May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Elena Ambrosiadou, co-founder of Ikos Asset Management Ltd., won a U.K. court case brought by her estranged husband, Martin Coward, over who owns the computer software that runs the hedge fund’s trading platform.
While Coward wrote the original software, he did so as a member of Ikos, making it an asset of the Cyprus-based hedge-fund firm’s partnership, Judge Sarah Asplin wrote in her ruling handed down May 17. Coward sued his wife’s businesses saying he was the architect of Ikos’s success and owns the copyright for the $1.36 billion fund’s trading algorithms.
The couple’s relationship “turned toxic,” Coward’s lawyer Michael Bloch said at the trial. They have filed more than 40 lawsuits against each other in at least four countries amid accusations of stealing and spying.
“Unfortunately, their approach to giving evidence was tainted by the obvious and deep animosity and the extremely close correlation between their business and their personal affairs,” Asplin said in her ruling.
The May 17 decision “vindicates Ikos’s defense of its lawful rights to its IP and strengthens the case for an overhaul of the European laws regarding protection of intellectual property,” Ambrosiadou, chief executive officer of Ikos, said in an e-mailed statement.
Ambrosiadou testified that she was responsible for building the business while Coward, who left Ikos in 2009, was part of the trading team. She was dropped as a defendant in the case before the March trial. Her companies counter-sued Coward for using Ikos’s software.
Coward is considering whether to appeal the ruling, his lawyers said.
“Coward is gratified that the judge found that he had written the software that he claimed to have written,” Liam Hemmings, a lawyer representing Coward, said in an e-mailed statement.
The case is Martin John Coward v Phaestos Limited & Ors., U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, case no. HC10C02788
Warner Music Group Unit Sued Over Rights to ‘Sex Room’ Song
Warner Music Group Corp.’s Warner-Tamerlane Publishing unit was sued for copyright infringement by a Chicago-based musician and composer.
The suit is related to the song “Sex Room,” recorded by Trey Songz and released in May 2010.
Ralph Metcalf, who performs as “Marvo,” claims he is the author of the composition and that he registered his copyright in March 2010. He said he met with a producer named Kris “Kajun” Johnson in 2009 and composed the verses and the chorus to “Sex Room” in May 2009.
He said Kajun contacted him in December, telling him of an interest the rapper Ludacris had in the composition and a possible desire the rapper had in buying the song.
He then received a work-for-hire agreement offering him a 1 percent control in the composition in return for the transfer of all of his rights. He declined to sign the agreement, he said in his pleadings, because he thought there was too little money offered.
When “Sex Room” was released, Kajun was listed as the producer, with Trey Songz and Ludacris credited as writers, according to court papers. The published “Sex Room” incorporated substantial original portions of his composition, and an arrangement he established for “the majority” of the song, Metcalf claims.
He says his work is willfully infringed by the publisher, the performer and the producers, and seeks an order barring performance of the song and the seizure of all recordings and musical compositions in the defendants’ possession that violate his rights.
Additionally, Metcalf asked for awards of attorney fees, litigation costs, money damages and the defendants’ profits attributable to the alleged infringement, and extra damages intended to punish the defendants for the actions.
New York-based Warner Music Group, which was acquired in 2011 by Access Industry Holdings LLC, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.
The case is Metcalf v. Bridges, 1:13-cv-03679, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
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Melco Crown and Las Vegas Sands Dispute Macau ‘Cotai’ Marks
Hong Kong-based Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. are battling over the rights to the “Cotai Strip” trademark, Macau Business Daily reported.
In its most-recent ruling, Macau’s Court of Second Instance barred Las Vegas Sands from registering “Cotai Strip CotaiTravel” as a trademark, overruling the Economic Services Bureau, which had approved the mark in December 2011, according to the Business Daily.
Responding to Melco Crown’s efforts to halt the Nevada company’s trademark registration, the court said whatever the “Cotai Strip CotaiTravel” was meant to communicate was too vague, and, in any case, Cotai’s success flows from the efforts of multiple entities, according to the newspaper.
Business Daily reported that Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has said his vision for Macau’s Cotai Strip is a second Las Vegas strip.
Mozilla Tells Gamma Group to Quit Using Firefox Name on Spyware
Mozilla Corp., the Mountain View, California-based developer of the free Firefox web browser, accused the U.K-based Gamma Group of producing spyware that can trick users into thinking it is Firefox.
In a posting on Mozilla blog, Mozilla’s Alex Fowler said it has sent Gamma a cease-and-desist letter demanding an end to this practice, claiming it infringes the Firefox trademarks.
“We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools,” Fowler said in the blog posting. Gamma’s products have been used by some of its customers to violate citizens’ human rights and online privacy, he claimed. Fowler leads Mozilla’s public policy and privacy efforts.
Gamma “misrepresents” its program as “firefox.exe,” Mozilla said. A research team from the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab provided Mozilla with samples from three instances in which its brands were used in Gamma’s spyware products, according to the blog posting.
One of these, Mozilla said, was a spyware attack in Bahrain aimed at pro-democracy activists.
In March, the Citizen Lab group published a study showing that Gamma Group’s FinSpy tool which can remotely take over computers and phones, have been found in 25 countries.
Gamma Group didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.
South Carolina Episcopalians Seek to Claim Diocese Name, Seal
A group of South Carolina Episcopalians who are remaining with the national Episcopal Church is seeking to take a conflict with a breakaway organization to federal court over trademark issues, Columbia, South Carolina’s State newspaper reported.
The group, known as the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, said questions over rights to the name “Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina” raise federal trademark issues that must be decided in U.S. court, according to the State.
A breakaway group that uses the name “The Diocese of South Carolina” is asserting that the dispute is a question of legal identity, and properly belongs in state court, the State reported.
The Episcopal Church in South Carolina said it was never given notice of a state court hearing that resulted in a judge’s issuing an order in January temporarily giving the breakaway group the use of the diocese’s name and seal, according to the newspaper.
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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Ericsson Settles Software Licensing Dispute With Airvana
Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks, agreed to settle an intellectual-property dispute with software maker Airvana Networks Solutions Inc., according to a court filing.
Airvana sued Stockholm-based Ericsson in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan in February 2012 for more than $330 million, accusing it of developing software based on Airvana’s trade secrets and using it to operate wireless network equipment to avoid paying license fees.
Justice Barbara Kapnick in March granted Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based Airvana a preliminary injunction blocking Ericsson from “using, operating, testing or deploying” certain hardware unless it’s using software licensed from Airvana.
The parties reached an agreement in principle to resolve the dispute as a result of a mediation session on May 9, although the resolution is “complicated” and the details of the settlement are still being negotiated, Ericsson said in a court filing May 17.
Ericsson asked Kapnick in the filing to adjourn a May 24 hearing as the agreement “would obviate the need for the hearing and the extensive work required by Ericsson in advance of the hearing.”
Kathy Egan, a spokeswoman for Ericsson, said in an e-mail that the company had “no additional comment at this time beyond the filing that we have submitted to the court.”
Airvana didn’t immediately respond to a phone message left at its headquarters seeking a comment on the filing.
The case is Airvana Network Solutions Inc. v. Ericsson Inc., 650360-2012, New York state Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
Opera Software and Ex-Employee Settle Trade-Secret Case
Norway’s Opera Software ASA and former employee Trond Werner Hansen settled a trade-secrets dispute, CNet News reported.
The Oslo-based company sued Hansen in 2012, claiming he had shared trade secrets with Mountain View, California’s Mozilla Corp., maker of a competing web browser, according to CNet.
Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed, the website reported.
Opera claimed Hansen violated contractual and other obligations to his employer, while Hansen maintained that he was wrongly accused, CNet reported.
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