Bombardier, Miraculins, Dish, Google: Intellectual Property
Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., the maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft, was sued for patent infringement by Polaris Industries Inc. (PII), a competing maker of snowmobiles.
According to the complaint filed June 13 in federal court in Minnesota, a rear suspension technology used in Bombardier snowmobiles infringes patents 7,853,285 and 8,151,923.
Polaris said it put Bombardier on notice about the alleged patent infringement to no avail. The Medina, Minnesota-based company said it has been harmed and has suffered monetary damages as a result of Bombardier’s actions.
It seeks a court order barring further infringement, and asked for awards of money damages, attorney fees, and litigation costs. Claiming the infringement is deliberate, Polaris asked for triple damages.
Johanne Denault, a spokeswoman for Bombardier Recreational Products, said the company declined to comment on the litigation.
The case is Polaris Industries Inc. v. BRP US, 0:12-01405- ADM-SER, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.
Miraculins Gets Chinese Patent on Cholesterol-Sampling Skin Test
Miraculins Inc. (MOM), a Winnipeg-based biotech company, received a Chinese patent on a technology for testing cholesterol levels through skin samples.
According to a June 14 company statement, the patented test is conducted by collecting skin cells from the palm of the hand using a medical adhesive collection device. The process is non- invasive, takes only 15 seconds to conduct and doesn’t require the patient to fast in advance.
Miraculins said in the statement that it’s working with Brampton, Ontario-based Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories to commercialize the test covered by the patent.
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Dish Applies for Web Suffixes With Resemblance to DirecTV Name
Dish Network Corp. (DISH), the second-largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, applied for the Web-address suffixes “.direct” and “.dtv” -- names that relate more closely to the brand of its chief competitor, DirecTV. (DTV)
A nonprofit Web-management group released a list June 13 of 1,930 applications of new Internet domain suffixes, which companies can use to market their brands and operations. The idea is to go beyond the typical dot-com addresses. Dish applied for 13 of the names, with two appearing to reference its larger rival.
Aaron Johnson, a spokesman for Englewood, Colorado-based Dish, said the names have nothing to do with DirecTV. Dish is applying for the suffixes to potentially attach them to marketing, strategic and competitive services, Johnson said. He declined to cite specific products or programs that the suffixes may relate to.
“We see these names serving a variety of applications,” Johnson said.
DirecTV doesn’t plan to challenge the applications, which cost $185,000 each. El Segundo, California-based DirecTV didn’t apply for any of the suffixes itself because the company isn’t intending to use them, said Darris Gringeri, a spokesman.
U.S. regulators blocked a proposed merger between Dish and DirecTV in 2002. Dish Chief Executive Officer Joseph Clayton said last year he wouldn’t discount the possibility of a future merger between the two companies.
Court Delays Apple China IPad Trademark Ruling for Mediation
A Chinese court will delay its decision on Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s appeal of a ruling denying its ownership of the iPad trademark in China to let the company pursue mediation with Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co.
The Higher People’s Court of Guangdong won’t release a ruling on Apple’s Feb. 29 appeal so long as both parties continue talking, Zhao Le, a spokesman at the court’s foreign affairs office said in a phone interview yesterday.
Apple revenue in China tripled to $7.9 billion last quarter, helped by surging demand for products including the iPad tablet computer. The Cupertino, California-based company has said it acquired rights to the iPad trademark in China from Proview International Holdings Ltd. (334) in 2009. A lower court ruled last November the agreement was invalid because Proview’s Shenzhen-based unit owned the mark and wasn’t represented.
While a ruling on an appeal would normally be issued within three months, the clock hasn’t been running while the two companies are in court-sponsored mediation, said Roger Xie, a Proview Technology lawyer.
“The mediation will continue,” Xie said in a phone interview yesterday. “There is no specific deadline.”
Xie declined to provide details on the status of talks with the Cupertino, California-based company. Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu didn’t immediately return calls.
Apple has offered compensation to resolve the dispute, though a “big gap” remains between the two sides, Xie said in May.
Shares of Hong Kong-listed Proview International have been suspended from trading since 2010.
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German Copyright Law Against Google Halts Innovation, Group Says
A proposed German law that would allow publishers to demand fees from Google Inc. (GOOG) and other news aggregators for displaying their content online will stifle new technologies, the country’s Bitkom industry group said.
The bill by Germany’s Justice Ministry proposes giving publishers one year during which they have the sole rights to commercially use their journalistic content. It is scheduled to be discussed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on July 4, according to a ministry official.
“It’s entirely unclear what effects this intellectual property right will have from an economic and social point of view,” Bitkom, which represents companies including Google and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), said in a statement yesterday. “The danger is that search engines will no longer list results from press sites or add the teasers that users have got used to.”
The bill pits website operators such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) against Axel Springer AG (SPR) and Bertelsmann AG, which are among German publishers trying to find ways to monetize content online. Google, owner of the world’s most-used search engine, argues that publishers benefit from its news aggregation, with its Google News alone channeling 1 billion page visits to them every month, according to Google spokesman Kay Oberbeck.
Google offers newspapers the choice of opting out of inclusion in a Google News search.
“It’s an existential question for our business model,” Axel Springer Chief Executive Officer Mathias Doepfner said in March. “It’s not about creating a ‘Lex Google.’ What matters is that a large player should pay for marketing content from publishers, and that goes for everyone.”
Claus-Peter Schrack, a spokesman for Bertelsmann’s Gruner + Jahr unit, Europe’s biggest magazine publisher, said “the need for protection for producers of digital press is at least as high” as for makers and distributors of audio and video content.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, last year removed some Belgian newspaper content from its search engine after an appeals court upheld a 2007 ruling granted in favor of newspaper association Copiepresse, forcing Google to remove links and snippets of articles from Google.com and Google.be.
Google later agreed to restore French- and German-language newspapers in Belgium to search results without displaying the papers’ full articles.
Widow of Painter Earl Biss Sues Art Dealer, 10 Galleries
The widow of a Native American artist sued 10 art galleries and art dealer Paul Zeuger for copyright infringement.
Biss, who was a member of the Crow Nation, graduated from the Institute of Indian Arts and also studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. His work, which features Western and Native American themes, is offered on the artbrokerage.com website for prices ranging from $4,500 to $68,800.
Zeuger had access to the artist’s original work through purchase or consignment, according to the complaint filed May 31 in federal court in Denver.
Goss said she’s suffered losses and claims Zeuger and the galleries have realized more than $3 million in profits from the unauthorized sale of her late husband’s work. She is the holder of the copyrights for the Biss work, she said.
She asked the court to bar further infringement of the work, and seeks a court declaration that the copyrights belong to her. She also asks for seizure of all unauthorized copies of the work, and for money damages of not less than $150,000 per infringement.
Goss also requested that extra damages be levied to punish the defendants for their actions and she seeks awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.
Zeuger’s Galerie Zeuger didn’t respond immediately to an e- mailed request for comment.
The case is Lou Lou Goss v. Paul Zeuger, 1:12-cv-01424-DME- BNB, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver).
3M Donates Library Technology Protocol to Standards Group
3M Co.’s Library Systems unit has donated the intellectual property related to a protocol for a library technology to the National Information Standards Organization, according to a company statement.
The standard was developed by St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M to provide a common communication language to drive the adoption of self-service systems for libraries.
The donation of the standard to Baltimore-based NISO will provide opportunities for its enhancement with input from libraries, developers and interested parties, 3M said. Further development of the standard will be “done in a more independent, community environment which NISO provides,” Skip Driessen, global business manager for 3M library systems, said in the statement.
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