Bose, Philip Morris, Little League: Intellectual Property

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Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Bose Corp. and Apple Inc.’s Beats Electronics settled a patent dispute over noise-canceling headphones.

Bose and Beats in joint filings told a U.S. court in Delaware they’ve settled their claims and asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to terminate its investigation.

Bose in July petitioned the trade agency to block imports of Beats Studio and Beats Studio Wireless headphones, claiming the company used its inventions without paying. It made the same claims in its lawsuit in Wilmington, Delaware.

In May, Cupertino, California’s Apple agreed to pay $3 billion to buy the headphones and streaming-music service Beats in the company’s biggest-ever purchase.

Bose, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, said it began developing its noise-canceling technology almost four decades ago and started selling its QuietComfort headphones in 2000.

The ITC case is In the Matter of Certain Noise Canceling Headphones and Components Thereof, 3024, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington), and the civil case is Bose Corp. v. Beats Electronics LLC., 14-cv-00980, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Philip Morris Gets Patent on Computer-Controlled Smoking Device

Philip Morris USA Inc., the Virginia-based maker of Marlboro cigarettes, received a U.S. patent on a system for smoking tobacco that can be tied to a mobile device or computer and require the user to pay per puff of smoke.

Patent 8,851,081, which was issued Oct. 8, covers what the company called an “electronically heated smoking system.”

According to the patent, the device would have a communications link for connecting to a host that could be a personal computer or a mobile device. The user can specify the number of puffs and the interval between puffs and these and other control parameters can be downloaded from the computer to the smoking device.

Richmond, Virginia-based Philip Morris applied for the patent in March 2013 with the assistance of Pittsburgh’s Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC.

PTT Says Slot Machine Patent Application Didn’t Disclose Secrets

A New Jersey slot machine company said it didn’t disclose its trade secrets in a patent filing and asked that its case against a company founded by three of its former employees go ahead.

PTT LLC of Mahwah, New Jersey, sued in federal court in November 2013, alleging its trade secrets were misappropriated by its former lawyer and two other ex-employees. The company said they took the secrets with them to the firm they founded, Gimmie Games of Decatur, Georgia.

The alleged secrets were a functional feature to be used in slot machines.

Gimmie Games said in its answer that the technology at issue was disclosed in a patent application. The company also argued that in its complaint PTT failed to identify any trade secrets and denied there had been any unlawful disclosure.

In an Oct. 6 court filing, PTT said the secret at issue wasn’t disclosed in the patent filing.

In its filing, PTT said, it listed the steps required to achieve the visual effect covered by the secret but it didn’t describe how it did so, including the mathematical models involved. Those were the trade secrets taken by the ex-employees, the company said.

The case is PTT LCC v. Gimmie Games, 2:13-cv-07161, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

For more patent news, click here.


Little League Blames Social Media for Rising Infringement

Little League Baseball Inc., the nonprofit youth sports organization, said the growth of social media has led to a large increase in infringements of its trademarks, the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Patriot-News reported.

In the year ended September 2013, the Williamsport, Pennsylvania-based organization said it had experienced 45 instances of trademark infringement, according to the newspaper.

Offenders included a rock band, a non-affiliated baseball league and a sporting-goods company, the newspaper reported.

Little League hired Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP to handle trademark disputes that go past the stage of simply sending a cease-and-desist letter, according to the Patriot-News.

Steamboat Ski & Resort Sues Over Salt Lake City’s ‘Ski Town’

Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., operator of a resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, sued Salt Lake City’s tourism agency for trademark infringement.

IN its suit, filed in Denver federal court, the resort accused the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau of infringing its “Ski Town, U.S.A.” trademarks. Steamboat objected to the “Ski City USA” marketing campaign conducted by the bureau.

The resort said that the president of the bureau has acknowledged that the “Ski City USA” campaign is “absolutely aimed at luring skiers away from Colorado.”

The bureau didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit. Co-defendants with the bureau are four Utah ski resorts that Steamboat Ski claims are members of the bureau that agreed to the campaign.

The case is Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., 14-cv-02714, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver).

For more trademark news, click here.


Canadian Conservatives Want to Use News Content in Attack Ads

Canada’s Conservative Party is considering a proposal to enable political parties to make use of news reports for attack ads, the Toronto Star reported.

The proposal, which would create an exemption to Canadian copyright law, would make it possible for political parties to use content from news broadcasts without getting authorization, according to the newspaper.

Ralph Goodale, a Liberal Party official, said the change would create “a bizarre situation” in which a media outlet might have to run advertising that “perverts” its own content, according to the Star.

Conservative Heritage Minister Shelly Glover said her party believes the use of news clips is already legal under copyright law’s fair-dealing provisions, according to the newspaper

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 Charles Carter, Joe Schneider