Samsung, Zynga, LG, Givaudan: Intellectual Property

Largan Precision Co., a Taiwanese smartphone camera lens maker, sued Samsung Electronics Co. for infringing six of its imaging lens patents in Samsung’s Galaxy Note and S series smartphones.

The Nov. 14 complaint filed in federal court in San Diego seeks a court order barring unauthorized use of its patented technology, together with money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees. Claiming that the infringement is intentional, Largan asked the court to triple the damages award.

Largan, the world’s biggest designer and manufacturer of imaging lens products used in mobile devices, according to its lawsuit, has also sued Taiwan-listed competitors including Genius Electronic Optical Co. and Ability Opto-Electronics Technology Co. this year over patent infringement. Taichung City, Taiwan-based Largan may sue other companies, investor relations employee Amanda Chiu said.

“We are carefully reviewing this matter and not able to provide any details at this moment,” Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung said in a statement.

Largan also asked the U.S. court to halt imports of Samsung products that infringe its patents. Chiu declined to say whether Samsung is or has been a client.

SinoPac Securities Corp. wrote in a note that Largan’s lawsuit signals confidence in its patents. The camera lens maker is consolidating its market leader position by defending its patents, according to a research note from Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co.

The case is Largan Precision Co. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-cv-02740, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

Zynga Defeats Personalized Media Communications’ Patent Claims

Zynga Inc., the San Francisco-based maker of games for social media, defeated infringement claims by a Sugar Land, Texas-based patent owner.

Personalized Media Communications LLC sued Zynga in federal court in Marshall, Texas, in February 2012, alleging that the games company infringed patents related to the delivery and presentation of enhanced media content. According to the complaint, Personalized Media owns more than 50 patents. John C. Harvey, founder and chairman, is the primary inventor of the technology on which the patents are based.

Cisco Systems Inc., DirecTV, Sony Corp. and the Weather Channel are among companies that have taken licenses to Personalized Media’s patents.

On Nov. 7, Zynga and Personalized Media agreed to dismiss infringement claims related to two patents and some of Zynga’s products. A jury then found on Nov. 19 that Zynga didn’t infringe any of the claims of remaining patents.

The case is Personalized Media Communications LLC v. Zynga Inc., 2:12-cv-00068, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.


LG Files Application for ‘Glasstic’ Trademark for Spectacles

LG Electronics Inc., which released its smartphone in August, may be planning to bring out a competitor to Google Inc.’s Google Glass wearable head-mounted computer, if a recent trademark filing is any indication.

The Seoul-based company filed an application Nov. 14 to register “Glasstic” as a U.S. trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

LG said it plans to use the mark with mobile phones and spectacles, as well as clocks.

Roederer Sued by Dog-Toy Maker Over Cristal Champagne Trademarks

Champagne Louis Roederer SA was sued by a maker of dog toys, who asked a federal court in Arizona to declare it isn’t infringing the French vintner’s “Cristal” trademarks.

VIP Products LLC of Phoenix said in its filing that it deliberately designed its “Crispaw” chew toy to incorporate some elements of the Roederer trade dress, including a gold label. The company claims the product also includes “drastic differences” from the Roederer marks and trade dress to make it clear this is a parody.

The company said it chose “Crispaw” because it invoked dogs and clearly isn’t “Cristal.” According to the VIP Products website, the company also makes “Meow Chased,” “Groobert Sloobery” and “Kennel Relaxin” chew toys, which are also shaped like wine bottles.

VIP said it has received a cease-and-desist notice from counsel for Roederer alleging the toy infringes the vintner’s trademarks.

The Arizona company asked the court to declare that neither its “Crispaw” name nor its trade dress infringe Roederer’s intellectual-property rights for its Cristal Champagne.

The case is VIP Products LLC v. Champagne Louis Roederer SA, 13-cv-02365, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

For more trademark news, click here.


‘Bang!’ Publisher Sues Chinese Game Creator for Infringement

The Italian publisher of the “Bang!” role-playing card game sued a Chinese games company and its U.S. distributor for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit is related to the role-playing game “Legends of the Three Kingdoms,” also known as “Sanguosha.” The Chinese game, allegedly based on events during China’s Ming Dynasty, is a blatant copy of “Bang!,” according to the complaint filed Nov. 19 in federal court in Houston.

DaVinci Editrice Srl of Perugia, Italy, says in its complaint that while the Chinese game is set in ancient China, instead of the Wild West as in “Bang!,” “that thin veneer does little to mask the striking similarities between the games.”

“Bang!” was first published in 2002, and is sold in the U.S. through major retailers including Inc., Target Corp. and Barnes & Noble Inc., the company says. DaVinci says it has sold more than 670,000 copies of the game.

The “Legends” product description on Inc.’s website says that the Chinese game “shares many rules with Bang!,” according to the complaint.

A course based on “Legends” is offered at the University of California at Berkeley. The faculty sponsor is Professor Robert C. Berring Jr., who teaches courses in Chinese law at Berkeley Law.

He said in an e-mail that he had been contacted by the Italian publisher about possible similarities between the two games. “When I asked the students they all seemed to be well aware that the game was based on Bang! That was one reason they wanted to play it,” he said.

Defendants in the case are Ziko Games of Missouri City, Texas, and Beijing-based Yoka Games. Neither company responded immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

Included in the court filings is a letter from Ziko to the Italian company. Ziko said that it is only a third-party distributor and as far as it is aware, Yoka is the creator of “Legends.”

DaVinci told the court that the enforcement of foreign judgments in China “has been notoriously difficult in recent years” and asked for an order barring the sale and distribution of “Legends.” DaVinci also requested money damages.

The case is DaVinci Editrice Srl v. Ziko Games LLC, 4:13-cv-03415, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Givaudan’s Trade Secrets Claims Lack Specificity, Court Says

Givaudan SA’s Givaudan Fragrances unit’s trade secrets case against one of its former employees was narrowed by a federal court in New Jersey.

The Swiss company sued a perfumer who went to work for Mane USA Inc., a New Jersey-based competitor. In its 2008 complaint, Givaudan said the ex-employee printed out formulas for 616 fragrances and took them with him to his new job.

The court in Trenton said that Givaudan didn’t provide Mane with enough details about 582 formulas.

“The name of the formula is not the protected secret and it conveys nothing to Mane with respect to the subject matter that Givaudan is claiming that it owns or that Mane has allegedly misappropriated,” the court ruled.

Givaudan did provide enough information about 24 other formulas for those claims to go forward, according to the ruling. The company filed a notice Nov. 8 that it will appeal the court’s ruling.

The case is Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Krivda, 3:08-cv-04409, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).

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