Adidas, Sisi-Werke Pouch, Airbus: Intellectual Property

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(Bloomberg) -- Adidas AG sued Sears Holdings Corp. and its Sears Roebuck unit for infringement involving the German sneaker company’s three-stripe trademarks.

According to a complaint filed in federal court in Portland, Oregon, athletic shoes and some hiking boots sold by Sears infringe the marks by placing two, three or four parallel stripes on the mid-foot portion of the shoes’ uppers.

This causes consumers to be confused and to assume falsely that Adidas may be the source of the shoes Sears sells, the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company said.

Adidas said Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears has “knowingly, willfully, intentionally and maliciously” begun using shoes with marks that cause them to be confused with Adidas products.

The German company wants the court to order Sears to stop selling any allegedly infringing goods and to destroy all footwear and promotional material that fall into this category. Adidas also asked for profit attributable to the infringement, money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. It wants the damages and the profit awards to be tripled.

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

The case is Adidas America Inc. v. Sears Holdings Corp. 3:15-cv-01412, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Portland).

Deutsch Sisi-Werke Sues Wal-Mart Supplier Over Capri Sun Pouch

Deutsche SiSi-Werke Betriebs GmbH, the maker of the pouch used for Capri Sun fruit drinks, accused a Minnesota food-processing company of trademark infringement.

La Costena’s Faribault Foods unit is the largest private label supplier of pouched beverage products for children and teens, according to the Minneapolis-based company’s website. Mexico City-based La Costena acquired Faribault a year ago.

The German company said the fruit punch products Faribault produces for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value brand are packaged in pouches that mimic the design of the Capri Sun products in size and shape, and use a virtually identical color scheme. Wal-Mart isn’t a party to the litigation.

Deutsche SiSi-Werke said it began discussing the alleged infringement with Faribault in 2012 and at one point even exchanged drafts of a licensing agreement. It was never consummated.

The public is confused by the similarity of the packaging, the German company said. It accused Faribault of attempting to trade on the fame of Capri Sun.

Deutsche SiSi-Werke asked the court for a ban on the use of similar packaging by Faribault, and awards of money damages, plus extra damages to punish the Minnesota company for its actions. Additionally, the German company requested either Faribault’s profit related to the alleged infringement or a “reasonable royalty,” as well as litigation costs and attorney fees.

Faribault didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Deutsche SiSi-Werke Betriebs GmbH v. Faribault Foods Inc., 0:15-cv-031380, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

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Patents

Airbus Receives U.S. Patent on ‘Ultra-Rapid’ Aircraft Technology

Airbus Group SE received a patent for an “ultra-rapid” aircraft to be powered by a combination of turbojets, ram jets and rocket motors.

Patent 9,079,661, covers an aircraft with delta wings outfitted with moving fins at the outer ends of their trailing edges. Airbus said the configuration of the plane will minimize the “bang” heard when the sound barrier is broken. That noise limited the now-defunct Concorde to trans-Atlantic flights.

This aircraft is expected to reach Mach 4-level speeds, roughly twice the speed of the Concorde, and will fly at a cruising altitude 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) higher than conventional commercial aircraft, according to the patent.

Fuel would be created by combining on-board oxygen with on-board hydrogen, Airbus said in the patent.

The technology described in the patent would be used in military planes and commercial aircraft for business and VIP passengers “who require transcontinental return journeys within one day,” according to the patent.

Airbus applied for the patent in December 2010 with the assistance of Pearne & Gordon LLP of Cleveland.

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

Malibu Media Defendant Asked Permission to Say ‘Copyright Troll’

A defendant in one of the more than 3,500 copyright infringement suits filed by a maker of adult movies asked permission to characterize the filmmaker as a “copyright troll.”

In his Aug. 2 filing, Michael Harrison responded to a request by Malibu Media that he not be allowed to use “inappropriate references” to the film company. Among the terms Malibu asked the court to ban were “porn purveyor,” “extortionist” and “pornographer,” in addition to “copyright troll.”

Malibu had said in a July 20 filing that would be “unfairly prejudicial and would only impede the impartial administration of justice” if such terms were used to characterize the company. Malibu asked that it be referred to only as “plaintiff” or “Malibu Media.”

Harrison said he agreed with a ruling in an unrelated patent case in which a Texas court said “a neutral description” of the plaintiff’s status was permitted.

Harrison said that in “neutral, strictly factual terms” he should be able to describe Malibu as a “producer of pornographic films” and that the court should also permit him to describe Malibu’s “other business.”

He said that given its emphasis on copyright litigation, the term “copyright troll” aptly describes a company with a focus “on the business of litigation rather than on selling a product or service.”

He said that by Aug. 2, Malibu had filed approximately 3,529 copyright lawsuits in U.S. courts and that he should be “permitted to offer descriptions of plaintiff’s litigation history, which are matters of public knowledge.”

He asked the court to deny Malibu’s July 20 request.

The case is Malibu Media v. Harrison, 1:12-cv-01117, U.s. District court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis).

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Caesars Entertainment Sued Over Charter Operator’s Secrets

Aerodynamics Inc., a Michigan-based operator of non-scheduled air transportation services, has sued a casino operator for trade-secret misappropriation.

The suit, against Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s Caesars Entertainment Operating unit, accused the Las Vegas-based casino company of using Aerodynamics’ confidential information to get a charter air service contract with a competing company. The Caesars operating unit is now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

According to the complaint filed in Nevada state court, Aerodynamics engaged in lengthy negotiations with the casino company as part of its plans to become the supplier of some charter flights for casino customers. In the process, Aerodynamics said, it revealed confidential information that was covered by a non-disclosure agreement signed by the casino company.

A Caesars unit initiated the contact with Aerodynamics in October 2014 and invited the charter-flight operator to submit a bid, Aerodynamics said in its pleadings. Instead, in June 2015, the contract was awarded to a competitor. Aerodynamics said the competitor was able to qualify only because Caesars provided that company with trade secrets disclosed in the negotiations with Aerodynamics.

Caesars Entertainment has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation, Emily Wofford, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The case is Aerodynamics Inc., v. Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., 2:15-cv-01344, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

For more copyright news, click here.

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, Joe Schneider

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