James Dean, Google, John Wiley: Intellectual Property

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- James Dean’s estate sued Twitter Inc., alleging that the account “@JamesDean” violates the estate’s right of publicity for the late actor as well as its trademarks.

James Dean Inc. hired CMG Worldwide Inc., which represents the estates of John Belushi, Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart, among others, to manage its intellectual property rights, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Indianapolis.

The estate alleged San Francisco-based Twitter allowed someone to go by the @JamesDean handle despite requests to stop its unauthorized use. The account, with more than 8,000 followers as of Feb. 14, says it’s “The King of Cool (Not associated with James Dean, Inc.)” and bears a picture of the film star, who died in 1955.

Twitter on Feb. 7 had the case moved from an Indiana state court to federal court in Indianapolis, where James Dean Inc. is based.

Matthew Johns, Mark Sableman and Anthony Blum, attorneys at Thompson Coburn LLP who are listed on the removal filing as Twitter’s counsel, didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment on the lawsuit. An e-mail to the general media mailbox at Twitter wasn’t answered.

The case is James Dean Inc. v. Twitter Inc., 1:14-cv-00183, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis).

For more trademark news, click here.


Mexico to Challenge Televisa Lawsuit Over New Content Rules

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto will challenge a judge’s ruling that the country’s telecommunications regulator lacks standing to force broadcasters including Grupo Televisa SAB to let cable and satellite companies carry their content free.

The government will file an appeal with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Federal Telecommunications Institute to overturn the lower court’s decision, presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said Feb. 14 at an event in Mexico City. The agency earlier said in an e-mailed statement that the judge’s ruling on Feb. 10 interferes with its ability to regulate the industry.

The lawsuit, started by Televisa, undermines an initiative passed by Mexican lawmakers in June that requires broadcasters to offer their over-the-air programming to carriers without charging a fee or packaging them with other channels.

Citing the June law, Dish Mexico, the nation’s second-largest satellite-TV company, and phone carrier Axtel SAB added signals from Televisa and TV Azteca SAB, Mexico’s two largest broadcasters, to their channel lineups in September for no extra charge. Previously, cable and satellite providers had to pay for the broadcast networks as part of a bundle of channels.

Televisa and Azteca, both based in Mexico City, disputed Dish’s move to go ahead with the retransmissions, arguing that they hadn’t yet been properly authorized by the regulatory agency, which itself was created by the June law.

In an e-mailed statement after the government announcement, Televisa said Dish Mexico was “disqualifying the judicial process to benefit its own interests.” The lawsuit seeks to protect Televisa’s right to control its intellectual property, the company said.

Spain Opens Door to Letting Publishers Charge Google for News

Spain’s Cabinet approved a bill that may allow publishers to charge search-engine companies such as Google Inc. for news content they use.

The bill “recognizes the right of publishing companies and authors of news to be economically compensated for the use of their content,” the government said in notes on the weekly cabinet meeting posted on its website. The bill covers news, opinion articles and entertainment, Culture Minister Jose Ignacio Wert told reporters after the meeting.

The text of the bill, which the cabinet agreed to send to Parliament for approval, hasn’t been published, and the government didn’t give details on how the measure would work.

Photo Agency Asserts Right to Bring Case Against John Wiley

A stock photography agency is appealing a district court ruling that it lacked the right to bring infringement claims against John Wiley & Sons Inc. on behalf of photographers the agency represented.

A federal court in San Francisco on Jan. 27 held that while Minden Pictures Inc. had licensed photos to Wiley for use in educational publications, those licenses didn’t confer standing to sue for copyright infringement. The agency claimed that Wiley, after licensing images from Minden, used the photos beyond the scope of the licenses.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco found that because the photographers had expressly retained the copyrights in the pictures, Minden couldn’t sue on their behalf under federal copyright law. Minden is now taking its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals based in San Francisco.

The case is Minden Pictures, Inc. v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., C-12-4601, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more copyright news, click here.


Samsung Sues Dyson Technology For Filing 2013 Patent Lawsuit

Samsung Electronics Co. has turned the tables on Dyson Technology Ltd.

Last year, Dyson, the vacuum cleaner maker founded by U.K. inventor James Dyson, sued Samsung claiming the Suwon, South Korea-based electronics company infringed Dyson’s steering technology.

The lawsuit was dropped three months later, according to the Korea Times, which now reports that Samsung is suing Dyson for 10 billion won ($9.4 million) alleging that Dyson’s suit damaged Samsung’s reputation.

In 2009, Dyson won a patent lawsuit against Samsung over its cyclone vacuum cleaner technology.

Neither Dyson nor Samsung immediately responded to e-mails seeking comment on the most recent lawsuit.

For patent news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at erosen14@bloomberg.net

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

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