Intellectual Ventures, Beasley, BSA:Intellectual Property

Intellectual Ventures, the so-called “invention company” begun by former Microsoft Corp. chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, has set up an in-house lobbying team in Washington, according to the Washington Post.

The focus of the lobbying efforts will include patent reform, intellectual property rights and taxation of patent royalties for the company that has bought more than 70,000 patents, the newspaper reported.

Robert Merbeth, former vice president of government affairs at San Diego’s Cricket Communications Inc., will lead the office, according to the Post.

Merbeth told the Post that while in the past Bellevue, Washington-based Intellectual Ventures has had an under-the-radar presence in the capitol, the goal of the new office is to educate Congress and the administration on its issues, and be more consistently visible.

University of Alabama Captures Carbon Dioxide Patent

The University of Alabama received a patent for a method of capturing carbon dioxide.

Patent 8,506,914, issued Aug. 13, covers a method of using the class of organic solvents known as imidazolium-based compounds to capture carbon dioxide from industrial emissions.

The named inventor on the patent is Professor Jason E. Bara, in the university’s departments of chemical and biological engineering. According to Bara’s website, his research focuses on the development of processes for clean energy generation that use new solvents with little or no volatility for scrubbing carbon dioxide emissions.

The university said in a statement that the technology covered by the patent has been licensed to Ion Engineering of Boulder, Colorado, a clean-tech company.

The school applied for the patent in March 2012, with the assistance of Meunier Carlin & Curfman LLC of Atlanta.

For more patent news, click here.


Beasley, Sun Settle Trademark Dispute Over Call Letters

Beasley Broadcasting Group Inc. and its competitor Sun Broadcasting Inc. settled a trademark suit, according to an Aug. 21 court filing.

The two companies, both Florida-based radio broadcasters, were feuding over the letter “X.” The dispute had its origins in a change of format for one of Beasley’s radio stations, WJBX-FM. According to court papers, the station’s location on the FM dial is 99.3, and Beasley promoted the station as “99X,” using a neon green logo.

On June 20, Beasley changed the station’s format from music to sports talk, affiliated it with the ESPN network, and changed the call letters. The rock music formerly available on that station is now heard on Beasley’s WRXK-FM station at 96.1 FM.

The Naples, Florida-based company said it continues to use its “X” marks on outdoor sings, business cards, on-air materials and promotional items.

The same day Beasley changed formats, Fort Myers-based Sun sent out a press release announcing that it would now “pleased to offer the X brand” a new home at a different frequency. The press release mentioned that Beasley’s “incredibly loyal audience was outraged to lose their brand,” Beasley said in its complaint filed in federal court July 12.

The company also objected to Sun’s use of a neon green logo containing the “X” and written in the same font that Beasley used.

The case was dismissed on Beasley’s request Aug. 21. Court filings don’t mention any settlement terms.

The case is Beasley FM Acquisition Corp. v. Sun Broadcasting Inc., 2:13-cv-00516-JES-UAM.

Insurer Seeks Indian Trademark for Hindi Word for Insurance

An insurance company in Hyderbad, India, filed an application to register the Hindi word for insurance as a trademark in that country, The Hindu newspaper’s Business Line website reported.

MFL Insurance Services is seeking to register “Bima” in spite of objections from other insurance companies, according to Business Line.

The competitors say the word is too generic to be afforded trademark protection, Business Line reported.

Last week India’s Intellectual Property Appeal Board rejected an application from Britannia Industries Ltd. to register “Snax” on the grounds it was phonetically similar to “Snacks,” which is a generic term, according to Business Line.

Counterfeit Goods Worth $5.1 Million Seized in Two U.S. Raids

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized $5.1 million worth of fake consumer goods in two separate actions, according to Aug. 27 government statements.

In New Jersey, at the port of Newark, a shipment of 70,000 items coming from China with an estimated value of $3.9 million was seized. Among the categories of fake products were razor blades, toys, sunglasses, markers and batteries, the government said.

Customs officials worked with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, and used the commission’s health and safety rules to target the cargo for physical examination, the government said.

At Los Angeles International Airport, customs seized 215 watches, which, had they been genuine, would have had an aggregate retail price of $1.2 million.

Among the companies whose trademarks were found on the counterfeits were Rolex Group, Omega SA, Cartier International, and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. These fakes also originated in China, the government said.

The shipping manifest for the watches listed a declared value of only $173, according to the government’s statement. During the 2012 fiscal year, the government said it seized fake watches and jewelry with a retail value of $186 million.

For more trademark news, click here.


New Zealand Police Say No Criminal Charges in Dotcom Spying Case

New Zealand police yesterday ruled out filing criminal charges in relation to the government spying on Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

While the Government Communications & Security Bureau did contravene the Crimes Act by intercepting communications between Dotcom and an associate, it “did not have the necessary intent to satisfy the elements of the offense and be considered criminally liable,” police said in a statement. “No criminal charges will be laid against any person.”

Prime Minister John Key was forced to apologize to Dotcom in September for the GCSB’s surveillance of him during a U.S.- led operation to close his Megaupload website on piracy charges earlier last year. The government this month changed the law to allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens under certain circumstances. The agency was previously restricted to monitoring “foreign” communications, organizations and people.

While Dotcom was born in Germany as Kim Schmitz, he has New Zealand residency.

Dotcom still faces extradition to the U.S., which has described his cloud-storage Internet site as the biggest copyright infringement case in its history.

Armed police stormed Dotcom’s Auckland mansion in January last year, seizing 18 luxury vehicles, including a 1959 pink Cadillac, art, cash, computers and hard drives.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

BSA Hires Victoria Espinel, Former U.S. IP Czar, as President

The Business Software Alliance has named Victoria Espinel president and chief executive officer, the Washington-based software-industry advocacy group said in a statement yesterday.

Espinel left her post as the first U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator earlier this month. Known informally as the Obama administration’s IP czar, Espinel had served for four years, developing and implementing the administration’s strategy for intellectual property enforcement.

Before that she was senior counsel for intellectual property issues at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and assistant U.S. trade representative for intellectual property and innovation. There she served as chief U.S. trade negotiator for intellectual property and innovation issues.

She has also been a professor teaching intellectual property law at George Mason University, and served as an adviser on intellectual property issues to the staff of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Committee, House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

Espinel has an undergraduate degree in foreign service and a law degree from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in law from the London School of Economics.