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Samsung, Roll Global, Apple, Barclays: Intellectual Property

Samsung Electronics Co. lost a Dutch court ruling over sales of its Galaxy S, S II and Ace smartphones in a patent dispute with Apple Inc.

A court in The Hague said Samsung will have to halt some sales of the products after Oct. 13. The ruling is preliminary and “has no bearing whatsoever on proceeding on the merits of the case,” the court said.

The ruling is part of a broader legal dispute between Apple and rival smartphone makers as competition intensifies. Apple, the world’s top smartphone seller, has filed patent cases against handset makers using Google Inc.’s Android operating system, including Samsung Electronics, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and HTC.

The patents cover scrolling in the handsets’ photo gallery and the way a device is unlocked. Apple accused its rival of breaching three of its patents and several design rights for the iPad tablet and the iPhone smartphone, according to the statement. The court didn’t extend the ruling to sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets.

A German regional court in Dusseldorf on Aug. 9 granted Apple a sales ban against Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet in 26 of the 27 European Union member countries, only to scale back its effects a week later over jurisdictional doubts.

Apple said in an e-mailed statement yesterday that “it’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging.” Samsung spokeswoman Katja Meincke declined to comment immediately and said the company will send a statement on the Dutch ruling later.

For more patent news, click here.


Roll Global’s PomWonderful Sues Pompis Maker for Infringing Mark

Roll Global LLC’s PomWonderful unit sued a Texas maker of energy drinks for trademark infringement.

PomWonderful is one of a number of food and beverage-related companies run by Los Angeles billionaire Stewart Resnick, who this month bought Landmark Vineyards in California’s Sonoma County. His PomWonderful unit is focused on products made from pomegranate, including juice, fresh fruit, nutritional supplements and snack bars, with an emphasis on the alleged health benefits of consuming foods and beverages made from that fruit.

The company objects to the name used by Backside Beverages LLC of Dallas, which does business as Pompis. The Pompis products are energy drinks, promoted by an ad campaign featuring scantily clad women, according to the company’s website.

In the complaint filed Aug. 22 in federal court in Utah, PomWonderful said the energy-drink company’s name is based on a slang Spanish expression for a person’s backside.

The Texas company’s name tarnishes the Pom marks, and also causes the public to believe falsely that an affiliation exists between the two companies. The fact that Pompis products contain “high sugar and caffeine” is also tarnishing the PomWonderful reputation, according to court papers.

PomWonderful asked the court to bar the Texas company’s use of any marks similar to “Pom” and for awards of money damages, attorney fees, lost profits, and profits Pompis derived from its alleged infringement.

Pompis didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

PomWonderful is represented by Stephen K. Christiansen of Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy of Salt Lake City.

The case is PomWonderful LLC v. Backside Beverages LLC, 2:11-cv-00760-BCW, U.S. District Court, District of Utah.

Samsung Traces IPad Design to Kubrick Film, Before Apple Patent

Samsung Electronics Co., facing allegations that it stole tablet computer patents from Apple Inc., says the design for such devices can be traced back to Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

The design claimed in a 2005 patent that Apple holds covering parts of the appearance of the iPad is depicted in the film, in which two astronauts are shown using tablet computers, Samsung attorney Sara Jenkins said in a court filing Aug. 23 in federal court in San Jose, California, that included a clip from the film.

“The tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominantly flat front surface, a flat back surface” and a thin form, Jenkins said in the filing.

Apple sued Samsung this year, saying the South Korean company’s Galaxy line of mobile devices, including its Galaxy Tab, infringes Apple’s trademarks and its D’889 and other patents. The iPad maker is seeking a court order blocking Samsung from selling products that violate its patents and trademarks. A hearing is scheduled for October.

Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the filing.

The D’889 patent covers parts of the iPad’s “unique and novel ornamental appearance” such as the black face, the matrix of icons and a rim surrounding a flat screen, Cupertino, California-based Apple said in court filings. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab infringes the patent, the company alleges.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 5:11-cv-01846-LHK, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Barclays Sues U.K. Debt Recovery Company Over ‘Misleading’ Name

Barclays Plc sued a U.K. debt recovery company in a trademark dispute over the use of the name of the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets.

Barclays Recovery Services has no connection to the London-based bank, Barclays Plc said in a statement. The lawsuit was filed in London on Aug. 22.

Under U.K. intellectual property law, company names can be protected as registered trademarks, according to the Intellectual Property Office’s website. Infringement may occur when a logo or name can be confused with a registered trademark, or where it takes advantage of another company’s reputation.

“The legal proceedings seek to stop Barclays Recovery Services Ltd. from infringing the bank’s trademarks and engaging in conduct that is misleading,” Barclays said. “Barclays values its reputation with its customers and the general public and will always act to protect its name.”

Barclays Recovery Services, which is registered at an address on Regent Street in London, doesn’t have a listed phone number. According to a Feb. 9 story in the U.K.’s Mirror newspaper, the company’s London address is only a virtual office, and its sole director is 30-year-old Tabriz Tahir.

The case is Barclays Bank Plc v. Barclays Recovery Services Ltd., High Court of Justice Chancery Division, No. HC11C02895.

For more trademark news, click here.


Online Gallery Exhibits Hard Drive Containing Illegal Downloads

The gallery is exhibiting a work called “5 Million Dollars 1 Terabyte,” which is an external computer hard drive allegedly containing $5 million worth of illegally downloaded files.

The website also contains a list of the files that are on the drive, together with clickable links to those files. When accessed Aug. 24, that file didn’t open.

The only other work exhibited at the website is “Google Search for Meaning,” an image of an installation consisting of a three-dimensional pyramid on which a hacked version of Google Inc.’s Google Maps is projected.

Gatehouse Tells Blogger Mentioning Newspaper Name Infringes

GateHouse Media Inc., a newspaper publishing chain based in Fairport, New York, sent a blogger a letter telling him he can’t use the name of a newspaper the company puts out.

According to the letter sent Ray Jadwick’s Utica blog, GateHouse demanded the blog owner discontinue use of the name and an image he placed on his blog that featured the name of GateHouse’s “Observer Dispatch” newspaper.

The blog was violating trademark law by using the name, GateHouse said in the letter. Jadwick was given until 5 p.m. today to remove the name and the image to which the newspaper objected, according to the letter.

The letter was signed by Polly Grunfeld Sack, GateHouse’s general counsel. She said that if Jadwick didn’t remove the objectionable content, he could be sued, and that the chain could seek triple damages against him.

Avex Entertainment, 30 Others File Japanese Infringement Suit

Record labels that are members of the Recording Industry Association of Japan sued the operators of a website that enabled free and unauthorized downloads of music posted on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site, the Daily Yomiuri reported online.

Among the 31 companies filing the suit in Tokyo District Court Aug. 19 were Universal Music LLC, Avex Entertainment Inc. and Nippon Columbia Co., according to the newspaper.

They object to MusicGate’s Tubefire site, through which their content is duplicated and distributed without authorization, the Daily Yomiuri reported.

The companies are demanding money damages equal to what they say they could have earned from legitimate sales of their content usurped by the unlawful downloads, according to the Daily Yomiuri.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Michael Best Expands Life Sciences IP Practice with New Hires

Michael Best & Friedrich LLP hired four IP lawyers from Chicago’s Polsinelli Shugard, the Milwaukee-based firm said in a statement.

They are Lisa Mueller, Paul Jenny, Todd Hofmeister and Joseph Pletcher. All four work in the life sciences area.

Mueller does trademark and patent acquisition work for clients whose technologies include genomics, proteomics, immunology, diagnostic assays, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, plants, polymer science and nutritional products.

She has an undergraduate degree and a law degree from Valparaiso University.

Jenny, who does patent and trademark acquisition and technology-transfer work, is a former technology-transfer specialist at the National Institutes of Health.

Among the technologies with which he’s worked are molecular biology, genome-related technologies, miRNA, antibodies, biological imaging, vaccine development, receptor biology, neuroscience, diagnostics, drug discovery and pharmaceuticals biology/ chemistry, food microbiology, plant biology, polymer chemistry and magnetic resonance imaging.

He has an undergraduate degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in microbiology and food science from North Carolina State University, and a law degree from the University of North Carolina.

Hofmeister does patent-acquisition work. He’s handled patents related to drug discovery and development, specialty polymers and polymeric resins, and molecular biology/genetics-related technologies.

He has an undergraduate degree in political science from Michigan State University, a master’s degree and a doctorate in molecular biology from Princeton University, and a law degree from DePaul University.

Pletcher, who does patent-related client counseling and patent acquisition work, has represented clients in the chemistry, pharmaceutical and biotech industries.

He has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Butler University, a doctorate in organic chemistry from Emory University and a law degree from Indiana University.

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