Mongols, Stagehands, Robo-Octopus: Intellectual Property

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Mongols National Motorcycle Club, in a battle over the forfeiture of its trademark in a criminal racketeering case, has asked a federal appeals court to disqualify the trial court judge for bias.

In a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the club said it will suffer irreparable harm if U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II in Los Angeles is allowed to continue with the case.

Earlier the club filed a request with the lower court for Wright’s disqualification. That request was rejected by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real, who said that “a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts” wouldn’t question Wright’s impartiality.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Mongol Nation, 2:13-cr-00106, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles). The appeal is Mongols National Motorcycle Club v. USDC-CALA, 14-70912, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco).

Google Retains Right to ‘Android’ Mark, Appeals Court Says

Google Inc. has the right to the “Android” trademark, a federal appeals court ruled.

In an appeal of a lower-court ruling canceling the trademark registration belonging to an Illinois resident, the appeals court said the lower court properly determined that Erich Specht of Palatine, Illinois, has effectively abandoned his use of the mark.

The lower court case is Specht V. Google, 1:09-cv-02572, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The appeal is Erich Specht v. Google Inc., 11-3317, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).

For more trademark news, click here.


Copyright Law Not Applicable to Car Parts, Indian Court Says

An Indian court has tossed out a criminal complaint against a man accused of selling duplicate parts for Hyundai Motor Co. cars, the Times of India reported.

The complaint was rejected by the Gujarat High Court because the accused person had been charged with copyright violations, according to the newspaper.

The court said that car parts aren’t works of art as covered by India’s copyright laws, according to the Times.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

David Copperfield, Stagehands’ Secrets Suits in Settlement Talks

A state court trade-secrets misappropriation case between magician David Copperfield and several Las Vegas stagehands moved to settlement talks, as has the federal wage-abuse suit the stagehands filed against the magician, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

In the federal complaint, stagehands said a “coercive system” of secrecy agreements prevented them from discussing terms of their employments with others, the newspaper reported.

Counsel for Copperfield told the Sun the stagehands’ suit was “smoke and mirrors.”


Octopus Research Group Seeks U.S. Patent on Creature-Based Robot

A partnership of seven research institutions is seeking a patent on a robot based on the functions of an octopus.

The Octopus Project’s application, 20140083230, published March 27 in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers a “robot having soft arms for locomotion and grip purposes.”

Such robots have the advantage of adapting to the shape of obstacles and the ability to manipulate fragile objects without damaging them, according to the application.

Among the institutions involved in the project are the University of Zurich, the Weitzman Institute of Science and the Italian Institute of Technology.

CBOE Wins Appeal in ISE Patent Fight Over Electronic Trading

CBOE Holdings Inc.’s Chicago Board Options Exchange didn’t infringe a patent for an automated exchange for trading financial instruments, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

Deutsche Boerse AG’s International Securities Exchange had claimed the CBOE unit infringed patent 6,618,707. The trial court ruled that the patent wasn’t infringed and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision.

The lower court case is Chicago Board Options Exchange Inc. v. International Securities Exchange LLC, 07-cv-00621, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The appeal is Chicago Board Options Exchange Inc. v. International Securities Exchange LLC, 12-1326, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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 Charles Carter, Mary Romano

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