Samsung, Novozymes, Microsoft, Prince: Intellectual Property

Samsung Electronics Co. escalated its legal dispute with Apple Inc. over smartphone patents, filing a trade complaint that seeks to block U.S. imports of the iPhone, iPod and iPad.

Samsung, the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones whose Galaxy devices compete with the iPhone and iPad, claims Apple is infringing five patents, according to a filing with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington June 28. The ITC, which can block imports of products found to violate U.S. patents, must decide if it will investigate Samsung’s claims.

The case by Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung adds to lawsuits in at least four countries as the companies vie for share of the mobile-device market and use the courts to try and gain access to samples of products the other has in development. The dispute began in April when Cupertino, California-based Apple claimed in a U.S. lawsuit that Samsung’s Galaxy phone and tablet computers “slavishly” copy the iPhone and iPad.

Samsung, which also supplies memory chips for Apple, retaliated with lawsuits in Seoul, Tokyo, San Francisco and Mannheim, Germany. Apple also has a civil suit pending against Samsung in South Korea.

The patents in the ITC case are related to ways to transmit multiple services over a wireless network; the format of data packets used for high-speed data transmission; integrating Web browsing into a phone; a way to store and play digital audio; and viewing digital documents using a touch-sensitive display, according to the complaint.

“Each of the asserted patents is important to Samsung’s success in the highly competitive industry of mobile electronic devices by providing Samsung with features that are highly desirable to consumers,” the company said in the complaint.

A representative for Apple wasn’t immediately available to comment on the case.

If the ITC takes the case, a judge would hear arguments within a year and the case would be completed within 15 to 18 months.

Samsung, which has U.S. headquarters in Richardson, Texas, and a research facility in San Jose, California, said it “invests in U.S.-based personnel who provide product design, research and development, and engineering to help design a product that will work in the U.S. market.” The Apple devices, it said, are made in China.

The case is In the Matter of Mobile Electronic Devices, including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computer, Complaint No. 2824, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

Novozymes Wins Enzyme Patent Case Against Danisco in Dutch Court

Novozymes A/S won an injunction against DuPont Co. unit Danisco A/S in a Dutch court in a patent infringement case covering the use of a salt-coated enzyme granule for steam-pelleting of enzymes for animal feed.

The litigation involves a patent granted to Novozymes in November 2009. The company already won a similar case against Danisco in Denmark on March 4. Novozymes says it is now entitled to an immediate injunction against Danisco in the Netherlands in relation to the infringement there.

“Novozymes is aggressively protecting our patents across the world and also in the Netherlands,” said Mikkel Viltoft, general counsel for Novozymes, in an e-mailed statement. “Although the Netherlands isn’t one of the most important markets for this product, we are happy with the outcome. This decision sets an important precedent.”

U.S.-based Danisco officials were not immediately available to comment.

Microsoft Gets U.S. Patent on Method of ‘Virtual Skywriting’

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software company, received a patent on what it calls “virtual skywriting.’

The technology covered by patent 7,966,024 enables the user of a mobile device to capture a photo of a real world scene, including a sky portion. This image can then be linked with an image of existing skywriting, enabling the addition of the skywriting to the photo image.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in the patent that this is a form of “virtual graffiti.”

The company applied for the patent in September 2008. No outside counsel is listed on the patent.

Microsoft Seeks Patent on Method to Silently Record VOIP Calls

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software company, has applied for a patent on a technology that will permit silent recording of telephone calls made using the Voice Over Internet Protocol.

According to the application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, present-day phone recording technology doesn’t work with calls made using VOIP.

The application notes that “sometimes, a government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications between telephone users.” With the move to VOIP systems, a new technology is needed, Microsoft said in its application.

The data associated with a request to establish communication using VOIP can be “modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent,” according to the application.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft applied for this patent in December 2009. The application was published in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database of pending applications June 23. No outside counsel is listed on the application.

Obama Urges Passage of Patent Reform as a Job-Growth Agent

President Barack Obama, speaking at a news conference in Washington yesterday, challenged Congress to act “right now” on pending legislation on patents, infrastructure projects and trade agreements that he said would help Americans find jobs.

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Chrysler Fails to Win Ban on ‘Imported from Detroit’ T-Shirts

Chrysler Group LLC, which sued Detroit clothing company of trademark infringement for emblazoning T-shirts with the carmaker’s “Imported From Detroit” slogan, has lost its battle to have the shirts banned.

In a June 28 order and opinion, U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow said the automaker failed to show it would suffer irreparable harm if Moda Group LLC continued to sell its shirts.

The carmaker said it began using “Imported from Detroit” in its ads to let consumers know “they could obtain the luxury they associate with foreign imports from a manufacturer based in the U.S.” Chrysler said it filed an application Nov. 23 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the phrase as a trademark.

The company ran an ad during this year’s Super Bowl to introduce the phrase to the public. At the end of the spot -- which features Detroit rapper Eminem announcing “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do” -- the screen fades to black and the Chrysler logo and the words “Imported from Detroit” appear.

Chrysler said it spent “millions of dollars” to create and release the ad, which generated an immediate 1,619 percent increase in traffic to the Chrysler 200 model Web page on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6. The automaker also claimed that after this commercial aired for the first time, “the second most-searched term” on Google was “Chrysler 200.”

Anticipating the popularity of the ad, Chrysler said it applied to register the mark for use on clothing Jan. 18 and began shipping its own “imported from Detroit” shirts Feb. 11.

The automaker said Moda began selling shirts bearing the slogan without authorization. Chrysler sent Moda a cease-and-desist letter Feb. 18, after which Moda said it would quit selling the allegedly infringing items, according to court papers.

The sales continued, and Moda began marketing additional items bearing the slogan, including tote bags, Chrysler said.

In his ruling denying Chrysler’s request, he noted that each company used its own “house marks” on their respective shirts, and said “it is hard to believe” that a consumer shopping at one of the Pure Detroit stores would think the shirts were coming from the automaker.

The case is Chrysler Group LLC v. Moda Group LLC, 2:11-cv-11074-AJT-MJH, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit)

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Prince Says Music Piracy Is Halting his Recording Career

Prince, the American musician who once changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol following a dispute with his record label, told the U.K.’s Guardian that music-piracy problems are so severe that “I’ll just hold off recording.”

The performer, who was born Prince Rogers Nelson, compared the present state of music piracy to both the gold rush and a carjacking, saying “there’s no boundaries,” according to the Guardian.

He also doesn’t market any of his songs as a ringtone, he told the Guardian.

In the present era of digitized media, Prince said the only entities making money are “the phone company, Apple and Google,” according to the Guardian.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

U.K. Aerospace, Defense Lose $2.6 Billion Annually to IP Theft

The U.K.’s aerospace and defense industries lose 1.6 billion British pounds ($2.6 billion) a year to industrial espionage and theft of intellectual property, that country’s Defense Secretary Liam Fox said at a London Chamber of Commerce event, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper.

Fox said the defense and security industries with “complex supply chains” are particularly vulnerable to cyber intrusion, the Mail reported.

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defense itself is the target of a cyber attack every eight hours, according to the Mail.

The government is investing 650 million British pounds in a new National Cyber Security Program to help government and industry combat cyber attacks, the Mail reported.

IP Moves

Barnes & Thornburgh Hires Michael Carrillo for Chicago IP Group

Barnes & Thornburg LLP hired Michael A. Carrillo for its IP practice, the Indianapolis-based firm said in a statement.

Carrillo joins from Chicago’s Neal Berger Eisenberg LLP. He does IP transactional work and litigation, representing clients in the financial, software and technology industries. He will practice from Barnes & Thornburg’s Chicago office.

He has an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a law degree from the University of Illinois.

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