Redskins, Oil Secrets, Rail Report: Intellectual Property

The Washington Redskins lost a trademark decision when a federal agency ruled the team’s name disparages American Indians, threatening millions of dollars in sales of products including football jerseys and beer coolers.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board ruling doesn’t prevent the National Football League franchise from continuing to use the name, the office said in a statement. It does mean federal trademark registrations must be canceled, the board said.

The ruling is the most recent action in in a 22-year fight between the franchise and American Indians over the name. It may put more pressure on Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change it, said Monica Riva Talley, a trademark lawyer with Sterne Kessler in Washington.

Bob Raskopf, an attorney for the Redskins, said in a statement posted to the team’s website that “of course we will appeal.”

The team can appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington or file a civil action in U.S. District Court.

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Oil Industry Claims 5,050 Trade-Secret Exemptions, Report Says

In the year since a regulatory body began requiring disclosure of chemicals used in oil well operations in two southern California counties, oil companies have claimed trade-secret exemptions 5,050 times, according to a report issued this month by four nongovernment organizations.

The report, issued by the Center for Biological Diversity, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment and the Communities for a Better Environment covered reporting required by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on the use of chemicals in Los Angeles and Orange counties since June 2013.

More than half the well operations that involve the use of chemicals take place within 1,500 feet of a home, school or medical facility, according to the report.

Of the 5,050 instances in which the identity of a chemical was withheld, 1,037 were reported as “air toxics,” chemicals that can cause serious health effects in people exposed to them.

The bulk of the events in which chemicals were used were for acidizing, a process in which acids are mixed with brine and other chemicals and injected underground to clean a well or dissolve oil-bearing rock. After this is done, oil or gas can flow more freely, according to the report.

All Aboard Asks Court to Shield Ridership Survey as Trade Secret

All Aboard Florida sued to prevent state agencies from disclosing what it says are trade secrets.

According to a complaint filed in Florida state court, Coral Gables, Florida-based All Aboard is developing an intercity high speed passenger rail service to operate between Miami and Orlando, Florida.

It asked the court to bar the state Transportation Department and two other agencies from responding to a public-records request from a resident of Orange County, Florida.

All Aboard claims the ridership and revenue study requested contains confidential and proprietary trade secrets and that it will be harmed if the data are made public.


RealD, Volfoni Settle Patent Suit Over 3D Projection Systems

RealD Inc., and Volfoni Inc. have settled their patent dispute over 3D cinema projection systems, according to a June 16 court filing. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

RealD, of Beverly Hills, California, sued Los Angeles-based Volfoni in federal court in Los Angeles March 26, alleging that four of its patents were infringed. Volfoni denied all allegations, saying in an April 4 statement that its system used “an innovative original technology.”

The case is RealD Inc., v. Volfoni Inc., 14-cv-02303, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Otis Elevator, Schindler Say All Patent Disputes Settled

Otis Elevator Co. of Farmington, Connecticut, and Switzerland’s Schindler Holding AG settled litigation over patents on elevator belts and belted elevation systems.

The two companies had patent disputes in Europe and China, in addition to the U.S., they said yesterday in a joint statement. One of the cases was filed in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, in February 2009.

Under terms of the settlement, Schindler will take a license to a group of Otis patents for an undisclosed fee.

The New Jersey case is Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Otis Elevator Co., 09-cv-00560, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

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Canadian Musicians Copyright Act Doesn’t Go Far Enough

The Canadian Federation of Musicians, responding to the government’s June 17 announcement of the implementation of a new copyright regime in that country, said the new policies don’t go far enough.

In a June 18 statement, the 17,000-member musicians’ trade group said under Canada’s Copyright Modernization Act, it “continues to lag behind other countries” in terms of enforcement.

For more copyright news, click here.

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