HTC, Second Sight, GoDaddy, Summit: Intellectual Property

HTC Corp., Asia’s second-biggest maker of smartphones, filed a complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission that seeks to block imports of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.

The complaint filed yesterday in Washington claims Apple is infringing three patents related to wireless technology and follows a case lodged last year at the ITC that made similar claims. Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC also sued Apple yesterday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, over the three patents, 7,765,414, 7,672,219, and 7,417,944.

“Apple needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its products,” HTC General Counsel Grace Lei said in a statement.

The two companies are part of a larger battle among smartphone makers looking to fight copycats and thwart competition in a market that’s projected to reach $206.6 billion this year by researcher IHS Inc.

Apple, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has filed patent cases against handset makers using Google Inc.’s Android operating system, including Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and HTC.

“Competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours,” Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in response to the HTC lawsuit.

Google yesterday moved to protect itself from lawsuits related to Android with a $12.5 billion agreement to buy Motorola Mobility. The acquisition would give Mountain View, California-based Google at least 17,000 more patents.

HTC also has used acquisitions to bolster its position, agreeing in July to buy S3 Graphics Co. after an ITC judge found that Apple’s Mac OS X computer system violated two S3 patents.

HTC, which said in its latest complaint that it generated about $5 billion in U.S. sales last year, claims Apple infringes a patent for portable devices that integrate features of a personal digital assistant and two patents related to networking to better combine telephones and video services. The company targets the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac computers, Apple TV and the AirPort and Time Capsule wireless network equipment.

The ITC is a quasi-judicial agency that arbitrates trade disputes and has the power to block imports of products found to violate U.S. patents. The agency typically takes 15 to 18 months to complete reviews, and HTC’s lawsuit in Delaware would likely be put on hold if the commission investigates the complaint.

A judge with the ITC is scheduled to release his findings in the earlier HTC case against Apple in September.

Last month, a different trade judge found that HTC infringed two Apple patents. If that decision is upheld, it could lead to an import ban on certain HTC phones. Apple filed a separate complaint this month targeting HTC’s phones and new Flyer tablet computers.

HTC and Apple “have to sit down and figure it out,” HTC Chief Financial Officer Winston Yung said in a July 26 telephone interview. “We’re open to having discussions,” he said.

The ITC case is In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices with Communication Capabilities, 2841, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The civil case is HTC Corp. v. Apple Inc., 11-cv-715, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Second Sight Gets Eight Millionth U.S. Patent, for ‘Bionic Eye’

Second Sight Medical Products Inc., a closely held company in Sylmar, California, received patent number 8,000,000, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The patent, one of 5,122 U.S. patents issued yesterday, is related to the company’s technology aimed at helping the blind see light and shapes through the use of tiny video cameras.

A video processing unit converts the image to stimulation patterns that affect a visual prosthesis, in essence, a bionic eye.

Second Sight applied for the patent in October 2007.

Versant Ventures Management LLC of Menlo Park, California, is one of the investors in Second Sight. The company is headed by inventor Albert Mann, who is also the chairman of the board of MannKind Corp. of Valencia, California, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the treatment of diabetes.

Endo Sues Mylan to Halt Sale of Generic Frova Migraine Drug

Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. sued to stop Mylan Inc. from marketing a generic copy of Frova before three patents on the migraine drug expire.

Mylan, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, is seeking approval to make and sell a version of the drug’s 2.5 milligram tablets, Endo said in a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Endo, based in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, asked a judge to bar Mylan from infringing the patents. Frova, used to treat acute migraines in adults, was Endo’s fifth-biggest seller last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Endo, which markets Frova in the U.S., received notice from Mylan of an abbreviated new drug application last month, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The notice refers to five U.S. patents covering Frova and expiring between 2013 and 2015.

Nina Devlin, a spokeswoman for Mylan, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the suit.

The case is Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


GoDaddy Asking Top Dollar for .XXX Internet Domain Names

GoDaddy Group Inc. is charging premium prices for domain names with the “.xxx” suffix that is aimed at adult content providers, PC Magazine reported.

The fee is $209.99 during the period when those with existing domains or trademarks can apply for the .xxx extension as opposed to the $11.99 GoDaddy charges for a standard “.com” extension, according to PC Magazine.

Renewals for the .xxx domain names will cost $99 a year, while the .com names can be renewed for $11.99 annually, PC Magazine reported.

Many so-called “porn providers” said they didn’t need the new .xxx domain names and that buying them would simply add cost to their operations, according to PC Magazine.

For more trademark news, click here.


Alleged Online Infringers Sued in the U.S. Exceed 200,000

More than 200,000 people have been sued in the U.S. for online copyright infringement, the TorrentFreak website reported.

The TorrentFreak site, which is associated with users of the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol, said that more than 145,000 users haven’t yet settled their cases.

The largest number of defendants are those accused of downloading and distributing Summit Entertainment LLC’s “Hurt Locker” film, according to TorrentFreak.

None of the cases has come to trial, TorrentFreak reported.

Film Studios Can Submit Appeal in Australian Copyright Case

Australia’s High Court granted a group of 34 movie studios the right to submit an appeal in a copyright-infringement case against iiNet, an Australian Internet Service Provider, ITNews reported.

The organization, represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, will address in its appeal such questions as a film studio’s role in anti-piracy actions, according to ITNews.

The case may be heard in the High Court in Canberra, Australia, as early as October, ITNews reported.

Afact is in closed discussions with Internet service providers in Australia about copyright enforcement, according to ITNews.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Gundlach Was ‘Furious’ That Employee Didn’t Return TCW Drive

DoubleLine Capital LP’s Jeffrey Gundlach said he was “furious” that an employee failed to return a device belonging to TCW Group Inc. after the company fired him.

In his third day of testimony in a trade-secrets case, Gundlach told a Los Angeles jury yesterday that DoubleLine’s policy was to return all TCW devices and information.

“I yelled at everybody,” Gundlach said, describing a meeting with DoubleLine staff after he learned in early 2010 that one of them, Jeffrey Mayberry, had been late returning a computer drive with TCW files. “I told them this was unacceptable.”

TCW, the Los Angeles-based unit of Societe Generale SA, fired Gundlach, 51, in December 2009 and sued him in January 2010 after more than half of its fixed-income professionals joined his new firm. TCW seeks $375 million in damages, claiming Gundlach stole its trade secrets, including client portfolio data, to start DoubleLine.

Gundlach, who had worked at TCW for 25 years and who was named Morningstar’s Fixed Income Manager of the Year in 2006, countersued, saying TCW fired him to avoid having to pay management and performance fees for the distressed-asset funds his group managed and that went “through the roof.” Gundlach seeks about $500 million. Mayberry is a co-defendant and cross-complainant in the case.

Cris Santa Ana, a former managing director of Gundlach’s mortgage-backed securities group at TCW, testified earlier that Gundlach instructed him in September 2009 to start backing up data that “might be useful to have” in case Gundlach was fired. Santa Ana is a co-defendant and cross-complainant with Gundlach.

Santa Ana, who was fired together with Gundlach and joined DoubleLine, said he downloaded or asked others to copy client contracts, portfolio holdings and contact information, as well as files of trade orders and TCW’s entire mortgage-backed securities database. Santa Ana said he downloaded part of the data to an external hard drive.

A TCW vice president testified that she smuggled a hard drive out of TCW’s office in her bra the evening of Dec. 4. Santa Ana said he and other former TCW employees that joined DoubleLine didn’t use any of the TCW’s proprietary information at the new firm.

TCW argues that Gundlach wouldn’t have been able to get DoubleLine started within weeks after he was fired if he hadn’t had access to TCW trade secrets and confidential information.

Gundlach said yesterday that that from when DoubleLine started on Dec. 14, 2009, the policy had been not to use any TCW files they still had and to return them to TCW.

The case is Trust Co. of the West v. Gundlach, BC429385, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

IP Moves

Paul Hastings Snares Finnegan Henderson Litigator for IP Group

Paul Hastings LLP hired Steven Park for its IP practice group, the Los Angeles-based firm said in a statement.

Park a litigator, joins from Washington’s Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP. He has represented clients whose technologies include wireless telecommunications, semiconductor devices, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment and processes. He will practice in the firm’s Atlanta office.

He has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a law degree from the University of Georgia.

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