HTC, ParkerVision, Disney, Baidu: Intellectual Property

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- A London judge said HTC Corp. couldn’t sell its One Mini phone in the U.K. starting Dec. 6 after it was found to have infringed patents owned by Nokia Oyj.

While Judge Richard Arnold also ruled that HTC’s One phone contained microchips that breached Nokia’s patent, he delayed an injunction against the product so HTC could appeal. Blocking U.K. sales of the One would cause “considerable” damage to HTC, he said in a ruling today.

HTC One, released globally including the U.K. in March, is the Taiwanese company’s flagship handset for 2013 and was lauded by reviewers for its sleek metallic design. HTC One Mini and HTC One Max, smaller and larger variants of the device, were released in the second half of the year.

“Nokia is also claiming financial compensation for the infringement of this patent,” the Espoo, Finland-based company said in a statement. HTC has agreed not to import any more of the products into the U.K. pending the appeal, Nokia said.

Two calls and an e-mail to HTC public relations after Taiwan office hours weren’t immediately answered.

HTC had argued the microchips found to infringe Nokia patents were “a very small component” and didn’t justify a sales ban, Arnold said in the ruling. HTC sold about 750,000 smartphones worth about 221 million pounds ($363 million) in the U.K. between January and September, according to the judgment.

Nokia also sued Apple Inc. over the chip patent and settled the case in April 2011 after agreeing to grant Apple a license. In September, Microsoft Corp. agreed to buy Nokia’s devices and services business for 5.44 billion euros.

The cases are HTC Corporation v. Nokia Corporation, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Patents Court, HC12A02048 and HC12C02909.

ParkerVision Requests Royalties, Ban on Qualcomm Chip Sales

ParkerVision Inc. asked a federal judge to order Qualcomm Inc. to pay as much as 70 cents for each infringing mobile-phone chip sold in the U.S.

The Dec. 2 request follows a $173 million award a jury made to ParkerVision in October in a patent lawsuit. The federal jury in Orlando, Florida, rejected ParkerVision’s argument that the infringement was intentional. Had the jury found willfulness, it would have allowed U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton to triple the award.

ParkerVision, which filed the infringement suit in July 2011, also asked for an order barring the sale of the disputed chips. Qualcomm is seeking to have verdict overturned and damages reduced. The case is ParkerVision v. Qualcomm, 11-cv-00719, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Jacksonville).

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Disney Tells Australian Chip Shop to Forget About Frying Nemo

Walt Disney Co. told a fish-and-chips shop in a suburb of Adelaide, Australia, to change its name or face a trademark-infringement action, the U.K.’s Drum magazine reported.

The owner of Frying Nemo told the magazine that she had consulted with a graphic design firm and that she thought the image it used was sufficiently removed from the original -- seen in Disney’s 2003 “Finding Nemo” film -- to differentiate it from the studio’s intellectual property.

She said other businesses use the “Frying Nemo” name without being targeted by Burbank, California-based Disney, according to Drum.

‘Black Friday’ Registered as ‘Cyber Monday’ Trademark Sought

The two shopping days after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday known, respectively, as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

The American Philatelist reported “Black Friday” was first used by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the traffic jams that the shopping rush created.

“Cyber Monday” was created in 2005 by a unit of the National Retail Federation to describe the surge on online shopping that occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving, when many workers order holiday gifts online after they’ve returned to their offices following the holiday, according to the association’s website.

Several retailers and providers of advertising services have either registered or sought to register the terms, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A Wisconsin brewery registered “Black Friday” as a trademark in December 2012. Lakefront Brewery Inc. of Milwaukee said in its filing that it began using the mark in November 2012, and that it would use the mark with beer.

A second application for use of the term with advertising and marketing services is pending. It was filed in September 2012 by a resident of Cleveland.

American Signature Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, registered “A Month of Black Fridays” in December 2012. That application specified it’s to be used for retail stores selling furniture.

Sears Holdings Corp.’s Sears Brands Unit registered “Better than Black Friday” in September 2010 for use with retail department-store services. Also in retail, DealNews.com Inc. registered “dealnews Where every day is Black Friday” as a trademark in March 2010.

Although San Jose, California-based EBay Inc. filed two applications in November 2008 to register “Everyday is Black Friday on eBay!!” the company abandoned both in November 2009. According to patent office data, the applications were considered abandoned in September 2009, for either failing to respond to an office inquiry or responding too late.

There is only one “Cyber Monday” trademark. It was registered in August to a resident of Gilbert, Arizona, who said in the application that the mark would be used for advertising services.

For more trademark news, click here.


Time Warner Unit Turns Back Screenwriter’s Infringement Claim

Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. unit successfully challenged a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by a Massachusetts writer.

Michael P. Kenney and his Shamrock Films sued the studio in federal court in Boston April 30, claiming that its film “Ghostman” infringes the copyright to his “Ghostman,” currently in post-production editing.

The court said Nov. 29 that Kenney was unable to prove Warner Bros. had access to the script on which his film was based or that there was a “substantial similarity” between the two works.

According to court papers, Kenney’s film is based on his comic-book hero Ghostman, “a masked thief who seeks to avoid the FBI by using ghost-like abilities.” The Warner Bros. project is based on Roger Hobbs’s novel “Ghostman,” to which the studio acquired the rights, the court said in its ruling.

The elements that Kenney claimed are infringed, such as plots, subplots or themes, aren’t protectable under U.S. copyright law, the court ruled.

The case is Kenney v. Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc., 13-cv-11068, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

Youku Tudou Wins China Copyright Infringement Suit Against Baidu

Youku Tudou Inc., the Beijing-based provider of streaming video, prevailed in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc., China Radio International’s English-language website reported.

Baidu was accused of broadcasting 18 Chinese television programs to which Youku had exclusive rights, according to CRI.

The search-engine company was ordered to pay 481,000 yuan ($80,600) by the Haidian District People’s Court in Beijing, CRI reported.

This ruling comes after infringement accusations made against Baidu Nov. 13 by the Motion Picture Association of America, several Chinese online video services and other content owners, according to CRI.

Copyright Agency in Australia Says Costs Are Justified

Australia’s Copyright Agency said the A$16.5 million ($15.1 million) in costs levied against the A$121.5 million it collected in royalties are justifiable, according to the Australian newspaper.

Sandy Grant, who leads the agency, told the Australian that its fees are cheaper than most other collection agencies.

Government departments, schools and universities account for about 85 percent of the revenue the agency collects, according to the newspaper.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Dairy-Equipment Company Awarded $22.7 Million in Secrets Case

A Minnesota state court jury awarded a dairy-equipment company $22.7 million in a trade-secrets case against former employees, according to a statement from the company’s counsel, Gray Plant Mooty PA of Minneapolis.

Relco LLC of Willmar, Minnesota, sued the former employees in May 2011, alleging they took confidential information to their new jobs at Custom Fabricating & Repair Inc. of Marshfield, Wisconsin, and violated terms of their employment agreement with Relco.

Custom Fabricating will be responsible for 90 percent of the damages award, according to the statement. Custom Fabricating didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for confirmation of the damages award.

The case is Relco LLC v. A. Kent Keller Technologies Inc., 34-cv-11-396, Minnesota 8th Judicial District, Kandiyohi County.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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