Xsens, Apple, Microsoft: Intellectual Property

Xsens Technologies BV, a Dutch company that makes motion-tracking devices, asked a federal court in San Francisco to declare it isn’t infringing a patent held by a Texas company.

Triton Tech of Texas LLC sued Xsens in federal court in Marshall, Texas, on Aug. 30, claiming its patent 5,181,181 was infringed. The patent, issued in January 1993, covers a computer input device that senses three dimensions of movement.

Xsens makes products used in movement science, entertainment, training and simulation and industrial applications.

In addition to Xsens, in the same suit Triton Tech sued Nintendo Co.’s Nintendo of America unit, Apple Inc. and Hillcrest Laboratories Inc.

In its California suit, Xsens said its motion-tracking devices don’t infringe. It also said the patent expired Sept. 27, before it made or offered the product for sale in the U.S.

The company, based in Enschede, Netherlands, asked the court to declare it isn’t infringing, to find all claims of the patent invalid, and for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Xsens is represented by D. Peter Harvey and Matthew Alexander Stratton of San Francisco-based Harvey Siskind LLP.

The case is Xsens Holding BV v. Triton Tech of Texas LLC, 3:10-cv-05278-EMC, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

The earlier case brought by Triton is Triton Tech of Texas LLC v. Nintendo of America Inc., 2:10-cv-00328-TJW, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

Apple Seeks Patent on Reinforced Material for Device Housing

Apple Inc., maker of the iPad and iPod, applied for a patent on a housing for electronic device that could enable the company to create lighter and thinner iPads.

Application 2010289390, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Nov. 18, is for a housing made for a layered-fiber material, such as a carbon fiber- reinforced polymer.

According to the application, carbon fiber-reinforced polymers generally crack easily if bent or rolled along their lengthwise axis. The technology covered by the patent creates a material that resists cracking because the carbon fibers in each adjacent layer run in different directions.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, filed the application in May 2009 with assistance from Dorsey & Whitney LLP of Minneapolis.

Ex-Morgan Stanley Trader Seeks Patent on Mortgage Reward

Loan Value Group LLC of Rumson, New Jersey, is seeking a patent on a method of rewarding good mortgage borrowers invented by Chief Executive Officer Howard Hubler, a former Morgan Stanley trader.

Application 20100205087, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers systems and methods to promote loan repayment.

The technology covered by the patent sets up an amount of money to be paid to the borrower conditional on the satisfactory repayment of the loan. Delinquency would be monitored, and the financial reward can be canceled if the borrower is late or the loan goes into default.

The application for the patent was filed on Loan Value Group’s behalf in February 2009 by Lerner David Littenberg Krumholz & Mentlik LLP of Westfield, New Jersey.

According to Loan Value Group’s website, the invention covered by the patent was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the top 50 inventions of 2010. Alex Edmans, an assistant professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is advising the company.

For more patent news, click here.


Microsoft Wins Copyright Case against Chinese Internet Cafe

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software company, won a copyright infringement lawsuit against a Chinese Internet cafe chain, the China Briefing website reported.

The Redmond, Washington-based company accused Dongguan, China-based Tonecan of using pirated software and sued, seeking 1.5 million yuan ($225,000), according to China Briefing.

The amount of the infringement award wasn’t disclosed, the website reported.

Microsoft initially approached Tonecan about getting licensed software in 2008 and the company didn’t comply, China Briefing said. When the Guandong Province Copyright Administration Bureau raided Tonecan’s cafes, more than 1,400 computers using pirated software were discovered, according to the website.

Dover Posts White Cliffs of Sussex on Website To Avoid Fees

Dover, a town on the U.K. coast in the county of Kent, posted photos of white cliffs on its website that weren’t the famed white cliffs of Dover, the U.K.’s Mirror newspaper reported.

The town council, in efforts to avoid paying copyright fees, instead posted photos of cliffs in Sussex, according to the Mirror.

Mick Webb, spokesman for the council told the Mirror the aim “was to keep the costs down so nothing with a copyright was used.”

The Mirror reported that the decision angered locals, citing a Dover-area taxi driver who said the council’s action “makes the town a laughingstock.”

University of Alberta Pulls Out of Copyright License Deal

The University of Alberta chose to let its contract expire with the Canadian agency that licenses content, the Gateway, the school’s student newspaper, reported.

The school objected to a new fee structure under which Access Copyright would increase universities’ fees from C$3.38 ($3.35) per student and 10 cents per copied page for coursepacks to C$45 per full-time student, according to the newspaper.

Under the present agreement, which expires at the end of fall semester, students can avoid the cost of buying textbooks by reading reserved copies in the university library, the newspaper reported.

Without a new agreement, present copyright law would require an end to this practice, according to the student newspaper.

For more copyright news, click here.


AB InBev Spars With Budvar Over Bid to Get Sole Budweiser Rights

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV told the European Union’s top court that Czech competitor Budejovicky Budvar NP can’t prevent its bid to get the sole trademark right for Budweiser in the U.K.

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, disputed Budvar’s arguments of a “long co-existence” in the U.K. for the last 36 years in which neither company felt “difficulties.” While both companies were granted trademark rights to Budweiser by an English court in 2000, AB InBev argues that its right is the only one that should prevail.

“The situation is one that will lead to confusion,” Burkhart Goebel, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells who represents AB InBev, told the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg yesterday. “In the U.K. our market for Budweiser beer is 10 times bigger” than Budvar’s and “it’s not correct that we’ve had this long co-existence.”

The two brewers have been entangled in a fight going back to the early 1900s over the right to the Bud or Budweiser names for beer, merchandising and other products. Budvar claims the rights because its beer comes from Ceske Budejovice, which is called Budweis in German. Anheuser-Busch, founded by German-born immigrant to the U.S. Adolphus Busch, says it started using the Budweiser trademark in 1876, 19 years before Budvar was formed.

In May 2000, both companies got a trademark to the name Budweiser in the U.K. after a local court ruled that two identical trademarks could be registered if there had been “honest concurrent use.”

Anheuser-Busch, which is now part of Leuven, Belgium-based InBev, appealed the ruling just before a five-year statute of limitations expired, Budvar’s lawyer James Mellor told a five- judge panel at the EU court.

“AB InBev waited till the last day, knowing that Budvar would not learn of the appeal until it was too late to counter- attack,” Mellor said.

A U.K. court sought the EU tribunal’s guidance on the five- year period and whether a trademark can be invalidated after having co-existed for a certain time with an identical right.

The case is C-482/09, Budejovicky Budvar, narodni podnik v Anheuser-Busch Inc.

Private Company’s Registration of Bike Week Mark Irks Chamber

The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors an annual bike week in that Florida city, learned a New York-based holding company that prints t-shirts obtained a state registration for the “Daytona Beach Bike Week” trademark, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported.

Joe Cool Inc., of Holly Hill, Florida, an affiliate of the New York company, told the chamber it will seize any so-called “counterfeit goods” that use the trademark without permission, according to the newspaper.

The Chamber has hired legal counsel to contest the state trademark claim and to block any attempts by the holding company -- which variously calls itself Mettemp Inc. and Consolidated Distributors Inc. -- to register a federal trademark, the News Journal reported.

Yosef Amar, who owns Joe Cool, said anyone wanting to sell merchandise with the Daytona Beach Bike Week trademark must pay a licensing fee of 20 cents per item, or buy his company’s pre- printed products, according to the News Journal.

Everton Registers Shield, Latin Phrase as European Trademark

Everton Football Club, a soccer team that plays in English soccer’s Premier League, successfully registered its shield and Latin motto -- Nil Satis Nisi Optimum -- as a European trademark, the Liverpool Echo newspaper reported.

Last year Everton missed out on registering its “The People’s Club” slogan as a trademark because a fan registered the term first, according to the newspaper.

After the club learned it couldn’t register the slogan, it told the newspaper it would place a new level of emphasis on its motto, which means “Nothing but the best.”

Taiwan to Give Dynamic Images, Sound Trademark Protection

Revisions to Taiwan’s trademark law will extend protection to dynamic images and sound, China Economic News Service reported.

The revisions to the code are a response to new forms of truncations, including the Internet and digital media, according to the news service.

In the future, scents will also be given trademark protection, Wang Mei-hua, who heads Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office, told the news service.

The draft changes to the trademark law were approved by Taiwan’s cabinet on Nov. 23, the news service reported.

Apple’s Objections Halt Sales of Steve Jobs Action Figure

The Steve Jobs action figure has been taken off the market following trademark-infringement complaints from Apple Inc., International Business Times reported.

The four-inch figures, which showed Jobs holding an iPhone, were made by China’s MIC Gadget and sold for $80, according to the newspaper.

The first 300 action figures were already sold out, the newspaper reported.

Some observers noted that the way the action figure was holding the iPhone was “incorrect” as it caused signal loss on the iPhone 4, according to the Business Times.

For more trademark news, click here.

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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