April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. won a partial victory from a U.S. International Trade Commission judge in its bid to block imports of Apple Inc.’s devices including the iPhone and iPad tablet computer.
Apple violated one of four Motorola Mobility patent rights being contested, ITC Judge Thomas Pender said in a notice posted yesterday. The patent relates to 3G technology. The other three patents weren’t violated, according to the notice.
The judge’s findings are subject to review by the six-member commission, which has the power to block imports that infringe U.S. patents.
“A court in Germany has already ruled that Apple did not infringe on this patent, so we believe we will have a very strong case on appeal,” Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview, referring to the one patent Apple was found to have violated.
“We are pleased that the ALJ’s initial determination finds Apple to be in violation of Motorola Mobility’s intellectual property, and look forward to the full commission’s ruling in August,” Becki Leonard, a spokeswoman for Motorola Mobility, said in an e-mailed statement.
The six-member commission is scheduled to complete the investigation by Aug. 23. Should it decide an import ban is warranted, that decision is subject to review by both President Barack Obama and an appeals court that specializes in patent law.
Motorola Mobility filed the complaint Oct. 1, 2010, amid statements by Apple that phones running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system copied the iPhone. Google, which is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, has cited the handset maker’s patent portfolio as a possible bulwark against patent litigation by Android rivals like Apple.
Apple, which had $108.2 billion in sales last year, has denied infringing Motorola Mobility patents and challenged their validity.
Apple lost its own ITC case, filed Oct. 29, 2010, in which it sought to block imports of Motorola Mobility’s Android phones. Apple is appealing the decision.
Google, based in Mountain View, California, agreed to buy Motorola Mobility after the case was filed and will inherit the dispute once the deal is completed. European and U.S. regulators have approved the acquisition, which is under review by Chinese authorities.
Pender’s full decision will be posted after both sides get a chance to redact confidential information.
The case against Apple is In the Matter of Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, Computers and Components Thereof, 337-745, and Apple’s case against Motorola Mobility is In the Matter of Mobile Devices and Related Software, 337-750, both U.S. International Trade.
MacroSolve Settles Patent Cases Against AOL, Bank of America
MacroSolve Inc., the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company that has filed more than 25 patent infringement cases since March 2011, has resolved disputes with Bank of American Corp., and AOL Inc., the company said in a statement yesterday.
The company had accused the defendants of infringing patent 7,822,816, which was issued in October 2010. The patent covered mobile information collection systems used in wireless networks.
The suits against AOL and Bank of America were filed Feb. 27 and March 23, respectively. They were both filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, which is a venue where jurors are believed to be more favorable to patent owners, and has been MacroSolve’s choice for all the patent-infringement cases it has filed.
Terms of the settlements weren’t disclosed.
In both cases MacroSolve was represented by Zachariah Harrington, Matthew J. Antonelli, Kris Yue Teng and Larry Dean Thompson Jr. of Antonelli Harrington & Thompson LLP of Houston.
The case against AOL is MacroSolve Inc. v. AOL Inc., 6:12-cv-00091-LED, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler). The case against Bank of America is MacroSolve Inc., v. Bank of American Corp., 6:12-cv-00193-LED, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).
Vodafone Loses Patent Ruling Over Sales of HTC, Nokia Devices
Vodafone Group Plc, alongside Deutsche Telekom AG, lost a patent case brought by IPCom GmbH in a Dusseldorf court over the distribution of certain mobile phones made by Nokia OYJ and HTC Corp.
Vodafone can’t comment on the impact of yesterday’s ruling before reviewing the written judgment, company spokesman Kuzey Esener said in an e-mailed statement. The patent at issue is currently under review and may still be declared invalid, he said.
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Barr Trademark Challenge to Be Heard in Russian Court May 29
A.G. Barr Plc’s trademarks are being challenged in a Russian court, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported.
The case, to be heard at the Moscow Commercial Court, pits Business Invest Group Holdings against Barr, according to the news agency.
Business Invest Group has filed more than 10 similar suits against other companies, seeking to terminate their trademarks, the news agency reported.
Barr, maker of Orangina, has been in business since 1875, and has produced Irm-Bru since 1901, according to the news agency.
IP Office Says No Sale to Foreigners of Regional Coffee Marks
Vietnam’s National Office for Intellectual Property has said trademarks for Vietnamese coffee may not be sold to a Chinese company, according to VietNam Net.
Trademarks that include the name of localities can’t be sold without the permission of local authorities, the office said and VietNam Net reported.
Another possible bar to a sale would be collective ownership of the trademark, according to VietNam Net.
As a means of protecting the marks and preventing their sale, the local department of agriculture and rural development has asked that it be transferred the trademarks, VietNam Net reported.
Live Nation Files Suit to Seize Fake Coldplay Merchandise
A Live Nation Entertainment Inc. unit filed a trademark infringement suit related to merchandise that it said is likely to be sold near a Los Angeles-area venue where the British band Coldplay is scheduled to perform May 1 and 2.
The suit is against nine unidentified defendants and one unnamed company. According to the complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles yesterday, Live Nation anticipates that the defendants will attempt to sell unauthorized merchandise bearing the band’s trademarks in the vicinity of the Hollywood Bowl on that weekend.
Live Nation said merchandise -- typically T-shirts, jerseys and caps -- will be of the same general appearance as the authorized items. Such fakes are usually of poor quality and the public will likely be confused by the resemblance to the legitimate goods, Live Nation said.
Live Nation said the fakes will damage its reputation and it will miss out on royalties that would come from the sale of legitimate merchandise.
The Beverly Hills, California-based company asked the court to bar the sale of the fake items, and to issue an order enabling its agents and law enforcement officials to seize and destroy all unauthorized merchandise.
Additionally, it is requesting awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.
The case is Live Nation Merchandise Inc. v. John Does, 2:12-cv-03527-RGK-AGR, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
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Google Was Never Told by Sun to License Java, Schmidt Says
Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt testified that his company developed the Android operating system using the Java programming language after partnership talks with Sun Microsystems Inc. fell through and Sun made no demand for a license to use Java.
Sun sought $30 million to $50 million and tight control over Java’s use for Android, Schmidt told jurors yesterday in federal court in San Francisco during Oracle Corp.’s trial against Google. When deal negotiations fell through in 2006, Google built the Android software for mobile devices using aspects of the Java platform without infringing on Sun’s intellectual property, he said. Oracle now owns Java.
Schmidt said that based on his understanding of Sun’s licensing requirements for Java, Google’s use of the programming language’s tools in Android without a license was “permissible” and “legally correct.” He said Jonathan Schwartz, who started as Sun’s chief executive officer in April 2006, never asked the search engine operator to take a license.
Oracle is seeking $1 billion in damages and a court order blocking sales of Android, now running on more than 300 million smartphones, unless Mountain View, California-based Google pays for a license.
Oracle acquired Java as part of its 2010 takeover of Sun. The Redwood City, California-based database maker alleges that Google infringed copyrights on 37 APIs -- tools programmers use to create applications using Java -- and infringed two Java patents.
Schmidt said Java, a free programming language, is useless without the APIs, which are used to tell computers how to print, sort and perform other applications. Google implemented the Java language and APIs, not Java source code, which would require a license, he told the jury.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the trial, said Schmidt’s answer wasn’t responsive to the question and ordered jurors to disregard it.
Schmidt said that Sun co-founder Scott McNealy, who preceded Schwartz as CEO, saw the Android partnership with Google as a way to boost revenue.
The trial, expected to last eight weeks, is divided into three phases. Oracle rested its case yesterday for the first phase, which deals with copyright infringement. Google began its defense of those claims yesterday, and the jury is expected to deliberate on those claims as early as next week.
The next phases of the trial will be patent claims and damage claims.
The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
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Davis Wright Tremaine Hires Litigator from Morrison & Foerster
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP hired Eric Walters for its IP practice group, the Seattle-based firm said in a statement.
Walters, a litigator, joins from San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster LLP. He has represented clients in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, software, semiconductor, medical device and cleantech industries in patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark and licensing disputes.
He has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and a law degree from the University of Michigan.
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