Vringo, DC Comics, King.com: Intellectual Property

Vringo Inc. (VRNG) won a patent ruling entitling it to additional royalties from Google Inc. (GOOG) over its AdWords product.

A modified version of AdWords is “nothing more than a colorable variation of the infringing system,” U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk, Virginia, said in an opinion posted yesterday on the court’s website.

Vringo “is entitled to ongoing royalties as long as defendants continue to use the modified system,” the judge wrote.

The case is I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 11-cv-00512, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk). The appeal is I/P Engine Inc. v. AOL Inc., 14-1233, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

Medtronic Loses Appeals Court Bid to Revive Edwards Case

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) lost its appeals court bid to revive patent-infringement claims against Edwards Lifesciences Corp. over a prosthetic valve used in open-heart surgery.

Aspects of a Medtronic patent asserted against Edwards are invalid, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said in an opinion posted on its website. Medtronic had argued its invention dated to 2000, while the appeals court said a trial judge in California was correct to say it was 2003, well after other patent applications were made public.

The case is part of a broader dispute between the two companies, with Medtronic getting its CoreValve device approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a federal jury in Delaware awarding Edwards $392 million against Medtronic.

The case is Medtronic CoreValve LLC v. Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (EW), 13-1117, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

North Face Accused of Olympic ‘Ambush Marketing’ in Canada

VF Corp. (VFC)’s North Face unit was accused by the Canadian Olympic Committee of creating a line of clothing that falsely associates itself with the upcoming Sochi Olympics, Toronto’s Globe & Mail newspaper reported.

The committee objects to some of the clothing in North Face’s “International Collection” decorated with the Canadian flag or features a world map with a red star designating Sochi’s location, and it claims North Face is engaging in so-called “ambush marketing,” according to the newspaper.

North Face, which is not a marketing partner of the Canadian or International Olympic committee, was sent a cease-and-desist letter by Canadian Olympic authorities, the Globe & Mail reported.

King.com Opposes Stoic’s ‘Banner Saga’ Trademark Application

King.com Ltd., the maker of the “Candy Crush Saga” social-media game, is opposing the “Banner Saga” trademark application for computer game software filed by Austin, Texas-based Stoic LLC.

Stoic, which created a Viking-themed computer game named “The Banner Saga,” filed an application in January 2013 to register the mark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. King.com, which filed its notice of opposition Dec. 27, is seeking to register “Candy” as a U.S. trademark.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Appeals Court Ends Copyright Fight Over DC Comics’ Superman

Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s DC Comics unit’s long-standing copyright battle with the heirs to the two creators of the Superman character apparently has ended. A federal appeals court said Jan. 21 that it would not rehear the case, in which it delivered a ruling in November 2013.

The U.S. appeals court said at the time that the heirs had previously granted DC Comics all the rights to the character, and that they could not rescind that agreement.

The case is DC Comics v. Pacific Pictures Corp., 12-57245, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Electronic Arts Wins Reversal of Jury Verdict in ‘Madden’ Case

Electronic Arts Inc., the Redwood, California-based maker of video games, won reversal of a $3.6 million copyright-infringement verdict related to its “Madden NFL” video game.

In July, a federal jury in San Francisco found that the company broke a 1986 contract by failing to pay programmer Robin Antonick royalties on works derived from his code and awarded him damages.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer said in an order yesterday that the jury erred in finding infringement because copyright law protects only similarity in protectable expression, “not similarities in unprotectable ideas.”

He granted Electronic Arts’ motion for a new trial, and denied Antonick’s motion for the entry of a final judgment on the earlier jury verdict.

The case is Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), 3:11-cv-01543, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

City-Owned Casino Director’s Pay Justification Called a Secret

Mystique Casino, a city-owned gambling establishment in Dubuque, Iowa, refused to provide justification for its chief executive’s pay, claiming it is a trade secret, the Des Moines Register reported.

The newspaper made the inquiry after records indicated that as the casino’s revenues dropped 20 percent in the past five fiscal years, the executive’s salary rose 38 percent to an annual compensation of $708,898 in 2012.

Counsel for the casino directed its present and past board members, some of whom are publicly elected, not to speak with the newspaper, according to the Register.

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

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.