Infineon, DHL, Righthaven, AOL: Intellectual Property

German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG (IFX) sued smaller U.S. rival Atmel Corp., alleging infringement of 11 patents for microcircuitry used in automotive, industrial and control-system applications.

Infineon, based in Neubiberg, is seeking a jury trial, unspecified damages and an order to stop Atmel, of San Jose, California, from using the technology, according to a complaint filed April 11 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Atmel has actual knowledge” of the claims, in part “based on written notice and at least one or more meetings” with Infineon, the plaintiff contends in court papers.

Infineon, which also seeks a ruling that it doesn’t infringe three Atmel patents, reported more than $4.47 billion in revenue last fiscal year. Atmel logged $1.64 billion in 2010 sales.

“We haven’t seen the details yet but do not believe we have infringed and plan to vigorously defend our interests,” Peter Schuman, an Atmel spokesman, said in an e-mailed message.

The case is Infineon Technologies AG v. Atmel Corp. (ATML), U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Apple Gets Patent on Improved Touch-Screen Response Technology

Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPad and the iPhone, received a patent on a technology aimed at making touch screens more responsive to human interaction.

Patent 7,924,271, one of 5,075 U.S. patents issued yesterday, covers what Cupertino, California-based Apple says is a method of “detecting gestures on multi-event sensitive devices.”

The technology allows a device’s sensor panel to respond to hand gestures to activate or change the status of graphic user interface objects. This would emulate functions ordinarily performed by a computer mouse or trackball input device, according to the patent.

Apple applied for the patent in June 2007 with assistance from San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster LLP.

The iPad, which uses a touch screen as its input device, is expected to dominate the market for tablet devices through 2015, according to technology research firm Gartner Inc.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

DHL Must Obey French Trademark Ruling Across EU, Court Says

Deutsche Post AG (DPW)’s DHL Express unit must abide by the terms of a French trademark ruling throughout the 27-nation European Union, the region’s highest court said.

A decision by a national court that DHL Express’s French unit breached the trademark rights of a rival “extends as a rule” to the entire bloc because it was acting as EU trademark court, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled yesterday, according to a statement.

The DHL unit lost a trademark dispute in 2007 against La Poste’s express delivery service Chronopost in a ruling by the Paris appeals court. The French tribunal said that DHL Express breached Chronopost’s EU trademark rights for the name “Webshipping” by using the same word for online courier services.

France’s top court sought the EU tribunal’s guidance in June 2009 on whether such a ruling is valid across the EU or only in France.

Joerg Wiedemann, a spokesman for DHL’s Express division, declined to comment.

The case is C-235/09, DHL Express France SAS v Chronopost SA.

Summer Camp to Change Name Over Trademark Complaint

A children’s summer camp in Alberta will change its name following a complaint by Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Brothers unit, Canada’s Free Daily News Group reported.

Camp Rivendell, which has been in operation since 2002, received a cease-and desist letter from Warner Brothers, holder of the rights to the Rivendell name, which comes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, the news group reported.

A spokeswoman for the Bragg Creek Association, which sponsored the camp, said a name change already had been planned, because camp activities now range beyond those related to Tolkein’s fantasy world created in the “Lord of the Rings,” according to the news group.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Righthaven Rebuked in Order in Denver Post Copyright Case

Righthaven LLC, the Las Vegas-based organization that has been enforcing copyrights for newspapers owned by Stephens Media Group, received a rebuke from a federal judge in Denver.

In January, Righthaven sued Brian D. Hill of Mayodan, North Carolina, for infringing the copyright on a photo that ran in the Denver Post. The photo was of a Transportation Safety Administration employee conducting a pat-down search at an airport.

Righthaven demanded money damages and the transfer of Hill’s Internet domain name. In a separate suit, Righthaven sued Matt Drudge for infringement for allegedly placing the same photo on his Drudge Report website.

Hill, a 20-year-old autistic diabetic responded to the complaint himself, saying that he couldn’t afford the $150,000 Righthaven sought as he was on Social Security. He also noted that on the Denver Post page where the photo was originally posted, “share this gallery” was printed.

Righthaven filed a notice with the court April 10 saying it would dismiss the case. In that filing, Righthaven accused Hill of posting “inflammatory statements about Righthaven” and said he and his lawyers “wish to prolong these proceedings so that they can continue to use this case as a means for unjustly attacking Righthaven and its copyright enforcement efforts.”

Making reference to Hill’s medical conditions, Righthaven said in its filing that that his use of the Internet said “more about his cognitive ability than one would otherwise surmise from the press statements made by his counsel.”

U.S. District Judge John L. Kane issued an order the following day in which he said that most of what was contained in Righthaven’s dismissal motion was “immaterial and impertinent.”

He ordered that all the text of Righthaven’s motion be removed from the court record other than the phrase “The notice closed the file for this case.”

According to Bloomberg data, Righthaven has filed more than 55 copyright-infringement cases in federal court in Colorado since Jan. 20, many of them relating to that same photo of the TSA official. Righthaven has filed more than 200 infringement cases in Nevada federal court since the beginning of 2010, most of which related to content from the Stephens-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The case against Hill is Righthaven LLC v. Hill, 1:11-cv- 00211-JLK, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver).

AOL, Huffington Post Sued Over Pay for Writers on Website

AOL Inc. (AOL) and its newly acquired Huffington Post were sued in New York over claims that the writers of website content weren’t paid for their work.

The complaint, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, charges that none of the $315 million paid by AOL for the news and opinion website co-founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer was shared with the writers and other producers of the site’s content. The suit seeks class-action, or group, status.

“The HuffingtonPost.com has been unjustly enriched by engaging in and continuing to engage in the practice of generating enormous profits by luring carefully vetted contributors, with the prospect of exposure,” the complaint said, “while reaping the entirety of financial gain derived from such content.”

AOL acquired Huffington Post in March in order to “create a next-generation American media company with global reach,” AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong said in a statement when the deal was announced in February. Combining the companies’ websites yielded an Internet audience of 117 million Americans, AOL said. HuffingtonPost.com had almost 25 million monthly visitors as of February.

The complaint claims that the writers provided the site with free content worth as much as $105 million, which “should be returned” to the plaintiff and the class. Huffington Post derives revenue from advertising on the site.

The suit was brought by Jonathan Tasini, who is described in the complaint as the lead plaintiff in a successful case against the New York Times over the rights of freelance writers. He was president of the National Writers Union from 1990 to 2003 and sought the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York in 2006, according to the complaint. York in 2006, according to the complaint.

“The lawsuit is wholly without merit,” AOL said in an e- mailed statement from Huffington Post Media Group spokesman Mario Ruiz. “As we’ve said before, our bloggers use our platform -- as well as other unpaid group blogs across the Web - - to connect and help their work be seen by as many people as possible.”

Huffington was named editor in chief of the newly created Huffington Post Media Group, which includes other AOL sites such as TechCrunch, AOL Music, Moviefone and MapQuest.

The suit charges that Huffington Post set “an artificially low price for the valuable digital content created by” Tasini and other members of the potential class. There are about 9,000 unpaid content providers to the site, according to the complaint.

A federal judge will decide whether to grant the lawsuit class-action status.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that the Times and other publishers violated the copyrights of authors by putting their articles on websites without permission.

The case is Jonathan Tasini v. AOL Inc., 11-2472, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

McCarter & English Hires Patent Lawyer From Foley & Lardner

McCarter & English LLP hired Steven G. Davis for its intellectual-property practice, the Newark, New Jersey-based firm said in a statement yesterday.

Davis, who does patent-acquisition and patent-related transactional work, joins from Milwaukee’s Foley & Lardner LLP. He previously practiced at Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds PC of Concord, Massachusetts.

He has also served as an in-house patent counsel at Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) Before he became a lawyer, Davis spent five years conducting research in the areas of pesticide chemistry and the preparation of compounds containing stable isotopes.

He has represented universities, startups and pharmaceutical corporations in the areas of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotech. He also has done work on behalf of venture-capital investors.

David has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Swarthmore College, a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

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: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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