GM, EBay, Apple, Conde Nast: Intellectual Property

AngioDynamics Inc., a maker of devices to treat blood-vessel diseases, agreed to settle its patent fight with Vascular Solutions Inc. over a varicose vein treatment, court records show.

Terms weren’t disclosed in the Dec. 21 joint court filing announcing the settlement of all claims and counterclaims. The case was dismissed Dec. 23 by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the two companies’ request.

AngioDynamics, based in Latham, New York, sued in July 2009, claiming Minneapolis-based Vascular Solutions’ Vari-Lase product infringed two patents related to equipment and methods of treating varicose veins with internal lasers. As part of the settlement, the companies agreed that both patents are valid and enforceable, according to the court filing.

AngioDynamics wouldn’t comment on the settlement, saying the terms are confidential.

The case is AngioDynamics Inc. v. Vascular Solutions Inc., 100-3601, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (St. Paul).

Patent Application Suggests Fix for Apple’s iPhone Antenna Issue

An application published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Dec. 23 appears to be a solution to the antenna problem that affected Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

Application 20100321253 covers a logo antenna for electronic devices. It notes that it can be “difficult” to incorporate antennas into small electronic devices, as space is limited and antenna operations can be “blocked by intervening metal structures.”

The device can transmit and receive antenna signals through an electrical insulator window that can serve as a logo, “or may contain appropriate text or other visual logo attributes,” according to the application.

Although Apple isn’t yet listed as the owner of the invention, one of the named inventors is Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert at the Cupertino, California-based company. In 2009, Caballero told Apple management the iPhone 4’s design might create antenna problems, according to an earlier Bloomberg story.

One of the drawings accompanying the application shows an Apple logo as an example of a log antenna.

Apple need not be identified as the patent’s owner until it is issued. The application for the patent was filed in June 2009, with the assistance of the Treyz Law Group of San Francisco.

According to the patent office database, this law firm has handled other pending and published Apple patent applications, and is listed as the attorney of record on 20 U.S. patents issued to Apple.

For more patent news, click here.


General Motors Told Relying on Wikipedia Was Insufficient

A panel at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office faulted General Motors Co. for relying on a Wikipedia entry in efforts to block issuance of what the automaker claimed was an infringing trademark.

General Motors opposed the registration of “Corvoltte” for electric cars, according to a Dec. 10 opinion of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. It claimed it had used “Corvette” as an auto identifier since 1952, registered the mark, and that the issuance of a “Corvoltte” mark would cause confusion.

While GM submitted entries from the “Corvette Illustrated Encyclopedia,” “Corvette America’s Sports Car,” and the Wikipedia entry for Corvette, the company didn’t provide “evidence of sales, advertising or the extent of the mark’s renown.” The board said that to the extent GM relied on Wikipedia evidence, it was “admissible for the limited purpose of demonstrating what has been printed, not for the truth of what has been printed.”

The board said GM’s evidence “falls short of establishing the fame or renown of its Corvette mark.”

Instead of the Wikipedia evidence, the board based its ruling denying the “Corvoltte registration on the points of similarity between the two marks. It found that “the similarities of both marks would be apparent to anyone exposed to them” and that registration of “Corvoltte” was likely to cause confusion.

The case is General Motors LLC v. Sweeny, Opposition No. 91188584, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Jobs’ Figures Gone From EBay After Apple Trademark Complaint

EBay Inc. has removed all listings for figurines of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs from its Internet auction website following a complaint from Apple, the iPhoneSavior news blog reported.

Apple had originally objected to any sale of the figures, which were made in Hong Kong and sold through the M.I.C. Gadget website for $80. According to the M.I.C. Gadget website, it received a letter from counsel for Apple, demanding an end to the marketing and sale of the figure.

“So all Apple fanboys, you are not going to get this phenomenal figure anymore,” M.I.C. Gadget said in a statement.

The highly detailed figure showed Jobs with removable glasses wearing his standard black turtleneck and Levis 502 jeans, standing on an Apple logo and holding an iPhone in his hand. According to M.I.C.’s website, the figure is taller than an iPhone and shorter than an iPad.

Some of the original batch of 300 Jobs figures had been offered on EBay for as much as $2,500, according to iPhone savior. When the website was accessed yesterday, no Steve Jobs figures were listed.

One seller was offering a caricature of the action figure, which had received eight bids. Another was selling a reprint of Jobs’ design patent for a personal computer, printed on “antiqued parchment paper” and “of museum sharpness and quality.” A third seller listed a “Steve Jobs Italian Charm Wrist Watch,” the face of which featured a photo of a younger Jobs holding a red apple in his hand., the San Mateo, California-based company that prints user-designed t-shirts, mouse pads, mugs and other items, has 270 Steve Jobs designs available on almost 10,000 products, according to the company website.

None features an image of the Apple chief executive, and most are expressions of fandom, such as “Jobs is my homeboy” and “WWSJD,” the latter a gloss on the “What Would Jesus Do” phrase used by evangelical Christians.

For more trademark news, click here.


Conde Nast Gets $12,500 From Photo Downloader, Poster

A Columbus, Ohio, resident who acknowledged downloading more than 1,100 files from Conde Nast Publications Ltd., including unpublished magazine covers, and publishing them on the Internet has paid the publisher $12,500 to settle the infringement claim, The Smoking Gun website reported.

Ross Ulrich, a 22-year-old community college student, told the Smoking Gun he doesn’t yet know if he will be charged for criminal copyright infringement, according to the website.

He said he breached the publisher’s system so he could be the first to post high resolution images online, and lists fashion photographers Mario Testino and Bruce Weber as his heroes, Smoking Gun reported.

Ulrich said he didn’t pay for the password that let him into the Conde Nast system, instead found his way in by “poking around” on the Internet, Smoking Gun said.

Songwriter Faces Possible Shut-Out After He Advocates Reform

The Film Federation of India, a trade group, has threatened to shut out songwriter Javed Akhtar because of his advocacy of an amendment to India’s copyright law giving composers, filmwriters and songwriters additional rights, Indian Express reported.

Under the present system, which the film industry wants to maintain, writers and composers are given a one-time payment and must sign over all rights to their work, regardless of the success of the film or further exploitation of the content, according to Indian Express.

Taiwan, China Reach Accord on Copyright Royalty Collection

Copyright management societies in China and Taiwan have agreed to cooperate on royalty collection, Xinhua reported yesterday.

China’s China Written Works Copyright Society and Taiwan’s Chinese Oral and Literary Copyright Collective Management Association signed an agreement Dec. 26, according to Xinhua.

The Taiwan group will collect royalties from copy shops and universities in Taiwan for the duplication of works from the mainland, according to Xinhua.

If royalties are not paid by the copy shops, the Taiwan group is authorized to sue them on behalf of the Chinese copyright owners, according to the news service.

Swiss File-Sharing Website Hires U.S. Lobbying Firm

RapidShare, operator of a file-sharing website, hired a U.S. lobbying firm to represent its interests in Congress after some lawmakers this year named it one of the most infringing sites in the world, according to Deutsche Welle.

The Cham, Switzerland-based company hired Washington-based Dutko Worldwide to call on members of Congress and argue it shouldn’t be the target of U.S. infringement actions, Deutsche Welle reported.

RapidShare said that it takes many steps to filter out infringing files and that copyrighted music and movies make up only 5 percent of the files uploaded every day, the news service reported.

The company is concerned about an anti-piracy bill under consideration that could enable more government seizures of infringing domains, according to Deutsche Welle.

Sale of Schindler’s List Won’t Infringe Copyright, Judge Rules

A New York state court has said that the sale of a list German businessman Oskar Schindler made of Jewish employees he saved from Nazi death camps can go forward.

Marta Erick Rosenberg, the heir of Schindler’s wife, Emilie, sought to block the sale, claiming this would infringe her copyrights to the list. She filed suit in New York state court in May.

The disputed list is a duplicate, rather than the original Schindler’s list, which is held at the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem in Israel. According to court papers, this list was collected by a worker in Schindler’s office and is also considered authentic.

Gary Zimet and M.I.T. Memorabilia Inc., the seller of the duplicate, which differs slightly from the Yad Vashem version, had claimed he never intended to publish the list and, in any case, the contents of the list were already known around the world.

Judge Louis B. York said in his Dec. 21 ruling that because Zimet has given the court a sworn statement that he won’t publish the list, the sale won’t violate the copyright. He said Rosenberg failed to show she had sufficient reason to block the sale.

The case is Marta Erika Rosenberg v. Gary Zimet, 601183/2010, New York Supreme Court.

For more copyright news, click here.

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