Apple, Eaton, Google, Wockhardt: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc. won more than $290 million from Samsung Electronics Co. in a do-over damages trial by relying on the same tactics it used in a 2012 victory -- and a witness who jurors said tipped the balance in Apple’s favor.

After a weeklong trial in San Jose, California, the jury restored most of the amount Nov. 21 that had been cut from a $1.05 billion verdict in favor of the iPhone maker last year over copying of technology used in smartphones.

Apple used the same lead lawyers, arguments and witnesses for this trial as it did last year, with the exception of a new damages expert to replace a witness who died. Jurors said after the verdict that the new expert, Julie L. Davis, a Chicago-based certified public accountant, provided clear evidence they could use to arrive at their damages sum and was unflappable on the stand.

“Ms. Davis was on it,” said jury forewoman Colleen Allen, a former U.S. military medic who served a tour in Afghanistan and now runs a mobile blood-collecting business. Davis was a “superstar witness” who remained steady “even when she was cross-examined,” Allen said in an interview.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh cut $410.5 million from the first verdict in March, finding it was flawed because jurors miscalculated the period that infringement occurred for 13 Samsung devices. In the retrial, Apple sought to restore $380 million of that amount.

On its own, the Nov. 21 verdict is the fifth-largest jury award in the U.S. in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the largest jury award this year in a patent case. Total damages owed by Samsung now stand at $930 million.

Lauren Restuccia, a spokeswoman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, said the company is disappointed with the verdict, “which is based in large part on a patent that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently deemed invalid,” and would appeal.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Eaton’s Bid for Reinstatement of Trade Secrets Case Rejected

Eaton Corp., the maker of components for aerospace markets, lost its request for the reinstatement of its $1 billion trade secrets case against some former employees and the lifting of its $1.5 million sanction.

The Cleveland-based company had gone to the Mississippi Supreme Court to appeal the 2011 dismissal of the case by that state’s Hinds County Circuit Court.

In its suit, filed in 2004, Eaton accused five engineers of stealing trade secrets and taking them to the company now known as the Triumph Actuation Systems unit of Triumph Group Inc. of Wayne, Pennsylvania. Triumph Actuation Systems, formerly Frisby Aerospace, was also named as a defendant.

In dismissing the case, the trial court cited improprieties by a former judge, a former lawyer and Eaton itself.

Eaton said in its filing with the state high court that its claims were backed by federal bill of particulars that ran to more than 50 pages. The claims were improperly dismissed by the trial court as a sanction for fraud on the court, Eaton claims.

Eaton had secretly hired a lawyer with close ties to a judge who presided over the earlier part of the litigation, Bobby DeLaughter, who as a prosecutor successfully tried the murderer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. DeLaughter pleaded guilty to federal obstruction-of-justice charges in 2009.

In its filings with the state supreme court, Eaton said a ruling by DeLaughter later faulted by another judge actually was favorable to the defendant in the suit, and that the defendant suffered no prejudice to its case.

Eaton also argued that it didn’t commit fraud on the court by hiring the attorney who previously had a close connection to DeLaughter. The lawyer was retained for legitimate purposes and did legitimate work, Eaton said in its filings.

In its Nov. 21 ruling, the Mississippi high court said the lower court didn’t abuse its discretion in imposing monetary sanctions and “the most severe sanction at its disposal -- dismissing with prejudice Eaton’s lawsuit.”

Misconduct by counsel for Eaton prejudiced both the defendant and the administration of justice, the court said.

The case is Eaton Corp. v. Frisby, 2-11-CA-00019-SCT, Supreme Court of Mississippi.


YouTube’s Takedown Policies Challenged by Right Wing Watch

People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch posted a petition on its website, asking that Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing service to modify its takedown policy.

YouTube’s present copyright takedown policy under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act “is too vulnerable to abuse via false complaints,” Right Wing Watch said.

The organization has been the target of repeated takedown requests by Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain now running as a Republican for a seat in Colorado’s legislature. Klingenschmitt had claimed that Right Wing Watch videos critical of him used portions of his own videos without authorization.

The candidate sent out a Nov. 7 press statement accusing Right Wing Watch of hate speech and saying that it “has been a thorn in the side of countless Christian ministries for years, quoting out of context ministers like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and political leaders like Michele Bachmann and Alan Keyes.”

In his statement, Klingenschmitt said that YouTube had terminated Right Wing Watch’s account and that “the Bible says pride comes before destruction. That’s a lesson for them, in how the Internet works.”

Right Wing Watch said that even though Klingenschmitt loses every challenge he makes with respect to its videos, he keeps filing them.

For more copyright news, click here.


Kamaron’s ‘Zecodex’ Mark Canceled, Business Standard Says

Wockhardt Ltd., a Mumbai-based drugmaker, persuaded India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board to cancel a trademark registered to a competitor, India’s Business Standard reported.

Wockhardt said that Gujarat-based Kamaron Laboratories Ltd.’s “Zecodex” mark was confusingly similar to the “Zedex” mark Wockhardt used for a cough syrup, the newspaper reported.

In its ruling, the board said that Kamaron should have conducted a trademark search before filing an application and that the company didn’t produce any evidence it had used the “Zecodex” mark, according to the Business Standard.

Although Wockhardt had used “Zedex” since 1983, Kamaron argued that the Mumbai company failed to oppose Kamaron’s 1996 trademark application for “Zecodes,” according to the newspaper.

Strange Brewing Settles Dispute With Strange Brew, Post Says

Strange Brewing Co. of Denver, and Marlboro, Massachusetts-based Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making have reached an accord in their trademark dispute, the companies said in a joint statement reported by the Denver Post.

The Massachusetts-based company had complained that Strange Brewing was infringing its trademark and threatened litigation, according to the Post.

Fans of Strange Brewing held fundraisers to support the brewery’s legal defense, the newspaper reported.

Although details of the settlement weren’t disclosed, the Post reported that the Colorado brewery will be able to keep its name.

Missouri’s Logo Letter Doesn’t Move School District, AP Says

Despite receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the University of Missouri, Arkansas’s Green Forest School Board said it won’t change its tiger head logo, the Associated Press reported.

Counsel for the school district advised its board that despite some similarities in the two logos, he didn’t believe the district’s version infringed, the news service reported.

James Aronowitz, counsel for the Atlanta-based Collegiate Licensing Co., said that the University of Missouri was made aware of the school district’s logo and that it risked losing the trademark if it didn’t enforce it, according to AP.

The university had previously asked the school district in Bentonville, Arkansas, to change its similar-looking logo and the district complied, AP reported.

King Group Seeks to Register ‘Stem Cell,’ Hindu Business Says

King Group’s King Multi-Tech Global unit is seeking to register “stem cell” as a trademark in India, Hindu Business Line reported.

The Ludhiana, India-based company, which has a medical export business, has filed an application to cover multiple variants of the name, according to the newspaper.

D.G. Shah, head of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, told the newspaper that generic words shouldn’t be registered as trademark because of the potential for misuse.

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