Amway, Hells Angels, Fracking: Intellectual Property

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Music Entertainment and other major music companies persuaded a federal court in Orlando, Florida, to narrow a copyright-related suit brought by Alticor Inc. and its Amway unit.

The case, filed in April 2014, is related to an earlier dispute between the music companies and the Amway direct-selling unit. According to court papers, Amway and its independent distributors were accused of making unauthorized use of music in videos promoting Amway products. That dispute was settled in 1998.

Alticor filed the suit saying the music companies violated the settlement by ambushing it with hundreds of copyright-violation allegations. The Ada, Michigan-based company sought a declaration that the company wasn’t liable for infringement in the videos at issue. The music companies asked the court to dismiss the case.

In a July 18 order, U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. dismissed two parts of the complaint, saying the music companies’ motion to dismiss the entire complaint was premature. He said Alticor satisfied its obligations to identify terms of the 1998 agreement allegedly breached by the music companies.

The case is Alticor Inc., v. UMG Recordings Inc., 14-cv-00542, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando).

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Hells Angels Settles Infringement Suit Over Young Jeezy Clothing

Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp., an organization that has filed more than a dozen trademark-infringement suits in the past decade, settled a dispute with the clothing line owned by the performer known as Young Jeezy.

The motorcycle club sued Young Jeezy 8732 Apparel LLC in federal court in Sacramento, California, in October 2013, claiming the line infringed the club’s winged death head and patch design trademarks.

Dillard’s Inc., the Little Rock, Arkansas-based department store chain, was also named as a defendant for allegedly selling the infringing merchandise.

No terms of the settlement were disclosed in the July 18 court filing.

The case is Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. v. Young Jeezy 8732 Apparel LLC, 13-cv-02242, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

University Of Arkansas Registers ‘Woooooooo’ Hog-Calling Cheer

The University of Arkansas registered a call used to summon swine, and cheer on the school’s sports teams, as a trademark.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, on July 1 the school registered “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!”

The school’s football team is known as the Razorbacks, a term also used to describe feral pigs.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Physician Group Opposes Maryland’s Draft Fracking Proposal

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, a organization of Maryland doctors, is seeking disclosure of chemical formulas used in the hydraulic fracturing process used for natural-gas drilling in the state, the Cumberland Times-News reported.

The doctors’ group is working with a coalition of health and environmental organizations in opposing a draft proposal by the Maryland Department of the Environment to keep the chemical information confidential, the newspaper reported.

Drew P. Cobbs of the Maryland Petroleum Council, an oil-industry trade group, told the Times-News that many companies are already disclosing the ingredients in fracking fluid, while keeping the proportions confidential.


Quest Nutrition’s Sweetener Suit Against LSU Dismissed

Quest Nutrition LLC’s patent case against Louisiana State University over the development of a sweetener was dismissed by a federal court in Los Angeles.

The El Segundo, California-based company said in its pleadings that it had contacted LSU to consult over an invention of a potential new sweetener. The company said the school violated its confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement and asked the court to declare that it was the owner of a patent application the school filed on the sweetener.

It also accused the school of breach of contract and asked for a court order barring further disclosure of its confidential information.

A federal court granted the school’s motion to dismiss the case, saying questions of patent ownership and breach of contract properly belonged to state court.

Additionally, the court found that while federal law permits cases in its court when the parties are citizens of two diverse jurisdictions, the state didn’t qualify as a “citizen.”

The case is Quest Nutrition LLC v. Board of Supervisors of LSU Agricultural & Mechanical College, 14-cv-02005, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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 Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

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