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Google, Ford, LSU, Baidu, HTC: Intellectual Property

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., creator of the world’s most-used search engine, asked a federal court in San Francisco to declare it doesn’t infringe two patents belonging to the University of California and its licensee Eolas Technologies Inc. of Tyler, Texas.

In dispute are patents 8,082,293, and 8,086,662, both issued in December 2011. According to court papers, Eolas sent a demand letter to Google Dec. 19, claiming that its Web pages and interactive content infringed the patents.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, said the two patents are “siblings” to two other patents Eolas previously asserted unsuccessfully against the search engine company in 2009 litigation. The patents are related to methods of running applications on a distributed computer media network that allows users to interact with online video, music or audio clips, as well as search features, maps and embedded applications.

Google asked the court to declare it doesn’t infringe the patents, and for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs. Eolas didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Google Inc. v. Eolas Technologies Inc., 3:13-cv-05997, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Comcast Unit Seeks Patent Covering Reduced Wait Time in Parks

Comcast Corp.’s Universal City Studios unit applied for a patent on a technology that may make it easier for amusement-park visitors to use park facilities.

Application 20130332509, published Dec. 12 in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, envisions a system under which an electronic data server configures an identification device such as a wristband or communicates with guests’ mobile devices to assign time slots for particular attractions.

Universal City Studios said in the application that as amusement parks add attractions to address increasing demand, wait times for rides, restaurants, shops or shows can increase, with guests stuck in queues for hours for the most popular attractions. This gives guests a negative experience, the applicant said, which may deter them from returning to the park.

The technology could be used with tiered pricing, allowing guests to “provide a micropayment” in return for various levels of access and text-message updates about short queues.

Guest locations could be monitored through their mobile devices or through facial-recognition software, according to the application. This could be used to facilitate communications.

University City Studios, which operates amusement parks in Hollywood and Orlando, Florida, filed the application for the patent in June 2012.

For more patent news, click here.


Ford, Tesla Racing to Acquire ‘Model E’ Trademark for Cars

Ford Motor Co.’s plans to use “Model E” as a trademark for cars may be thwarted by Tesla Motors Inc., the Palo Alto, California-based maker of electric autos.

Tesla filed an application Aug. 5 to register “Model E” as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. patent and trademark office. The company said it will use it for automobiles and car parts.

Dearborn, Michigan’s Ford filed its application Dec. 3. The automaker’s application indicates that the mark will be used with cars.

Ford first mass-produced cars with its Model A, beginning in 1903. Known also as “Fordmobiles,” they sold for $850, according to the company website. One auction website lists later versions of the Model A for sale for as much as $470,000.

The company began producing its Model T -- which founder Henry Ford famously said came in any color as long as it was black -- in 1908, and made more than 15 million over the next 19 years, according to a website that tracks automotive history.

LSU Sued Over Internet Domain Name Used for Seattle Neighborhood

Louisiana State University was sued by one of the owners of a Seattle-based sportswear company seeking a court declaration that the school’s trademarks weren’t infringed.

In a complaint filed Dec. 27 in federal court in Phoenix, plaintiff Chad Hartvigson said he has licensed Prep Sportswear Inc., to use some of the Internet domain names for which he owns registrations. The registrations are related to team-designated shops within the Prep Sportswear website, he said in court papers.

Hartvigson lives in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood and uses the to offer customized “Laurelhurst Sports Unlimited” merchandise through Prep Sportswear to residents who want to show their support for area youth and amateur sports activities, according to the complaint. He said he didn’t register the domain name with the intent to sell it to Louisiana State.

He claims to own registrations for more than 800 Internet domain names and says he has never sold one to a third party, or solicited Louisiana State with this intent. Prep Sportswear doesn’t sell merchandise bearing the terms “Louisiana State University” or “LSU.”

The university nonetheless sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that he relinquish the domain name, he said in the complaint.

The school, through Collegiate Licensing Co., has also begun an action before the World Intellectual Property Organization, seeking to be transferred his domain name, according to the complaint, alleging he registered it in bad faith.

On Dec. 16, a WIPO domain name dispute-resolution panel issued a decision ordering transfer of the name, and Hartvigson sued in federal court claiming he would be harmed if forced to surrender the name as the WIPO ruling requires.

He asked that the court issue an order barring the transfer and to declare that his use of the name doesn’t infringe the university’s trademarks.

The case is Hartvigson v. Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University, 2:13-cv-02644, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

For more trademark news, click here.


Baidu, Shenzhen QVOD Technology Fined for Infringement

Baidu Inc., the Chinese search engine, and Shenzhen QVOD Technology Co. were each fined 250,000 Chinese yuan for infringing the copyrights for video content, China News Service’s English language website reported.

The investigation by the National Copyright Administration that led to the fined began on Nov. 19 in response to complaints from a number of content owners who alleged Baidu and QVOD’s media players enabled the infringement, according to China News Service.

The fine is the highest that can levied in China against copyright infringers, China News Service reported.

Baidu said in a statement on its media-payer w3ebsite that it had been moving since Oct. toward a platform that offers original content, according to China News Service.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Six HTC Workers Indicted in Trade Secrets Case, China Post Says

Six employees of Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. were indicted in Taipei District Court and accused of leaking trade secrets, the China Post reported.

The indictments followed allegations that icon designs were stolen and leaked to potential business partners in Beijing in June, according to China Post.

Two of the six have already settled with their former employer and for them, prosecutors are recommending only suspended sentenced, the newspaper reported.

Two have been detained since Aug. 6, and face potential prison sentences of up to 10 years, and fines for leaking corporate trade secrets, according to China Post.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

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

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