Akamai, TECT, Tiger Airways: Intellectual Property

Akamai Technologies Inc. lost a court ruling in its four-year patent battle with Limelight Networks Inc. over software that speeds delivery of Web videos.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said Limelight didn’t infringe Akamai’s patent related to content delivery networks, or CDNs. U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel in Boston was correct to throw out a $45.5 million jury verdict that Akamai won in 2008, the appeals court said yesterday.

“We are disappointed with the decision and are evaluating our options,” Jeff Young, a spokesman for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Akamai, said by telephone. “We believe Akamai has tremendously valuable intellectual property and we remain resolved to vigorously defend it when appropriate.”

Akamai is facing more competition from companies including Limelight, Level 3 Communications Inc. and Cotendo Inc. for CDNs, which distribute movies, music and software to computers on behalf of services such as Hulu LLC and Netflix Inc. Online video sales will expand 20 percent to $600 million this year from 2009, research company Frost & Sullivan Inc. estimates.

Akamai’s lawsuit in 2006 accused Tempe, Arizona-based Limelight of building its business on technology developed by Akamai’s founders at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Limelight said in a statement that yesterday’s court decision “affirms that Limelight Networks respects the intellectual property of others, and that our growth and success have been achieved through the innovation of our founders and engineers.”

“Akamai put itself in a position of having to show that the allegedly infringing activities of Limelight’s customers were attributable to Limelight,” the three-judge panel said in an opinion on its website. “Akamai did not meet this burden.”

Akamai and MIT filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against closely held Cotendo on Nov. 9. Limelight won a 2009 trial in a patent case brought by Level 3, and an appeals court on May 5 upheld the jury verdict of non-infringement.

The case is Akamai Technologies v. Limelight Networks, 2009-1372, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Akamai Technologies v. Limelight Networks Inc., 06cv11109, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

Patent Office Proceedings Resolved in Favor of PDL Biopharma

PDL Biopharma Inc., the developer of antibodies used in cancer treatments, said in a statement that proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office challenging one of its patents ended favorably.

In a process known as an interference, the patent office said claims in an application belonging to Brussels-based UCB Pharma SA weren’t patentable. The office then halted the proceedings involving PDL’s patent 5,585,089 for humanized immunoglobulins.

Incline Village, Nevada-based PDL’s patent was issued in December 1996.

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Former TECT Engineer Sentenced for Trade Secret Misappropriation

Kevin Crow, 57, was sentenced for trade secrets misappropriation, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

He was an engineer with Turbine Engines Components Technologies Corp. of Thomasville, Georgia, from August 1979 until he was laid off in June 2007. Crow was accused of taking about 100 computer disks with multiple trade secrets from his former employer, a maker of aircraft-engine components.

According to the statement, Crow requested his former colleagues at TECT supply him with trade-secret information after he joined Precision Components International Inc. of Columbus, Georgia, a TECT competitor. He also acknowledged, in a conversation with a TECT employee, that he had taken information belonging to his former employer and that giving that material to Precision Components could be considered industrial espionage, the government said in the statement.

Losses stipulated to in the trade-secret theft case were less than $14 million, according to the statement.

Crow pleaded guilty to the theft in June 2010. He was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison without parole, three years of supervised release and fined $10,000.

He was represented by Christopher Kenneth Rodd of Whitehurst, Blackburn & Warren of Thomasville.

The case was U.S. v. Crow, 7:10-cr-00013-WLS-TQL, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia (Valdosta).

Greenpeace Spying-Suit Defendant Denies All Allegations

One of the defendants has responded to industrial espionage allegations made in the case Greenpeace Inc. filed against Dow Chemical Co. and seven other defendants.

The environmental advocacy group filed suit in federal court in the District of Columbia Nov. 29, claiming its files were stolen, its computers were hacked, and its telephones were tapped on behalf of Dow, South Africa’s Sasol Ltd., two public relations firms and four men.

From 1998 to 2000, the companies and PR firms conspired to infiltrate and steal confidential information in order to thwart Greenpeace Inc.’s environmental campaigns, according to the complaint. Greenpeace said the spying included breaking into locked trash bins outside its Washington headquarters and infiltrating meetings and electronic communications.

George Ferris of Severna Park, Maryland, filed a response to the allegations yesterday. Greenpeace claimed he was manager of investigative support for Beckett Brown International, an Easton, Maryland, security firm that allegedly targeted and spied on Greenpeace.

Beckett Brown went out of business in 2000. In June 2008, the Washington Post said it was given records by a former Beckett Brown employee indicating that Greenpeace activists had been targeted.

Ferris said that during the time he was accused of spying on Greenpeace for Beckett Brown, he was “solely” an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington. He also argued that the case was filed in a court that didn’t have jurisdiction over the subject of the claims made by Greenpeace and that the case was barred on many other grounds as well.

In a Nov. 29 phone interview, he said that when he had worked for Beckett Brown, “We never did any work for or against Greenpeace,’” he said.

He is represented by W. Scott Sonntag of Greenbelt, Maryland.

According to the court file, Dow Chemical has hired Michael J. Lyle of New York’s Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP as its defense counsel.

Delzenhall Resources Ltd., a Washington-based public relations firm named as a defendant in the case, is represented by Dana E. Hill and Thomas A. Clare of Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Greenpeace is represented by Victoria S. Nugent and Kit A. Pierson of Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC of Washington.

The case is Greenpeace Inc. v. Dow Chemical Co., 1:10-cv-02037-RMC, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).


Pirate Bay Defendant Seeks Swedish High Court Review of Case

Carl Lundstrom, said he’s appealing his criminal conviction and the monetary damages imposed in the April 2009 Pirate Bay copyright-infringement trial to his country’s supreme court, Sweden’s Local newspaper reported.

Lundstrom, whose family money came from Wasa crispbread -- now a unit of Barilla Holding SpA -- was convicted with three other defendants and initially sentenced to a year’s imprisonment and a combined fine of 30 million Swedish kroner ($4.4 million), according to the Local.

Although Lundstrom’s sentence was reduced to four month, in November an intermediate appeals court increased the damages to 46 million kroner, the Local reported.

Pirate Bay, which now claims to have more than 23 million users, enables peer-to-peer sharing of films, games and music through the bit-torrent technology, according to the Local.

U.S. to Fund IP Rights Enforcement Training Programs

The U.S. State Department has dedicated $3.36 million for 15 IP rights training programs worldwide, according to a government statement.

The programs will provide training and technical assistance in the investigation and prosecution of intellectual property crime.

Projects will be set up to train judges and law-enforcement officials in Brazil, Latin America, the Middle East, China, Malaysia, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the statement.

Tiger Airways Orders Ad Pulled from Pirate Bay File-Sharing Site

Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd., the Singapore-based airline, said it ordered the removal of its ad that showed up on a Pirate Bay site, according to travel-industry website Travel Blackboard.

The airlines said the ad was placed there in violation of company policy, which bars the funding of illegal activity including unauthorized downloading, according to Travel Blackboard.

The airline said the ad was placed by an outsourced agency, Travel Blackboard reported.

Uganda’s President’s Campaign Song Not Original, Academics Claim

Uganda’s president’s copyright application for a rap song should be rejected, to Ugandan academics told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

President Yoweri Museveni has applied to register the copyright for “You Want Another Rap” and planned to use it as a campaign tool, according to AFP.

The lyrics to the song are from a traditional song and are not original, Professor Mwambusya Ndebesa from Makerere University told AFP.

The song, which has become so popular that people are using it as a ring tone for their mobile telephones, is actually part of Kunyakole folklore and poetry, Professor Ndebesa said and AFP reported.

For more copyright news, click here.


‘Hon’ Trademark by Restaurateur Outrages Baltimore Residents

News that a Baltimore restaurant operator registered “Hon” as a trademark has so outraged Baltimoreans that they held a public demonstrations and started a page on Facebook Inc.’s social-media site calling for a boycott of the restaurant, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Denise Whiting, who owns Café Hon, and who registered the “Hon” mark in 2005, told the Sun she’s confused by the protest and upset that Baltimoreans are comparing her to football team owner Robert Irsay, who moved the Colts from the city in 1984.

She said she was just “protecting the business I started 19 years ago,” according to the Sun.

Whiting holds an annual “Honfest,” honoring the Baltimore character the term is said to evoke: a woman with tall hair, heavy lipstick, and a predilection for wearing housecoats, the Sun reported.

Texas School District Seeks Trademark to Generate Revenue

A school district in central Texas has decided to register its high school mascot as a trademark in order to generate revenue to help offset a $1.4 million deficit, the Austin American reported.

Scholastic Solutions Ltd. of Duncan, Oklahoma will promote the trademark for the Hutto Independent School District in return for 25 percent of the royalties from the sale of items marked with the Hutto Hippopotamus trademark, according to the newspaper.

The district expects to have the mark ready licensing in mid-February, the Austin American reported.

The specific hippo image to be registered and licensed will be chosen from images submitted by students, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.

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