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Apple, Yahoo, Hitler, Burlington: Intellectual Property

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. agreed to drop their appeals of a patent-infringement case at the U.S. International Trade Commission that resulted in an import ban on some older Samsung phones.

The import ban will remain in effect, according to a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington dated June 13. Details weren’t provided. Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, and Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to say whether the companies had reached an agreement. Appeals of district-court cases between the two are still pending.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, and Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung are the world’s two biggest makers of mobile phones and tablet computers. The patent wars, which have been going on for more than three years, have spread over four continents.

Meanwhile, companies including Huawei Technology Co. and ZTE Corp. have made inroads in lucrative markets such as China.

The appeals are Apple Inc. v. International Trade Commission, 2014-1015, and Samsung Electronics Co. v. ITC, 2014-1150, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The ITC case is In the Matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, 337-796, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

InterDigital Loses First Round in Patent Case Against Nokia

InterDigital Inc., a developer of fundamental mobile-phone technology, lost the first round of its latest effort to get patent royalty payments on sales of Nokia Oyj phones.

Nokia phones, now made by Microsoft Corp., and ones by ZTE Corp. didn’t violate InterDigital patent rights, U.S. International Trade Commission Judge Theodore Essex said in a notice posted on the agency’s website. The judge’s full findings, which aren’t yet publicly available, are subject to review by the commission, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents.

This is the third case InterDigital has filed at the Washington-based ITC over the latest generation of mobile phones since 2007. It lost the first, which was later revived on appeal, and is appealing a loss in the second case. The company got almost all of its $325 million in sales last year from patent licensing with companies such as BlackBerry Ltd. and HTC Corp.

InterDigital called the decision “unfortunate” and pledged to challenge the judge’s findings. Two of the three patents in the case were already upheld by an appeals court in another case.

Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset business in April and has told the agency it agreed to assume all of Nokia’s liabilities and have “sole control over the defense, including sole authority to resolve this action.”

David Cuddy, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, said the company had no comment.

The case is In the Matter of Certain Wireless Devices with 3G and/or 4G Capabilities, 337-868, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

For more patent news, click here.


Yahoo Can’t Get Search-Results Suit Dismissed Inc., an electronic auto-parts exchange, survived attempts by Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo! Inc., to dismiss a trademark lawsuit. filed the case in May 2013, objecting to the use of its mark in Yahoo search results containing sponsored ads.

In a June 9 ruling, U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino said the Sanford, Florida-based car-parts company demonstrated that its mark was nationally recognized, famous and distinctive. She also rejected Yahoo’s argument that brought a frivolous case and ought to be sanctioned.

The case is LLC v. Yahoo! Inc., 13-cv-01078, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

For more trademark news, click here.


‘Mein Kampf’ Copyright Expiration in 2015 Creates Dilemma

Legal scholars in Germany are debating what to do when the copyright on Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” expires at the end of 2015, United Press International reported.

The rights to the book are owned by the Free State of Bavaria, which has barred its publication in Germany since the end of World War II, according to UPI.

The news service said some scholars want a critical edition to be published, while others argue that Hitler’s works should remain banned.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Burlington Northern Says Bakken Crude Transport Is Secret

Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Burlington Northern railroad unit refused to submit details of its transportation of Bakken crude oil through California to the public, saying the information is a trade secret, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The oil, which is produced from North Dakota shale, is cheaper than foreign oil, the newspaper said.

Although the railroad will release information to first responders, it argues that the data is “security sensitive and confidential” and should be given only to those with a need to know, according to the Bee.

Bakken oil is highly inflammable and the derailment of a shipment in 2013 killed 47 people and destroyed a large section of the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the newspaper reported.

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 Andrew Dunn, Stephen Farr

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