Marvell, Dark Horse, Portland Loo: Intellectual Property

Marvell Semiconductor Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based maker of semiconductors, prevailed in a patent-infringement case brought by a Texas patent holder.

A jury in federal court in Marshall, Texas, found that Marvell didn’t infringe either of the two patents that were at issue in the case, according to an Aug. 16 court filing.

Lake Cherokee Hard Drive Technologies Inc. filed suit in June 2010 against Marvell and seven other makers of computer chips. They were accused of infringing patents 5,978,162, issued in November 1999, and 5,844,728, issued in December 1998.

Both patents had previously belonged to Cirrus Logic Inc. and then Broadcom Corp. before being acquired by Lake Cherokee in February 2010, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Marvell was the only remaining defendant in the suit.

The case is Lake Cherokee Hard Drive Technologies LLC v. Marvel Semiconductor Inc., 2:10-cv-00216-JRG, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

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Dark Horse Brewery Sues Kansas Distillery Over Trademark

Dark Horse Distillery LLC, a Kansas-based maker of vodka, Bourbon and rye whiskey, was sued for trademark infringement by a Michigan brewery.

Mor-Dall Enterprises Inc., which does business as Dark Horse Brewing Co., objects to the distillery’s name. According to the complaint filed yesterday in a Michigan federal court, Dark Horse Brewing has done business since 1997.

The Marshall, Michigan-based company said it is presently involved in proceedings at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in opposition to two pending trademark applications filed by the distillery.

It said that despite the fact it had been in discussion with the distillery in October and November over the “Dark Horse” trademark application, the distillery filed additional applications in December and March, all of which contained “Dark Horse” in the name.

The public is likely to be confused by the two companies’ name similarities, the brewery claimed.

The brewery asked the court to order the patent office to reject the distillery’s pending applications, and to order the Shawnee, Kansas-based company not to use any of the “Dark Horse” marks. It also seeks awards of money damages, including the defendant’s profits derived from its alleged infringement, attorney feels and litigation costs.

Additionally, the brewery asked the court to order the destruction of all products and promotional materials that infringe or are confusingly similar to the brewery’s trademarks.

Dark Horse Distillery didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Mor-Dall Enterprises Inc. v. Dark Horse Distillery, 1:13-cv-00915, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan.

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Romtec Sued by City of Portland Over Public Toilet Copyright

Romtec Inc., a company that produces bathroom facilities for public spaces, was sued for copyright infringement by the city of Portland, Oregon.

The city claims that Roseburg, Oregon-based Romtec infringed the copyright to a public toilet facility. According to court papers, the city invested public funds to create, fabricate, deploy, market and sell a distinctive public bathroom that is known as the “Portland Loo.”

The Portland Loo is a toilet kiosk that can be placed on city sidewalks that is handicapped accessible and can accommodate a baby stroller or a bike for the occupant. A novel feature of the Portland loo is the use of louvered slats that permit natural surveillance by those outside the facility. The louvers extend from knee level to foot level and just above head level to the ceiling, “making activity inside somewhat visible to passersby,” according to the complaint.

The Portland Loo was designed by one of the former city commissioners, who then assigned the copyright -- which was registered in 2008 -- to the city.

The Portland Loo has become such a distinctive and popular creation of the city that it even has its own Facebook page. The city has seven Portland Loos installed around Portland, has sold them two three other municipalities, and is negotiating to sell more to the cites of San Diego, Esquimalt, British Columbia, and Seattle, according to the complaint.

Romtec’s “Sidewalk Restroom” infringes the Portland Loo copyright, as the Romtec product is “substantially and strikingly similar” to the Portland Loo and appears to be a copy, the city said in its complaint.

The city also made claims under U.S. trademark law that the two facilities were so similar that the public was likely to be confused as to their source and believe, falsely, that an affiliation existed between Romtec and the city.

It asked the court to bar Romtec from making and selling products that infringe the city’s intellectual property rights, and to order the seizure and destruction of any infringing products or promotional materials.

The city also asked for awards of money damages, Romtec’s profits attributable to the alleged infringement, litigation costs and money damages.

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

The case is City of Portland v. Romtec Inc., 3:13-cv-01453-MO, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Portland).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Intel Creates Hadoop-Based Tool to Foil Industrial Espionage

Intel Corp. has created a software based tool to detect possible industrial espionage, the Register technology-news website reported.

The tool, which uses the Apache Hadoop open-source software framework and looks at the 4 billion to 6 billion daily network events that occur in the company, was created by a team of about 80 working from Intel’s offices in Israel, according to the Register.

The tool analyzes every access request by every employee, the Register reported.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel told the Register that it may release the software’s code and design to its McAfee unit to be converted into a commercial product.

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