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Apple, SABMiller, PMFTC, Hallmark : Intellectual Property

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc., maker of the iPad and the iPhone, patented a new housing for its mobile phones made from fused glass.

According to patent 8,773,848, issued July 8, the housing will be aimed at providing what the Cupertino, California-based company calls “satisfactory robustness.”

The housing will be able to withstand the forces involved in a typical “drop event” without incurring excessive damage, according to the patent.

Multiple glass pieces will be fused together to create a five-sided box, with rounded edges and raised fused-glass features. The box will not be necessarily entirely see-through. Apple said it might use opaque masking material and colored glass to hide internal components from view.

Apple applied for the patent in January 2012, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

For more patent news, click here.


Activision Blizzard Sued by Manuel Noriega Over Use of His Image

Video-game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. was sued by Manuel Noriega, the ex-convict and former dictator of Panama, over the use of his image in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Noriega, identified in his complaint in state court in Los Angeles as a resident of Gamboa, Panama, seeks damages and a court order barring Activision from using his image without his consent.

He returned to the Central American country in December 2011 after spending 22 years in U.S. and French prisons to serve a separate prison sentence at home. He held power for six years before U.S. forces invaded Panama in December 1989. He surrendered a month later.

Convicted in 1992 in a U.S. court of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering, Noriega was extradited to France in 2010 to serve a separate money-laundering sentence. As head of the military, he gathered information for the Central Intelligence Agency while taking money from Colombian drug cartels, according to evidence in 1988 U.S. congressional hearings.

Maryanne Lataif, a spokeswoman for Activision in Santa Monica, California, didn’t immediately respond to a call for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Noriega v. Activision Blizzard Inc., BC551747, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County (Los Angeles).

SABMiller Loses Trademark Dispute With Australian Craft Brewer

SABMiller, the U.K.-based brewer, lost a trademark battle with a small Australian brewery, the beverage industry publication the Shout reported.

Wayward Brewing of Syndey, a specialty craft brewer, was permitted to register its Wayward trademark over SABMiller’s protest that the name was too similar to the Haywards brands it used on Indian beer, according to the Shout.

The Australian Trademarks Office found that the Haywards brands constituted a minuscule percentage of the beer market in that country and didn’t have a significant reputation, according to the publication.

The office also determined that Haywards and Wayward names are not so similar as to confuse consumers, the Shout reported.

PMFTC Fails in Attempt to Register ‘Jackpot’ Mark in Philippines

PMFTC Inc., a tobacco company operating in the Philippines, was barred from registering its “Jackpot” cigarette brand in that country, the Philippines BusinessWorld news website reported.

The Court of Appeals upheld a decision by intellectual-property authorities to bar registration on the ground that another company had already registered that brand, according to BusinessWorld.

The Philippines Intellectual Property Office found the mark was too similar to the “Jackpot” trademark belonging to NV Sumatra Tobacco, BusinessWorld reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


RIAA Forces Takedown of ReelRadio Library, TorrentFreak Reports

ReelRadio Inc., operator of a website offering streamed archived historical radio, had to take down much of its library in response to demands from the music-industry trade group Recording Industry of America, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright news website reported.

While ReelRadio does have a license to play music in what are known as “airchecks” -- demo recordings showcasing radio announcers -- RIAA told the website it didn’t meet the requirements for archived programs, according to TorrentFreak.

Another issue, ReelRadio told TorrentFreak, is that RIAA is asking ReelRadio to show it has permission from the copyright owners of the old broadcasts.

Many of those radio stations have changed ownership, format and call letters, often multiple times, making this difficult, TorrentFreak reports.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Hallmark Cards’ $31 Million Trade Secrets Award Upheld by Court

Hallmark Cards Inc., the closely held greeting-cards manufacturer, persuaded a federal appeals court to uphold a $31 million judgment in a trade secrets case against a consulting firm.

Hallmark sued Monitor Clipper Partners LLC in 2008 after an independent forensic arbiter found e-mails containing Hallmark data that had been sent from the consulting firm to its affiliated private-equity firm. This firm then used this information to buy a rival greeting-card company, according to court papers

An appeal followed the February 2013 jury trial and $31 million judgment. In its July 15 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis rejected the consulting firm’s arguments that the award was excessive and not justified in the wake of an earlier $16.4 million settlement of a related trade-secrets dispute.

The appeal is Hallmark Cards Inc. v. Monitor Clipper Partners LLC, 13-1905, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (St. Louise). The lower-court case is Hallmark Cards Inc. v. Monitor Clipper Partners LLC, 4:08-cv-00840, U.S. District Court, District of Missouri (Kansas City).

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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