Twitter, Pernod Ricard, CafePress: Intellectual Property

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc., the microblogging service that held an initial public offering last year, paid $36 million to acquire 900 patents from International Business Machines Corp., according to a filing.

The agreement, signed in December and announced in January without financial details, resolved a dispute that prompted IBM to write to Twitter about possible infringement of at least three patents.

Twitter now has 956 patents and about 100 filed patent applications in the U.S., it said in a March 6 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Before its November IPO, Twitter held only nine patents, making it a target for intellectual-property disputes. The deal with IBM was Twitter’s first for patent technology, not counting intellectual property gained by buying other companies. IBM has been granted the most U.S. patents of any company for 21 straight years.

“We presently are involved in a number of intellectual-property lawsuits, and as we face increasing competition and gain an increasingly high profile, we expect the number of patent and other intellectual property claims against us to grow,” San Francisco-based Twitter said in the filing.

Juniper’s Patent Case Against Palo Alto Results in Mistrial

Juniper Networks Inc.’s infringement case against Palo Alto Networks Inc. ended in a mistrial when a jury failed to reach a decision on all three of the disputed patents.

Juniper, which provides security software to prevent unauthorized computer intrusions, sued Palo Alto in 2011. Jurors in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated about six hours March 7 after a two-week trial before telling U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson they couldn’t agree on a verdict for the third patent. Robinson then dismissed the panel.

Juniper, based in Sunnyvale, California, had agreed to discuss a settlement if Palo Alto was found to have infringed, Robinson said in a March 6 order.

The case is Juniper Networks Inc. v. Palo Alto Networks Inc., 11-cv-01258, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


Pernod Unit Sued by Napa Vintner Over Jameson Whiskey Trademark

Pernod Ricard SA’s Irish Distillers unit was sued Feb. 27 by the owners of a winery in California’s Napa Valley seeking a court declaration that the winery’s name doesn’t infringe the trademarks associated with Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Madison Vineyard Holdings of Greenwood Village, Colorado, operates Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Winery, which is located on Jamieson Canyon Road in the Napa Valley, according to court papers. The company has applied to register its name as a U.S. trademark, which the distillery opposes on the grounds that it would cause customer confusion with the whiskey.

The case is Madison Vineyard holdings LLC v. Irish Distillers Ltd., 14-cv-00900, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

For more trademark news, click here.


Getty to Provide Free Public Access to ‘Millions’ of Images

Getty Images Inc., the Seattle-based photo archive, is making available a tool that will allow consumers to use “millions” of its images on blogs, websites and social-media sites free of charge, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The company said it is taking the step to provide consumers with an easy and legal method of using the images, while creators’ rights are respected, according to the newspaper.

CafePress Sued Over Reproduction of ‘Hawaiian Kitsch’

CafePress Inc., the online company that prints and distributes items on demand for customers, was sued for copyright infringement by an artist from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker claims CafePress made unauthorized reproductions of one of his “Hawaiian kitsch” Tiki art paintings, according to an amended complaint filed in Hawaii March 3.

CafePress, based in Louisville, Kentucky, removed the image more than two months before the complaint was filed and finds the suit to be “entirely without merit,” a company spokeswoman, Sarah Segal, said in an e-mail.

The case is Tiki Shark Art Inc. v. CafePress Inc., 13-cv-00577, U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii (Hawaii).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Law Enforcement Using Tracking Technology Employed in Espionage

At least seven California law enforcement agencies are using mobile phone tracking technology that is employed in Eastern Europe for industrial espionage, Sacramento, California’s News10 ABC news outlet reported.

The devices using the technology are largely paid for by Homeland Security grants. The American Civil Liberties Union has demanded that the government unseal records that show how much the devices have been used, according to News10 ABC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at Stephen Farr, Charles Carter

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