Apple, GoDaddy, Adidas, Joe Cool: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc., maker of the iPod and iPhone, is considering powering some portable devices with a hydrogen fuel cell, according an application published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 22.

The company notes in its application “our country’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels.” Consumers are more interested in using and promoting renewable energy sources, and these days are evaluating the “environmental friendliness” of electronic products, Apple said.

Application 20110311895, filed in August 2010, covers a fuel cell system for a portable computing device, including a fuel source, a controller and an interface to the device.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, acknowledged in the application that “it is extremely challenging to design hydrogen fuel cell systems which are sufficiently portable and cost-effective to be used with portable electronic devices.”

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GoDaddy Says It No Longer Supports Online Piracy Legislation

GoDaddy Group Inc., the Internet domain-name and hosting company, said it no longer supports the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, legislation designed to combat illegally copied films and TV content.

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation -- but we can clearly do better,” GoDaddy Chief Executive Officer Warren Adelman said in a statement.

Google Inc. and other Internet companies have said the act, also known as SOPA, will foster censorship of Web content.

GoDaddy said it had worked with lawmakers “for months” in unsuccessful efforts to revise the proposed legislation to meet the concerns of the Internet community.

General Counsel Christine Jones said the company removed any blog postings that outlined areas of the bill it could support. This was done to “eliminate any confusion” about the company’s reversal of position, according to the statement.

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Adidas, Church Square Off Over ‘Adizero’ Trademark Application

Adidas AG, the Herzogenaurach, Germany-based maker of sports gear, is involved in a trademark dispute with an Illinois church, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The company has offered the Christian Faith Fellowship Church of Illinois’ Lake County $5,000 to give up its “Add a Zero” trademark registered in 2006 as part of a fundraising campaign, according to the newspaper.

Adidas application for an “Adizero” trademark for its Rose 2 shoe series was rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010 on the grounds that the mark belonged to the church, the Tribune reported.

The shoemaker is now seeking cancellation of the church’s mark on the grounds that it isn’t used sufficiently, an action that’s moved the church to seek the help of Chicago Bulls basketball player Derrick Rose to persuade Adidas to back off, according to the Tribune.

Distiller’s Group Wins Indian Court’s Ban on Deceptive Names

The Scotch Whisky Association, an Edinburgh-based distillers’ trade group, persuaded an Indian court to bar two different companies in that country from selling fake Scotch, the association said in a statement.

The Court of the District and Sessions Judge in South Goa barred the use of packaging for the Royal Barrel, Glenmon and F&G brands of whisky that could mislead the public into thinking the domestic products were actual Scotch whisky, the association said.

The court barred the sale of those products with any reference to “Scotch Whisky” or for using the trade names “Glenmon” or “Glen.”

The court said the defendants were “directly misleading the general public” through the “dishonest adoption of brand names,” according to the association statement.

The defendants are appealing the court’s ruling, the association said.

Joe Cool Loses State Registration for ‘Bike Week Daytona Beach’

Joe Cool Inc., a Holly Hill, Florida-based unit of Brooklyn, New York’s Consolidated Distributors, can’t bar others from the use of the “Bike Week Daytona Beach” trademark, a federal judge ruled.

The Daytona Regional Chambers of Commerce had objected to T-shirt printer Joe Cool’s registration of the term as a state trademark and pending application for a federal registration.

The chamber, which sponsors the annual motorcycle event that draws upwards of 400,000 people each March, filed suit in federal court in Orlando, Florida, in February, seeking cancellation of the state trademark.

The phrase had become generic and shouldn’t be registered, the chamber argued.

U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven ordered cancellation of the mark as part of a judgment to which the parties agreed. All claims Joe Cool had against the chamber were dismissed, and she ordered that each party pay its own court costs and attorney fees.

The case is Good Sports Daytona Inc. v. Consolidated Distributors Inc., 6:11-cv-00233-CEH-DAB, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando).

Brandon, Manitoba, Scene of Counterfeit Goods Raid by RCMP

Counterfeit goods bearing trademarks belonging to Ford Motor Co., Harley-Davidson Inc. and Deere & Co. were seized from a store in a shopping mall in Brandon, Manitoba, the Brandon Sun reported.

Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Federal Enforcement Service did the search and seizure under that nation’s Copyright Trademark and Textile Act, according to the newspaper.

No charges have been filed, and the investigation is continuing, the newspaper reported.

Hasbro Accuses Asustek of Infringing Transformers Trademarks

Hasbro Inc., maker of the My Little Pony and Lite-Brite toys, sued a Taiwanese computer company for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, is related to trademarks for the Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based company’s Transformers line of toys. Hasbro objects to Asustek Computer Inc.’s use of “Transformer” and “Transformer Prime” with its products. Co-defendant with Asustek is its Asus Computer unit in Fremont, California.

The toy company says in its pleadings that the success of its Transformer toy robots and related films has led to the use of the trademark on “thousands of products and services,” some of them computer-related.

Hasbro says one of the products is an educational laptop computer, and that there are also licensed “storage devices, computer mouses and skins for laptops.”

The toy company accuses Asustek of trying to hitchhike on the fame related to the “Transformer” brand and says that if the Taiwanese company isn’t stopped, the public will be confused and the marks could be harmed.IP Report Update

It asked the court to bar Asustek’s use of any words that could cause confusion with the “Transformer” and “Transformer Prime” marks, and for an award of money damages, including the cost of advertising to correct any false public impression about a connection with the computer company.

Hasbro also seeks extra damages to punish the computer company for its actions related to the alleged infringement.

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

Hasbro is represented by Courtney L. Batliner, Vito A. Constanzo, Franco Joseph Tenerelli, Joshua C. Krumholz and Maximillian J. Bodoin of New York’s Holland & Knight LLP.

The case is Hasbro Inc. v. Asus Computer International Inc., 2:11-cv-10437-PSG-E, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Melomed Gets Court Order Barring Use of its Proprietary Data

Melomed Hospital Holdings Ltd., the operator of three hospitals in Cape Town, sued a rival company for trade secret theft and is seeking 1 million South Africa rand ($12,300) in compensation, the Sowetan newspaper reported.

Rondebosch Medical Center is accused of using Melomed’s billing rates and procedures, and of receiving them in an unauthorized e-mail from a Melomed employee, according to the Sowetan.

Melomed persuaded the Cape High Court to issue an order for the search and seizure of its documents and information in Rondebosch’s possession, the Sowetan reported.

Rondebosch was also given a temporary order not to use, copy or distribute any of Melomed’s intellectual property, according to the newspaper.

IP Moves

Amrin’s New Counsel Comes with Patent Acquisition Expertise

Amrin Corp. plc, a clinical-state biotech company, has appointed Joseph T. Kennedy senior vice president and general counsel, the Dublin-based company said in a statement.

Kennedy joins from Transcept Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he helped secure two U.S. patents, and negotiated that company’s strategic alliance with Purdue Pharma LP. Kennedy served previously as vice president and acting chief legal officer of Eyetem Pharmaceuticals Inc., with Elan Corp as vice president and U.S. counsel, corporate business development. Kennedy also practiced law with San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

He has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Fairfield University and a law degree from New York Law School.