Neurovision, PepsiCo, Graffiti: Intellectual Property

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Neurovision Medical Products Inc., a maker of medical instruments and devices, persuaded a federal judge to cancel a trademark belonging to competitor NuVasive Inc.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer in Los Angeles said in his order canceling the “Neurovision” mark, and ordering San Diego’s NuVasive not to use it, that without these actions Neurovision would suffer irreparable harm.

The order stems from a 2009 trademark case with a lengthy and complex procedural history.

In April, a federal jury in Los Angeles awarded Neurovision $30 million, finding that NuVasive fraudulently obtained its registration and willfully infringed a trademark.

This is the second trial related to the dispute. NuVasive successfully appealed an earlier $60 million, infringement verdict. The appeals court found that improper jury instructions had been given and sent the case back for retrial.

The case is Neurovision Medical Products Inc. v. NuVasive Inc., 09-cv-06988, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

PepsiCo Sued for $2 Billion Over Use of ‘Aunt Jemima’ Image

PepsiCo Inc. and its Quaker Oats unit were sued for trademark infringement by the descendants of the woman on whom the “Aunt Jemima” product line was allegedly based. They are seeking $2 billion in damages.

In a suit filed in federal court in Chicago, the heirs said Anna Short Harrington’s image was used for profit without adequate compensation. The heirs asked to have Quaker Oats products banned in emerging markets in West Africa, saying the company should be punished for causing collateral economic injury to black Americans.

Jody Menaker, a spokeswoman for Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo, said in an e-mailed statement that the company doesn’t believe there’s any merit in the suit.

“People associate the Aunt Jemima brand with warmth, hospitality and comfort, and we stand by this heritage as well as the ways in which we do business,” she said.

The case is Hunter v. PepsiCo, 14-cv-06011, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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American Eagle Accused of Infringing Graffiti Artist’s Work

American Eagle Outfitters Inc., a retailer of youth-oriented clothing, was sued for copyright infringement over an eyeball by a Miami graffiti artist.

David Anasagasti, who works under the pseudonym “Ahol Sniffs Glue,” said two of his works featuring a signature eyeball motif are infringed in America Eagle ads.

The infringement occurs on the Pittsburgh-based company’s website, in window displays, on billboards and on in-store displays, according to a complaint Anasagasti filed in Manhattan federal court.

American Eagle didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the claims.

The case is Anasagasti v. American Eagle Outfitters Inc., 14-cv-05618, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Asustek Sued by VIA Over Trade Secret Misappropriation Claim

Asustek Computer Inc., a maker of computers and computer components, was sued for trade secret misappropriation by VIA Technologies Inc.

VIA said its proprietary information was brought to Asustek by defecting employees, including a former president. Asustek is accused of conducting a “carefully orchestrated scheme” that enabled a maker of digital photo frames to become a mass producer of complex computer chips almost overnight.

Asustek didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

Both companies are based in Taiwan

The case is Via Technologies Inc., v. ASUS Computer International, 14-cv-03486, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).


Brownies to Earn Merit Badge by Exploring U.S. Patent System

In addition to selling cookies and going on hikes, Brownie Girl Scouts in the U.S. these days are reading patent documents.

They are working on earning a merit badge developed by the Girl Scouts of America with the assistance of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation.

Brownies, who are in second and third grade, can earn their Inventor badge by looking up a patent in the PTO database. One of the patents they can seek is 1,124,025, which was issued in 1915 to Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouting. The patent covers a liner for a trash can that will hold liquids.

Another patent they’re referred to is 6,418,561, issued in July 2002 to a 10-year-old girl from Bedford, Massachusetts. That patent covers a wrist warmer intended to cover the gap between a glove and the bottom of a sleeve.

Brownies will also explore trademarks and copyrights when working on their badge. After completing the necessary steps, they can be known as “imagination pioneers, according to the badge description.

The Girl Scouts intellectual property merit-badge program also includes separate, more advanced programs for older girls.

For more patent news, click here.

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 David Glovin

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