GE, NCAA,, Fracking: Intellectual Property

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co. was sued for patent infringement by Hill-Rom Co. of Batesville, Indiana, over hand-hygiene monitoring systems for health-care workers.

According to the lawsuit, a GE unit’s AgileTrac system infringed three Hill-Rom patents. GE’s system includes hardware components that communicate through infrared and radio frequency signals and can generate reports of compliance with hand-washing requirements.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Hill-Rom Co. v. General Electric Co., 14-cv-00187, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

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Former NCAA Athletes Drop Money Damages Claim in Image-Use Case

Ex-National Collegiate Athletic Association players suing to gain a share of the $800 million in annual broadcast revenue reaped by the organization said they won’t seek damages for past use of their images, instead focusing only on future licensing and earnings.

Forgoing damages would simplify the case, set for trial June 9, by eliminating the need for a jury and letting a judge decide whether to order the NCAA not to bar athletes from negotiating licenses, said a plaintiff’s lawyer in the case.

The case, which alleges violations of antitrust laws, is part of a movement by current and former college athletes to secure compensation, greater medical benefits and control over their images in a system that considers them amateurs. The athletes aren’t paid despite generating sponsorship, ticket and merchandise revenue in addition to the money from TV contracts.

The case is In Re NCAA Student-Athlete Name and Likeness Licensing Litigation, 09-cv-01967, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

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Copyright Executives Sentenced to Prison for Infringement

Seven executives of the Chinese movie-downloading site were given prison sentences by a Beijing court in a criminal copyright case, ZDNet reported.

Police shut down’s website in April 2013 and arrested the company’s chief executive officer and 30 other employees, alleging they infringed the copyrights of films, television programs, game software and recorded music, according to ZDNet.

The website had more than 1.4 million registered members and received advertising revenue of as much as 3 million yuan ($450,000) a year, ZDNet Reported.

Popcorn Time App Users Hit With Copyright-Infringement Claims

Some German users of a version of the movie application Popcorn Time have begun receiving demand letters accusing them of copyright infringement and seeking cash settlements, the website TorrentFreak reported.

Users of the app argue that Popcorn Time uses streaming services, which were declared legal in Germany in a January government announcement, according to TorrentFreak.

TorrentFreak reported that while the Cuevana Storm version of Popcorn Time gives the impression that it operates a streaming service akin to Google Inc.’s YouTube, an element in the app appears to enable the uploading of content to other users, as is the case with BitTorrent.

App users need to have “at least a cursory understanding” of how such software works on their devices in order to avoid being accused of illegal downloading of content, TorrentFreak said.

College Official’s Case Over YouTube Video Posting Dismissed

A copyright case brought by a former dean of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Theological Seminary was dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia.

Ergun Caner sued a blogger who posted without authorization several videos on YouTube of Caner’s training U.S. Marines about Islam. The blogger said he posted the videos to criticize claims Caner made that the blogger believed were untrue, and that his actions fell within U.S. copyright law’s fair-use provisions.

U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon agreed that the posting was fair use and granted the blogger’s request to dismiss the case May 14.

The case is Carner v. Autry, 14-cv-00004, U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia (Lynchburg).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets

North Carolina to Consider Fracking Fluid Secrecy Measure

Proposed North Carolina legislation would give energy-exploration companies the ability to exempt from public disclosure a list of chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing as trade secrets, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The list would be held under confidentiality provisions by the State Geologist, to be released to first responders and medical personnel in the event of an emergency, the newspaper said.

Also included in the bill is a presumption of the energy-exploration company’s liability for water contamination, according to the newspaper.

The legislation mandates testing of all well water within a half mile of a drill structure before drilling begins, the Observer reported.

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 David Glovin, Andrew Dunn

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