Ralph Lauren, Google EU, Gazprom: Intellectual Property

TVEyes Inc., a company that creates a searchable database of the content broadcast by more than 1,400 television and radio stations, doesn’t violate the copyright of Fox News Network, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein said that the 24-hour monitoring service “enables its subscribers to track when keywords or phrases of interest are uttered on the television or radio.” He noted that among the more than 2,200 subscribers are members of Congress, the White House, and local police departments. Bloomberg LP, as well as Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, where Hellerstein was a partner before becoming a federal judge, also use the service.

The service is only available to businesses and those in government, and all subscribers agree to limit use of downloaded clips for internal purposes only; rebroadcasting is prohibited.

Despite the restrictions on use, Fox News Network LLC sued TVEyes claiming copyright infringement as well as misappropriation under state law.

Hellerstein found that “databases that convert copyrighted works into a research tool to further learning are transformative and thus constitute fair use,” protecting TVEyes from claims of copyright infringement. He also dismissed Fox’s state law claims for misappropriation.

The judge, however, said there was insufficient evidence to decide if other features were permissible.

In an e-mailed statement, Fox News said “The court only ruled that a specific portion of TVEyes’ service — its keyword search function — was fair use. The Court expressly said that it required more information to decide whether TVEyes’ other features — including allowing video clips to be archived, downloaded, emailed, and shared via social media — were fair use.”

David Ives, the founder and chief executive officer of TVEyes didn’t respond to an e-mail after business hours.

Because of the issues remaining in the case, the judge has scheduled another hearing for Oct. 3.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP represented TVEyes; Kirkland & Ellis LLP represented Fox.

The case is Fox News Network LLC v TVEyes Inc., 1:13-cv-05315, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Ralph Lauren-Polo Association Will Return to Arbitration

A federal judge in Manhattan compelled arbitration between Ralph Lauren Corp. and the U.S. Polo Association over the use of a logo on USPA products sold in India, in the latest round of 30 years of trademark litigation.

According to the Sept. 4 decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa, the parties have been in litigation over their symbols since 1984. While they reached a settlement in 2003 regarding the use of “certain names, logos, and trademarks in connection with the production and sale of apparel,” the judge wrote, the disputes are anything but resolved.

The case before Griesa involved only the procedural question of whether the disagreement over use of the so-called double horsemen logo on the USPA’s Indian products should be arbitrated or litigated in court. Ralph Lauren, according to a statement from the company, wanted arbitration in India to determine whether the USPA had infringed its single polo player trademark.

What’s unresolved is whether the ruling will affect separate litigation in which Ralph Lauren is objecting to the USPA’s two flagship stores in New York as well as its e-commerce site. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, who is presiding over that case, this week asked the parties to confer and instruct the court on how the India decision relates to the dispute over the USPA stores and website, Kyle Bisceglie, a partner at Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP who represents the USPA, said in a phone interview yesterday.

John Callagy, a partner at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP representing Ralph Lauren, said he didn’t think the parties could agree. By phone yesterday he said that the suit involving the stores and website “belongs in court,” rather than in arbitration.

The case is Ralph Lauren Corp. v. United States Polo Association Inc., 13-cv-07147, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The case before Sullivan is PRL USA Holdings Inc. v. United States Polo Association Inc., 14-cv-00764, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Google Questions Left Hanging at Right-to-Be-Forgotten Roadshow

Google Inc. promised a “robust” debate on a European Union court ruling that forces it to cut some search links with the first of a series of hearings across Europe. Its advisers took just three questions from the public.

The world’s largest search provider opened a seven-city roadshow in Madrid yesterday to gather views on the May court judgment it opposes. Critics of Mountain View, California-based Google say the meetings are a self-serving attempt to steer a debate on the so-called right to be forgotten.

“Whatever Google would have done would have been considered PR,” said Luciano Floridi, a professor of philosophy at Oxford University who is part of the Google panel. “It doesn’t take anything away from the process,” he said. Future events should devote more time for questions and answers, he said

The privacy ruling is another EU regulatory hurdle for Google, which has battled a lengthy antitrust probe over its search results and criticism over its taxation. The bloc’s competition chief said over the weekend that he would demand more concessions from Google, derailing a settlement originally planned to be completed this month.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company needs to balance the right to information with privacy rights when it handles requests to remove links. Google has received 120,000 requests to cut links, affecting 457,000 Internet addresses as of Sept. 1, Al Verney, a company spokesman, told reporters.

The testimony from the invited experts was “quite superficial,” said Jef Ausloos, a researcher at Belgium’s University of Leuven.

“We really hoped that these hearings would take a more practical angle, looking at how Google should make the balance in practice,” he said in an e-mail. “The Court of Justice already decided that search engines have to do this. What we need to know now, is how exactly this should happen, what the role is for national data protection authorities.”

Trade Secrets

Gazprom Seeks to Mediate Moncrief’s $1.36 Billion Texas Suit

OAO Gazprom, Russia’s biggest company, asked a U.S. judge to force Moncrief Oil International Inc. to arbitrate a $1.36 billion trade-secrets lawsuit and dismiss the case.

Moncrief’s claims are linked to negotiations with Gazprom over a stake in a Russian oil field and are subject to an arbitration clause of the companies’ 1998 contract, Gazprom said in a filing Sept. 8 in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas.

A previous lawsuit filed by Moncrief in 2006 alleging breach of contract was dismissed after Gazprom argued the dispute required mediation. While the new case accuses Gazprom of stealing Moncrief’s secret market research -- revealed during the negotiations -- the claim still relates to the contract and still requires mediation, Gazprom argued.

“For nearly a decade, Moncrief Oil International Inc. has tried to do the impossible -- prevail on claims against OAO Gazprom and various subsidiaries based on an alleged cooperation agreement while simultaneously avoiding that agreement’s binding arbitration clause,” Gazprom said in the filing.

Marshall Searcy, a lawyer for Fort Worth-based Moncrief, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Gazprom’s request.

The case is Moncrief Oil International Inc. v. OAO Gazprom, 14-cv-00626, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).

Comings and Goings

Jones Day Expands IP Litigation Practice in Chicago

William Devitt and Matthew Hertko joined the intellectual property practice in the Chicago office of Jones Day. Devitt is a partner and Hertko is of counsel. Both were previously partners in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

“Bill and Matt are significant additions to our highly experienced intellectual property team in Chicago,” Tina Tabacchi, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Chicago office, said in a statement.

Devitt’s trial and patent litigation practice focuses on the electrical arts, in particular wireless communications, semiconductors, data networks, storage technologies and power equipment. He has represented a number of technology companies, including most recently Seiko Epson, Infineon and Konica Minolta. He began his career as a telecommunications engineer for the Central Intelligence Agency, where his experience included satellite and radio systems, fiber optics, microwave, network and switching systems, and encryption technology.

Hertko has served as trial counsel for clients in the semiconductor, integrated circuit, consumer electronics, communications, automotive, business machine, nutraceutical, and liquid-crystal display markets and has litigated in jurisdictions throughout the U.S.

Two Patent and IP Partners Join Hughes Hubbard in New York

James Dabney and Stephen Rabinowitz joined the patent and intellectual property practice of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP as partners based in New York.

“Jim and Stephen have an exceptional track record in patent litigation,” Candace K. Beinecke, chairwoman of Hughes Hubbard, said in a statement.

Before joining Hughes Hubbard, Dabney and Rabinowitz were partners at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, where Dabney was also head of that firm’s intellectual property and technology practice. Dabney represents clients in patent matters involving diverse technologies and is also an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School. Rabinowitz, a doctor, focuses his practice on the life sciences and has litigated patent cases concerning recombinant DNA technology, medical diagnostics, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals, including in Hatch-Waxman actions.

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