Appeals, NCAA, Nintendo, MediaTek: Intellectual Property

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision to give no deference to trial judges when reviewing their interpretation of patents.

The Washington-based appeals court, in 6-4 decision, affirmed its policy of reviewing claim interpretation from scratch.

The case is LightingBallastControl LLC v. Philips Electronics North America, 12-1014, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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Trademark

NCAA Must Face Trial on Ex-Player Claims Over Licensing Revenue

The National Collegiate Athletic Association must go to trial over claims by football and basketball players who are seeking a share of $800 million a year in licensing fees for televised games, a judge said.

The case is part of a movement by current and former college athletes to secure compensation, benefits, control over their images and labor protections in a system that considers them amateurs.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, said a trial will be needed in June.

The case is In Re NCAA Student-Athlete Name and Likeness Licensing Litigation, 09-01967, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

Lucky’s Says It’s in Settlement Talks With Albertsons [bn:WBTKR=ABS:US]

Albertsons LLC [] and Boulder, Colorado’s Lucky’s Market are in settlement talks related to a Jan. 17 trademark suit filed in federal court in Billings, Montana, Supermarket News reported. Alberstons sued over the use of the “Lucky” name, to which it claims the right.

Bo Sharon, president of Lucky’s, said in a statement to Supermarket News that he was hopeful the groups could soon come to an accord.

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Copyright

Copycat ‘Mario’ Game Lures Users as Nintendo Resists Phones

Nintendo Co. (7974) isn’t offering Super Mario games on smartphones. Other people are.

A game called “Super Mario” was available to download from Baidu Inc.’s 91 Wireless online application store in China and on Samsung Electronics Co.’s online China app store. The title, listed as developed by Beijing Flyfish Technology Co., has multiple levels and shows the mustachioed plumber in a red hat and blue overalls jumping to capture mushrooms and coins.

Searches in app stores in China, Hong Kong and Japan turned up games, a quiz and mobile wallpaper with characters made famous by the Kyoto-based company. A title listed yesterday on the Samsung online app store in Japan called “Super Mario Quiz” allowed users to take a multiple choice test to identify characters called Baby Donkey Kong and Corporal Paraplonk.

Yasuhiro Minagawa, a Nintendo spokesman, said Feb. 19 that the company hasn’t approved apps identified by Bloomberg and that its legal team is investigating. He declined to say Feb. 21 if Nintendo is taking legal action against specific companies because of copyright infringement.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

MediaTek Suspects Mole in Smartphone Chip Department

MediaTek Inc. (2454), a Taiwan-based chip designer, said it has “good reason” to believe one of the key employees in its smartphone chip department committed industrial espionage, Taiwan’s WantChina Times reported.

A spokesman for the company said MediaTek plans to seek both criminal and civil sanctions against the employee, and prosecutors have already sought a freeze on his assets and a ban on his foreign travel, according to WantChina Times.

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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