Nokia, Medtronic, Apple, Redskins: Intellectual Property

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Nokia Oyj, the Finish company selling its handset business to Microsoft Corp, told a London court that Taiwanese phone maker HTC Corp. was copying its technology designed to help transmit voice and text messages.

Nokia is suing HTC for infringement of the “024 patent,” which covers the technology, lawyers for the Espoo, Finland-based company said in documents filed at a London court for the trial beginning yesterday. HTC is seeking to revoke the patent, Nokia said.

Nokia has filed 50 infringement claims against HTC in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy since May 2012, Mark Durrant, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. It won a U.S. ruling Sept. 23 after a judge found HTC had violated two patents for a way to remove errors in radio signals and another for a process to deal with different radio frequencies.

The patent claim in today’s case relates to a group of four HTC handsets, including the Wildfire S and One SV, which contain certain chips manufactured by Qualcomm Inc. and Broadcom Corp., Nokia’s lawyers said in court filings.

Nokia was the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones before its 14-year streak came to an end in 2011 when Samsung Electronics Co. overtook it. Nokia has sought to use patent licensing to recoup some of the money it spent on phone innovations. Those patents will stay with Nokia after it sells its handset business and licenses its technology to Microsoft for $7.2 billion.

Joe Dawes, an external spokesman at London-based Nelson Bostock Group Ltd. representing HTC, declined to comment immediately on the trial.

HTC had a 2.8 percent share of the global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013, compared to Nokia’s 3.1 percent, according to Bloomberg Industries data.

The case is HTC Corp. v Nokia Corp. in the U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, case no HC12F02047.

Medtronic Rejected by U.S. High Court on Edwards Valve Patent

The U.S. Supreme Court left intact a patent ruling that may cost a Medtronic Inc. unit more than $200 million in its clash with Edwards Lifesciences Corp. over devices that repair aortic valves without open-heart surgery.

The justices yesterday turned away an appeal from Medtronic’s CoreValve unit, which a jury concluded infringed an Edwards heart-valve patent. A lower court upheld the jury’s $74 million verdict in November.

Medtronic last year paid Edwards $84 million and recorded a $245 million charge to cover estimated damages. The Minneapolis-based company also faces the prospect of a court order barring U.S. manufacture or sale of its infringing devices.

Edwards sued CoreValve, then a stand-alone company, in 2008. The patent was issued in 1995, and Edwards said it’s seeking an extension of the life of the patent to 2017.

The devices use catheters to thread replacement valves into the body. The U.S. market could reach $2.5 billion, Jason Mills, an analyst with Canaccord Adams Inc. in San Francisco, said last year.

At the Supreme Court, Medtronic argued that the disputed patent didn’t contain enough information to enable reproduction of the invention, as required under federal law. Edwards is based in Irvine, California.

In dispute is patent 5,411,552

The case is CoreValve v. Edwards Lifesciences, 12-1325, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

Emulex Loses Appeal in Broadcom Patent Fight Over Data Signals

Emulex Corp. of Costa Mesa, California, lost an appeals court bid to overturn a patent-infringement finding won by Broadcom Corp. over the transmission of data signals.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington affirmed the infringement finding regarding a Broadcom patent and an order that limited Emulex’s use of the invention. The court’s opinion was posted on its website yesterday.

The disputed patent -- 7,058,150 -- was issued in June 2006. The suit was filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California, in September 2009.

The lower court case is Broadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp, 8:09-cv-01058-JVS-AN, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana). The appeal is Broadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp., 12-1309, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

For more patent news, click here.


Apple Backs Down in Trademark Dispute Over German Cafe’s Logo

Apple Inc., the maker of the iPhone and the iPod, withdrew from a trademark dispute with a German cafe that used a red apple superimposed with the silhouette of child’s head as its logo, United Press International reported.

Apfelkind, a cafe in Bonn, initially received a cease-and-desist letter from Cupertino, California-based Apple in September 2011, demanding that the cafe’s trademark application be withdrawn, according to UPI.

Christin Romer, owner of the cafe, said at first she had been flattered to have been contacted by Apple because she loves the company and its products and has used the iPhone and her Apple laptop to set up her business, UPI reported.

Without stating any reason, Apple withdrew its protests last week, leaving Romer free to use her logo, UPI reported.

Nepal Looking to Trademark Registration for Coffee and Tea

Nepal’s government is planning to register a collective trademark for coffee and tea from that country, the Himalayan News Service reported.

The country’s National Tea and Coffee Development Board wants to follow in the footsteps of the Nepali Pashmina Industries Association, which registered the “Chyangra Pashmina” trademark in 41 countries, according to Himalayan News Service.

Nepal presently has more than 18,000 hectares (44,480 acres) of tea under cultivation and 1,760 hectares devoted to coffee production, the news service reported.

Jib Raj Koirala of Nepal’s Ministry of Commerce and Supply told Himalayan News Service that international registration for the nation’s coffee and tea is needed to insure that inferior products don’t reach the international market purporting to be the real thing.

Design Company Seeks Entries for Crowd-Sourced NFL Team Logo

99Designs, a San Francisco company that crowd-sources graphic designs, is running a contest to design a new logo for Washington’s National Football League team.

The Redskins’ name is presently the subject of cancellation proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Although some American Indian groups have said the team name is racist and offensive and are seeking cancellation of the trademark, team owner Daniel Snyder has said he will never change the name.

The San Francisco company said it is challenging designers to create logos for three hypothetical names to replace the Redskins’ name. The chosen names -- Washington Warriors, Washington Griffins, Washington Renegades -- were based on suggestions from journalists who had covered the trademark controversy.

The top designs will be shared with Snyder “to give him a little food for thought,” the company said. 99designs said there are three options for the logo: the organization’s name in a stylized type font that becomes the logo; letters or initials from the name that could be used as the logo; or a character or mascot to represent the team.

The design company says it’s looking for logos that are simple, classic and clean and consistent in style with logos for other National Football League teams.

For more trademark news, click here.

For copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Former Flow Traders Employees Indicted for Software Theft

Three men accused of stealing software from Dutch trading house Flow Traders were indicted on related charges by a grand jury in New York, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said.

Jason Vuu, 26, of San Jose, California, Glen Cressman, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Simon Lu, 25, of Pittsburgh were indicted on charges of unlawful duplication of computer-related material and unlawful use of secret scientific material, Vance’s office said today in statement.

Vuu and Cressman worked as traders at the Amsterdam-based Flow Traders’ Manhattan office before resigning in March, according to the statement. Vuu is accused of e-mailing himself trading strategies for several of the company’s trading desks and computer code for its proprietary trading platform from August 2011 to August 2012, Vance’s office said.

Vuu then worked with Lu, a friend from college, to create a trading platform for a company they planned to form, Vance said. Cressman e-mailed himself proprietary trading strategies on two occasions in December 2012, Vance’s office said.

In yesterday’s announcement, Vance called on the state Legislature to adopt recommendations of a task force on white-collar crime and “protect intellectual property as rigorously as physical property.”

“When an employee takes software to create his own company, anybody would classify that as ‘stealing’ or ‘theft,’” he said. “Under existing state law, however, stealing valuable printer toner out of an office supply closet is a more serious offense than stealing valuable computer source code.”

Vuu and Lu were arraigned yesterday before Justice Laura A. Ward in Manhattan, pleaded not guilty and were released on bail, according to Vance’s office. Cressman is scheduled to be arraigned before Ward on Oct. 15. They face as long as four years in prison on each count if convicted.

Vance’s office announced charges against the three men in August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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