SmartMetric, Thredbo, Gilliam Film: Intellectual Property

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- SmartMetric Inc., a maker of biometric smart cards, failed in its appeal of a court decision saying Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. don’t infringe a patent for credit and debit cards containing chips.

In October 2013, in a nonjury trial, a federal court in Los Angeles found that the two credit-card companies didn’t infringe patent 6,792,464. SmartMetric had sought damages in excess of $13 billion.

On Aug. 13 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Washington-based court that hears appeals of patent cases, affirmed the lower-court ruling without comment.

The lower court case is SmartMetric Inc. v. MasterCard International Inc., 11-cv-07126, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles). The appeal is SmartMetric Inc. v. MasterCard International Inc., 14-0937, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

For more patent news, click here.


Amalgamated Holdings Unit Seeks to Register ‘Thredbo’ Mark

A unit of Amalgamated Holdings Ltd., the Australian entertainment company, applied to register “Thredbo” as a trademark, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Amalgamated’s Kosciuszko Thredbo unit lost a battle in July to keep a provider of hotel accommodations in the Thredbo, Australia’s winter sports region, from using the name “Thredbonet,” according to the newspaper.

In its application, Kosciuszko Thredbo, which owns ski resort, restaurant and retail operations, is now arguing that the term “Thredbo” has acquired the meaning of its “complete branded entity,” the Herald reported.

Nigeria to Keep Carrying Out Raids Against Fake Mobile Phones

Nigerian law enforcement will conduct continuing raids on that country’s largest technology market in efforts to halt the trafficking in counterfeit mobile phones, the Guardian of Lagos reported.

Joseph Odumodu, who heads the Standards Organization of Nigeria, said that as many as 80 percent of the mobile phones sold at the Ikeja Computer Village marketplace -- the largest of its kind in Africa -- are fake, according to the Guardian.

Odumodu said some products sold at the market merchants are composed merely of “all manner of components put together” and arbitrarily called a phone, the Guardian reported.

The Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria, a trade group, called Odumodu’s comments “unbecoming” and said it didn’t agree that 80 percent of the phones sold are fake, according to the newspaper.

World Trade Centers Association Sues World Trade Illinois

World Trade Centers Association Inc., a 45-year-old nonprofit organization that licenses the “World Trade Center” trademark worldwide, sued World Trade Illinois for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed Aug. 13 in Chicago federal court, accuses Oakbrook, Illinois-based World Trade Illinois of using the marks without authorization or paying a licensing fee.

According to court papers, the 300 member organizations belonging to the New York-based World Trade Centers Association pay an initiation fee of $200,000 and $10,000 a year for membership. The Illinois group bought an option for a license in 2010, but failed to pay fees for an extension of that option, WTCA said in its pleadings.

World Trade Illinois is accused of continuing to use the marks without authorization despite being sent repeated cease-and-desist letters, according to the complaint.

WTCA said the public is confused by this unauthorized use of its marks and requested a court order barring any further use of its intellectual property by the Illinois group. It also asked for awards of money damages and extra damages to punish World Trade Illinois for its actions, as well as attorney fees.

World Trade Illinois spokesman Bill Lada said in an e-mail that his group complied with every request made by the World Trade Center Association and had even placed a notice that it wasn’t associated with the WTCA “at the bottom of every page on our site.”

The case is World Trade Centers Association Inc. v. World Trade Illinois, 14-cv-06237, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

For more trademark news, click here.


Terry Gilliam, Production Companies Sued by Graffiti Artists

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam, along with Voltage Pictures LLC and the Zanuck Co., were sued for copyright infringement by three Buenos Aires graffiti artists.

The suit, filed in federal court in Chicago on Aug. 12, claims that unauthorized use was made of their 2010 “Castillo” mural in Gilliam’s science fiction film “Zero Theorem.” Voltage and Zanuck are producers of the film, set for release Aug. 19.

The artists said the exterior of the principal character’s home is painted with a “blatant misappropriation” of their original work.

In addition to money damages, the artists asked the court to order the impoundment and destruction of all infringing articles. Neither the production companies nor Gilliam responded immediately to e-mailed requests for comment on the suit.

The case is Fasoli v. Voltage Pictures LLC, 14-cv-06206, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

For more copyright 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 Andrew Dunn

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.