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Samsung, Google, Anonymous: Intellectual Property

Samsung Electronics Co. said Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 5 infringes its patents, escalating a global fight over mobile devices after winning a court order lifting a ban on U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer.

The world’s largest mobile-phone seller, based in Suwon, South Korea, added claims about the iPhone 5, which was released last month, to an existing patent-infringement lawsuit between the two companies in federal court in San Jose, California. Apple won a $1.05 billion jury verdict against Samsung on Aug. 24 in a separate patent case in the same court.

“As soon as the iPhone 5 was available for purchase, Samsung began its investigation of the product,” the company said in its Oct. 1 court filing.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the litigation in California, rescinded a ban Oct. 1 on U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 that she imposed in June.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, contended the ban should remain in place because the jury found the Galaxy Tab infringed other patents at issue in the case.

The case in which Samsung added the iPhone 5 claims is scheduled for trial in 2014. Samsung’s original complaint identifies the same eight patents as the basis for alleging infringement by earlier iPhone models, as well as the iPad and iPod Touch.

Apple already has won a preliminary order from Koh blocking U.S. sales of Samsung’s Nexus smartphone. In August, Apple added the Galaxy S III smartphone to its list of products that it says infringe its patents. Apple said in a Sept. 19 filing that it expects to add infringement claims about “recently released Samsung products, including the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system and the Galaxy Note 10.1 device.”

Koh has scheduled December hearings in that case to consider Apple’s request for a permanent U.S. sales ban on eight Samsung smartphone models and the Tab 10.1. She will also consider Samsung’s bid to get the August verdict thrown out based on claims of juror misconduct.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the court’s order rescinding the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban and Samsung’s filing adding the iPhone 5 infringement claims.

The case is Apple v. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) Ltd., 12- cv-630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). The previous case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Google’s Motorola Drops One ITC Patent Case Against Apple

Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit said it was withdrawing a patent-infringement complaint it filed in August against Apple Inc. at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Motorola Mobility reserved the right to refile claims against the iPhone maker, and said there had been no agreement between the two companies, according to a filing on the ITC’s electronic docket. It gave no reason for withdrawing the complaint.

A notice of dismissal also was filed in a companion civil lawsuit filed in a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, and Motorola Mobility, based in Libertyville, Illinois, have been fighting about smartphone-related patents since at least 2010 after licensing talks failed. A non-jury trial on Apple’s claims that Motorola Mobility violated obligations to license some of its patents on fair terms is scheduled to begin Nov. 5 in a federal court in Madison, Wisconsin.

Neither Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, nor Christa Smith, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility, had an immediate comment on withdrawal of the ITC complaint. Dockets in other cases pending between the companies don’t show other requests for dismissal.

The case being withdrawn accused Apple of infringing seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including interactive voice commands, location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players. Motorola Mobility, which Google bought in May, said in August it hoped the filing of the suit -- and the threat against Apple’s iPhone -- would push the two sides into settlement talks.

Another case is pending at the Washington trade agency, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents. The commission on Aug. 24 cleared Apple of infringing three Motorola Mobility patents, and told the judge to consider whether a fourth patent, for a sensor to protect against accidental hangups, was infringed.

ITC Judge Thomas Pender, in an order dated yesterday, said he will make a decision by Dec. 21 on that issue.

The case to be withdrawn is In the Matter of Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing devices, Computers, and Components Thereof, 337-856, and the earlier case is In the Matter of Certain Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music Data, Processing Data Devices, Computers and Components Thereof, 337-745. Both are in the U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

Xatra Gets Patent on Iris-Scan Identification Payment Method

Xatra Fund MX LLC, a Wilmington, Delaware-based company that owns patents related to biometric identification, received a patent for a technology that will permit a user to make a payment with the blink of an eye.

Patent 8,279,042, issued yesterday, covers iris-scan biometrics on a payment device.

According to the patent, one aim of the technology is to identify users of a fob system of payment. Adding iris scans would permit a credit-card holder to identify which family member used a fob-payment system at a specific time. This could also be used for a company credit card with multiple users.

An application for the patent was filed in September 2007. Xatra is listed as the owner of 16 issued U.S. patents, and nine published and pending patent applications, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Wrigley Gets Hearing on Trademark Injunction Damages Claim

Mars Inc.’s Wrigley unit is entitled to a hearing on the damage it would suffer if it’s permanently barred from using “Swerve” as a name for one of its “5 brand” sugar-free chewing gum flavors, a federal judge has ruled.

Wrigley filed suit in federal court in Chicago in December 2011, seeking a declaration its use of the name didn’t infringe trademark rights of Swerve IP of New Orleans, the maker of the Swerve sugar substitute.

In October 2010 Wrigley filed an application to register “Swerve” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In March 2011, Swerve filed papers with the patent office, saying it was opposed to the issuance of that mark for Wrigley. The chewing gum maker said it then received a cease-and-desist notice from Swerve.

In its court filing, Wrigley argues that consumers weren’t likely to be confused by the similar names and would not falsely assume a connection between the chewing gum and the sugar substitute.

In his Sept. 29 ruling, U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber rejected Wrigley’s argument, saying customers could likely be confused by the similar names. He said that both products are cheap enough that customers aren’t likely to give a high degree of scrutiny to either purchase.

He also said that in the past, some chewing gum manufacturers have co-branded their gums with the trademark of the sugar substitute used in the product. He found that Swerve would be harmed by Wrigley’s use of the word “Swerve” with its chewing gum.

The court took into consideration Wrigley’s argument that it would suffer irreparable harm if it were barred from using the word on its gum. The gum manufacturer’s evidence was “very general” and failed to break down such issues as financial harm, the projected life of the “Swerve” flavor, and whether there are any alternative products in development.

For these reasons, Leinenweber said Wrigley is entitled to a hearing on its possible harm and the balancing of harms to the respective parties and the public.

The proceedings at the patent office were put on hold pending the conclusion of this case.

The case is Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., v. Swerve IP LLC, 1:11- cv-09274, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Oman’s Government Food Supplier to Seek Trademark for Offerings

Oman’s Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserve plans to establish a trademark for commodities it provides that nation’s residents, and said it will also work toward improving the quality of the products it offers, the Oman Daily Observer reported.

Rashid bin Salim al Masrouri, who heads the public authority, said allegations of low-quality products is undeserved and it supplies “high quality rice at low prices” compared to the prices charged by non-government rice importers, according to the Oman Daily Observer.

He noted that some consumers have become accustomed to specific brands of food products and are unable to change their preferences, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Anonymous Warns Sweden of Hacker Attack After Police Raid on PRQ

Anonymous, the group of Internet activists that has been active in a fight against copyright enforcement, promised it will take down Swedish government websites in retaliation for a police raid on PRQ, the former webhost for the Pirate Bay file- sharing site, ZDNet reported.

Anonymous posted a message on Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube video- sharing service, telling the government to “Expect us,” and that it was responsible for some denial-of-service attacks on Swedish government sites last month, ZDNet reported.

Some Swedish police websites, as well as some belonging to the Swedish military, several banks, and a Swedish news agency were hit with denial-of-service attacks Oct. 1, according to ZDNet.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Greenberg Traurig Brings in Jonathan David Ball for IP Practice

Greenberg Traurig LLP hired Jonathan David Ball for its IP and technology practice, the New York-based firm said in a statement yesterday.

Ball, a litigator, joins from Atlanta’s King & Spalding LLP. He has represented clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemicals, medical devices, semiconductors, food sciences, consumer products, and mechanical industries. He has also done transactional work and patent portfolio management.

Before he was a lawyer, he did post-doctoral research at Indiana University, working on small-molecule organic synthesis, synthesis of solid-state organic inclusion compounds and physical chemistry of organic radicals.

Ball has an undergraduate degree from Vassar College, a doctorate on organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina, and a law degree from the University of Richmond.

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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