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Target, Remy Cointreau, McDonald’s: Intellectual Property

Target Corp. (TGT), the Minneapolis-based retail chain, was sued for patent infringement by a Philadelphia-based garment manufacturer.

Destination Maternity Corp. accuses Target and its supplier of infringing patent RE43,531, which was issued July 24. The patent covers a garment with an expandable belly panel and a torso-encircling circumference that recedes downward to make room for the growing abdomen of a pregnant woman.

Target continues to sell the allegedly infringing garments even after having been put on notice by Destination Maternity, according to court papers. Counsel for the parties have “exchanged further correspondence without resolution,” Destination Maternity said in its pleadings.

The company asked the court to bar Target and its suppliers from further infringement, and for money damages “in no event less than a reasonable royalty” and awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Target didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Destination Maternity Corp. v. Target Corp., 12-cv-05680, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Remy Cointreau Wins Order Temporarily Banning ‘Controy’ Liqueur

Remy Cointreau SA (RCO)’s Cointreau unit persuaded a federal judge in Dallas that La Madrilena SA’s Controy orange liqueur has the potential to infringe its “Cointreau” trademark.

In an Oct. 2 order, U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey issued an order temporarily barring Mexico City-based La Madrilena from importing and selling any liqueur under the “Controy” name. He required Cointreau to post a $1 million bond for payment of damages and costs should La Madrilena be able to demonstrate it was wrongfully restrained and harmed in the process.

Cointreau sued in July 2012, claiming its multiple “Cointreau” marks -- some the company has used since 1995 -- were infringed by La Madrilena’s “Controy.” It noted that the liqueurs were both sold in similar squat square-shaped bottles, with the name depicted on a banner.

In its complaint, Cointreau cites a survey from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association that ranked its Cointreau behind only Grand Marnier in annual sales in the orange liqueur category.

The Paris-based distiller accused La Madrilena of trying to hitchhike on the fame and goodwill associated with the Cointreau trademarks and trade dress. It asked the court to bar the sale of the allegedly infringing product and award money damages, including extra damages, to punish the Mexican company.

The case is Cointreau Corp. v. Pura Vida Tequila Co., 12- cv-02257, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

McDonald’s Files Trademark for Ground, Whole Bean Coffee

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s largest restaurant chain, filed a trademark for its name for use on ground and whole bean coffee, according to September filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The company filed to register both McDonald’s and its double arch logo as trademarks for use with coffee. It also is seeking registration for “McCafe” for the same purpose.

Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, declined to comment in an e-mail on whether the company may introduce a bagged coffee under its name in grocery stores, calling the idea “speculative.”

McDonald’s coffee trademark quest comes more than five years after Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) began selling coffee in stores with Procter & Gamble Co. P&G has since sold its coffee business to J.M. Smucker Co., which said in August that sales of the Dunkin’ brand increased 11 percent in the first quarter ended July 31.

“As part of doing business, we register a number of trademarks to protect our brand equities,” Proud said.

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) has sold bagged coffee in groceries since 1998, when it signed a distribution agreement with Kraft Foods Inc. Starbucks, which has since regained control of the packaged coffee business, said July 26 that its share of the premium coffee segment in groceries, drugstores and mass markets rose to 28.2 percent from 25.6 percent a year earlier.

TAO Licensing Says Maine Restaurant With Similar Name Infringes

TAO Licensing LLC, which operates TAO Asian-fusion restaurants in Las Vegas and New York, sued a Maine restaurant for trademark infringement.

Tao Restaurant LLC of Brunswick, Maine, is accused of infringing the TAO trademarks, and attempting to trade on the goodwill and fame of the New York and Las Vegas restaurants.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 2 in federal court in Portland, Maine, TAO registered its trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office beginning in 2001.

When Tao Restaurant LLC opened its TAO property in Brunswick in May 2012, TAO claims the choice of name was deliberate in order to take advantage of the fame of the two TAO properties. The Maine restaurant followed the same convention in its naming by the use of TAO plus a geographic origin -- Tao Maine -- that TAO uses for its New York and Nevada properties, according to court papers.

TAO, based in New York, also objects to the Tao-Maine.com Internet domain name used by the Maine restaurant. It claims that Tao Restaurant has caused harm and economic damage through its name choice.

In addition to seeking an order barring further use of the TAO name, the New York company asked the court for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

The owner of the Maine restaurant told the Portland Press Herald that while the two companies’ names were similar sounding in English, the Chinese character for “Tao” it uses means “peach” and the name was chosen to celebrate a Chinese fairy tale about a fisherman and a peach orchard.

TAO’s “Tao” is written with a different Chinese character that is associated with the philosophical and religious practice of Taoism, according to the Portland Press.

The case is TAO Licensing LLC v. Tao Restaurant LLC, 12- cv-00302, U.S. District Court, District of Maine (Portland).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Google Plans to Appeal Infringement Verdict in Oracle Trial

Google Inc. (GOOG) said it will ask a federal appeals court to overturn a jury’s finding of copyright infringement or order a new trial in a lawsuit by Oracle Corp. over Android software for mobile devices.

Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, said in a court filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco that it will appeal the trial judge’s decision not to set aside a jury’s verdict or order a new trial.

A federal jury found May 7 that Mountain View, California- based Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights when it developed Android software for mobile devices. The jury also deadlocked on whether Google’s copying was a permissible “fair use.”

Google’s attorneys said in earlier court filings that the jury found the company had infringed just nine out of millions of lines of code in a Java programming language platform, which they said was legally insignificant.

The appeal will be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, the attorneys said. The trial was held in San Francisco.

Oracle, based in Redwood City, California, is the largest maker of database software. Deborah Hellinger, an Oracle spokeswoman, declined to comment on the filing.

The case is Oracle v. Google, 10-cv-3561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Google Reaches Book-Scanning Agreement With Five Publishers

Google Inc., operator of the world’s biggest Internet search engine, settled a lawsuit with five publishers over the digital scanning of books. The deal doesn’t resolve litigation by authors.

The agreement ends the publishers’ portion of a copyright infringement suit filed in federal court in New York in 2005, Google and the Association of American Publishers said yesterday in a statement. U.S. publishers can now choose whether to make their books and articles available for scanning or have them removed, according to the statement.

Google disclosed a plan in 2004 to scan millions of books from public and university libraries digitally in order to provide snippets of text on its search engine. The Authors Guild, individual authors and publishing companies sued, claiming Google hadn’t sought authorization from the owners of the works.

“We are pleased that this settlement addresses the issues that led to the litigation,” Tom Allen, chief executive officer of the publishers’ association, said.

The agreement is with McGraw-Hill Cos., Pearson Education Inc., Penguin Group USA Inc., John Wiley & SonsInc. (JW/A) and Simon & Schuster Inc., which is owned by CBS Inc.

“The publishers’ private settlement, whatever its terms, does not resolve the authors’ copyright infringement claims against Google,” Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, said in an e-mailed statement

In 2009, Google reached an initial settlement of the class, or group, lawsuit by the authors and publishers that was valued at $125 million.

The writers’ case is Authors Guild v. Google, 05-cv-08136, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The visual artists’ case is The American Society of Media Photographers v. Google, 10-cv-02977, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeals case is Authors Guild v. Google, 12-3200, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Jones Day Hires Douglas Weinstein From Finnegan Henderson

Jones Day hired Douglas Weinstein for its intellectual- property practice, the law firm said in a statement.

Weinstein, who joins from Washington’s Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, does patent and trade secrets litigation. He has represented clients in the electrical, computer and telecommunications industries.

He previously served as the managing partner of Finnegan’s Taipei office.

Weinstein has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University and master’s degree in business from the University of Alabama. He received both a law degree and a master’s degree in intellectual property law from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

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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