Apple, Tesla Trademark, VF, Wikimedia: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are starting to wind down their global patent battle.

The companies said in a joint statement yesterday that they have agreed to drop all suits against each other in countries outside the U.S. Claims are being abandoned in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy.

The agreement shows Apple and Samsung may be nearing a conclusion to what has been a drawn-out and occasionally nasty worldwide patent fight, which sprouted alongside the booming market for touch-screen smartphones. Apple has accused Samsung of copying its iPhone designs, while Samsung has countered that Apple is using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission.

“Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” the companies said in the statement. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”

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Utah’s Comic Con Won’t Accede to Comic-Con Trademark Demands

The organizers of Utah’s Salt Lake Comic Con, a convention for comics and pop-culture fans, have responded to a cease-and-desist letter from San Diego Comic-Con International.

Comic-Con demanded that the Utah group remove “comic con” from its name and hand over its website.

The Comic Con event will take place in Salt Lake City Sept. 4-6 regardless of issues raised by the California group and the name of the event won’t be changed, Comic Con said in an e-mailed statement.

“No formal legal process has occurred, and Salt Lake Comic Con is under no obligation to respond to the strongly worded letter from Comic-Con International’s attorneys or comply with any of their demands,” the Utah group said in its statement.

Counsel for Comic Con assured the organization that it has “every right” to use the name, according to the statement.

Tesla ‘Amicably’ Reaches China Trademark Dispute Settlement

Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker led by Elon Musk, said it resolved a trademark dispute in China that threatened to complicate the company’s plans to increase sales in the world’s largest auto market.

Zhan Baosheng, who had registered rights to the Palo Alto, California-based company’s name in China before the automaker entered that market, agreed to settle the dispute “completely and amicably,” Tesla said in an Aug 5 e-mailed statement. Zhan will transfer website names he registered in China, including and, to the carmaker, Tesla said.

Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman, declined to discuss financial terms related to the domain-name transfer.

“Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla,” the company said.

The trademark fight for Tesla, maker of the Model S sedan, echoed experiences in China for multinational companies including Apple Inc. and Burberry Group Plc that also clashed over their branding rights in the world’s second-largest economy. While Zhan sought to use the Tesla name in China for vehicles, his Cengceng Inc. business is a skin-care company.

VF’s Nautica Unit Seeks Cancellation of ‘Nautigirl’ Trademark

VF Corp.’s Nautica unit is demanding that a retailer of clothing aimed at boaters change its name, the Bellingham, Washington, Herald newspaper reported.

Bellingham’s Nautigirl Brands LLC’s trademark, registered in 2008, is the subject of cancellation proceedings begun by Nautica at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the newspaper reported.

Nautica claimed the names are too similar, and the public is confused, according to the Herald.

A ruling from the patent office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is expected in the next six months, according to the newspaper.

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Wikimedia Rejects Copyright Claim Over Monkey Selfie Photo

Wikimedia, the nonprofit organization that created and maintains the Wikipedia website, is rejecting a photographer’s request that a photo of a monkey be removed on copyright grounds, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The photo is a “selfie” created when a crested black macaque monkey grabbed a camera, pushed a button and shot a self-portrait, according to the Telegraph.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Couple Viewed as Canadian Spies Went to China to Do Good: Family

A Canadian couple under investigation for espionage by Chinese authorities went to the country to do charity work, their son said, according to Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

Kevin and Julia Garratt are being detained by Chinese authorities who claim the couple is suspected of collecting and stealing materials on Chinese scientific research programs and military targets, according to the newspaper.

They operated a cafe in a Chinese border town that gave them a view of border crossings, which Kevin Garratt photographed frequently, according to the Globe and Mail.