Airbus, Steamboat Ski, Thailand: Intellectual Property

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Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus NV, which earlier this year filed an application to patent a space-saving aircraft configuration that used seats somewhat like bicycle seats, has filed a new patent application for a saucer-shaped passenger plane.

According to application 20140319274, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Oct. 30, the Blacnac, France-based company is looking at a design with passengers seated in a 360-degree array around a center space that, according to the patent, is “defined outside the aircraft.

This design would increase the space available for passengers, and areas of the aircraft not occupied by passengers or flight crew would not need to be pressurized, according to the application.

Airbus applied for the patent in April 2014.

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Salt Lake Tourism Agency, Steamboat Ski Resort Settle Dispute

Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., operator of a resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Salt Lake City’s tourism agency have settled a trademark-infringement suit, according to court filings.

The Colorado ski resort filed suit in federal court in Denver Oct. 3, accusing 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 the president of the Salt Lake bureau has acknowledged its ‘‘Ski City USA’’ campaign is ‘‘absolutely aimed at luring skiers away from Colorado.’’

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the Nov. 12 and Nov. 14 filings. Both the Salt Lake bureau and Alta Ski Lofts Co., operator of a Utah ski resort, were dismissed as defendants. All the parties were ordered to pay their own attorney fees and litigation costs.

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

Tennessee Craft Distillers Support Tennessee Whiskey Definition

Two Tennessee distillers are challenging the definition of Tennessee whiskey, claiming it’s unconstitutional and attempts to treat the term ‘‘whiskey’’ as a trademark. A survey of the Tennessee Distillers Guild indicates that 78.6 percent of its members support the present definition.

The 16-member guild, which was formed to support craft distillers in the state, indicated satisfaction with the standard of identity for Tennessee whiskey, promulgated by the state legislature in 2013. The definition includes aging of whiskey in new oak barrels, a mash of at least 51 percent corn and charcoal mellowing.

Michael Ballard of Full Throttle S’loonshine and Jesse James Dupree of American Outlaw Spirits, who are planning to set up a whiskey distillery in Trimble, Tennessee, objected to the definition. They say it favors Brown-Forman Corp.’s Jack Daniel’s method of whiskey production and attempts to treat the terms ‘‘whiskey” and “Tennessee” as trademarks.

Guild members say they are for the most part content with the legislature’s determination. At a meeting in July, they agreed that the question of new barrels was a “non-issue.” Neither Full Throttle nor American Outlaw Spirits is a member of the guild, according to the organization’s website.

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Copyright Society of Nigeria Retains Sole Collecting Rights

A Nigerian court has ruled that the Copyright Society of Nigeria is the only group with authority to collect license fees for musical works and sound recordings in that country, Abuja, Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper reported.

The court rejected a suit brought by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, seeking a declaration that it had sole right to be the country’s collecting society, according to Premium Times.

The court rejected the complaint by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, saying it was not the proper jurisdiction for the dispute, Premium Times reported.

Thai Judge Says Reform Needed for Thailand’s Film and Video Act

A judge in Thailand’s Constitutional Court has urged that country’s lawmakers to amend copyright law to be more fair, the Bangkok Post reported.

Judge Jarun Pikditanakul, ruling in the case of a rubbish collector who was fined 133,4000 Thai baht ($4,068) for a copyright offense, said the Film and Video Act doesn’t allow suspension of jail term, according to the Bangkok Post.

The rubbish collector couldn’t pay his fine and was sentenced to one day in prison for each 200 baht owned, which left him facing a 667-day jail term, according to the newspaper.

After an anonymous donor paid the fine, and the court ordered the rubbish collector’s release, the judge said lawmakers must amend the law in order to limit the severity of punishment for violators, the Bangkok Post reported.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Florida High Court Says Redistricting Documents Not Trade Secret

The Florida Supreme Court rejected a political consulting firm’s arguments that documents related to the redistricting of Florida’s congressional districts contained trade secrets that needed protection, the Tampa Tribune reported.

The court unanimously ordered the unsealing of 538 pages of documents relating to redistricting from Data Targeting Inc., a Gainesville, Florida-based consulting firm whose legal bills were paid by the state Republican Party, according to the newspaper.

Media organizations including the Associated Press filed a friend-of-the-court brief seeking disclosure of the documents, the newspaper reported.

In 2010, Florida voters passed the “fair districts” measure, barring lawmakers from drawing district boundaries to favor incumbents or a particular political party, according to the Tampa Tribune.

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 David Glovin, Joe Schneider