Amkor, LG, Amazon, Goa, Google: Intellectual Property

Amkor Technology Inc. (AMKR) won an appeals court ruling that revives its patent-infringement case against Malaysia’s Carsem M Sdn Bhd over integrated circuits at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Amkor, based in Chandler, Arizona, is a provider of semiconductor packaging and test services.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said yesterday that the agency applied an erroneous legal standard to determine an Amkor patent is invalid and sent the case back to the ITC for further review.

The case is Amkor Tech v. ITC, 10-01550, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

LG Electronics Sues Toshiba-Samsung Venture Over Patents

LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea sued a joint venture of Toshiba Corp. (6502) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) in federal court in Delaware, alleging infringement of four U.S. patents for optical-disc technology.

LG said in yesterday’s complaint that Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp. of Tokyo knew about the inventions because it licensed the patents until the end of 2010.

The defendants “have failed to renew their license to the patents-in-suit, and defendants therefore knowingly remain unlicensed,” officials of Seoul-based LG said in court papers.

The inventions, patented since 2000, cover rewritable and record/playback media used in computers, camcorders and video recorders, according to court papers.

LG is asking for a jury trial, unspecified damages based on lost profits and “no less than a reasonable royalty” for use of the inventions.

A Toshiba spokeswoman, Rebecca Bueno in Irvine, California, didn’t immediately return voice and e-mailed messages seeking comment on the lawsuit. Kasia McManamon, representing Samsung in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, didn’t immediately respond to an e- mail and phone call seeking comment.

In dispute are patents 6,101,162, 7,380,159, 7,380,178, and 6,477,126.

The case is LG Electronics Inc. (066570) v. Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp., 12-cv-1063, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For Apple-Samsung Jury, More Than 600 Questions Need Answers

The jurors who will decide the outcome of the intellectual- property trial between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. must answer more than 600 questions simply to get to the end of their verdict form.

The trial over smartphone and tablet patents, which concluded Aug. 21 in federal court in San Jose, California, produced dozens of exhibits, 50 hours of argument and testimony over three weeks, and a multitude of calculations to arrive at estimated potential damages of billions of dollars.

That was before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh started reading 109 pages of instructions to guide the nine-member jury through the labyrinthine 20-page verdict form. The exercise, done yesterday before lawyers gave closing arguments, required more than two hours, including court-ordered “stand up” breaks to make sure everyone stayed alert.

The verdict form is a “whopper,” Stanford Law School professor Mark Lemley said in an interview. Asking jurors to parse three different sets of legal rules for the claims at issue -- utility patents, design patents and trade dress, or how a product looks -- “will be particularly hard,” he said.

“The jury needs to figure out what category to put each patent in, and then remember to apply some of the rules” contained in the judge’s instructions “to some of the patents, and other rules to other patents,” he said.

The jury started deliberating yesterday. Federal rules require that for either side to win, the jury verdict must be unanimous.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, sued Samsung in April 2011, and Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung countersued. The case is the first to go before a federal jury in a battle being waged on four continents for dominance in a smartphone market valued by Bloomberg Industries at $219.1 billion.

Apple alleges infringement of seven of its patents and seeks $2.5 billion to $2.75 billion in damages. The world’s most valuable company also seeks to make permanent a preliminary ban it won on U.S. sales of a Samsung tablet computer, and extend the ban to Samsung smartphones.

At least 28 Samsung products are accused of infringement, and the verdict form requires jurors to specify which corporate entity -- the Samsung parent company and two U.S. units -- is responsible for copying and how much in damages, if any, Samsung owes for each infringing device.

Samsung claims infringement of five of its patents and seeks as much as $421.8 million in royalties.

The trial, which began July 30, wrapped up yesterday with two hours of closing arguments by each side.

The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Grace Digital Switches to ‘MatchStick’ in Lieu of ‘FireDock’

Grace Digital Inc., a San Diego electronics company, said in a March statement that it had designed a docking system for Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)’s Kindle Fire e-reader and that the item would be available in mid-July.

“FireDock” is the name Grace Digital gave the device, which was to sell for $130.

The name is no longer Grace Digital’s. According to a July 11 filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the application was transferred to Seattle-based Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. The database of pending trademark applications now lists only Amazon as the owner of the mark, and gives a July 11 application date.

According to that filing, Amazon plans to use the mark with audio speakers and carrying cases.

Meanwhile, Grace Digital lists a new docking device for the Kindle Fire. This time it’s called the “MatchStick.” While there are a number of pending applications to register the term as a trademark, to date none of them are for audio equipment, according to the patent office database.

Anti-Tobacco Group Urges Goa to Register Name, India Blooms Says

An organization aimed at ending the use of tobacco in India suggested that the state of Goa register its name to halt its unauthorized use by commercial entities, the India Blooms news service reported.

The impetus for the suggestion is a commercial promoting a betel nut product, “GOA gutka,” which the anti-tobacco group said creates the false impression that gutka, a combination of crushed betel nut with tobacco and other substances, isn’t illegal in the state, according to India Blooms.

Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of the National Organization for Tobacco Eradication, said in a statement that the government should “come up with norms restraining the usage of the name for commercial purpose without the prior consent and permission of the state,” the news service reported.

Manohar Parrikar, chief minister of the state of Goa, said his government will consult with legal authorities about how best to protect Goa’s name and that some legal action will be taken against the makers of GOA gutka.

Burnt-Out New Orleans Baker Tells Helpers Thanks But No Thanks

Hubig’s Pies, a New Orleans business whose factory was destroyed in a fire on July 27, asked those who want to help the 100-year-old company rebuild to stop using its name.

In a statement posted on the company’s website, Hubig’s said that “many” unsolicited campaigns have begun and “they take precious time to manage.”

So the company, which is famed for its hand-held sweet pies, is requesting that all who are using the Hubig’s name or likeness “cease their campaign.”

Hubig’s said its brand “is of utmost importance to the future of the company, and until we are making pies again it is our most important asset.”

The statement isn’t receiving a uniformly warm response.

After a story about Hubig’s request ran in the Times- Picayune newspaper, readers held forth in a comments section, saying, “Hubig’s should be thankful for the free publicity,” and “Is the problem that these people are using your logo to give you free publicity, and helping you solidify regional brand loyalty? Or is the problem that you want to be monetarily compensated for its usage?”

One reader said “Imagine if Campbell’s (soup) sent a letter to (Andy) Warhol.”

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Government Says It Acts Against Android App Piracy Websites

Three Internet domain names of websites accused of distributing pirated copies of Android mobile-phone applications were seized, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Visitors to the sites -- applanet.net, appbucke.net and snappzmarket.com -- will find a banner that notifies them of the domain’s seizure by the U.S. and “educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime, according to the statement.

During the investigation leading up to the seizure, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation downloaded “thousands” of applications for Google Inc.’s Android system, the government said. Search warrants were executed in six different judicial districts as part of the process.

The government said this is the first time domains involving mobile-phone applications have been seized in an action against copyright infringement.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

South Africa Agriculture Minister Says Secrets Compromised

South Africa’s Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said concern over trade secrets is among the reasons she has replaced many staff members at her ministry with people she considers trusted confidants, the Johannesburg Sunday World reported.

The minister told the Sunday World she feared some employees were being paid by companies to ferret out sensitive information.

The newspaper reported that Joemat-Pettersson claimed to be receiving death threats from people she said want to halt her anti-corruption efforts.

As a result of some of the firings, one former staffer is suing for constructive discharge, claiming to have served “diligently and loyally,” according to the Sunday World.

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: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net

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