Chinese Patents, Vringo, FIFA, : Intellectual Property

Chinese lawmakers are considering measures that would facilitate the commercialization of patents, China’s Xinhua news service reported.

Although China has a large number of patents, many of them are not particularly original and their commercialization rate is low, Xinhua reported.

Among the changes under consideration is giving some of the profits stemming from commercialization to inventors at colleges and scientific organizations. The goal is to provide an incentive for better quality patents and more patent applications and commercialization efforts, according to Xinhua.

Under present laws, colleges and science institutes receive all the profits from patents, Xinhua reported.

Vringo Says It Sued ZTE for Patent Infringement in Romania

Vringo Inc., a New York-based patent-licensing company, said in a statement that it filed a patent infringement suit in Romania against China’s ZTE Corp.

In dispute is a European patent related to communication between different networks initiated by a mobile device, Vringo said. Vringo claims the invention protected by the patent is essential under European telecommunications standards for 4G LTE standards.

ZTE said this month it asked China’s State Intellectual Property Office to review 32 patents owned by Vringo and its subsidiaries. ZTE has also filed patent suits against Vringo in Germany, Australia and the U.K. and filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission about Vringo’s licensing practices, according to a June 25 statement.

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World Cup Guerrilla Marketing by Major Companies Abounds

Companies that didn’t pay fees to FIFA, professional soccer’s governing body, for the right to use World Cub trademarks in their ads are nonetheless managing to take advantage of fan interest in the soccer tournament, NBC News reported.

Official World Cup sponsors include Adidas AG and the Coca-Cola Co. Others including Nike Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. are instead running ads featuring such soccer luminaries as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Colombia’s Radamel Falcao, according to NBC News.

Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., which also isn’t an official World Cup Sponsor, is running ads showing some soccer stars using its devices, NBC News reported.

FedEx Says Shareholder Petition Attempts to ‘Micromanage’

FedEx Corp., the worldwide express delivery service, called a shareholder proposal on its sponsorship of the stadium where the Washington Redskins play football an effort to “micromanage complex business decisions.”

In a regulatory filing, the Memphis, Tennessee-based company said the shareholder proposal, which asks FedEx to consider the “reputational damage” from its association with the National Football League team, concerns its ordinary business operations and can be excluded from proxy materials.

The proposal was filed by the Oneida Trust of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. It was made in response to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determination this month canceling the Redskins trademark on the ground that it’s disparaging to American Indians.

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Publication of Unflattering Photo Fair Use, U.S. Judge Says

Although a part-owner of the Miami Heat basketball team acquired the copyright to an unflattering photo of himself, a magistrate judge in Florida has recommended his infringement suit against a blogger who used it in critical articles be dismissed.

Raanan Katz sued blogger Irina Chevaldina in Miami federal court in June 2012, claiming her use of the 2011 photo -- which shows his tongue sticking out of his mouth -- infringes the copyright he acquired from the photographer in June 2012, the same month he filed suit.

In a June 17 ruling, Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley said Chevaldina’s use of the photo falls into copyright law’s “fair use” exemption. He recommended that a district judge dismiss the case.

The case is Katz v. Chevaldina, 1:12-cv-22211, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Florida Health Insurers’ Requested Rate Increases Kept Secret

In an effort to shield rate information they claim is a trade secret, health insurance companies doing business in Florida entered zeros for an anticipated rate increase on a state website instead of a real number, Lakeland, Florida’s Ledger newspaper reported.

Because the information on the site was in error, some media outlets erroneously reported that some insurers would not be seeking a rate increase for health plans offered through the federal health exchange, according to the Ledger.

The Office of Insurance Regulation has temporarily taken down the website in order to add a disclaimer about rates, the newspaper reported.

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