AK Steel, Sony, Dillard’s, 5Pointz: Intellectual Property

AK Steel Corp., a producer of steel used for automobiles, construction and electrical power generation, said it persuaded a court that it didn’t infringe a patent belonging to Luxembourg’s ArcelorMittal SA.

The Luxembourg-based steel producer sued West Chester Ohio-based AK Steel in federal court in Delaware in April, claiming patent 6,296,805 was infringed. The patent, issued in October 2001 and reissued as RE44153 in April, covers a thermally hot and cold-rolled steel sheet with a very high resistance.

ArcelorMittal said in court papers that aluminum-coated boron-containing steel sheets produced by AK Steel infringe the patents.

U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson found that the patent was invalid because ArcelorMittal violated a ban on broadening a patent more than two years from its initial issuance, according to AK Steel’s statement.

ArcelorMittal didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the ruling.

The case is A4celorMittal France v. AK Steel Corp., 13-cv-00685, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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Sony Successfully Challenges ‘abt Sony’ Trademark

Sony Corp., the Japanese electronics company, won its appeal of a decision by India’s deputy registrar of trademarks to permit AB Textiles of Calcutta to register “abt Sony” as a trademark, Business Standard reported.

The textile company registered the mark for use with men’s and women’s undergarments, according to Business Standard.

India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board said it was clear the textile company was trying to take unfair advantage of the fame of the Japanese electronics company, the newspaper reported.

The board said customers are likely to omit the “abt” when asking for the Calcutta company’s products, and they will probably think mistakenly that Sony Corp. is the source of the products, according to Business Standard.

Endochoice Sues Santarus for Infringement Over Logos

Endochoice Inc., a manufacturer of products used to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal diseases, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a San Diego-based competitor.

Santarus Inc. is accused of using a logo that infringes Endochoice’s trademark, according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in New York.

Alpharetta, Georgia-based Endochoice’s mark is a circle composed of four interlocked crescent moons. The company began using the mark in 2008 and registered it in 2010, according to court papers.

Endochoice objects to Santarus’ Uceris trademark, which also has four crescent moon shapes forming a circle.

The Uceris logo is used for gastroenterology medications and related medical information, and its similarity to the Endochoice trademark is likely to confuse both consumers and medical professionals, Endochoice said in its pleadings.

The Georgia company said it sent Santarus a cease-and-desist letter in June, to no avail. Endochoice asked the court to order Santarus to stop using the logo, and for the destruction of all promotional materials containing the mark.

Additionally, Endochoice requested awards of money damages, including Santarus’s profits related to the alleged infringement, together with attorney fees and litigation costs.

Santarus didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Endochoice Inc., v. Santarus Inc. 1:13-cv-07652, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Dillard’s Sued for Trademark Infringement by Hells Angels Club

Dillard’s Inc., the Arkansas-based department-store chain, was sued for trademark infringement by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp.

The complaint, filed Oct. 27 in federal court in Sacramento, California, accuses Dillard’s of selling clothing that infringes the motorcycle club’s trademarks.

Hells Angels said that its trademarks have acquired very widespread recognition “from decades of notoriety.” The marks “evoke strong and immediate reactions whenever used and as a result have ‘‘great commercial value,’’ according to court papers.

The club is no stranger to trademark litigation. Since 2000, Hells Angels have filed more than 15 trademark suits, according to Bloomberg data.

In this suit against Dillard’s, the club objects to the manufacture and sale of clothing bearing what they say is a copycat of their death’s head image.

The club asked the court for an order for the seizure and destruction of the allegedly infringing merchandise, and awards of money damages, including profits derived from the sale of the infringing products. Additionally, Hells Angels requested that it be awarded attorney fees and litigation costs.

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

The case is Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. v. 8732 Apparel LLC., 13-cv-01232, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

Royal Canadian Legion Reminds Reddit Users of Trademark Rules

Canadian users of Reddit, a social media site to which users post content, ran afoul of the Royal Canadian legion over the use of a red poppy image, the Canadian Broadcast Corp. reported.

The legion, a Canadian veterans’ group, sent Reddit a cease-and-desist notice, saying the poppy was a registered trademark requiring permission for use, according to the CBC.

Some Reddit users protested the symbol’s removal, saying they believed their use of the symbol should have been permitted as fair use, the CBC reported.

The legion then sent a conciliatory letter saying that while the poppy symbol is a trademark, the veterans’ organization would like to work with Reddit to raise awareness of Canada’s Remembrance Day holiday, according to the CBC.

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Copyright Clearance Center Says It Paid $1.4 Billion Royalties

The Copyright Clearance Center, a rights-licensing organization, said in a statement that it has paid out $1.4 billion in royalties to rights holders during the past 10 years.

The Danvers, Massachusetts-based organization said that in fiscal year 2013, it has paid $188.7 million in royalties, a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

The center, founded in 1978, licenses protected content to businesses and academic institutions.

Graffiti Artists to Get Hearing on Request to Block Demolition

A group of graffiti artists known as 5Pointz who sued a New York real-estate developer to block destruction of a building covered with their work persuaded a federal judge to issue an order temporarily blocking demolition efforts.

The artists sued in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Oct. 20, claiming their works were protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act and copyright law.

The developers, based in Edgewood, New York, had planned to tear down a building in Queens, New York, in order to build a 1,000-unit apartment complex.

In his Oct. 28 ruling, U.S. District Judge Frederic Block set hearings for Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 on the artists’ request for an order barring the destruction of the building. He also extended a temporary order against the demolition he issued Oct. 7 to stay in effect through Nov. 12.

The case is Cohen v. G&M Realty LP, 13-cv-05612, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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