J.C.Penney, Macy’s, Michael Jordan: Intellectual Property

April 10 (Bloomberg) -- J.C. Penney Co. may be subject to damages if it’s selling Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.’s plastic partyware in violation of a court order obtained by Macy’s Inc., a New York state judge said yesterday.

Macy’s, claiming the exclusive right to sell certain categories of Martha Stewart-branded goods, sued J.C. Penney for carrying some of the same merchandise. Macy’s this week sought to renew a motion to enforce an injunction it obtained in July, claiming that the partyware is in an exclusive category and that stocking it at J.C. Penney stores violates the court order.

Macy’s yesterday accused J.C. Penney of selling products in the exclusive categories on its website under the name “Martha Stewart Celebrations,” including plastic champagne flutes, wine glasses and pitchers, and asked New York State Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey K. Oing in Manhattan to declare that the products violate the injunction.

“I am not entirely sure that the defendants are taking this as seriously as we are,” Michael A. Platt, an attorney at Jones Day who is representing Macy’s, told the judge yesterday before putting two plastic pitchers on the bench to show their similarities. “They should be pulled from the shelves.”

Oing declined to hear Cincinnati-based Macy’s request to argue for an order enforcing the injunction, saying he wants Macy’s to finish its case first, while warning that J.C. Penney may be subject to damages if he determines the objects fall under his July sale ban.

The three sides returned to court Monday to resume a trial of Macy’s lawsuits following a monthlong break during which mediation efforts ordered by Oing were unsuccessful.

The cases are Macy’s Inc. v. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., 650197/2012; Macy’s Inc. v. J.C. Penney Corp., 652861/2012, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).

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Chinese Company Brings Countersuit Against Michael Jordan

Qiaodan Sports Co., a closely held Chinese sportswear company, said it sued hall-of-fame basketball player Michael Jordan for damages of $8 million after his lawsuit claiming unauthorized use of his name.

The Fujian-based retailer’s suit was accepted by the Quanzhou City Intermediate People’s Court in Fujian on April 2, it said in an e-mailed statement today.

The Chinese company, which has about 6,000 shops in the country, claimed the former National Basketball Association player has tarnished its reputation and delayed its plan for an initial public offering. Jordan, who won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, sued Qiaodan in February last year for using his Chinese name and jersey number 23 without permission.

Qiaodan denied the unauthorized use of Jordan’s Chinese name in today’s statement. Jordan’s lawsuit is proceeding at the Shanghai People’s Intermediate Court, according to an e-mailed statement from Brunswick Group, which is representing Jordan’s lawyer.

Jordan hasn’t received notice from relevant authorities about Qiaodan’s suit, Yang said in an e-mail responding to Bloomberg News queries. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Qiaodan’s lawsuit.

Qiaodan won approval from the nation’s securities regulator in November 2011 for an initial public offering of 112.5 million shares.

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Cyber Bill Getting Privacy Controls to Win Over Obama

The House Intelligence Committee will add privacy safeguards to a cybersecurity proposal in an effort to win support of President Barack Obama and other lawmakers, the panel’s top Republican and Democrat said.

Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and the panel’s top Democrat, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, told reporters April 8 they will support at least five amendments to the bill, which provides lawsuit immunity sought by companies including AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co.

The changes include requiring the government to minimize collection of information that could identify citizens in the process of sharing cyber threat data with the private sector, Rogers and Ruppersberger said on a phone call. The lawmakers said they also want a provision saying companies only can use cybersecurity data to protect their networks, not for marketing purposes.

“The improvements that we plan to make to the bill at the markup will address several of the administration’s concerns,” Rogers said. “And we plan to keep talking and moving toward a consensus that will allow us to get the bill signed into law.”

The Intelligence Committee has scheduled an April 10 closed-door meeting to vote on the amendments and the measure. Obama threatened to veto the bill last year partly over privacy concerns.

The White House hasn’t said whether it supports the bill with revisions, Ruppersberger said.

Other changes include denying firms legal protections if they use cyber threat information to hack each other; dropping language allowing agencies to use information for national security purposes; and creating roles for the government’s privacy and civil liberties board and federal privacy officers to review how information is shared and used, Rogers and Ruppersberger said.

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IP Attorney Says Congress Won’t Change Copyright Laws

Joshua Rosenkranz, head of the Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation practice at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, spoke with Bloomberg Law about obtaining a landmark copyright victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled on March 19, 2013, that textbooks and other goods made abroad can be resold in the U.S. without violating American copyright law, bolstering the multibillion-dollar “gray market.”

Rosenkranz, discusses the implications of the court’s decision for copyright holders, publishers and manufacturers.

The case is Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, 11-697.

To listen to the interview, click here.

Copyright Professor Discusses Tiffany’s Lawsuit Over Rings

Tyler Ochoa, a professor of copyright law at the Santa Clara University School of Law, discussed on Bloomberg Radio Tiffany & Co.’s suit against Costco Wholesale Corp. for allegedly selling diamond engagement rings and falsely claiming they were made by Tiffany. The suit was filed Feb. 14.

The case is Tiffany & Co. v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 1:13-cv-01041, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To listen to the interview, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at erosen14@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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