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Microsoft, P&G, ‘Strong Choices’: Intellectual Property

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software company, is getting into the smartwatch race, a newly published patent application indicates.

The Redmond, Washington-based company’s application 20140121539, published May 1in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers what Microsoft calls a “wearable personal information system.”

According to the application, the device can measure biometric parameters of the user with an optical sensor. The heart of the device is removable so that it can be recharged at a docking device and data can be downloaded.

Microsoft filed its application in October 2012. Sony Corp., Qualcomm Inc., LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. all have smartwatches, and Apple Inc., which has not yet produced one, has applied to register “iWatch” as a trademark in several countries.

For more patent news, click here.


Procter & Gamble Is Accused of Infringing Software Copyright

Procter & Gamble Co. was sued for copyright infringement by a California software company.

In a May 5 complaint, VBConversions LLC claims that the Cincinnati-based consumer-products company has failed to halt unauthorized use of its VB.NET to C# Converter software by one of P&G’s computer programmers. According to court papers, VBConversions used a tracking program to identify a P&G unauthorized user who allegedly copied the program without authorization and continued its use despite communications from P&G’s counsel.

VBConversions, based in Santa Monica, California, asked the court for money damages and an order barring further infringement. A P&G spokeswoman, Jennifer Coros, said the company declined to comment on litigation in progress.

The case is VBConversions LLC v. Procter & Gamble, 14-cv-02472, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Dartmouth Student Says PromoteU Website Copyright Was Infringed

A college student who claims he was forced out of a company he helped found sued it for copyright infringement.

A complaint was filed against PromoteU Inc., a company run from a Dartmouth College dorm room. According to court papers, PromoteU was set up to provide a website through which college students can find companies seeking college representatives.

Coca Cola Co. and Red Bull GmbH are among companies that use PromoteU to find students, according to the PromoteU website.

Joshua Kaplan claimed that he created the website in return for 30 percent equity in the company and co-founder status. Since November, he put in more than 450 hours to develop the site, he said.

He was terminated March 9 and said he has received nothing in return for his work. According to court papers, PromoteU received initial funding of $60,000 from a venture firm headed by a Dartmouth alumnus.

Kaplan asked the court to order the destruction of all copies of his work and to award damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

PromoteU didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

The case is Kaplan v. PromoteU Inc., 14-cv-03302, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.


Queensland Government, Union Battling Over ‘Strong Choices’ Mark

A government department in Australia’s state Queensland was sent a cease-and-desist letter from a union, protesting the use of the phrase “Strong Choices,” Melbourne, Australia’s The Age newspaper reported.

Earlier, the Electrical trades Union registered the Internet domain name in opposition to the government’s campaign, which is aimed at raising public awareness of accumulated government debt in Queensland, according to The Age.

The union, which has also applied to register “Strong Choices” as a trademark, is using the website as part of its “Not4Sale” project to keep electric power assets in Queensland and Australia’s Northern Territories under public ownership, the newspaper reported.

Legal counsel for Queensland Treasure and Trade is asking the union to shut down its website and to cancel its domain-name registration, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Journalists Reject Armenian Government’s Trade Secrets Claim

Armenia’s Ministry of Nature Protection has refused to release data on trafficking in endangered animals to a journalist’s group, claiming the information is a trade secret, Armenia’s Hetq Online news service reported.

The journalists are seeking a list of animals imported to and exported from Armenia, according to Hetq Online.

They have filed a freedom-of-information request with Armenia’s Administrative Court, Hetq reported.

The journalists, who are working on a series about illegal animal trafficking, are arguing that the names of animal importers and exporters cannot be considered a trade secret, according to Hetq.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at David Glovin, Charles Carter

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