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Philips, Samsung, Nintendo, Aqua-Lung: Intellectual Property

Royal Philips Electronics NV, which gets more than a third of its revenue from medical systems, sued Zoll Medical Corp., claiming it’s infringing patents related to devices used to restart hearts.

Philips contends that external defibrillators made by Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Zoll are infringing six patents. It is seeking cash compensation and an order that would block further use of its inventions, according to the complaint filed Jan. 5 in federal court in Seattle.

Philips, Zoll and Medtronic Inc. are the top makers of the devices that police, firefighters and flight attendants use to help people experiencing cardiac arrest. An external defibrillator used in the first minutes after cardiac arrest can triple the chances of survival, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania.

The patents relate to ways of analyzing a patient’s heart function, defibrillators with automatic and manual modes, and methods to send medical information to and from the machines as the patient are transferred to more advanced medical care.

“Zoll does not have a license or permission to use” the inventions, Philips said in the complaint. The Amsterdam company said it has lost profits and potential sales “that Philips would have made but for Zoll’s infringing acts.”

The suit targets the E Series, M Series and R Series defibrillators made by Zoll, which reported $523.7 million in sales last year, all from different types of resuscitation devices. Officials with Zoll couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.

Philips announced last month that it had imposed controls on discretionary spending and scaled back hiring after it forecast weakening demand for health-care equipment in Europe.

The Netherlands-based company is represented by Douglas F. Stewart of Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney LLP.

The case is Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV v. Zoll Medical Corp., 2:12-cv-00018, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Samsung Fails to Win Sales Ban on Apple’s IPhone 4S in Italy

Samsung Electronics Co., the maker of the Galaxy mobile devices, failed to win a sales ban on Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone in Italy, as a global patent dispute between the two companies continues.

A Milan court last week rejected the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s bid to block the iPhone 4S in Italy, said Nam Ki Yung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, confirming an earlier report by Ansa news agency.

Samsung, which reported a 73 percent jump in fourth-quarter operating profit Jan. 6 after selling a record number of handsets last year, also failed to win a sales ban on the iPhone 4S in France last month. Samsung and Apple have been suing each other in multiple countries over patents related to mobile technologies and designs since the iPhone maker accused the South Korean rival of copying its products last year.

“We will review the ruling and consider all available measures to further protect our intellectual property rights and stop this free riding on our technology,” Samsung said in a statement, referring to the Jan. 5 court decision.

Steve Park, an Apple spokesman in Seoul, reiterated the company’s earlier statement on the dispute that Apple needs to protect its intellectual property against “blatant copying.”

The South Korean electronics maker overtook Apple as the world’s largest maker of smartphones in the third quarter, helped by the popularity of the Galaxy line of products.

Nintendo Wins ITC Patent Case Brought by Motiva Over Wii System

Nintendo Co.’s Wii game-control system didn’t infringe two patents owned by closely held Motiva LLC, the U.S. International Trade Commission said in a Jan. 5 ruling.

The ITC, a government agency with the power to exclude the importation of infringing goods, upheld an earlier ruling finding no infringement of two Motiva patents by Nintendo. Motiva had sought to block the imports of the game controller

Motiva had claimed its patents 7,292,151 and 7,492,268 were infringed.

For more patent news, click here.


Alligator Hunter Landry Sues Three Companies for Infringement

Troy Landry, the alligator hunter who stars on A&E Television Network LLC’s “Swamp People” reality show, sued three makers of T-shirts and caps for trademark infringement.

According to the complaint filed Jan. 3 in federal court in Lafayette, Louisiana, the three companies are accused of selling merchandise that infringe his “Choot ‘Em,’’ ‘‘Tree Shaka,’’ ‘‘Tree Breaka,’’ and ‘‘Mudda Fricka’’ trademarks. He said he developed these marks himself and has continuously used them since early 2010.

Landry himself sells products under these trademarks, and said the allegedly infringing merchandise competes unfairly with him, and causes the public to assume, incorrectly, that he has an affiliation with the defendants’ products.

The companies he is suing are Halpern Import Co. of Atlanta, National Cap and Sportswear Inc. of Waycross, Georgia, and Ripple Junction Design Co. of Cincinnati. Neil Hoynes, president of Ripple Junction, said in an e-mail that his company doesn’t comment on litigation. Neither of the other two companies responded immediately to e-mailed requests for comment.

Landry asked the court to order them to quit infringing his trademarks and to issue an order for the destruction of all infringing products and promotional material.

Additionally, he seeks awards of money damages, profits derived from the alleged infringement, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Landry is represented by Roy H. Maughan Jr. and Namisha D. Patel of the Maughan Law Firm of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The case is Troy Landry Products LLC v. Halpern Import Co., 6:12-cv-00004-RFD-CMH, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).

Aqua-Lung Sued for Infringement by ‘Aqua-Gym’ Trademark Owner

Aqua-Lung America Inc., maker of diving and aquatic exercise equipment, was sued for trademark infringement by a Florida inventor of aquatic equipment.

Bob Beasley of Tampa, Florida, is the holder of the registration for the “Aqua-Gym” trademark, according to court papers. He sued Aqua-Lung in federal court in Tampa, saying the diving-equipment company is using the mark without authorization for goods that are “substantially identical or identical” to products he sells.

The public is likely to be confused and to assume falsely that an affiliation exists between Aqua-Lung’s products and those that he sells, Beasley said in his Jan. 3 complaint.

He claims his business reputation and the value of his trademark are both diminished by Aqua-Lung’s actions, and asked the court to bar Vista, California-based Aqua-Lung from further infringement of his mark.

Beasley also seeks awards of money damages, profits Aqua-Lung derived from its alleged infringement, and awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Aqua-Lung didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

Beasley is represented by Daniel R. Frijouf of Tampa’s Frijouf Rust & Pyle PA.

The case is Bob Beasley v. Aqua-Lung America Inc., 8:12-cv-00001-VMC-AEP, U.s. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Tampa).

For more trademark news, click here.


Righthaven’s Winding Down Causing Receiver’s Frustration

The winding down of the affairs of the company established to enforce the copyrights for Stephens Media Group’s publications is an exercise in frustration for the court-appointed receiver, if recent court filings are any indication.

Lara Pearson of San Francisco-based Rimon PC is the receiver appointed to handle the assignment of Las Vegas-based Righthaven LLC’s intellectual property. The property was assigned to satisfy an attorney-fee award against Righthaven in one of the copyright infringement cases it filed in federal court in Las Vegas in 2011.

Righthaven didn’t do well in these cases. The courts found that Righthaven lacked standing to enforce the copyrights because Stephens Media still retained control of them.

In a Jan. 3 filing, Pearson said that she’s tried to no avail to work with Righthaven to ensure its compliance with the court’s order. Righthaven ‘‘has refused to execute the copyright assignment and has ignored repeated requests for a trademark assignment and an inventory of physical assets.”

The one item that Pearson was able to handle was the Internet domain name. That sold on Jan. 6 for $3,300 on the Internet domain name auction site.

On Jan. 5, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Johnston ordered counsel for Righthaven to be present in his court today.

The case is Righthaven LLC v. Hoehn, 2:11-cv-00050-PMP-RJJ, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas)

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Red Digital Says Cinema Camera Trade Secrets Misappropriated

Red Digital Camera, a maker of digital cameras used in the movie industry that does business as Inc., sued a competitor for trade-secret misappropriation.

In the complaint filed Dec. 21 in federal court in Santa Ana, California, Arri Inc. of Burbank, California, is accused of using trade secrets acquired through alleged e-mail hacking.

Red, based in Irvine, California, claims an e-mail account belonging to the founder of a camera-supply company was hacked by that company’s chief technology officer. The camera-supply company, Band Pro Film & Digital Inc., of Burbank, was in the process of discussing the future of digital cinema cameras, including possible joint ventures between Red and Band Pro, according to court papers.

The person who hacked Band Pro founder Amon Band’s e-mail account then moved on to Arri, bringing the trade secrets with him, Red Digital said in its pleadings.

Michael Bravin, the former Band chief technology officer, was indicted for computer fraud and e-mail hacking in August, according to court papers. Red Digital quotes part of Bravin’s plea agreement in its complaint, noting that he said he intentionally accessed Band’s e-mail both during the course of his employment and after he went to work for another company.

The criminal case against Bravin is U.S. v. Bravin, 2:11-CR-00807-UA, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Red Digital claims that as a result of Bravin’s activities, it’s been harmed, and its sensitive information went to its competitor.

Arri didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

Red Digital asked the court for money damages, including profits from the sale of Arri products that benefitted from the company’s alleged unfair competition. It’s also seeking an order barring the use of any of its confidential information and the destruction of all of Arri’s business plans “developed in reliance on information gained from Bravin hacking” the Band company’s computer.

It also asked for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Red Digital is represented by Chandler G. Weeks, Gregory L. Weeks and Gregory K. Nelson of Weeks Kaufman Nelson & Johnson of Solana beach, California.

The case is Red.Com Inc., v. Arri Inc., 8:11-cv-01l72-CJC-AN, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

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