woman. In “Disturbia,” a teenager under house arrest spies on his neighbors and suspects one is responsible for the disappearance of several women.

The case is The Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust v. Spielberg, 08-7810, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Demi Moore Heads to Australia for Copyright Infringement Trial

Actress Demi Moore will testify in an Australian court next week in a copyright suit she brought against Pacific Magazines, Australia’s Herald Sun reported.

The suit related to the magazine’s publications of photos of Moore and her family shot at a party at the home of pop singer Madonna’s manager Guy Oseary, according to the Herald Sun.

Moore has claimed she was assigned the copyrights to the photos in an oral agreement, the newspaper reported.

She claimed she was damaged and suffered losses as a result of the photos’ unauthorized publication, according to the Herald Sun.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

Desert Glory Says AG-Mart’s ‘SweetRipes’ Infringe ‘Cherub’ Marks

Desert Glory Ltd., a Texas tomato producer, sued a Florida competitor for trademark infringement.

The suit is related to Desert Glory’s packaging for its greenhouse-grown “Cherub” grape tomatoes. The packaging, which was introduced in 2006, consists of an opaque bowl and a clear plastic dome.

The company registered the design with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December 2007, according to the complaint filed Sept. 20 in federal court in Tucson, Arizona. Desert Glory says its annual sales of its Cherub tomatoes in the registered package design are about $150 million.

Ag-Mart Produce Inc. of Plant City, Florida, is accused of selling its “SweetRipes” grape tomatoes in packaging that is confusingly similar to the Cherub packaging.

Desert Glory said the SweetRipes sold by Ag-Mart are “not of the same premium quality” as the Cherubs. The Texas company claims customers who are confused and buy the Florida company’s product are likely to be confused and assume the two are from the same source.

It asked the court to bar Ag-Mart from using its SweetRipes packaging design and from using any packaging that is infringing. It also seeks removal from all websites any depictions or references to the SweetRipes package design, and the destruction of all allegedly infringing packaging and promotional material.

Additionally, Desert Glory seeks awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees. The company asked that damages be tripled to punish Ag-Mart for its actions.

Desert Glory is represented by Gerald F. Giordano of Tucson’s Arizona’s Feulner Dorris & Giordano PLC, and J. Jeffrey Richardson and Linda M. Merritt of Houston’s Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.

The case is Desert Glory Ltd. v. Ag-Mart Produce Inc., 4:10-cv-00564-DCB, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Tucson).

University of Florida Tells Schools to Quit Using Alligator Logo

Glades Day School, a private school in Belle Glade, Florida, received a cease-and-desist letter from Collegiate Licensing Co. accusing the school of infringing the University of Florida’s alligator-head logo, the Gainesville, Florida, Sun reported.

The licensing company also sent warning letters to schools in Mississippi and Arkansas over the use of the alligator, according to the Sun.

The Florida day school uses different school colors --green and gold -- from the university’s orange and blue and said that altering the logo would mean changing the gym floor and signs on the school, the newspaper reported.

A spokeswoman for the university told the Sun that the schools that received the notice will be given a few years to phase out the logo use, and that FSU isn’t “telling anyone to throw away their uniforms” until “they wear out in the normal fashion.”

Kenya Making Progress Against Imported Counterfeit Drugs

While more than 50 percent of patients in Africa are taking incorrect drugs for their illnesses, the use of counterfeit medications in Kenya has been curbed, Anyang’ Nyong’o, the nation’s Medical Services minister, told Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper.

He said a cross-border efforts have cut back the importation of counterfeits, according to the Daily Nation.

The most recent anti-counterfeit initiative was a regional project that included Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzani, and involved local police and Interpol, the Daily Nation reported.

The shortage of nurses and other health-care workers plays a role in the incorrect diagnosis and use of inappropriate drugs in Kenya, according to the Daily Nation.

For more trademark news, click here.

IP Moves

Orrick Adds to London IP Practice With Hire From Fox Williams

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP hired Kelvin Stone for its London-based IP practice, the San Francisco firm said in a statement.

Stone, who joins from London’s Fox Williams LLP, is a specialist in transactional IP law, handling technology licensing, outsourcing and development agreements, and mergers and acquisitions. He represents clients in the e-commerce, cloud-computing, software, hardware, digital media and software- as-a-service industries.

He has a diploma in legal practice from Exeter University and a law degree from Brunel University.

USC Names Rich Friedman to Tech-Transfer, Licensing Post

The University of Southern California’s Stevens Institute for Innovation hired Rich Friedman as senior director of technology advancement and licensing, the university said in a statement.

The institute is the Los Angeles-based university’s technology transfer organization that assists in the commercialization of intellectual property developed at the school.

Friedman joined from the University of Texas at Austin where he served as associate director of licensing. He previously was a partner in the Silicon Valley office of San Francisco’s Heller Ehrman LLP, where he served as a consultant to technology startups and investors.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester, a law degree from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

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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