Alcatel-Lucent, Occupy Wall Street: Intellectual Property

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Alcatel-Lucent, which prevailed in a patent-infringement case brought by Chalumeau Power Systems LLC, has now won a motion for attorneys’ fees.

A federal court in Delaware held Sept. 12 that “Chalumeau filed a frivolous lawsuit with the sole purpose of extorting a settlement fee.” The court said “Chalumeau’s entire litigation strategy was devoted to stringing out the case in the hopes that Alcatel would incur fees while Chalumeau would not. Chalumeau did not even disclose an expert until Nov. 8, 2013, days before fact discovery ended.”

The behavior of Chalumeau, owned by Acacia Research Corp., allowed it “to keep its costs low while forcing Alcatel to spend considerable sums defending a frivolous lawsuit,” the court found.

As a result, the judge awarded attorneys’ fees to Alcatel, which was represented by Goodwin Procter LLP.

The court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court, which in April held that companies which successfully fight off “unreasonable” patent suits can get their legal fees paid.

The high court April 29 gave trial judges more power to impose fees if they determine a case “stands out from others” in the conduct of the losing party. In a related opinion, the court limited the ability of an appeals court to overturn a trial judge’s decision in such cases.

Brian Farnan, one of the lawyers listed on the docket as representing Chalumeau, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the fee ruling.

The case is Chalumeau Power Systems LLC v. Alcatel-Lucent, 11-cv-01175, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The high court cases are Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness, 12-1184, and Highmark v. Allcare Health Management Systems, 12-1163, U.S. Supreme Court (Washington).

CBS Loses Texas Trial in Personal Audio Patent-Infringement Case

A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, on Sept. 15 found that CBS Corp. infringed a patent held by Personal Audio of Beaumont, Texas.

Personal Audio claimed the network infringed its patent for distributing media content. A jury agreed and awarded it a total of $1.3 million.

“The decision was faulty and we plan to appeal,” Shannon Jacobs, a CBS spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Personal Audio lawyer Jeremy Pitcock said he was satisfied with the verdict.

The case is Personal Audio LLC v. Togi Entertainment Inc., 2:13-cv-00013, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Independent Scotland Would Need New IP Laws, Attorney Group Says

If voters approve today’s referendum on Scottish independence, intellectual-property law is yet another part of the country’s economy that would be upended, according to the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys.

Current laws cover the U.K as well as the European Union, but would no longer cover Scotland, the institute said yesterday in a statement. The country would need new laws “to protect long-standing Scottish brands from counterfeiting and imitation,” it said.

“For a modern, successful future, Scotland needs more detailed options on how the law would make provision for IP rights under independence,” Chris McLeod, president of ITMA, said in the statement.

“Within Scotland itself, iconic brands such as McVitie’s, Johnny Walker, House of Fraser or Lipton tea could lose their brand protection in the country from which they originated,” McLeod said. “Many of the long-established independent whiskey distilleries could also be under threat from imitation.”

For more trademark news, click here. For copyright news, click here.

In the News

House Judiciary Committee Approves Trade-Secrets Legislation

The House Judiciary Committee yesterday approved H.R. 5233, the Trade Secrets Protection Act. The bipartisan bill would amend the Economic Espionage of 1996 to create a federal right of action for trade-secret misappropriation.

“While current federal law protects other forms of intellectual property by providing access to federal courts for aggrieved parties to seek redress, there is no federal option to do so for trade-secret theft,” committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, along with representatives John Conyers, Howard Coble, Jerrold Nadler and George Holding, said yesterday in a statement.

The congressmen said the bipartisan bill will allow companies to “seek civil penalties in order to protect their businesses from those engaging in economic espionage.”

If the bill is not taken up by the House before the election break, it could be considered when Congress reconvenes following this year’s elections.

The Senate separately is considering the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014.

Occupy Wall Street Sues One of Its Own Over Twitter Account

It seems so competitive, but OWS Media Group, Inc., which claims to own the Twitter account @OccupyWallStNYC, has sued Justin Wedes, one of the protesters who had access to the account.

OWS said Wedes converted the account by changing the password, locking out others and using it to air his own views.

According to the complaint, Wedes “seized the Twitter account and appropriated it to his own use.” He did so because “he was unhappy with some of the content of the speech that was being disseminated,” OWS said.

The suit seeks injunctive relief and $500,000 in damages.

Efforts to reach Wedes were unsuccessful.

The case is OWS Media Group Inc. v. Wedes, 159126/2014, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at erosen14@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net. Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

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