Samsung, Jason Wu, Rex, Target: Intellectual Property

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) asked a U.S. judge to allow it to use documents from its patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. in California for litigation pending between the companies in Japan.

Samsung told U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal in San Jose, California, yesterday that it needs information exchanged between the companies in his court to contest the validity of Apple’s patents at issue in cases pending in Japan.

Samsung seeks any documents concerning iPhone sales before June 29, 2007, as well as the actual device introduced as evidence, according to a court filing. Samsung also wants the iPhone that Apple founder Steve Jobs used when he introduced the device at his Jan. 9, 2007, MacWorld presentation.

“Samsung’s request is not an attempt to circumvent foreign proof-gathering restrictions,” Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said in a court filing. “Quite simply, a Japanese court cannot order Apple to produce evidence without the cooperation of court within the U.S.”

In the San Jose case, a jury decided Aug. 24 at the end of a trial that Samsung should pay $1.05 billion for infringing six Apple patents. Apple awaits a decision from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on its request for additional damages against Samsung after the iPhone maker lost its bid to block U.S. sales on 26 of the Galaxy maker’s devices. Apple failed to establish that consumer demand for Samsung products was driven by technology it stole, Koh ruled.

Samsung’s request should be denied because it is “attempting an end-run around the discovery procedures of the Japanese courts and because Samsung has not presented this court with evidence that it has a substantial need for the information it belatedly seeks,” Apple said in a court filing.

Apple said two of the cases at issue are in Tokyo district court, where the company seeks a temporary sales ban and damages based on its “rubberbanding” patent that Koh, in the San Jose case, found to be valid and infringed. Rubberbanding is the the way an iPad or iPhone screen seems to bounce when a user scrolls to the end of a file.

The San Jose case is Apple Inc. (AAPL) v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 12-cv-80275, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

The appeals in Washington are Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-1129, and Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-1507, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

Intel Wins Dismissal of University of New Mexico Patent Suit

The University of New Mexico’s patent-infringement case against Intel Corp. (INTC) was dismissed by a federal judge in New Mexico Jan. 17.

The licensing arm of the school sued Santa Clara, California’s Intel in November 2012, accusing the world’s largest chipmaker of infringing a patent for printing electronic circuits.

At issue was patent 6,042,998, which covers a technique to print electronic circuits closer together on silicon wafers, which lets more information be stored on the chips.

The suit was filed by STC.UNM, the school’s technology transfer office.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Brack dismissed the infringement claim.

One of the issues in the case was the right to sue for infringement. According to court papers, an agreement between the school and the Sandia National Laboratories included Sandia as an owner of the patent.

Sandia chose not to take part in the litigation and Brack rejected the school’s request to force Sandia to join in. According to court documents, the government lab said it wanted to remain neutral in the dispute.

The judge said that while a commercialization agreement between the school’s technology transfer office and Sandia gave the office the exclusive right to license the patent, “it nowhere contemplated that Sandia relinquished its rights to refuse to join in an infringement action.”

He said Sandia “has a right to refuse to appear, and intervening would force it to incur substantial legal fees and contribute time to a lawsuit in which it clearly does not wish to participate.”

The case is STC.UNM v. Intel Corp, 1:10-cv-01077-RB-WDS, U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico (Albuquerque).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Jason Wu, Michelle Obama’s Choice, Struggles to Register Mark

Jason Wu, whose bright red ball gown was worn by first lady Michelle Obama at this week’s inaugural ball, has run into difficulty trying to register one of his trademarks in Taiwan, the Focus Taiwan website reported.

Although Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office approved two of his applications, it found fault with his “Miss Wu,” mark, saying it lacked inherent distinctiveness, according to Focus Taiwan.

Wu, who now operates his fashion business in New York, appealed the rejection, and received a second rejection, Focus Taiwan Reported.

Wang Mei-hua, who directs the Intellectual Property Office, told Focus Taiwan that Michelle Obama’s and Taiwan first lady Chow Mei-ching’s wearing dresses with the “Miss Wu” label may help the requested mark rise from being too generic.

Lego, Czech Pirate Party At Odds Over Use of Figures in Video

Lego A/S, the Danish maker of plastic-block building toys, is involved in a dispute with the Czech Pirate Party, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright news service reported.

The toymaker is objecting to the Czech group’s use of Lego figures in a 2012 campaign video, according to TorrentFreak.

Lego is demanding that in addition to no longer using the figures in their video, the Czech Pirate group apologize for their use and say that the Danish company didn’t provide any funds for the campaign and pay the litigation costs, TorrentFreak reported.

Mikulas Ferjencik, vice president of the Czech Pirate Party, told TorrentFreak that it is filing another appeal and that meantime, it is encouraging its supporters to photograph themselves in front of Lego stores while wearing their Pirate Party Gear, so that photos can be used by the party.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Organization Sues Texas Liquor Company

The School of Design, which operates the 141-year-old New Orleans Mardi Gras club or krewe known as the Rex Organization, sued a liquor company for trademark infringement.

School of Design objects to packaging used by Rex Spirits Inc., of San Antonio, Texas, according to the complaint filed Jan. 17 in federal court in New Orleans. The liquor company is producing rum, vodka and bourbon under the “King Rex” name and is using symbols the School of Design claims infringed its trademark when used with the word “Rex.”

These include the colors purple, green and gold, a carnival mask, a crown, and the phrase “faith, justice power,” according to the complaint. The School of Design, which traditionally parades on Mardi Gras Day, says the alcoholic beverage’s packaging contains the word “King” in a much smaller size than “Rex,” thus giving rise to the impression that an affiliation exists between it and the distiller.

The School of Design also objects to a press release from King Rex Spirits, in which the company says its brands honor the “King of Carnival.” The title used for the New Orleans civic leader chosen each year to parade with Rex Organization and to represent the spirit of Mardi Gras is “Rex King of Carnival.”

Another objection raised in the complaint is that Rex Spirits has allegedly “expressed an interest in staging its own Mardi Gras costume ball, to be called the King Rex Ball, in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.” The School of Design says the spirits company has even released a video that uses without authorization an image of a doubloon -- a specially minted coin typically thrown from Mardi Gras floats -- bearing the Rex Organization’s motto, “Pro Bono Publico.”

The School of Design asked the court to bar any further infringement of its mark, and for an order for the recall of all products and promotional materials that allegedly infringe the krewe’s marks. Additionally, it seeks awards of the liquor company’s profits related to the alleged infringement, together with money damages and extra damages aimed at punishing the Texas company for its actions.

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

Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans this year on February 12.

The case is School of Design v. Ortiz, 2:13-cv-00094, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Target’s Non-Infringement Ruling Appealed by Textile Designer

After failing to convince a federal court that Target Corp. (TGT) and others infringed its copyrighted fabric patterns, a Los Angeles textile designer has gone to a federal appeals court, seeking to overturn the lower-court ruling.

Meridian Textiles Inc. of Los Angeles sued Target, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Topson Downs of California Inc., for copyright infringement in October 2011. The textile company claimed the defendants were selling or manufacturing apparel made from fabric that infringed copyrights for four of its designs. It also sued unidentified manufacturers it said were supplying the allegedly infringing fabric to the retailers.

U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner said in an Aug. 24 order that one of the designs, a zebra-stripe print, wasn’t entitled to copyright protection because zebra stripes occur in nature. He also found that the other three designs weren’t infringed.

Meridian said it would appeal and the case was entered into the appeals court’s docket in December.

In January the court ordered the parties to submit responses to a mediation questionnaire or face dismissal of the appeal. According to the docket, Target and Topson Downs submitted their required paperwork Jan. 17.

The case is Meridian Textiles Inc. v. Topson Downs of California Inc., 2:11-cv-08351-RGK-AGR, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Ex-Tag Oil Manager Given Bail in New Zealand Trade Secrets Case

A former oil and gas manager for Tag Oil Ltd. (TAO)’s New Zealand ventures was accused of unlawful access of a computer, said his lawyer, Susan Hughes.

The former production and facilities manager was accused of accessing a computer belonging to the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company for dishonest purposes, New Zealand’s Business Day reported.

Charges were filed after the former manager left to work for rival New Zealand Energy Corp. (NZ), also of Vancouver, Business Day reported.

Hughes said in an e-mail that her client is “defending the charge.”

The manager was given bail and his next court date is Feb. 7, according to Business Day.

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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