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Motorola, Disney, Microsoft: Intellectual Property

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Intellectual Ventures LLC, the company founded by former Microsoft Corp. chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, sued Motorola Mobility Inc. for patent infringement.

The suit, filed yesterday in federal court in Delaware, accused the Libertyville, Illinois-based company of infringing six patents related to portable computing and file transfer.

Myhrvold has frequently characterized Bellevue, Washington-based Intellectual Ventures as an “invention company,” and numerous patent applications have been filed as a result of so-called invention sessions in which Myhrvold and others from Intellectual Ventures gather to discuss solutions to technological problems.

According to the complaint, Intellectual Ventures owns more than 35,000 intellectual property assets, with 3,000 of those patents and patent applications coming from the company’s own invention efforts.

None of the patents at issue in the case against Motorola come from such sessions. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database of patent assignments, all six were acquired by Intellectual Ventures, some as recently as Sept. 6.

Some of the patents have changed hands numerous times, including one, issued in 2008 and acquired by Intellectual Ventures in July.

Patent 7,810,144, issued in October 2010, was acquired July 18 from H. Space Data Services of Wilmington, Delaware.

Patent 6,412,953, issued in July 2002, was acquired in January 2010 from Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Patent 7,409,450, has changed hands 12 times since it was issued in August 2008, with Intellectual Ventures acquiring it July 28 from Van Drebbel Mariner LLC of Los Altos, California.

Patent 7,120,462, issued in October 2006, changed hands six times and was acquired by Intellectual Ventures Sept. 6 from Balustare Processing NY LLC of Dover, Delaware.

Patent 6,557,054 was issued in April 2003, and acquired by Intellectual Ventures Sept. 6 from Twintech E.U. LLC of Wilmington.

Patent 6,658,464, issued in December 2003, was also acquired Sept. 6 from Twintech.

Google Inc. said in August that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in the process picking up more than 17,000 patents that could be used to defend its Android software.

In the suit against Motorola Motility, Intellectual Ventures claims it approached Motorola about taking a license beginning in January. The two companies couldn’t come to terms, Intellectual Ventures said in its court papers.

The company claims that at least 18 Motorola Mobility products infringe the patents. It asked the court for orders barring future infringement, and for awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

This is the sixth patent infringement case Intellectual Ventures has filed since 2010, according to Bloomberg data. All were filed in federal court in Delaware.

Motorola Mobility doesn’t comment on pending litigation, a company representative said in an e-mail.

The case is Intellectual Ventures LLC v. Motorola Mobility Inc., 1:11-cv-00908-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Bally Loses Appeal of IGT Game Machines Patent Lawsuit

Bally Technologies Inc. lost its appeal of a lower-court finding that it infringed two patents belonging to International Game Technology of Reno, Nevada.

IGT claimed that Bally’s Power Rewards and Power Winners promotions infringed patents RE38,812 and RE37,885. The patents cover a network gaming system.

The trial court agreed, finding Bally infringed elements of each patent, and a Washington-based appeals court affirmed that finding in a ruling yesterday.

IGT’s case was argued by Deanne E. Maynard of San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster LLP. Bally’s argument was made by Edward J. Defranco of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP of Los Angeles.

The lower-court case is IGT v. Bally Gaming International Inc., 1:06-cv-00282-SLR, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The appeals court case is IGT v. Bally Gaming International Inc., 2010 1364, 1365, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

For more patent news, click here.


Disney Files Application for ‘Castle of Illusion’ Trademark

Walt Disney Co., whose Mickey Mouse character has been around for 83 years, filed an application to register “Castle of Illusion” as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The application, filed Sept. 27, specifies that the mark would be used for video-game cartridges, discs and software; and computer-game discs and software.

A previous application was filed in March 1991 and abandoned in September 1991 in advance of the mark’s issuance. That application was filed by Sega of America Inc., which in 1990 released a “Castle of Illusion” game starring Mickey Mouse.

According to, which follows developments in video games, Sega made other related games and then lost the license.

The trademark application was filed on Disney’s behalf by Steven A. Plotkin, in-house counsel for the Burbank, California-based entertainment company, according to the patent office database.

Microsoft Wins German Trademark Case Over Used Software CDs

Microsoft Corp. won a ruling in Germany’s top civil court barring a company from using certificate labels linked to Microsoft’s trademarks when selling compact discs with used software, the Federal Court of Justice said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Doctor’s Associates Claims Subway Marks Infringed in Singapore

Doctor’s Associates Inc., the owner of the Subway chain of sandwich shops, sued a Singapore company for trademark infringement, the Straits Times reported.

The lawsuit, which was heard in Singapore’s High Court beginning Oct. 4, accused Subway Niche of infringement, according to the Straits Times.

Subway, which now operates 34,891 stores in 98 countries, sued after Subway Niche got into the sandwich business, the newspaper reported.

The U.S. company argued the public is confused by the name similarity, according to the Straits Times.

For more trademark news, click here.


Don’t ‘Stand By Me,’ Sony Tells Ortega on Song Use in Nicaragua

Sony Music told Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to stop using the rhythm-and-blues classic “Stand By Me” in a campaign advertisement that asks voters to elect the former guerrilla leader to a third term.

The request to pull the ad from television and radio under the threat of legal action was made in a letter from Sony/ATV Music Publishing to Ortega’s party, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, on Aug. 22.

Use of the song, recorded in 1960 by Ben E. King, constitutes a “serious infringement” of Sony’s copyright, the Santa Monica, California-based company said in the cease and desist order, a copy of which was published Oct. 5 by Managua-based newspaper La Prensa.

“We don’t allow our songs to be used by political campaigns,” Jimmy Asci, a spokesman for Sony/ATV in New York, said in a phone interview.

Beginning in July, a Spanish-language version of the famous song, re-titled “Nicaragua Will Triumph,” began airing on TV with footage of Ortega from 1979, when he led the Sandinista rebels that toppled the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.

The five-minute video opens with black-and-white images of early 20th-century revolutionary Augusto Sandino, the ideological father of Ortega’s movement, set to the lyrics “when the sun went away.” It then flashes forward to 2007 and an image of Ortega receiving the presidential sash to the chorus “when the sun came back.”

“Stand By Me” was listed fourth in the “Top 100 Songs of the Century” on U.S. radio and television published in 1999 by Nashville, Tennessee-based Broadcast Music Inc. It was also featured in director Rob Reiner’s 1986 movie by the same name, based on Stephen King’s novella “The Body.”

The order to pull the ad was addressed to Sandinista legislator Edwin Castro, the head of Ortega’s party in the National Assembly. Castro didn’t respond to calls or an e-mail from Bloomberg seeking comment.

Ortega is favored in polls to win re-election Nov. 6 after the pro-government majority in the Supreme Court overrode a boycott by opposition justices and lifted a constitutional ban on incumbent presidents seeking consecutive re-election or a third term.

HADOPI Tells TorrentFreak More than 650,000 Received Warnings

France’s anti-piracy legislation, which went into effect in January 2010, has resulted in more than 650,000 “first-strike” warnings Internet users, the TorrentFreak website reported.

According to the site, which focuses on copyright enforcement, 60 customers of French Internet service providers have received so-called third-strike notices which, with judicial agreement, could cost each a 1,500-euro ($2,015) fine and loss of Internet connectivity for one month.

Marie-Francoise Marais, who heads the government copyright enforcement agency HADOPI, told TorrentFreak that 44,000 holders of French Internet accounts have received second-strike notices.

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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