Comba, Chloe, Oracle, Paul McCartney: Intellectual Property

Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Ltd. (2342) of Hong Kong was sued for patent infringement on its RET Antenna in China by Andrews LLC, which is seeking 12 million yuan ($1.85 million), according to a June 16 statement by Andrews parent CommScope Inc.

The technology covered by the disputed patent relates to remote electrical tilt technology for base station antennas used in wireless networks. CommScope, which was acquired by the Washington-based Carlyle Group in January, said it has licensed this technology to more than 10 companies in the communications networking industry.

Andrews also filed suit in Brazil where it requested a criminal search and seizure of Comba’s premises, according to the statement.

That request was granted and a number of Combat’s antennas were seized in May, together with documents related to their corresponding sales, CommScope said in its statement.

In response, Comba said in a June 17 statement that it considered the Andrews patent void and that the allegations against the company in China and Brazil aren’t valid. It said it won’t rule out filing counter litigation against Andrews.

Comba said it doesn’t think that the litigation will have “any significant adverse impact” on its future development.

W.L. Gore Sues St. Jude’s AGA Medical Over Heart-Surgery Patents

W.L. Gore & Associates, the maker of Gore-Tex fabrics, sued the AGA unit of St. Paul, Minnesota’s St. Jude Medical Inc. in federal court in Delaware seeking a ruling that it doesn’t infringe two patents for catheter-delivered devices to repair holes in the heart.

In dispute are patents 5,725,552, which were issued in March 1998, and 5,944,738, issued in August 1999. Newark, Delaware-based Gore says in a suit filed in federal court in Minnesota in August 2010 it already was accused of infringing the second patent.

It asked the court to declare that it infringed neither patent and that both are invalid. Additionally, it seeks an order barring AGA from making infringement claims with reference to either patent, and for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Gore is represented by Myoka Kim Goodin, Patrick Gallagher, Steven M. Purdy, Andrea L. Wayda, John F. Sweeney and Matthew K. Blackburn of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP of Dallas, and Steven J. Balick, Lauren E. Maguire and Andrew C. Mayo of Ashby & Geddes PA of Wilmington.

The case is W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. v. Aga Medical Corp., 1:11-cv-00539-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Chloe Sues Saudi-Based Website for Enabling Counterfeit Sales

Chloe International SAS, a Paris-based fashion house, and three other producers of luxury goods sued a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based information service and e-commerce site for trademark infringement.

According to the complaint filed May 17 in federal court in Los Angeles, Sawabeh Information Services Co., which does business as Siscom, is accused of enabling the sale of counterfeit luxury goods on a wholesale level through several websites.

Also included as defendants is a list of alleged manufacturers of counterfeit goods.

One of the accused sites allows its member clients to sell so-called “replica” items, which Chloe says is “a term well understood to refer to counterfeit goods.” This website -- www.tradekey.com -- “makes its money by knowingly soliciting manufacturers, importers and distributors of counterfeit luxury goods to become paying members,” according to court papers.

Members of tradekey.com who pay a higher annual fee “are also provided a ‘dedicated relationship manager’ to ensure products and offerings for counterfeit luxury goods are provided maximum exposure to anyone searching on the Internet of TradeKey.com for counterfeit luxury goods,” Chloe says in its pleadings.

Neither TradeKey.com nor Sawabeh Information Services responded immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

In addition to Chloe, the other companies that have brought the suit are London’s Alfred Dunhill Ltd.; Officine Panerai AG of Neuchatel, Switzerland; and Hamburg-based Montblanc-Simplo GmbH. Although the plaintiffs asked that the case be filed under seal, the complaint was available to the public when the court file was accessed June 17.

The plaintiffs are represented by Mark A. Finkelstein, Susan M. Kayser and Jessica D. Bradley of Washington -based Jones Day.

The case is Chloe SAS v. Sawabeh Information Services Co., 2:11-cv-04147-GAF-MAN, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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Copyright

Oracle Seeks ‘Billions’ From Google in Java Patent Lawsuit

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) is seeking billions of dollars in damages in a copyright and patent-infringement lawsuit against Google Inc. that claims the search-engine company’s Android software uses technology related to the Java programming language, according to court papers.

The extent of the claims was disclosed June 16 in San Francisco federal court by Oracle, as it sought to prevent Google from filing under seal documents in the case stating Oracle’s monetary claims.

“Oracle’s damages claims in this case are in the billions of dollars,” the company said in a filing, arguing that its demands “are based on both accepted methodology and a wealth of concrete evidence.”

“They should not be hidden from public view,” Oracle said.

Google, in documents in which Oracle’s damage estimates are redacted, said an Oracle damages expert’s testimony should be excluded because the expert inflated royalty rates that may be owed by Google. Android is a smartphone operating system that Google licenses to mobile-phone makers.

“Oracle’s ‘methodology’ for calculating damages is based on fundamental legal errors and improperly inflates their estimates,” the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Oracle, declined to comment.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the case, ordered Google to file the documents in the public record by Friday.

Oracle, based in Redwood City, California, got Java when it bought Sun Microsystems Inc. in January 2010. The company sued Google the following August seeking a court ruling that would ban further use of its intellectual property and force the destruction of all products that violate Java-related copyrights on the code, documentation and specifications.

Oracle’s complaint targets Google virtual machine software called Dalvik that is used in running Android applications. Oracle said the software infringes its Java patents and that Google didn’t obtain a license to use Java in its products.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said in court filings that the patents are invalid and not infringed and that users of the Android platform have a license to any patents in the case. It said Oracle made general copyright-infringement claims with nothing to back them up.

Researcher IDC expects the Android operating system to have more than 40 percent of the global smartphone market in the second half of 2011.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc. (GOOG), 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

DMCA Applies Even to Photo ‘Gutter Credit’ Appeals Court Says

The owner of a New Jersey radio station that posted a photo on its website after removing the photographer’s photo credit can be sued under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Photographer Peter Murphy sued the Millennium Radio Group LLC of Northfield, New Jersey, after a photo he shot of two disk jockeys from Millennium’s WKXW radio was placed on the station’s website without the embedded photo credit, known as a “gutter credit.” The original caption on the photo was also removed, according to court papers.

A district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case. Murphy appealed and the appeals court said that the DMCA could correctly be applied to this case.

The radio station argued that the DMCA refers to technological anti-copying measures such as encryption. The appeals court said that the DMCA “imposes no explicit requirement that such information be part of an ‘automated copyright protection or management system.’”

Instead, the court said, the law “appears to be extremely broad, with no restrictions on the context in which such information must be used” as an anti-copying measure. The fact that Murphy’s name appeared in a printed gutter credit near the image rather than data in an automated system “does not prevent it from qualifying,” the court said.

The case in the appeals court is Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 10-2163, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Philadelphia). The lower-court case is Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 3:08-cv-01743-JAP-TJB, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).

Hackers Who Distributed Pre-Release Tracks Given 18-Month Sentences

Two computer hackers who targeted record companies and music performers were given prison sentences in Germany, according to a statement from the London-based recording- industry group International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

IFPI said the two hackers invaded computers containing content belonging to Lady Gaga, and Dr. Dre, with the aim of distributing pre-release tracks online.

The sentences, handed down in Duisberg, Germany, on June 16, followed a two-year investigation involving law enforcement in the U.S. and Germany, according to IFPI.

Investigators for the recording industry group had discovered a growing number of leaks of pre-release tracks and eventually identified those who had access to the tracks and those who posted them online, IFPI said.

The hackers profited from their efforts by selling pre- release tracks of songs for as much as $1,000 to fans, according to IFPI. Both received 18-month prison sentences, suspended in the case of one of the two hackers.

Paul McCartney’s Lawyers Halt Auction of Former Beatle’s Drawings

Lawyers representing former Beatle Paul McCartney have halted the sale of a series of drawings he made in the 1970s, the BBC reported.

The drawings were made as prototypes for an unreleased animated film “The Bruce McMouse Show,” according to the BBC.

The daughter of the animator, who had put them up for sale, told the BBC she always believed they’d belonged to her father.

A representative of the Dominic Winter auction house in Gloucestershire where the drawings were offered for sale said they had to be withdrawn until their proper ownership could be determined, the BBC reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Wind Power Companies Seek to Keep Wind Farm Bids From Public

Two wind-power companies are demanding Montana’s Public Service Commission keep their losing bids for a 40-megawatt wind farm undisclosed because such financial information is a trade secret, Montana’s Billings Gazette reported.

Both Sagebrush Wind of Jackson, Wyoming, and Chicago-based Invenergy LLC are seeking protective orders to protect what they claim is trade-secret information, according to the newspaper.

The Associated Press and the Gazette have both filed formal objections to the PSC, saying the public has the right to price information, according to the Gazette.

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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