Crowdfunding, Escape Media, DUI: Intellectual Property

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- A San Diego researcher is turning to crowdfunding to help him create a patent-free drug to treat melanoma and kidney and breast cancers, the Times of San Diego reported.

Isaac Yonemoto said that to develop his drug, he will employ the same open-source framework used to develop software and accept donations in dollars and bitcoins, according to the newspaper.

The crowdfunding, solicited through the website he set up, will be used to finance a study of the drug’s efficacy in lab mice, according to the Times.

Later-stage research and development, which will cost from $1 million to $10 million, will probably not be crowdfunded, the newspaper reported.

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McDonald’s Succeeds in Quashing ‘McSweet’ Trademark Application

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest fast-food chain, persuaded U.S. trademark regulators not to allow a Washington state food packer to register “McSweet” as a trademark for pickled gourmet vegetables.

In a Sept. 29 determination, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said that because of the Oak Brook, Illinois-based restaurant company’s use and promotion of marks beginning with “Mc” since 1955, it was likely that consumers would be confused over the use of “McSweet” by JMC Sales of Maple Valley, Washington.

JMC argued that “McSweet” was a legitimate surname. The appeal board said that it was very rare and that the food packer argued at a different point in the proceedings that it “was not merely a surname.”

The board said the public would be likely to view “McSweet” as connected to McDonald’s rather than as a surname.

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Escape Media Group Found Liable for Music Infringement

Escape Media Group Inc., the Gainesville, Florida-based company that offered Grooveshark streaming music services, was found liable for copyright infringement.

In a Sept. 29 ruling, U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa in New York ruled that Escape Media infringed by encouraging its employees to download music to expand the number of tracks it could offer through Grooveshark.

He found that Escape Media officials Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg were personally liable for copyright infringement. He said Escape’s business model “depended on the use of infringing content.”

Escape Media decided to begin offering its service with unlicensed content to grow rapidly and get favorable licensing deals with the music companies, Griesa wrote in his opinion.

The behavior continued even after the company received “numerous” takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the judge wrote. As soon as music was taken down, the company would upload it again to ensure that its catalog would remain intact, he wrote.

Griesa said the music companies are entitled to a judgment of infringement as a matter of law for all of their claims against Escape Media, except for employee uploads that took place outside their time of employment.

The case is UMG Recording Inc. v. Escape Media Group Inc., 11-cv-08407, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Trade Secrets/ Industrial Espionage

Florida Court Orders Greater Access to DUI Device Software

A seven-member panel of state-court judges in Florida’s Orange County ordered the maker of a device used to determine drivers’ blood alcohol levels to grant greater access to the software it runs, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The judges ruled after anomalies appeared in some readings on one model of CMI Inc.’s Intoxilyzer 8000 used by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department, according to the newspaper.

CMI said its source code is a trade secret and resisted releasing it, the newspaper reported.

Alan Triggs, general counsel for the Owensboro, Kentucky-based company, said that while it would permit attorneys to travel to Kentucky to inspect the code, it wouldn’t turn it over.

Members of Alleged International Hacking Ring Charged With Theft

Four members of what the U.S. called an international computer-hacking ring were charged with breaking into Army and technology company networks and stealing more than $100 million worth of intellectual property, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The alleged thefts included software used to train military personnel to fly Apache helicopters and in Xbox video games, according to the government.

A federal grand jury in Delaware in April issued an 18-count indictment that included theft of trade secrets, identity theft, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement.

Two of the four members of the group have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement, the government said.

Among companies targeted by the group were Microsoft Corp., Epic Games Inc., Valve Corp. and Zombie Studios, in addition to the Army, according to the government.

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 Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn