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Amazon, Fairchild, NORML, Katy Perry: Intellectual Proper

Amazon.com Inc., the world’s largest online retailer, sued a former Web-services manager who left to join Google Inc. (GOOG), seeking to enforce a non-compete agreement.

The former employee did business-development work with Amazon’s cloud-computing business, according to a complaint filed in Washington state court June 14. While there, he signed an agreement barring him from working with a competitor for 18 months after leaving Seattle-based Amazon, the company said.

Amazon claims the ex-employee is now working in Google’s Partner Reseller group, doing substantially the same work he did with Amazon. The online retailer asked the court to enforce the noncompete agreement and to bar the ex-employee from working with Mountain View, California-based Google in a similar area for the full 18 months.

Google isn’t a party to the suit.

The case is Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) v. Szabadi, 14-2-18167-1 SEA, King County Superior Court (Seattle).

Patents

Power Integrations Wins Order Against 65 Fairchild Products

A federal court in Delaware granted Power Integrations Inc. (POWI)’s request for an injunction against 65 Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. products found to infringe three patents.

The court said that Fairchild must tell customers, distributors and others who bought the products about the order.

The court in March 2013 upheld most of an April 2012 jury verdict of infringement. U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark said in his June 30 order that he rejected Fairchild’s claim that Power Integrations failed to demonstrate that it would be harmed without the injunction.

Power Integrations said in a July 1 statement that financial damages from the infringement are to be determined at a future court hearing. Both companies are based in San Jose, California.

The case is Power Integration Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (FCS), 08-cv-00309, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Iowa State University Officials Sued Over Marijuana T-Shirt Ban

A change in Iowa State University’s trademark-licensing policy prompted two students to file a civil rights lawsuit against school officials.

The students are members of the university’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, known as NORML, according to the complaint filed July 1 in Iowa federal court. They said they received approval for T-shirts bearing the head of the school’s mascot together with an image of a cannabis leaf and the slogan “Freedom is NORML at ISU.”

After a photo of a student wearing the shirt appeared on the front page of the Des Moines Register newspaper, the school rescinded approval and changed its trademark licensing guidelines to bar use on items that suggest promotion of illegal products, the students said in their filing. Marijuana use isn’t legal in Iowa.

The students say their free-speech rights were violated by the policy change and asked the court to declare that the new policy is unconstitutional.

The case is Gerlich v. Leath, 14-cv-00264, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Gospel Musicians Sue Katy Perry Saying ‘Dark Horse’ Infringes

Pop singer Katy Perry and her music label were sued for copyright infringement by a gospel music group.

According to a July 1 complaint filed in federal court in St. Louis, the four gospel musicians claim that Perry’s “Dark Horse” song infringed their “Joyful Noise” song. They say they find the alleged infringement particularly objectionable because their song’s “devoutly religious message” has been tarnished by the associations with witchcraft and paganism evoked by Perry’s song.

Perry’s label, Vivendi (VIV)’s Capitol Records LLC, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit..

The case is Gray v. Perry, 14-cv-01183, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets

Move Wins Order Barring Zillow’s Use Of Trade Secrets

Move Inc. (MOVE), the San Jose, California-based operator of a network of real estate websites, won a court order barring its former chief strategy officer, Errol Samuelson, and Zillow Inc. (Z) from unauthorized use of its trade secrets.

In a March 17 complaint filed in Washington state court, Move claimed Samuelson’s “vast knowledge” of the company’s trade secrets will make it “impossible” for him to function in his new job at Seattle-based Zillow without divulging confidential information.

King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde said in her June 30 order that Move had demonstrated a “substantial likelihood of success” on its claims, and barred Samuelson from a range of activities at his new company.

Samuelson isn’t to participate in planning advertising displays on Zillow’s website or discuss Zillow’s ad strategy, she ordered. He is also barred for nine months from engaging in efforts to obtain information about listings for rental properties, real estate outside the U.S. and commercial real estate, she said. He and Zillow were also ordered to return any Move trade secret information by July 7.

The case is Move Inc. v. Zillow Inc., 14-2-07669-0-SEA, Superior Court for the State of Washington, King County (Seattle).

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Stephen Farr, Charles Carter

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