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Rambus, Sony, Microsoft: Intellectual Property

Callaway Golf Co. and other manufacturers of high-end golf equipment persuaded Chinese law enforcement officials to raid warehouses where fake merchandise was stored.

The sporting goods makers, operating as the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group, said yesterday that the Beijing Hadian District Court convicted five sellers of fakes. The five were sentenced to jail terms of more than one year and fined about $54,000, according to a statement from the working group.

The seized products included more than 2,300 counterfeit golf clubs and fake copies of authentic golf caps, bags and accessories made by members of the working group.

In addition to Callaway, other members of the group are Acushnet Co., Cleveland Golf/Srixon and Never Compromise, Nike Golf, PING, TaylorMade-Adidas Gold and Ashworth, according to the statement.

Re/Max Sues Orlando Realty Max for Trademark Infringement

Re/Max International Inc., a network of real estate agencies, sued a Florida real estate broker for trademark infringement.

Prism Enterprise of Central Florida Inc., which does business as Orlando RealtyMax is accused of infringing Re/Max’s trademarks through its use of a “confusingly similar name.

Prism’s use of the domain name “” causes customers confusion, according to the complaint filed July 13 in federal court in Orlando, Florida.

The Florida brokerage continued to use the domain name after having been sent four letters by Re/Max beginning in July 2005, according to court papers.

Re/Max, of Greenwood Village, Colorado, claims the public is deceived by Prism’s actions and is likely to believe mistakenly that an affiliation exists between the two entities. It says it suffered “irreparable harm, damage and injury” as a result of Prism’s alleged infringement.

It asked the court to order Prism to quit using names that are “confusingly similar” to Re/Max’s, and for an award of money damages, including Prism’s profits attributable to the alleged infringement. Additionally, it asked the damages be tripled to punish Prism for what RE/Max says is willful infringement, and for an award of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Co-defendant with Prism is Shalendar Moman of Orlando, an agent or employee of Prism, according to the complaint.

Re/Max is represented by Gregory W. Herbert of Miami’s Greenberg Traurig PA.

The case is Re/Max International LLC v. Prism Enterprises of Central Florida Inc., 6:10-cv-01047, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando).

For more trademark news, click here.


Rambus Gets 1,000th Patent, With 700 Pending Applications

Rambus Inc., a chip designer that gets 95 percent of its revenue from patent royalties, received its 1,000th patent, the Los Altos, California-based company said in a statement yesterday.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 740 of those are U.S. patents, with the most recent -- 7,755,968 -- issued July 13. That patent covers a chip with dynamic memory bank count and page size, according to the database.

The company’s patent portfolio covers high-performance memory and serial solutions, package layout, system design, and lighting and display technologies.

Rambus also has 700 pending patent applications, the company said.

King Sues Novartis’s Sandoz to Block Generic Form of EpiPen

King Pharmaceuticals Inc. sued Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit to prevent sales of a lower-cost version of the EpiPen allergic-reaction treatment until 2025.

Sandoz, the world’s second-biggest generic-drug maker, is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell a generic version of EpiPen, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in New Jersey July 14. King wants a court to block approval until a patent expires.

EpiPen Auto-Injector is an emergency treatment for people suffering allergic reactions to insect stings or food, and is used by the military for nerve-agent antidotes. King obtained EpiPen as part of its 2003 purchase of Meridian Medical Technologies. The unit that gets royalties and other revenue from EpiPen reported $252.6 million in sales last year, King said in its annual report.

Individual EpiPens sell for as much as $163.50 for a single-dose injection at various pharmacy websites.

As part of its FDA application, Sandoz said its version of the device wouldn’t infringe the patent, or that the patent was invalid or unenforceable, according to King’s complaint. An official with Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

King, based in Bristol, Tennessee, already is suing Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest generic-drug maker, over Teva’s plan to sell a generic EpiPen.

The case is King Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., 10cv3568, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).

For more patent news, click here.


Sony Infringed Clark Rockefeller Picture, Photographer Claims

Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Television unit was sued for copyright infringement by a Boston photographer.

The suit stems from a photo Donald A. Harney shot of Clark Rockefeller and his daughter Reigh. Rockefeller, who was born Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, was convicted of kidnapping his daughter, and, according to court papers, Harney’s photo was used by police and the FBI in their search for Rockefeller.

Harney claims Sony’s made-for-television movie “Who is Clark Rockefeller” used his photo to create the image of the actors. The image Sony created for the movie “was clearly made to look like Harney’s photograph,” according to the complaint filed July 14 in federal court in Boston. The film was distributed on A&E Television and is also available on the website of one of its units,, according to court papers.

The image was used without authorization or compensation, Harney said in his complaint. The “use, distribution and publication” of the film constitutes copyright infringement, he said in his pleadings.

Harney asked the court to order the seizure of all copies of the film in any form, that the photograph be deleted from the movie, and for an award of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

He is represented by Andrew D. Epstein of Boston’s Barker, Epstein & Loscocco.

The case is Harney v. Sony Pictures Television Inc., 1:10-cv-11181, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

Microsoft Drops China Software Piracy Suit Against CITIC Kington

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, dropped an intellectual property lawsuit against a Chinese company after the two sides reached an agreement on software purchases.

Microsoft agreed to settle a lawsuit it filed against CITIC Kington Securities at a court in the eastern city of Hangzhou, the U.S. company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. CITIC Kington will buy 3.23 million yuan ($477,000) of Microsoft software as part of the settlement, it said.

The maker of the Windows operating system is stepping up action against Chinese companies for unlicensed software use. Microsoft is losing billions of dollars to software piracy in the world’s third-biggest economy, Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said in May.

Microsoft said in April it won a decision from a court in Shanghai against a Chinese insurance company for intellectual property infringement. Last year, four people were sentenced to prison terms for distributing pirated Microsoft products.

BMG Acquires Rights to Aerosmith, ZZ Top, David Essex Songs

BMG Rights Management GmbH, the music-rights venture owned by Bertelsmann AG and KKR & Co., agreed to buy independent music publisher Stage Three Music, the companies said in a statement.

Stage Three holds the rights to classic songs and writers, including songs performed by Aerosmith, David Essex, ZZ Top and Macy Gray, according to the company’s website. BMG said it was acquiring those rights from Stage Three shareholders Apax Partners, Ingenious Ventures and company management. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Competition is increasing for music publishing catalogs and the income the lyrics and melodies generate from stores, radio and Internet play, ads and movies.

Unlike recorded music, publishing is buffered from falling CD sales by its more diverse revenue sources. Owners can earn cash returns of 7 to more than 20 percent a year, depending on the songs and how they’re marketed, investors and dealmakers said.

For more copyright news, click here.

University Technology Transfer

Iowa State Spins off Avello With University-Developed Technology

Avello Bionergy Inc., a company aimed at seeking new fuel sources, has been spun off from research at Iowa State University, the school said in a statement.

The company, based at the university’s BioCentury Research Farm near Ames, Iowa, is based on technology developed by Professor Robert C. Brown of the school of engineering and director of the school’s Bioeconomy Institute and his students.

They use a technology known as “fast pyrolysis,” which is involved in heating biomass such as corn stalks and leaves in the absence of oxygen.

This produces a liquid known as bio-oil that can be used to manufacture fuels, chemicals and a solid product that can be used to enrich soil and remove green house gases from the atmosphere. According to the school, a patent application has been filed for the technology.

Avello received early stage funding from a Des Moines, Iowa-based venture firm, according to the company website.

In addition to fuel products, Avello produces Bio-asphalt, a product that can be used to replace petroleum-based liquid asphalt for roofing and paving applications.

IP Moves

Bracewell & Giuliani Hires IP Lawyer for New Seattle Office

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP hired Christopher Schenck for its new Seattle office, the Houston-based firm said in a statement.

Schenck, who previously practiced at Seattle’s Riddell Williams PS, will do patent-litigation work at the firm. He will be representing clients in the software and semiconductor industries.

He has an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a law degree from Georgetown University.

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