Bass Pro Shops, Anheuser-Busch: Intellectual Property

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Inc. was sued for patent and trademark infringement by a Japanese company.

The suit, filed Jan. 6 in federal court in Miami, Florida, accuses the Cincinnati-based chain of infringing a patent covering a fishing lure. According to patent 7,752,801, the invented lure changes colors depending on the angle at which it’s viewed, and moves through the water more like a fish than conventional lures do.

Duel Co. of Hakata, Japan, said that among the infringing products are Bass Pro’s “Offshore Angler Island Popper Series,” and that the chain’s use of “Rattlin Vibe” in connection with its products infringes the Japanese company’s U.S. trademark registrations for “Rattl’ N” and “Rattl ’N Vibe.”

Bass Pro is accused of choosing the “Rattlin Vibe” mark deliberately in order to trade on the fame of the Japanese company’s products. The similarity between the two companies’ marks causes consumer confusion, Duel said in its pleadings.

The Japanese company seeks a court finding of infringement of both its patent and trademarks, awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees. It also asked the court to order Bass to halt its alleged infringement and for the seizure and destruction of all infringing promotional materials.

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

The case is Duel Co. v. Bass Pro Shops outdoor World LLC, 1:14-cv-20046, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

Recreational Equipment Accused of Infringing Container Patent

Recreational Equipment Inc., the Seattle based outdoor gear chain, was sued for infringement by a California patent holder.

The suit, filed Jan. 6 in federal court in Marshall, Texas, is related to an insulated container configured to hold the ingredients for protein supplement drinks sold by REI.

Patent-holder Shin-Shuoh Lin of Laguna Hills, California, claims a container sold by REI infringed his patent 7,571,830. That patent, which was issued in August 2009, covers a beverage shaker with an ice strainer.

Lin said in his court papers that he has suffered harm as a result of REI’s sale of the allegedly infringing product, and claims the infringement is deliberate. He asked the court for an order barring further infringement of the patent, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

He also requested additional damages because of the alleged “knowing, deliberate and willful nature of REI’s prohibited conduct.”

The case is Shin-Shuoh Lin v. Recreational Equipment Inc., 2:14-cv-00003, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Anheuser-Busch Sued Over ‘Hold My Beer and Watch This’ Videos

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewery, was sued for trademark infringement by a Montana brewery.

Big Sky Brewing Co. of Missoula, Montana, objects to Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch’s use of the phrase “Hold my beer and watch this” in promotional videos the company has uploaded to Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing website.

The Montana brewery, best known for its Moose Drool Ale, said in its complaint that it has used that phrase to promote its beers since February 2004 and that it registered the trademark with the U .S. Patent and Trademark Office, in September 2009. It specifically uses the slogan on the label for its Big Sky I.P.A. beer, according to court papers.

Big Sky said that it sent a cease and desist letter to Anheuser-Busch in December to no avail, and that it is harmed by the Belgium-based brewer’s use of the trademarked phrase.

In a posting on its website, Big Sky said it was no stranger to trademark disputes and that it has in the past changed names and packaging of some of its products in response to trademark owners’ complaints.

The company said that in Montana, orange-painted fence-posts signal the property owner wants no trespassing.

With respect to defending trademarks today “you need to keep a can of orange pint handy,” Big Sky said, accusing Anheuser-Busch of “jumping the fence.”

The Missoula Independent newspaper reported that Rob McCarthy, marketing vice president for Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light brand, said in a statement had no intention to create any association with Big Sky through the videos. The phrase “hold my beer and watch this” is commonly used as a punch line in jokes, he said.

The case is Big Sky Brewing Co. v. Anheuser Busch LLC, 9:13-cv-00307, U.S. District Court, District of Montana (Missoula).

Pirate Party Told It Must Operate Under Different Name in Russia

Russia’s Ministry of Justice told that country’s branch of the Pirate Party Jan. 6 that it may not use the word “pirate” in its name, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright news website reported.

The ministry found the word unacceptable because piracy at sea is a crime under that country’s laws, and it viewed the term strictly in those terms rather than as a political statement about copyright, according to TorrentFreak.

The Pirate Party has been struggling since 2011 to get acceptance of its name in Russia. The Jan. 6 final rejection of its appeals means it can be recognized as a political party there only with a change of name, TorrentFreak reported.

In a statement reported by Torrent Freak, the party said it was “obvious stupidity” on the part of Russian authorities to equate its name with sea robbery.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Artist Says He’ll Pull Rubber Duck Sculpture if Copy Is Made

A government official in Keelung, Taiwan, has sent warning letters to vendors who are seeking to duplicate a rubber duck sculpture presently on view on that city’s waterfront, China Post reported.

The duck is by Netherlands artist Florentijn Hofman, who said he would pull his art out of the exhibition if the vendors went ahead with a plan to make a second 18 meter high duck in order to improve their sales and attract more attendees to the display, according to China Post.

The government sent warnings to Yusheng International Corp., which was believed to be ready to put the second rubber duck in place, and to the Port of Keelung of the Taiwan International Ports Corp, which planned to make land available on which to exhibit the second duck, according to the newspaper.

The port corporation said in a statement that it would find out if a second rubber duck has been made, and that it wouldn’t agree to exhibit one that infringed the artist’s copyright, China Post reported.

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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