Marvell, Apple, Disney, Kardashian: Intellectual Property

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Marvell Technology Group Ltd. said it will file an immediate appeal when the final judgment is entered in its patent dispute with Carnegie Mellon University.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based chipmaker made the statement after a federal judge in Pittsburgh on March 31 added another $367 million to the damages Marvell must pay the school for patent infringement. That ruling brought total damages to more than $1.5 billion.

The judge did reject the school’s request for double or triple damages, saying the company wasn’t sufficiently capitalized to withstand such a penalty.

The case is Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group Ltd., 09-cv-00290, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).

Apple-Samsung Jury Is Seated in $2 Billion Patent Trial

Apple Inc.’s and Samsung Electronics Co.’s opening arguments in a $2 billion trial over smartphone technology were heard by a jury that includes a retired International Business Machines Corp. software systems manager, a medical billing administrator and a community service officer.

The jury was chosen March 31 in the same San Jose, California, courtroom where jurors two years ago found that Samsung infringed Apple’s patents and awarded $1.05 billion in damages.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Patent ‘Troll’ Dig Gets Congress to Ponder What’s in a Name

Nobody likes “patent trolls,” even if they’re not quite sure what they are.

It’s a term without clear definition and yet it’s being used to push Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court right now to curb abusive litigation without damaging a centuries-old system designed to promote advances in science and industry.

Retailers and companies like Google Inc. say they are too often targets of lawsuits and have taken out newspaper and radio advertisements deriding “trolls.” Companies like 3M Co., Eli Lilly & Co. and General Electric Co. warn that proposals to limit litigation could go too far and damage a part of the economy that the Commerce Department says generated 5.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2010.

The phrase “patent troll” originated with Intel Corp., which was sued for libel in 1999 after its spokesman, Chuck Mulloy, called a firm that had sued the chipmaker a “patent extortionist” in the Wall Street Journal. A group of company lawyers came up with the replacement phrase, Mulloy said.

Intel executives have said over the years the term refers to anyone who stands under the bridge of progress exacting a toll on those who try to cross, a reference to the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale. One of the lawyers who came up with the name, Peter Detkin, now works for Bellevue, Washington’s Intellectual Ventures.

For more patent news, click here.


Disney Tells U.S. It May Oppose ‘DeadMau5’ Mark Issuance

Walt Disney Co., holder of the Mickey Mouse trademarks, told the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office it may try to block issuance of a trademark to DeadMau5, a performer who wears a mouse head mask with crossed-out eyes, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Joel Zimmerman, who performs as DeadMau5, filed the application in the name of his Ronica Holdings Ltd. and said he plans to use the mark -- a mouse-head caricature -- on products including food and BMX bikes and in entertainment, the newspaper reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


False Assignment Papers Don’t Bar Settlement Pay, Court Says

A federal magistrate judge overstepped his authority in a copyright-infringement case by ordering the repayment of money received in settlement from various plaintiffs, a Minnesota court ruled March 31.

The ruling came in a case involving alleged unauthorized film downloading. A California court found that the copyright assignment documents used in both courts were fraudulent. The magistrate then ordered the law firm representing the plaintiff -- a maker of adult films -- to repay money received in the settlements.

The federal court in Minnesota said the submission of the assignment documents -- “legitimate or not, authorized or not” -- didn’t amount to a fraud on the court.

The cases are AF Holdings LLC v. Doe, 12-cv-01445, 12-cv-01446, 12-cv-01447, 12-cv-01448 and 12-cv-01449, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Kardashians Seek Confidentiality for Licensing Agreements

The Kardashian family, described in court papers as “among the most famous, recognizable and widely viewed public figures today,” asked a federal judge to seal documents relating to the family’s licensing agreements.

The family is involved in a 2012 trademark dispute with Lee Tillett, a Florida makeup artist, over its use of “Khroma.” Releasing the details of various licensing deals “could be used by other prospective licensors and competitors of the Kardashians, to their advantage,” the family said in a March 26 court filing.

The case is Boldface Licensing Branding v. By Lee Tillett Inc., 13-cv-10269, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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, Andrew Dunn

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