Yahoo, Orion, Under Armor, Fuku: Intellectual Property

Yahoo! Inc. asked a federal judge to invalidate some Facebook Inc. patents and dismiss the social network company’s counterclaims of infringement in an intellectual property dispute between the two firms.

Facebook bought several of the patents at the center of its counterclaims “for purposes of retaliation” after being sued in March by Yahoo for patent infringement, Yahoo’s attorneys said in a filing April 27 in federal court in San Francisco.

Yahoo, owner of largest U.S. web portal, also added new infringement claims against Facebook.

Facebook, the Menlo Park, California-based operator of the biggest social-networking site, accused Yahoo of infringing 10 patents through its home page and Flickr photo-sharing service and in ads displayed throughout its site. The claims were made to counter patent-infringement allegations Yahoo filed March 12 against Facebook.

Facebook didn’t invent technologies claimed in eight patents it sued over, which it bought from patent holding companies or patent aggregators, Yahoo’s lawyers said.

“Facebook’s infringement assertions appear to be based on nothing more than conjecture, assumptions, and unsupported inferences about how Yahoo’s products may possibly operate,” the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in the April 27 filing.

The case is Yahoo! Inc. v. Facebook, 12-cv-01212, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Orion Sues Mylan for Infringement of Stalevo Drug Patents

Orion Oyj, a Finnish drug maker, accused rival Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. of infringing three U.S. patents for Stalevo with plans to market copies of the drug, used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

In a complaint filed April 26 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, Orion contends the unit of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan Inc. is wrongly preparing to sell generic Stalevo before the patents expire.

“Orion will be substantially and irreparably damaged and harmed” unless the copies are prohibited by a judge, lawyers for Orion said in court papers, which seek legal fees.

Orion, based in Espoo, Finland, said in a statement that “generic competition is not imminent” based on Mylan’s new application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval of the copies.

In 2009, Orion settled lawsuits against Indian generic-drug maker Wockhardt Ltd. over Stalevo and another drug, allowing some generic sales by this September.

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

In dispute are patents 5,446,194, issued in August 1995; 6,500,867, issued in December 2002; and patent 6,797,732, issued in September 2004.

The case is Orion Corp. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., 12-cv-523, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

HumanEyes Patent Complaint Against Sony to Get ITC Hearing

HumanEyes Technologies’ patent-infringement complaint against Sony Corp. will receive a hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to a statement on the commission’s website.

Sony’s Cyber-Shot cameras and Xperia smartphones are accused of infringing two patents related to a technology that gives a sense of depth to digital images.

The Washington-based commission has the power to ban the imports of goods that infringe U.S. patents.

The dispute is to be assigned to one of the commission’s six administrative law judges who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. That judge will make an initial determination -- subject to review by the entire commission -- as to whether the Sony products should be excluded as infringing.

In March, Jerusalem-based HumanEyes sued Sony in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, for infringing the patents that are at issue in the trade complaint.

In dispute are patents 6,665,003 and 7,477,284.

The case in federal court is HumanEyes Technologies Ltd. v. Sony Electronics Inc., 1:12-cv-00398-GMS, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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Obama Moves to End Deceptive School Recruiting of Veterans

President Barack Obama, calling the recruiting tactics of some schools trying sign up veterans “appalling,” signed an order requiring more financial disclosure to protect military members and their families.

The order will limit recruiters’ access to military facilities and require schools to provide financial aid options. The government will also seek to halt improper use on websites of the term “GI Bill,” referring to the educational benefit program for veterans.

In efforts to limit use of the term, it will be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“Sometimes you’re dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping you,” Obama told veterans, soldiers and their families at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia, home of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. “They don’t care about you, they care about the cash.”

The Obama administration said some for-profit and nonprofit schools recruit veterans with brain injuries, offering them limited academic support and encouraging service members and their families to take out expensive loans rather than directing them to less expensive federal student aid.

The policy isn’t designed to single out any category of schools, according to an administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity last night. Still, much of the deceptive recruiting reported since 2001 has been carried out by for-profit schools, the official said.

Under the order, students who take part in the Defense Department’s Tuition Assistance program must be given a “Know Before You Owe” form, created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education, that outlines tuition and federal financial aid information.

‘Fuku’ Name Brings Bad Fortune to Florida Restaurant Owners

The operators of an Asian-themed restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida, had their application for a state trademark on the restaurant rejected because the Japanese word chosen for the name sounded “immoral” in English, the Miami Herald reported.

The restaurant’s name is “fuku,” according to the Herald.

Paul Ardaj, who owns the restaurant, told the Herald that in Japanese “fuku” is a word for good fortune, and that “it’s not our intention to be scandalous or deceptive.”

Florida’s Department of State Divisions of Corporations said it couldn’t be registered because it “consists of, compromises or included immoral, deceptive or scandalous matter,” the newspaper reported.

Under Armour Sues Maker of Body Armor Drink for Infringing Mark

Under Armour Inc., the Baltimore-based maker of sports apparel and goods, sued a beverage maker for trademark infringement.

According to the complaint filed April 26 in Baltimore, Body Armor Nutrition LLC is accused of infringing the Maryland company’s trademarks for its water-based nutritional beverages.

In addition to infringing the trademarks for the name, Body Armor is also accused of using a logo that is too similar to that used by the sports-gear company, and of using the “Protect + Restore” tagline Under Armour says infringed its “Protect This House” tagline.

Both companies target the same class of customers, Under Armour claims, causing the public to be confused and to assume falsely that a connection exists between the two entities, according to court papers.

Under Armour asked the court for an order barring further infringement and seeks to be transferred the domain name. Additionally, it asked the court to order the destruction of all allegedly infringing products and promotional material, and the cancellation of the California company’s trademark.

The company also asked for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Body Armor Nutrition didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

Under Armour is represented by Douglas A. Rettew and Danny M. Awdeh of Washington’s Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP.

The case is Under Armour Inc. v. Body Armor Nutrition LLC, 1:12-cv-01283-JKB, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Baltimore).

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Optus Loses Legal Fight With Sports Leagues Over Match Showing

Singtel Optus Ltd. lost a legal dispute with Australian sports leagues over the showing of football and rugby matches on computers and mobile devices soon after they air live on free-to-air television.

An Australian federal court appeal panel in Sydney overturned a lower court ruling April 27 that said Optus’s “TV Now” service doesn’t infringe copyright laws because the company’s customers record the broadcasts for personal use much as people use video cassette or digital video recorders.

The Australian Football League, the most popular spectator sport in the country, and the National Rugby League sought to protect broadcasting rights valued at more than $2 billion. The main point of dispute was who creates the electronic files that are sent to the customer for viewing. The AFL, NRL and Telstra Corp., Australia’s biggest phone company, said Optus’s service infringed their copyrights because it makes the recordings, stores them on its servers, and passes them on to customers.

The AFL signed a five-year, A$1.25 billion ($1.3 billion) agreement last year with Seven West Media Ltd.’s Seven Network, Foxtel, Australia’s biggest pay television operator, and Telstra for exclusive broadcast rights to its games. The NRL is in talks with broadcasters on a new deal that would run from 2013 to 2017, with the Sydney Morning Herald having reported earlier this month that the rugby league was guaranteed a A$1.2 billion deal after Fox Sports declared it won’t be beaten for the rights.

Optus is covered by an exemption in the copyright law that allows people to make recordings of copyrighted material for their own personal use, the company said.

“The customer operates Optus’s equipment,” Richard Cobden, Optus’s lawyer, told the appeal panel at a March 15 hearing in Sydney. “The last human intervention is the maker.”

Neil Murray, the NRL’s lawyer, called Optus’s argument “self-serving.”

A customer who orders a pizza online didn’t make the pie, Murray said at the appeal hearing.

“There’s no doubt who the maker is,” he said. “It’s Pizza Hut.”

The case is National Rugby League Investments Ltd. v. SingTel Optus Ltd. NSD201/2012 Federal Court of Australia, Full Court (Sydney).

For more copyright news, click here.