Apple, V Kontakte, Vermont Gas: Intellectual Property

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- The jury deciding Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.’s $2 billion patent-infringement case asked the judge for additional evidence about whether Google Inc. was mentioned when Steve Jobs, the iPhone maker’s co-founder, decided to sue.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, in a note responding to the jury’s question, said the panel can consider only evidence introduced during the trial and that no supplemental material will be provided.

Samsung argued at trial that Apple’s real target in the lawsuit is Google’s Android operating system. Android is used to run Samsung smartphones, and most of Apple’s claims in its second U.S. trial against the Suwon, South Korea-based maker of Galaxy phones relate to Android functions.

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

Intellectual Ventures Seeks Patent on Camera Detection Method

Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Washington-based patent-acquisition company headed by former Microsoft Corp. Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold, is known for holding “invention sessions” during which scientists and technical specialists gather to come up with new ideas.

A patent lawyer is present at these sessions, and patent applications often flow from such gatherings.

An Intellectual Ventures patent application published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office March 20 lists as its inventors 16 people who regularly attend these sessions, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The application -- 20140078164 -- covers a method of detecting an unauthorized camera. It is aimed at letting a person who is viewing content on a screen know that a camera is watching, and at editing the content in the presence of a camera intrusion.

The application is assigned to Elwha LLC, an Intellectual Ventures shell company. It was filed in December 2012.

For more patent news, click here.


Mars Sues Hershey, Seeking ‘Malteaser’ Trademark Cancellation

Mars Inc., the closely held maker of Snickers and M&M candies, asked a federal court to cancel the “Malteaser” trademarks belonging to the Hershey Co.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Mars said it has been making Malteasers candy in the U.K. since 1936, and that the Malteaser mark was registered in bad faith by Leaf Brands Inc. Leaf then assigned the mark to a Dutch company in 1996. Hershey acquired Leaf’s U.S. division in 1996 and the Malteaser trademark in 1998, according to court papers.

Mars claims that Hershey is using the Malteaser mark “merely to reserve rights in the mark,” and is not promoting the product.

In addition to the trademark cancellation, McLean, Virginia-based Mars is seeking money damages. Hershey did not respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Mars Inc. v. Hershey Co., 1:14-cv-00399, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

NFL Says ‘Burger Bowl’ Trademark Application Must Be Withdrawn

The National Football League has told a New Orleans restaurant to withdraw its application to register “Burger Bowl” as a trademark, New Orleans’ WDSU News reported.

Phil DeGruy, owner of Phil’s Grill, said he’d received a cease-and-desist letter from the league, according to WDSU.

DeGruy told WDSU that the NFL is “like the big bully on the playground” and maintains that the public isn’t confused by his use of the name.

For more trademark news, click here.


V Kontakte Signs Accord to Halt Posting of Infringing Content

V Kontakte, owner of a Russian social-media site, agreed to block the posting of infringing content on its site, Music Week reported.

The company had been listed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as a “notorious market” for infringing content, according to Music Week.

The site was sued last month by a number of content owners, Music Week reported.

V Kontakte’s agreement to bar infringing content was made with Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecom watchdog, according to Music Week.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Vermont Gas Systems Seeks Approval of Trade-Secrets Exceptions

Vermont Gas Systems Inc., a distributor of natural gas, has asked the Vermont Public Service Board to limit public access to certain documents related to a natural-gas project in the state, the Addison County Independent reported.

If the board approves the utility’s request, information the company deems a trade secret could be withheld from the public, according to the Independent.

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, David Glovin

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