HTC, Google, Righthaven, American Superconductor: Intellectual Property
HTC Corp. (2498), the Taiwanese smartphone maker locked in a global patent battle with Apple Inc., lost a U.K. court bid to rush the scheduling of a trial in Britain before a parallel case is heard in Germany.
Holding a U.K. trial in January on the validity of Apple’s patent for multilingual texting technology would put too much pressure on the iPhone maker, which is defending three other patents for touch-screen features against HTC lawsuits in Britain, Judge Richard Arnold ruled yesterday in the High Court in London. HTC had hoped to win a U.K. judgment in its favor in time to show the judge in the German trial early next year.
While the trial shouldn’t be expedited to accommodate a German trial that isn’t yet scheduled, the case does have “commercial urgency,” Arnold said. All four patents should go to trial in March or April, he ruled.
HTC is pleased with the ruling, the company’s European unit said in an e-mailed statement.
The dispute over the U.K. trial date comes as Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is embroiled in a global battle with Samsung Electronics Co. over both smartphones and tablet computers. HTC sued Apple in London on July 29, seeking to revoke the European smartphone patents it was accused of infringing in two German lawsuits earlier that month.
Apple also sued in the U.K., naming HTC and Samsung in a complaint filed Sept. 12.
The case is HTC Europe Co. Ltd. v. Apple Inc. (AAPL), High Court of Justice, London, HC11C02703
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ISYS Technologies Settles ChromiumPC Trademark Case With Google
ISYS Technologies Inc., creator of a 3.5-inch modular computer product, has dismissed a trademark infringement case against Google Inc., according to a court filing.
ISYS sued Google and its marketing partners Amazon.com Inc., Best Buy Co., Samsung Electronics Co. and Acer Inc. (2353) in efforts to halt the sale of the Google Chromebook.
That suit, filed June 6 in federal court in Utah, alleged that Google’s application to register “Chromium” as a trademark, and opposition to ISYS’ application for a “ChromiumPC” trademark to be used for computer hardware were both done in bad faith. The closely held Salt Lake City-based ISYS claimed the public would be confused by the similarity of the two names.
The suit was dismissed and the transcript of a hearing on ISYS’s request for a ban on the promotion and sale of the Chromebooks was removed from public viewing in the court file at the parties’ request, according to an order by U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups.
ISYS spokesman David Politis told the Salt Lake Tribune that the company had decided to abandon its effort to register “Chromium PC” and that it’s “very pleased with the terms and conditions of this settlement.”
The case is ISYS Technologies Inc. v. Google Inc (GOOG), 2:11-cv- 00507-CW, U.S. District Court, District of Utah.
Kentucky Man Accused of Forgery in Sale of GM Auto Parts
Mike Archbold, an auto-parts dealer in Hendersonville, Kentucky, was charged with forgery following an investigation into the sale of counterfeit General Motors Co. (GM) auto parts, Nashville’s WTVF-TV reported on its news website.
Some of the fake parts were marked with GM’s “bowtie” Chevrolet trademark, according to the website.
Archbold told the television station that the dispute should be a civil matter between the automaker and himself, and he couldn’t understand why this had become a criminal case.
Although GM told police they had sent the auto-parts seller a cease-and-desist letter in 2010, Archbold told the television station he’d never received it.
Beatles Tribute Band Barred From Use of ‘Get Back’ Trademark
A Nashville, Tennessee-based Beatles Tribute band that uses the name “Getback! Productions” persuaded a federal court to halt a second band’s use of a similar name.
According to a Sept. 9 court filing, Cefalo Corp. of Carnegie, Pennsylvania, is barred from using “Get Back” or any similar name in connection with its Beatles tribune band. The Tennessee group, which was formed in the early 1980s, acquired the mark in June 2001. It had been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March 1999, according to court papers.
GetBack! Productions filed an infringement suit March 15 in federal court in Pittsburgh, asking for a ban on the Pennsylvania band’s use of the mark and for money damages.
The case is Jack Petrilla v. Cefalo Corp., 2:11-cv-00335- NBF, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).
Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Mark for Fish Sauce Sought by Chinese Company
In 2001, Phu Quoc became one of Vietnam’s first products to have its geographic origin registered, Vietnam News reported.
If the owners of the Phu Quoc trademark fail to object to the Chinese company’s application in time, the mark could be registered in China, the news service reported.
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Righthaven Defendant Seeks Company’s IP and Bank Accounts
In another potential blow against Stephens Media Group’s copyright enforcement program, a defendant who was awarded attorney fees and court costs in a copyright infringement case involving one of Stephens’ newspapers has asked the court to seize real estate, bank accounts and intellectual property rights.
Wayne Hoehn, of the madjacksports.com website, was sued for infringing the copyright to a story that appeared in Stephens’ Las Vegas Review-Journal. The suit was filed against Hoehn in federal court in Las Vegas in January by Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas.
In this case and others of the more than 150 infringement suits Righthaven has filed, the defendant challenged whether Righthaven had the standing to enforce Stephens Media’s copyrights. Courts have said that because Righthaven didn’t have total control over the licensing and other uses of the content, it lacked the standing to pursue infringement actions.
U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro granted Hoehn’s request to dismiss the case on June 20 and on Aug. 15 awarded him $34,000 in attorney fees.
In his Sept. 18 filing, Hoehn said he waited past the court deadline for Righthaven to pay the judgment and that it’s now the proper time for him to seek enforcement.
He asked that the court authorize the U.S. Marshals to execute the judgment through the seizure of “Right haven’s bank accounts, real and personal property, and intangible intellectual propriety rights for levy, lien, auction or other treatment appropriate for satisfaction of Hoehn’s judgment.” The filing didn’t mention seeking anything from Stephens Media itself.
In a Sept. 9 filing in this case, Righthaven asked that the judgment be stayed until an appeal is completed. It warned that it could be forced into seeking the protection of bankruptcy court and then it “would then be faced with the impossible task of trying to recapture essential intellectual property assets that were seized and liquidated during the appeals process.”
The case is Righthaven LLC v. Wayne Hoehn, 2:11-cv-00050- PMP-RJJ, U.s. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).
UNC Uses ‘Hall Pass’ to Control Student File Sharing on Network
In efforts to halt unauthorized sharing of digital content, the University of North Carolina is barring student laptops with installed file-sharing programs from connecting to the university’s dormitory computer network, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Students with the software who attempt to log on will view a message saying “UNC Chapel Hill is blocking file-sharing throughout student housing,” the Chronicle reported.
Those who sign an agreement known as a “hall pass” affirming that any copyright violation will be reported to the dean of students and agree to learn about what content can and can’t be shared under copyright law will be allowed back on, even with the file sharing software, according to Chronicle.
About 11,000 computers are on the school’s dormitory computer network, and before the new system was adopted, it cost the school at least $40,000 per year plus staff time dealing with allegations of student copyright infringement, according to the Chronicle.
Oracle Asked to Revise Request for SAP Verdict Review
Oracle Corp. (ORCL) was asked by a federal judge to consider revising its request to seek review of a court order overturning a $1.3 billion damage award against SAP AG, according to court records.
U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, on Sept. 1 granted SAP’s motion to throw out the copyright-infringement verdict against it. She ruled that SAP should get a new trial for damages if Oracle rejects her decision to reduce the amount to $272 million, which she said should be the maximum in damages based on the evidence at trial.
The jury award in November was a record for copyright infringement. In the 11-day trial, Oracle accused SAP’s TomorrowNow software-maintenance unit of making hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads and several thousand copies of Oracle’s software. Oracle said SAP’s aim was allegedly to avoid paying licensing fees and to steal customers.
In her Sept. 16 order, Hamilton she gave Oracle until Sept. 23 to make and file revisions to its request for review. SAP then will have until Oct. 7 to respond.
The case is Oracle Corp. v. SAP AG, 07-01658, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).
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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Kerry Weighs in on AMSC’s Trade Secrets Claims Against Snivel
American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC)’s allegations of trade secret theft against Beijing’s Snivel Wind Group Co. have garnered both a denial from the Chinese company, and a warning from a U.S. senator that the alleged theft could have far-reaching implications for his state, the Boston Globe reported.
Senator John F. Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Globe that Massachusetts jobs and the future of Chinese-American cooperation in alternative energy could be affected by such actions against Deveins, Massachusetts-based AMSC.
He said American businesses “wouldn’t make investments there” if trade secrets can be misappropriated by the Chinese, according to the Globe.
Snivel, which is AMSC’s largest customer, has denied all allegations made in China, the U.S. and Austria that it has stolen the Massachusetts company’s technology, according to the Globe.
ICO’s Ovarian Unit Hires Robert Saltsburg from Morrison Firm
Led’s Ovarian unit hired Robert Saltsburg as managing director, the Berkeley-based IP firm said in a statement.
Saltsburg joins from San Francisco’s Morrison & Forester LLP, where he was a partner and presently remains as a special counsel. There he headed the firm’s electronics patent practice. He has also served as chief patent counsel at Novara Optics, which was acquired by the LG-Nortel joint venture in 2008.
Before he was a lawyer, he was an engineer at TRW Inc., which was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) in 2002.
He has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.
ICO acquired Ovarian in June and said it is changing its name to Penndel Corp.
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