Apple, Tory Burch, Under Armour: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc. asked to proceed with a new trial on 14 Samsung Electronics Co. products for which a U.S. judge overturned a jury patent-infringement award rather than letting Samsung appeal her decision upholding damages for 14 other products covered by the jury’s verdict.

Apple, in a reply March 26 to Samsung’s request to seek an appeal and put the case on hold, said the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s proposal would “likely lead to a remand without a substantive decision” from an appeals court.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, on March 1 reduced the $1.05 billion in damages a jury awarded Apple in its patent fight with Samsung by $450.5 million. The judge ruled that the jury based its award for 14 Samsung products on an incorrect legal theory and suggested the companies consider appealing her ruling.

Apple said in a separate filing March 26 that, if Koh intends to allow Samsung to proceed with an appeal before a new trial, it wants to asks the judge to reconsider her post-trial ruling and seek reinstatement of the $85.3 million the jury awarded for Samsung’s Galaxy S II AT&T and Infuse 4G.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have each scored victories in patent disputes fought over four continents since the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker accused Asia’s biggest electronics maker of “slavishly copying” its devices.

The case is Apple v. Samsung, 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose.)

For more patent news, click here.


Tory Burch Sues Wholesaler Over Knockoff Jewelry Claims

Tory Burch LLC, the clothing company founded by fashion designer Tory Burch, sued a New York wholesaler of women’s accessories for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleged that Bluebell Accessories Inc. is selling counterfeit jewelry through its website. The jewelry is available through the site in large quantities, Tory Burch said in its complaint.

An investigator for the company placed an order through Bluebell’s website that displayed “unauthorized reproductions” of some of the company’s designs, Tory Burch said in the complaint.

New York-based Tory Burch said that to no avail its counsel sent Bluebell a cease-and-desist letter, and claims it is harmed by the company’s actions. The public is likely to be confused and will falsely believe that there is a connection between the products offered through the Bluebell website and legitimate Tory Burch merchandise, according to court papers.

Tory Burch asked the court for an order barring manufacture and sale of infringing items and for the recall and destruction of all allegedly counterfeit merchandise. Additionally, the company seeks money damages, including Bluebell’s profits from the alleged infringement, and asked that the damages be tripled to punish the company for its actions.

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

In December 2012 Burch and her former husband Chris Burch settled their dispute over lookalike merchandise at a company he founded.

The case is Tory Burch LLC v. Bluebell Accessories Inc., 1:13-cv-01941-RA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Under Armour Accused of Infringing Shoe Manufacturer’s Trademark

Under Armour Inc., the Baltimore-based manufacturer of sporting goods, was sued for trademark infringement by a California shoemaker.

According to the complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Under Armour’s use of “G Defy” with some of its shoes is objectionable to Gravity Defyer Corp. of Pacoima, California. The shoe manufacturer owns several trademark registrations for “G Defy” and “Gravity Defyer” and claims that Under Armour’s use of the mark confuses customers and harms the shoe company.

The California company accused Under Armour of actions that are in “willful and in conscious disregard of the trademark rights of Gravity Defyer.”

It is seeking a court order barring use of its mark and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

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

The case is Gravity Defyer Corp. v. Under Armour Inc., 2:13-cv-01842-JAK-JCG, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Sanrio Disavows Link to ‘Hello Kitty’ Guns, Says It Will Sue

Sanrio Ltd., the Japanese company best known for its “Hello Kitty” range of products, has released a statement denying any connection with so-called Hello Kitty guns displayed on the Internet.

In a March 27 statement, the Tokyo-based company said it hasn’t authorized the manufacture or sale of any gun or firearm “and does not condone the use of our intellectual property for the purpose of marketing this merchandise.”

CNN reported in February that a 5-year-old in Pennsylvania was suspended from school for threatening to “shoot” classmates with her Hello Kitty bubble-blowing device. After that, a number of websites began purporting to sell gun-related Hello Kitty products, including bullets, hand grenades, pink AR-15 rifles, and AK-47 assault rifles with a pink “hand-crocheted shoulder-stock muffler.”

Sanrio said such images were customized without its permission or were digitally manipulated to add Hello Kitty images and trademarks.

“Such actions constitute copyright infringement, trademark infringement and dilution,” Sanrio said, warning that its attorneys will go after anyone who is making, selling or displaying such products.

For more trademark news, click here.


Artist Sued Over Copyright After Criticizing Arts Critic

A Danish artist who wanted revenge against the author of a critical review of his work found himself the target of a copyright-infringement suit and must pay about 6,700 euros ($8,560) to a photographer, the Art Newspaper reported.

Kristian von Hornsleth used an image of journalist Camilla Stockmann in a sexually explicit collage after he was angered at an article she wrote, according to Art Newspaper.

The Danish high court agreed with photographer Lizette Kabre that von Hornsleth infringed the copyright to the photo she had shot of Stockmann by incorporating it in the collage without permission, Art Newspaper reported.

Von Hornsleth told the court that he was trying to respond to the critic using his own language.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Halliburton Wins in Wyoming Case Challenging Fracking Secrets

A Wyoming state court judge has ruled that companies that use hydraulic-fracturing fluid in their search for oil and gas in the state can keep the fluid’s ingredients protected as a trade secret, according to Wyoming Business Report.

Lawyers for Houston-based Halliburton Co. had argued that revealing the ingredients would put the company at a disadvantage to others in the oil field service industry, according to the publication.

Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking said that the Wyoming State Oil & Gas Conservation Commission acted in according with the law, according to the business report.

The judge said that public concerns about the safety of fracking fluids were valid and should be addressed by legislative action or rule-making rather than the courts, the publication reported.

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