McDermott, Steadfast, Soccer Signs: Intellectual Property

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Chicago law firm McDermott Will & Emery and one of its partners were sued by a lingerie company over alleged errors in a patent application for push-up bra inserts.

In a case filed in New York state court, Runberg Inc. of Spring Lake, New Jersey, said attorney Bernard Codd submitted erroneous dimensions for the insert in the patent application. The inventor also said that she wasn’t given enough time to review the application before it was submitted.

The company is seeking $5.9 million in damages.

The subject of the dispute is patent 8,216,021 B1, which was issued in July 2012. Debra MacKinnon, the inventor, said Codd made multiple errors in drafting the application for the patent, and she can’t sue others for infringement until a reissue of the patent is granted. Lingerie makers are taking advantage of the erroneous patent, she said.

MacKinnon said her agreement with McDermott specified that partners would bill her as much as $860 an hour for patent work.

A McDermott spokesman said it was “unfortunate” that the lingerie company filed the lawsuit, “but we are confident the firm will prevail.”

Codd didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Runberg v. McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, 652543/2014, Supreme Court of New York, County of New York.

Intellectual Ventures Trims Staff 20% Citing Efficiencies

Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Washington-based patent and invention company founded by former Microsoft Corp. executives, is dismissing about 20 percent of its employees.

Intellectual Ventures sent out a memo yesterday notifying workers of the cuts, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. The company employed 700 people, meaning about 140 will be let go.

“We are making operational changes that are consistent with this reduction and will enable us to maintain and expand our leadership in the market for invention,” the company said in a statement. “Our assets -– both people and intellectual property -– are among the best in the industry.”

Edward Jung, a co-founder and the chief technology officer, said the business is doing fine. While not as many companies have bought into the patent funds as expected, the company is happy with its returns, he said.

For more patent news, click here.


Steadfast Capital Sues Texas Steadfast for Infringement

Steadfast Capital Management LP, a New York-based financial services company, filed a trademark suit against a Texas company that manages investments in the gas and oil industry.

The suit, filed Aug. 15 in federal court in Dallas, was occasioned by state-court litigation in which Waxahachie, Texas-based Steadfast Financial LLC is involved.

The New York company, which has used the Steadfast name since 1997, said in its pleadings that it’s likely to be harmed by negative publicity from the state case. It has no affiliation with Steadfast Financial and asked the federal court to bar the Texas company from using “Steadfast” or “Steadfast Financial.”

Susan K. Still, president of HomeTown Bank, confirmed that the dispute with HomeTrust had been resolved.

The case is Steadfast Financial LP v. Steadfast Financial LLC, 13-cv-02938. The state court case is Steadfast Financial v. Bradshaw, 13-0199, Supreme Court of Texas.

HomeTrust Announces Settlement of Dispute With HomeTown Bank

HomeTrust Bancshares Inc. said it has resolved all trademark disputes with HomeTown Bank of Roanoke, Virginia.

HomeTrust described the terms of the agreement in a statement yesterday. While Asheville, North Carolina-based HomeTrust will continue to use “HomeTrust Bank,” it will use the term “Roanoke Division” on signs and advertising in the Roanoke Valley, according to the statement.

HomeTown Bank didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for confirmation of the settlement.

For more trademark news, click here.


Hearts Say No to ‘Yes’ Crest in Scotland Independence Campaign

The Heart of Midlothian Football Club objected to the display of fan banners promoting a “yes” vote in the Sept. 18 referendum over Scottish independence that incorporate its logo, the Edinburgh News reported.

Some fans of the Edinburgh-based soccer team have substituted the club’s heart-shaped crest for the middle letter in the word “yes” on pro-independence signs, the News said.

The club issued a statement saying that it was “investigating this breach of copyright” and that it’s a “completely non-political” organization, the newspaper said.

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, David Glovin