EBay, Apple, Ice Bucket, Schwab : Intellectual Property

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- EBay Inc., the world’s biggest online marketplace, responded to a patent-holder’s complaint that the company and its patent counsel acted unethically by seeking a re-examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of two disputed patents.

Landmark Technology LLC of Tyler, Texas, sued on May 8, saying EBay and its counsel instigated an “objectively frivolous and baseless” request for a re-examination proceeding. EBay made the request for the “singular purpose” of depriving the patent holder’s rights and to diminish the value of the patent, Landmark said.

In response, EBay accused Landmark of violating Texas state law by attempting to punish the San Jose, California-based company “for exercising its constitutional rights to petition the government for redress and free speech.” EBay asked the court to dismiss Landmark’s suit.

The case is Landmark Technology LLC v. EBay Inc., 14-cv-00605, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

Apple Gets Patent on Design of Iconic New York Store Entrance

Three years after the death of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs, the U.S. patent and Trademark Office issued a design patent on which he is a named inventor.

Patent D712,067, which was issued to Cupertino, California-based Apple on Aug. 26, covers the design for a building.

According to references filed with the patent, the design is for the glass cube entrance to Apple’s underground Manhattan store at the southeast corner of Central Park. The structure went up in 2006, and the design was modified to add greater transparency in 2011.

Apple applied for the patent in October 2012, with the assistance of Washington’s Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC.

Jobs died in October 2011, of complications from pancreatic cancer.

For more patent news, click here.


ALS Charity Seeks to Register ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, which aids people with the degenerative neurological disease, applied to register “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” and “Ice Bucket Challenge” as trademarks, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Washington-based charity filed both applications Aug. 22.

In recent weeks, business leaders from Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg to Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella have joined the social-media craze and dumped buckets of ice-cold water over themselves to help increase awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was started a few weeks ago by the family of 29-year-old Pete Frates, a former Division I college baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. The premise is simple: Pour ice water on your head, post the video on social media and call out someone else to accept the challenge within 24 hours or donate to an ALS organization.

This week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took part in the challenge, as have Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

The charity said in its applications that it plans to use the mark for charitable fundraising.

For more trademark news, click here.

National Portrait Gallery Gives Up Ban on Mobile-Phone Photos

Visitors to the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery can take pictures of works in the permanent collection after the museum lifted its rule against the practice, the Telegraph reported.

The ban was lifted after staff members had difficulty distinguishing between visitors using mobile devices to research paintings and those who were simply snapping photos, according to the Telegraph.

The gallery will still restrict photos of its temporary exhibitions because of potential copyright issues, the newspaper reported.

Restrictions also remain in place for commercial photography in the galleries, and visitors aren’t allowed to use tripods or to take flash photos, the Telegraph reported.

For copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Finra Panel Rejects Schwab’s Claims Against Morgan Stanley

Charles Schwab Corp.’s trade-secret misappropriation claim against Morgan Stanley was rejected by an arbitration panel of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Economic Times reported.

The trade secret allegations were part of San Francisco-based Schwab’s claim that Morgan Stanley improperly recruited brokers and induced them to breach their contracts with Schwab, according to the Economic Times.

Without giving a reason for its decision, the panel did levy $72,000 in sanctions against Morgan Stanley, to be paid to Schwab, according to the newspaper.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg