Red Dog, In-N-Out, Cigna, Palin: Intellectual Property

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Red Dog Mobile Shelters LLC of Amarillo, Texas, filed patent lawsuits against two rival makers of shelters used to protect drilling-rig crews from tornadoes and prairie fires.

The patented technology employs the force of wind to stabilize Red Dog’s Crewsafe Osage and Apache shelters, which are used by Apache Corp., BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other oil companies, according to the complaints filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas.

Red Dog sued KAT Industries Inc., based in Oklahoma City, and Rising S Co., based in Kemp, Texas. Red Dog said its shelters meet or exceed government and industry requirements, and that the defendants falsely claimed their products are endorsed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Red Dog asked the court for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs and for court orders barring further infringement of its patents. Red Dog also is seeking extra damages to punish the two companies for their actions.

Neither Kat nor Rising S responded immediately to e-mailed requests for comment on the lawsuits.

The cases are Red Dog Mobile Shelters LLC v. Kat Industries Inc., 13-cv-03756, and Red Dog Mobile Shelters LLC v. Rising S Co., 13-cv-03757, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

Apple Patents Event-Based Technology for Mobile Devices

Apple Inc., maker of the iPod and iPhone, received a patent on a technology that may automatically silence a mobile device depending on a location or event, preventing it from ringing during a concert or business meeting.

According to patent 8,538,376, issued yesterday, the phone’s mode of operation could be altered automatically in a certain space. Some functions also might be disabled, such as texting while operating a mobile vehicle or using the camera at a concert where photography is barred.

The device’s operation could be altered for “location-based events, environment-based events, calendar-based events, news-based events, and usage-based events,” according to the patent.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, applied for the patent in December 2007 with assistance from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP of Atlanta.

For more patent news, click here.


In-N-Out Burger Objects Ethiopian Shop’s Name, Newspaper Says

In-N-Out Burger, a fast-food restaurant chain based in Irvine, California, is objecting to the In-N-Out chicken and hamburger restaurant in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Addis Fortune reported.

The California company, which operates in five western U.S. states, learned about the Ethiopian restaurant from U.S. tourist complaints about their experiences there, according to the Addis Fortune.

Saleamlak Andargie, the owner of the Ethiopian restaurant, told the newspaper he had no idea what will happen in the dispute with the U.S. chain, according to the newspaper.

In-N-Out has hired an Ethiopian lawyer who is urging Andargie to change his restaurant’s name, according to the Fortune.

‘HIV Innocence Group’ Trademark Dispute Gets January Trial Date

A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, set a Jan. 5 trial date in a trademark dispute between a Los Angeles-based private investigator and the alleged operator of a website that debunks the investigator’s work related to AIDS.

Clark Baker and his Office of Medical & Scientific Justice sued in July, accusing Jeffrey Todd Deshong of Fort Worth of infringing the “HIV Innocence Group” trademark. Baker said he registered the mark in June 2012.

He claims that in 2011, Deshong began using two domain names that infringe the mark -- and -- to question the quality of his organization’s work. In court papers, Baker said Deshong calls the innocence group “a useless tool of AIDS denialist propaganda.”

Baker, whose organization provides support to defendants charged with criminal transmission of the virus that causes AIDS, said the public is confused by the names of Deshong’s websites. He asked the court for awards of money damages and for court orders barring further infringement of his marks.

While the person posting on doesn’t identify himself as Deshong, he did acknowledge in an Aug. 20 post that he had been sued by Baker. He said there were “untruths” in the complaint and that an arbitrator concluded that his domain name fell within what is defined as fair use.

The case is Baker v. Deshong, 13-cv-00553, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).

For more trademark news, click here.


Cigna Uses ‘Copyright You’ as Promotional Campaign on Facebook

Cigna Corp., a health and life insurance company based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, is running a promotional campaign inviting people to copyright themselves.

According to a company statement, people are invited to go to a page on Facebook Inc.’s social media website, upload photos of themselves and add the copyright symbol: a letter C within a circle. The page is called “Copyright You by Cigna Go You.”

Cigna said the project will celebrate individuality, including “personality traits, quirks, or even flaws.”

On the Facebook page, Cigna acknowledged that people aren’t getting real copyrights: “It’s just a reminder that each of us has an inalienable right to be one of a kind. Exercise it.”

Sarah Palin Sued Over Use of 9/11 Firefighter Flag-Raising Photo

Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was sued for copyright infringement by a New Jersey newspaper publisher.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York on Sept. 13, accused Palin and her SarahPAC political action group of using one of the publisher’s photos without permission.

The photo, shot on Sept. 11, 2011, shows three firefighters raising a flag on the ruins of the World Trade Center site. North Jersey Media Group Inc. said the photo was shot by one of its photographers for the Bergen Record, and that it’s the sole owner of the copyright to the image. The image was later used on a U.S. postage stamp commemorating those who lost their lives on that day.

Palin and her political group are accused of posting a copy of the photo both on the website and on Sarah Palin’s page on Facebook Inc.’s social-media website.

The newspaper group asked the court for an order barring further unauthorized use of its photo, and for awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

Palin and her organization didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment sent through her website.

The case is North Jersey Media Group Inc. v. SarahPAC, 13-cv-06494, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Move

Harter Secrest Brings in Bausch & Lomb’s Chief Trademark Counsel

Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, the Rochester, New York-based law firm, hired Jon Webster for its IP practice group.

Webster was previously the chief trademark counsel for Bausch & Lomb Inc., the maker of optical instruments, the law firm said in a statement.

Bausch & Lomb, also based in Rochester, was acquired in August by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.

Webster managed Bausch & Lomb’s trademark and copyright portfolio, including licensing, enforcement and global anti-counterfeiting issues.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the State University of New York Buffalo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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