SAP-Versata, Nichia Blue, Yelp: Intellectual Property

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Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Trilogy Inc.’s Versata Software and the software maker SAP AG have settled a seven-year-old patent dispute that started when Versata sued SAP in Texas claiming the German company infringed a patent related to customer pricing.

At the end of the 2011 trial, SAP was found to have infringed, and that finding and a $391 million judgment were upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. A month later the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said the patent was invalid and shouldn’t have been issued. SAP then asked the appeals court to reconsider the ruling and went to the U.S. Supreme Court saying that, in any case, it shouldn’t have been found liable for infringement because its customers actually performed the actions covered by the patent.

In January, the high court refused to hear the case.

The Oct. 3 filing in the trial court revealed only that the dispute is settled subject to a patent license and settlement agreement the parties executed. The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means the claims cannot be raised in a future dispute, and each party is responsible for its own attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is Versata Software Inc. v. SAP America, 2:07-cv-00153, U.s. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

Nobel Laureate Sold Nichia Corp. Patent on Blue LED Technology

One of the three 2014 Nobel laureates in physics sold the patent for his blue LED technology to Japan’s Nichia Corp. for $180 in the 1990s, the online magazine Slate reported.

Shuji Nakamura, who shared this year’s physics prize with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano, sued Nichia in 2001, seeking additional compensation for the patent, according to Slate.

In 2004 the Tokyo District Court awarded Nakamura $180 million in compensation, ruling that Nichia could have realized more than $1.1 billion from the blue LEDs, Slate reported.

Nakamura is now a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

For more patent news, click here.


Yelp Prevails in Trademark Suit, Judge Cuts Damages Award

Yelp Inc., the social-networking site that publishes crowd-sourced reviews of restaurants and other businesses, won a trademark suit against a Florida resident.

San Francisco-based Yelp sued Timothy Catron in California federal court in June 2013, claiming he was infringing the company’s trademarks by selling Yelp reviews to third parties.

On Sept. 8 a magistrate judge recommended that while the court give Yelp a default judgment, the $2 million the San Francisco-based company sought in damages was excessive.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick agreed. While he granted Yelp’s request for a default judgment, he reduced the damages award to $45,000. He said that while on Sept. 25, Yelp reduced its damages request to $300,000, the company failed to offer a persuasive argument that $45,000 wouldn’t be sufficient.

He said that while the plaintiff in a trademark-infringement case is entitled to damages that will serve as a deterrent, “it is not entitled to a windfall.” He noted that Yelp provided evidence of only one sale of infringing services by Catron “from which he earned at most $2,495.”

The case is Yelp Inc. v. Catron, 3:13-cv-02859, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Pure Michigan Tells PureMichiganFear It Infringed Trademark

The tourism-promotion agency for the State of Michigan is objecting to a billboard and website operated by a Halloween haunted-house company in Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

Pure Michigan, the travel office, said that the use of PureMichiganFear by the Haunt, the haunted-house company, infringed its trademarks, according to the newspaper.

Although Jim Burns, owner of the Haunt, is now using a new web address -- -- to promote his business, he is leaving the billboard up through Oct. 26, the Press reported.

A spokeswoman for Pure Michigan told the Press that in the future Burns will not be allowed to use “PureMichiganFear” because the travel office needs to protect its trademark.

For more trademark news, click here.


Book Fair Attendees Told They Are Needed in Copyright Debate

Attendees at this week’s Frankfurt Book Fair were told they need to take a more vigorous part in the debate over copyright law, Publishers Weekly reported.

At the world’s largest media and book fair, Olav Stokkmo of the Brussels-based International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations said the copyright debate is presently dominated by anti-copyright forces who are not presenting an accurate message, according to Publishers Weekly.

He said that while people are beginning to acknowledge the need to compensate content creators, they are still mainly unwilling to pay, according to the publication.

Stokkmo said his organization has begun an educational campaign, available through the website, with the aim of bringing the public “accurate information about copyright,” according to Publisher’s Weekly.

For copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/ Industrial Espionage

F-Secure Says Ukraine Targets Attacked by ‘BlackEnergy’ Malware

F-Secure Oyj, a Helsinki-based Web security company, said the so-called “BlackEnergy” cybercrime toolkit is being used to commit industrial espionage in Ukraine, the International Business Times reported.

The Finnish company said the malware is being used by Russian hackers that targeted both the railroad and government infrastructure, according to the newspaper.

F-Secure said the group targeting Ukraine has been in operation since 2010, according to International Business Times.

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, Joe Schneider