Sony, Sears Canada, News Corp.: Intellectual Property

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., maker of the PlayStation game consoles, is seeking a patent on a technology that would make it easier for players to add new content to a game.

Application 20140004957, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Jan. 2, covers an invention through which game players could suspend the state of cloud-based applications for games, permitting the streaming of new content.

The aim of the invention is increasing the longevity and appeal of older games. If new content can be introduced, users are more likely to continue playing them, Sony says in its application. The Japanese technology company says game designers have begun to create “mini-games” that could be streamed into existing games, adding new interest and challenges for users.

Tokyo-based Sony filed the application for the patent in March 2013 according to patent office data.

For more patent news, click here.


J&J Loses ‘OneTouch’ Glucose Test Strip Trademark in China

Johnson & Johnson’s Chinese “OneTouch” trademark for glucose-meter test strips was revoked by IP authorities in that nation, Global Times reported.

A Chinese competitor, Guilin Zhonghui Technology Co., was accused in 2007 of infringement by the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based health-care products company for using “One Touch” -- using two words -- on its test trips, according to the newspaper.

Li Zhong, who heads the Chinese company, said his company was damaged by Johnson & Johnson and will seek compensation, according to Global Times.

The Chinese company had argued successfully that it had its own “Zhonghui” trademark and the use of “One Touch” was only descriptive rather than an attempt to use the U.S. company’s mark, the newspaper reported.

Pintrips Accuses Pinterest of Filing ‘Spurious’ Trademark Suit

Pintrips Inc., a California-based travel-service company, responded to the Oct. 4 trademark suit filed by San Francisco’s Pinterest Inc.

The travel company is asking that the case be dismissed, saying in a Jan. 6 court filing that the suit is “a textbook example of an industry giant using a spurious lawsuit to bully a small entity to give up its right to use a generic common term that merely describes a core function of its service.”

Pinterest, a social-media scrapbook site, accused Pintrips setting up a “pin” button on its website that was confusingly similar to the San Francisco company’s “pin it” website button. It also objected to an application the travel company filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2012 to register “Pintrips” as a trademark.

The suit was filed, Pinterest said, to prevent consumer confusion.

Pintrips said in its filing that Pinterest doesn’t have a registered trademark for the term “pin” and argues that the term is generic and commonly used for virtually “pinning” an object on a graphic user interface. The travel company said “pin” is “nothing more than a generic noun/verb that is not entitled to protection.”

It said Microsoft Corp.’s Microsoft Windows, Facebook Inc.’s social media site and Google Maps all use “pin” functions.

Pinterest suffered a European trademark setback in November 2013 when European trademark regulators said the “pinterest” trademark belonged to Premium Interest, a U.K-based social-news aggregator. The European Union’s Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market, which adjudicates trademark issues within its member states, found that Pinterest Inc. was still “very American” and pleadings supplied to the EU failed to indicate the awareness of the U.K. public with respect to its name.

The case against PinTrips is Pinterest Inc. v. Pintrips Inc., 13-cv-04608, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Sears Canada Fires Back at Canada Goose in Trademark Litigation

Sears Canada Inc. has responded to trademark infringement claims made by Toronto-based Canada Goose Inc., a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, the Calgary Herald reported.

In its filing with the Canadian court, Sears accused Canada Goose of trademark bullying, and a “campaign of intimidation,” the newspaper reported.

Canada Goose filed the suit in November 2013, objecting to some Sears products it said were knockoffs of its high-end winter jackets, according to the Herald.

Sears claims Canada Goose is reaching too far and trying to claim the exclusive right to sell any winter coat with either a fur collar or a circular logo, the newspaper reported.

‘Redskin Hog Rinds’ Rejection Puts NFL Team on Spot

In an action that may bode ill for the National Football League’s Washington franchise, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to register a mark sought to be used with hog rinds.

Raj Abhyanker of Capitol Heights, Maryland, filed an application in August to register “Redskin Hog Rinds.” The trademark office’s examining attorney sent Abhyanker a letter Dec. 29 rejecting the request because the mark was deemed “disparaging.”

The attorney included references to news articles and dictionary definitions that said “Redskin” is a term considered offensive to and by American Indians.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins have been at the center of a debate over the term. The team’s name is the target of cancellation requests before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, according to the patent office. Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, has said repeatedly he won’t change its name.

A group of 60 Washington-area clergy sent a letter last month to the league, asking that the name be changed because it’s derogatory and offensive.

For more trademark news, click here.


News Corp unit Awarded C$10.5 Million in ‘Simpsons’ Litigation

News Corporation’s 20th Century Fox unit was awarded C$10.5 million by a Canadian court in a case related to unauthorized copying of its “Simpsons” and “Family Guy” programs.

The case was filed in October 2013 against the operator of the “Watch The Simpsons Online” and “Watch Family Guy Online” websites. The studio claimed the website operator copied the programs onto a computer system, uploaded those to computer file servers, and then created links to the file servers, enabling the public to download the content without permission.

In addition to the C$10 million damages permitted by law, the court added an extra C$500,000 to punish the site operator.

Judge Douglas R. Campbell said the site operator’s conduct was “unauthorized, blatant, high-handed and intentional” and deserving of the award of punitive damages. The site operator had been put on notice by the studio, yet continued the infringement, the court ruled.

The case is Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Hernandez, T-1618-13, Federal Court of Canada.

Newspaper Film Critic Tweet Raises Copyright Questions, BBC Says

A New York Times film critic who refused permission for the reproduction in a advertisement of one of his “tweets” sent via Twitter Inc.’s short messaging service raised issues related to copyright and social media, the BBC reported.

A.O. Scott had said his tweet about the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llweyn Davis” film was used in a full-page ad for the film without authorization, according to the BBC.

After the ad came out, Scott used Twitter to criticize its use and say the inclusion of the tweet in the ad should have been discussed in greater detail before it was used, the BBC reported.

Dale Cendali, a copyright specialist at Chicago’s Kirkland & Ellis LLP, told the BBC the issue of the critic’s tweeted comment was complex because while Scott owned the copyright to his tweets, by using Twitter he had “volunteered” the statement in a public fashion.

For more copyright news, click here.

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

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.