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SAP, USPTO, Hilfiger, Slabbed: Intellectual Property

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Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. appeals court revived part of a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Elcommerce.com Inc. against Walldorf, Germany-based SAP AG.

While the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed non-infringement of certain claims within patent 6,947,903, the court said the trial judge used the wrong legal standard in ruling other aspects of the patent invalid.

The technology at issue is related to the monitoring of supply chains for components. The appeals court also upheld the transfer of the case to Philadelphia from Texas.

The case is Elcommerce.com Inc. v. SAP AG, 2011-1369, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

Inventor Who Shocked Tech World Stumped by 43-Year Patent Delay

Forty-three years is too long even for Gilbert P. Hyatt, the dogged inventor who once shocked the computer industry and got rich.

Hyatt said he’s been waiting that long for a U.S. ruling on whether his electronic signal to control machinery should be granted a patent. The patent-approval process takes 28.3 months on average. His idea for liquid crystal displays? That’s been sitting in the Patent and Trademark Office for 35 years.

The Las Vegas-based inventor, who turns 76 in March, filed a lawsuit in January demanding action on what may be the oldest pending U.S. patent applications.

The case is Hyatt v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 14-cv-00011, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

PVH Sues More than 1,000 Defendants Over Fake Hilfiger Sales

PVH Corp.’s Tommy Hilfiger unit filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against 68 named and 1,000 unnamed defendants over the sale of counterfeit Hilfiger merchandise.

The suit, filed Feb 20 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, claims most of the defendants operate in China or other foreign countries and have conspired “to create and maintain and illegal marketplace on the World Wide Web” selling fake goods.

The case is Tommy Hilfiger Licensing LLC v. Canadatommyhilfigeroutlet.com, 14-cv-60433, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Fort Lauderdale).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Nova Scotia Couple Uses Copyright Law Against Blogger

A Canadian court awarded a Nova Scotia gay couple C$390,000 ($352,460) in damages against a Mississippi blogger who used photos from their website in postings on his Slabbed blog falsely accusing them of being part of a Louisiana political scandal and casting homophobic slurs against them.

In its Feb. 14 ruling, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia said Douglas Handshoe of Wiggins, Mississippi, used the photos without permission and that their misuse “amounted to an ongoing campaign to damage, harass and embarrass” the couple.

Earlier, the U.S. appeals court in New Orleans said Handshoe didn’t have to face defamation charges related to his postings because the Canadian defamation law wasn’t as strong as the U.S. version.

In a blog post, Handshoe called the couple’s complaint “nonsensical” and said he is entitled to have the defamation allegations heard in state court.

The case is True Point Lodge Ltd. v. Handshoe, 2014 NSSC 65, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The U.S. case is Trout Point Lodge Ltd. v. Handshoe, 13-60002, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

Composer’s Counsel Avoids Sanctions in Black Eyed Peas Case

In a copyright case involving a song performed by the Black Eyed Peas musical group, a federal appeals court said Feb. 21 that a trial court properly awarded attorney fees to the band.

The court also said the trial court correctly determined that lawyers for the composer who accused the band of infringement had done nothing to warrant sanctions under court rules.

Composer Bryan Pringle was unable to provide computer files he had said would back his infringement claims and the lower court said he failed to establish ownership of a valid copyright for the song “Take a Dive,” which he claimed was infringed by Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Gotta Feeling.”

The case is Pringle v. Adams Jr., 12-55998, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Pringle v. Adams Jr., 8:10-cv-01656, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (Santa Ana).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Industrial Espionage Claims Lead to Bank Data Theft Allegations

Industrial espionage complaints made by three South African manufacturers of kitchen units have led to the uncovering of a scheme through which bank employees sold the companies’ bank statements to a competitor, the Johannesburg Times reported.

The competitor used the bank-statement data to poach the three companies’ customers, according to the newspaper.

The case is set for trial in April, the Times said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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