Marijuana, Motorola, Moroccanoil: Intellectual Property

With the growing toward marijuana legalization, intellectual property specialists say it will be important for growers to be able to patent specific strains of cannabis, Scripps TV Station Group’s DecodeDC website reported.

David Marsh of Washington’s Arnold & Porter LLP said because plants self-replicate and are easily copied, “you need a tool like a patent if you want control,” according to DecodeDC.

Presently marijuana cannot be patented because it is illegal at the federal level, according to DecodeDC.

A lawyer for Blaze America, a Washington-based pro-marijuana consultancy that is conducting a “Protect Your Strain” campaign, told DecodeDC that growers’ concern is that without patent protection, large agricultural and pharmaceutical companies will “swoop into this industry” and take people’s work from them.

LPKF Given Right to Block Sales of Infringing Motorola Phones

LPKF Laser & Electronics, a German developer of systems used in electronics production, was awarded the right to block sales in Germany of Motorola handsets that infringe a patent, BBC News reported.

A German court found that the handsets produced by Google Inc.-owned Motorola infringe a LPKF German patent, according to the BBC.

Last year the patent was found to be invalid in China, a decision the Garbsen, Germany-based company is appealing, the BBC reported.

LPKF Chief Executive Officer Ingo Bretthauer told the BBC his company will continue to enforce the patent against infringers outside China.

Google, Canon Create Patent Licensing Alliance to Limit Lawsuits

Google Inc. and Canon Inc., two of the top recipients of U.S. patents last year, created a program they say may help limit some future infringement claims.

Participating companies pledge that if they sell some of their patents, all members of the group automatically get a royalty-free license to them, the alliance, known as the License on Transfer Network, said in a statement yesterday.

The goal is to limit instances where large technology companies sell patents to licensing firms whose main objective is to demand royalties and file infringement suits. While only six companies have committed to joining the program, Google officials point to an open-source patent pledge created in 2005 that started with a similarly sized group and grew to 900 members.

“The hope is people will see the benefits of the network effect here and the cycle of selling patents to licensing companies will end,” said Eric Schulman, legal director of Mountain View, California-based Google’s patent team.

Other participants are business-software maker SAP AG, Internet retailer Newegg Inc., data-storage company Dropbox Inc. and Asana Inc., a software maker started by Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Together, the six companies in the program own almost 300,000 patents, Schulman said.

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Moroccanoil, Avon Products Settle Trademark-Infringement Dispute

Moroccanoil Inc. and cosmetics manufacturer Avon Products Inc. have resolved a trademark dispute, according to a July 3 court filing.

Moroccanoil, based in Encino, California, sued in November 2013, alleging that Avon infringed the California company’s trademarks and trade dress.

Moroccanoil registered its Moroccanoil trademarks to be used with beauty products containing oil pressed from seeds of the Argania spinosa tree that is endemic to Morocco. The California company claimed New York-based Avon used the term Moroccanoil on some of its products and packaging without authorization.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in the court filing.

The case is Moroccanoil Inc., v. Avon Products Inc., 1:13-cv-08378, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Accusatory E-Mail Contained Trojan Horse Virus, Website Says

An e-mail containing an infringement notice and a demand for a cash settlement sent to upward of 30,000 Internet users also contained a Trojan-horse virus, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright news website reported.

The notices were mainly sent to German Internet users, and alleged infringement of music by Jay-Z, R. Kelly, My Valentine and others, TorrentFreak reported.

The email contained an attached document purporting to contain details of the allegations, and recipients were advised to open it, according to the news website.

It actually contained a virus aimed at spying on credit card and other financial information, TorrentFreak reported.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Russian Leaker ‘Wzor’ Denies Any Link to Ex-Microsoft Employee

An unidentified Russian who leaked internal Microsoft Corp. information under the pseudonym “Wzor” has denied any links to Alex Kibkalo, a former employee of the Redmond, Washington-based software company who pleaded guilty to trade-secret theft, ComputerWorld reported.

Wzor said on a Russian-language discussion board that he didn’t know Kibkalo, according to ComputerWorld.

Many observers had initially linked Kibkalo to Wzor after Wzor’s website went down the day after Kibkalo’s March 19 arrest, ComputerWorld reported.

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