Apple, Disney, USOC, Home Depot: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPad and iPhone, patented a technology intended to protect Internet users from data surveillance.

Patent 8,205,265, issued June 19, covers a technique involving a cloned identity with interests that diverge from that of the user. Actions performed by the clone will appear to “network eavesdroppers” to have been the user’s, according to the patent.

The clone’s actions are “are designed to pollute electronic profiling or dataveillance,” Apple said in the patent. The cloned identity system can include confidential information that, while appearing to be legitimate, isn’t connected to the user.

Examples of fake confidential information the clone would use include phone numbers, credit card numbers and e-mail accounts.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, applied for the patent in October with assistance from Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner PA of Minneapolis.

Patents

Apple’s Bid to Bar Samsung Galaxy Tab U.S. Sales Set for Hearing

Apple’s request for a court order blocking U.S. sales of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer is scheduled for a court hearing this week.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, said she also hopes to rule on Apple’s request to block sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone before the June 29 hearing.

The world’s two biggest makers of high-end phones have accused each other of copying designs and technology for mobile devices and are fighting patent battles in four continents to retain their dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market. The June 29 hearing will address Apple’s third request to block sales of Samsung’s tablet computer.

On June 4, Koh rejected Apple’s second request to ban the tablet sales while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington was considering her first such denial in December. Koh said then she didn’t have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction because the appeals court hadn’t issued a mandate.

On June 19, the appeals court reaffirmed its May determination that Apple’s patent on a design of the tablet is likely to withstand challenges to its validity. That decision allowed the Cupertino, California-based company to renew its request to block sales of Samsung’s tablet in the U.S.

Harold McElhinny, a lawyer for Apple, told Koh June 21 that the appeals court mandate was issued.

Koh’s comments about the June 29 hearing and her pending ruling on the Nexus smartphone came at the conclusion of a hearing in which both companies sought pretrial rulings to streamline their cases.

The judge said she was unlikely to rule in favor of either side on their requests. She told the companies to narrow their claims in the litigation.

Samsung on June 21 began rolling out its Galaxy S III flagship smartphone in the U.S. through T-Mobile USA Inc. The touch-screen device will be available from the three other largest U.S. carriers -- Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) -- in the coming weeks, the Suwon, South Korean- based company said in a statement last week.

Apple, anticipating sales of the new phone, told Koh at a previous hearing it was considering filing a request for a temporary restraining order blocking the Galaxy S III before its release.

Apple dropped its request for a restraining order when Koh said it might delay a July 30 trial date.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-1846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Braves in Settlement Talks With Disney over ‘Brave’ Trademark

Atlanta National League Baseball Club Inc., owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team, is in settlement talks with Walt Disney Co. (DIS) over a disputed trademark registration, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Disney’s film “Brave,” about a red-headed female archer in a fantasy kingdom in Scotland, was released in the U.S. this month. In anticipation of merchandise opportunities connected to the film, Disney filed 14 applications to register “Brave” as a trademark for a wide range of goods.

The baseball team objected to Disney’s attempt to register the mark for use with a variety of food items, including ice cream, frozen yogurt, snack foods, meat, poultry and processed fruits and vegetables. The team sells food products at its ballpark and said consumers might be confused about the source of “Brave” branded food products Disney might sell.

In a June 12 filing, counsel for the team asked that its opposition proceedings at the patent office be suspended until Aug. 11 because the parties are engaged in settlement talks. Disney’s in-house counsel has given the team’s in-house lawyer comments regarding a few remaining issues related to a draft agreement between the team and the Burbank, California-based company, according to the filing.

According to patent office records, the team is represented by Mary L. Kelvin, Richard S. Mandel, Elise Cassell and Seth Shaifer of New York’s Cowan Liebowitz & Latman PC. Disney is represented by David M. Kelly, Monica Riva Talley, Julia Anne Matheson, Linda K. McLeod, Lynn M. Jordan, Anne C. Bonny and Mary Beth Walker of Washington-based Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP.

The case is In the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, 91204352.

USOC Apologizes to Knitters for Cease-and-Desist Letter

The U.S. Olympic Committee has sent an apology letter to the 2 million members of a social network devoted to knitting.

In a June 21 statement, USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said that the committee regretted the use of “insensitive terms” in a cease-and-desist letter objecting to Ravelry.com’s “Ravelympics” knitting competition.

The letter, which was posted on Ravelry.com’s website June 20, demanded that the name of “Ravelympics” be changed, and said the use of the name is “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

Additionally, the letter demanded the removal of Olympic symbols in patterns and projects, and the word “Olympics” from the name of other patterns.

The letter generated protests from knitters who posted statements on the USOC’s Facebook page.

In the statement, Sandusky thanked “all of you who have posted, tweeted, e-mailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.”

He said the letter was a standard-form cease-and-desist letter, and the committee “never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.”

To show the USOC’s support of the Ravelry community, Sandusky said the committee would “welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate our team at the 2012 games.”

One knitter responded to that request on the committee’s Facebook page by saying, “You want our stuff for free? We make hats, scarves and socks for soldiers in Afghanistan, caps for premature babies and cancer patients, blankets for people who’ve lost everything to a flood, fire or tornado. You sir, get nothing.”

The social network still may comply with the USOC’s demand. A June 20 posting on the Ravelry.com website says, “it’s looking like we may have to rename the Ravelympics. They’ve made the suggestion of ‘Ravelry Games.’”

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Black Keys Rock Duo Sues Pizza Hut, Home Depot Over Songs

The Black Keys sued Home Depot Inc. (HD) and Yum Brands Inc. (YUM)’s Pizza Hut, alleging the companies used the rock duo’s songs in commercials without authorization.

Patrick Carney and Daniel Auerbach, known as the Black Keys, sued Home Depot for the unauthorized use of “Lonely Boy,” and sued Pizza Hut and its advertising company, Interpublic Group of Cos., over “Gold on the Ceiling,” in separate filings June 21 in federal court in Los Angeles.

The group said Pizza Hut and its ad agency created a commercial for a product called Cheesy Bites Pizza that “prominently features significant portions” of “Gold on the Ceiling.” Home Depot ran a commercial for its Ryobi brand of power tools that uses parts of “Lonely Boy,” the band said.

The use of the songs was “a brazen and improper effort to capitalize on plaintiffs’ hard-earned success,” lawyers for the Black Keys said in the complaints.

“We haven’t seen the complaint but we take intellectual property very seriously,” Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot, said in a telephone interview.

Chris Fuller, a spokesman for Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum Brands, referred a request for comment to Pizza Hut’s ad firm, the Martin Agency, a unit of Interpublic. Dean Jarrett of Richmond, Virginia-based Martin had no immediate comment. Tom Cunningham, a spokesman for New York-based Interpublic, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

The band said in the lawsuits that letters were sent to Pizza Hut and Home Depot in May requesting that they stop showing the ads with the music.

“Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling” are the first two singles from the Black Keys’ seventh album, “El Camino,” released in December on Nonesuch Records, a division of Warner Music Group. According to the complaint, “El Camino” has sold more than 800,000 copies so far. Auerbach plays guitars and Carney drums.

Also suing the companies is co-writer Brian Burton, known professionally as Danger Mouse. The plaintiffs asked for jury trials of the copyright-infringement suits.

The case are Auerbach v. Pizza Hut, 12-05385, and Auerbach v. Home Depot, 2:12-cv-05386, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Liberty Media Says File-Hosting Company Infringes Adult Films

Liberty Media Holdings LLC, a Las Vegas-based maker of adult films, sued a file-hosting company for copyright infringement.

According to the complaint filed June 20 in federal court in Las Vegas, FF Magnat Ltd.’s Oron hosting service is accused of aiding infringement of Liberty’s Corbin Fisher films.

The storage company “is cognizant of its role as the vehicle in which infringers act in concert with one another to copy and distribute huge amounts of infringing material,” according to the complaint. Oron is the 935th-most visited Internet site, Liberty claims, citing Alexas.com, a website that monitors web traffic.

Liberty asked the court to bar Oron and 500 unidentified defendants from copying and posting its content without authorization. It also seeks a court order for the impoundment of all of its content in the defendants’ possession, and awards of money damages and litigation costs.

Oron didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

Liberty is represented by James M. DeVoy and Marc J. Randazza of the Randazza Legal Group of Las Vegas and Ronald D. Green Jr. of New York’s Greenberg Traurig LLP.

The case is Liberty Media Holdings LLC v. FF Magnat Ltd., 12-cv-01057, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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