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Apple, Burger King, Toys ‘R’ Us: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc., the maker of the iPhone and the iPad, is seeking a patent on a technology that can help prevent distracted driving by users of mobile devices.

According to application 20120315880, the technology covered by the patent can determine if the user is driving and can then send a pre-composed message advising a caller that a vehicle is in motion. Another aspect of the invention is that the device could be set to determine if the user is in a conference room and unavailable and can send an appropriate message to the caller.

The technology can also place an incoming call on hold until the user is no longer driving or has left the meeting room. The user can adjust the length of the hold time by sliding a finger on a touch panel, according to the application.

The patent application, which was published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Dec. 13, was filed in June.

Digital Rights CTO Seeks Copyright-Enforcement Technology Patent

The chief technology officer of a California company that identifies potential online copyright infringers is seeking a U.S. patent on a technology that would combine identification of the infringer and compensation of the rights holder.

Application 20120310846, published in the patent office database Dec. 6, covers a “system, a method and a computer program for determining multiple copyright infringement events, identifying a particular IP address -- port number combination associated with the multiple infringement events, and notifying an ISP and/or a customer regarding the multiple copyright infringement events.”

The application identified Robert Steele as the inventor. He is the chief technology officer of Digital Rights Corp. of Santa Monica, California.

The application called the invention “a system for resolving an act of copyright infringement.” The technology also includes a “decision module” that can be configured to perform a number of different actions, including suspending Internet service for an infringer.

Steele’s application was filed May 31.

For more patent news, click here.


Burger King Asks Russian Court to Bar Unauthorized Use of Marks

Burger King Worldwide Inc. filed a trademark suit in Moscow Commercial Court against a Moscow resident over Internet Domain names he registered, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported.

The suit seeks a ban on the unauthorized use of its trademarks in the and domain names and 500,000 rubles (16,130) in compensation, according to the news service.

The next hearing in the case will take place in January, the news service reported.

Sazerac’s ‘Orchata’ Accused of Infringing ‘Rumchata’ Trademark

Sazerac Co., the Louisiana distiller, was sued for trademark infringement by an Illinois-based competitor.

According to the complaint filed in federal court in Chicago, Sazerac is accused of infringing the “Rumchata” and “Chata” trademarks belonging to Agave Loco LLC of Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Agave Loco said it developed a new cream-based product made with rum that was inspired by a Spanish beverage known as “horchata.” The company said it registered both “Rumchata” and “Chata” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and that customers identify Agave Loco as the single source of products bearing the “Chata” marks.

The name of Sazerac’s “‘Orchata” is “confusingly similar” to those marks, Agave Loco said, and the public is likely to be confused. It accused Sazerac of trying to hitchhike on the fame of the “Chata” products” and of deliberately creating confusion in the marketplace.

Sazerac, based in Metairie, Louisiana, doesn’t comment on pending legal matters, company spokeswoman Amy Preske said in an e-mail.

Agave Loco asked the court to bar further use of the “Orchata” name, and for destruction or modification of all allegedly infringing products and promotional materials.

Additionally, the Vernon Hills, Illinois-based Agave Loco seeks awards of money damages, including profits derived from the alleged infringement, together with attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is Agave Loco LLLC v. Sazerac Co, 1:12-cv-09698, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Livescribe Pulls Device From U.K. Market After BSkyB Files Suit

Livescribe Inc., a maker of digital pens that can transfer notes to a cloud or to a device, has pulled its “Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen” from U.K. stores following an infringement complaint from BSkyB, the pay-TV broadcaster, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

BSkyB filed a trademark-infringement suit against Oakland, California’s Livescribe and Dixon’s retail, according to the newspaper.

Livescribe said in a statement that although it didn’t offer goods and services comparable to the pay-TV company, “out of an abundance of caution” it has instructed distributors and resellers to stop selling the item, the Guardian reported.

BSkyB filed the infringement complaint Dec. 6, less than two months after Livescribe introduced the $250 device to the U.K. market, according to the Guardian.

Toys ‘R’ Us Sued by Dish’s Blockbuster Over Video-Sale Kiosks

Dish Network’s Blockbuster unit has sued Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed Dec. 14 in federal court in Sherman, Texas, is related to what Blockbuster says are kiosks using a yellow and blue color scheme from which videos proclaimed as “Blockbuster Family Favorites” are sold.

The video rental company claims this infringes its “Blockbuster” trademark, and that the yellow and blue color scheme are “well-known to the trade and the consuming public as signifying products and services” affiliated with Blockbuster.

Blockbuster says it is “inevitable” that the use of the word “blockbuster” and the yellow and blue color scheme “will result in confusion of the purchasing public.”

In addition to asking the court to bar Toys ‘R’ Us’s use of “blockbuster” and the specific color scheme, the video company also seeks an order for the destruction of all infringing promotional materials, and awards of money damages, profits realized through the alleged infringement, litigation costs and attorney fees.

Wayne, New Jersey-based Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Blockbuster LLC v. Toys ‘R’ Us-Delaware Inc., 4:12-cv-00774-RC-ALM, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Sherman).

For more trademark news, click here.


Fisher Footwear’s Ivanka Trump Sandals Accused of Infringement

Marc Fisher Footwear was sued for copyright infringement by a Los Angeles shoe manufacturer.

Co-defendant with the shoe company is Ivanka Trump Marks LLC. According to the complaint, Fisher is the licensee of the brand “Ivanka Trump.” She is the daughter of Manhattan businessman and one-time presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Mystique LLC claims that sandals distributed by Fisher under the Ivanka Trump name infringe the copyrights for two of its sandal designs. The designs are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, according to court papers.

The two products compete, according to court papers, and Mystique says the defendants were “willfully blind and acted in reckless disregard” of the company’s copyrights.

Fisher Footwear, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

Mystique is seeking a court order barring the production and sale of the allegedly infringing sandals, as well as the destruction of all sandals that it claims are copies of its designs. The company also asked for money damages, profits related to the alleged infringement and awards of litigation costs and attorney fees.

The case is Mystique Inc., v. Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, 2:12-cv-10217-RCK-RZ, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

German Court Says Austrian Composer Owns ‘Kufsteiner Lied’ Yodel

A 60-year-old copyright dispute over a distinctive yodel -- a type of song used by farmers to call their cattle -- has settled, the Austrian Times reported.

Music producer Egon Frauenberger had claimed he helped write the tune and is entitled to a percentage of the royalties for the yodel that is part of Karl Ganzer’s “Kufsteiner Lied,” which has been recorded by dozens of artist over the years, according to the newspaper.

The German High Court has confirmed a lower court ruling that Frauenberger isn’t the co-author and can’t receive additional royalties, the Times reported.

Initially the court had to determine whether yodels were even entitled to copyright protection, according to the Times.

For more copyright news, click here.

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