Walgreen, Apple, Redskins, Dotcom: Intellectual Property

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, and CVS Caremark Corp.’s CVS Pharmacy unit settled a dispute over a patented technology that lets customers refill prescriptions with mobile-phone scanners.

The suit involved patent 8,626,530, which was issued to Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreen Jan. 7. The chain filed the infringement suit Jan. 31 in Delaware federal court.

CVS was accused of using the patented application, which runs on iPhones, Android-equipped phones and BlackBerrys, without a license.

According to a Nov. 25 court filing, CVS agreed to halt the infringement, and both parties are to bear their costs of litigation and attorney fees.

The case is Walgreen v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., 14-cv-00123, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Apple Gets Patent on Technology for Autographing E-Books

Apple Inc., maker of the iPad and iPhone, received a patent on a system that would let an author autograph an electronic version of a book.

Patent 8,880,602 covers a system that works when a signing device is brought into proximity with a device containing an electronic copy of the author’s book. The technology can also work through an online store, Cupertino, California-based Apple said.

While e-books are cheaper to make, some readers are still attracted to ink on paper. Signed copies of a book often hold special meaning, creating “a need for improved technology for embedding autographs in electronic books,” according to the patent.

The autograph can be authenticated by a variety of methods, such as including a digital photo of the reader and author together or through the issuance of a certificate, according to the patent.

Apple applied for the patent in March 2012, with the assistance of Wilmington, Delaware’s Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg LLP

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NFL’s Redskins Can Sue American Indians to Protect Trademark

The National Football League’s Washington Redskins can sue a group of American Indians for seeking to block trademark protection for its name, which has been criticized as offensive.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Virginia, ruling Nov. 25, denied a request to dismiss the case. Throwing out the complaint would deprive the team of the opportunity to review the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to cancel the mark as disparaging, Lee said.

The ruling is the latest in a 22-year dispute over a brand estimated by Forbes to be worth $145 million. The board’s decision to cancel six trademarks, if left intact by the court, would make it harder for the team to enforce rights to its name. The franchise ranked third in the NFL in August with a valuation of $1.7 billion, according to Forbes.

The team sued in August, seeking to reverse the ruling that its name was no longer entitled to federal trademark protection. Team owner Daniel Snyder has said the name was intended to honor Native Americans and he won’t change it.

“We are disappointed by the court’s legal ruling on our motion to dismiss, but our Native American clients remain confident that we will ultimately prevail in this case,” Jeffrey Lopez of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Washington, an attorney for the group opposing the name, said in an e-mail.

Robert Raskopf, a lawyer for the team, didn’t immediately return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment on the decision.

A group of American Indians first petitioned the trademark office in 1992 to cancel the team’s marks because they were scandalous.

Both sides won subsequent court rulings and reversals, with the case resuming in March 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court denied review, according to Lee’s opinion. The federal board issued its most recent cancellation decision in June, triggering the team’s lawsuit.

The case is Pro-Football Inc. v. Blackhorse, 14-cv-01043, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

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Dotcom Says Fight Against Extradition Has Left him ‘Broke’

Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. on criminal copyright conspiracy charges, said he has spent more than 10 million pounds ($15.8 million) on legal costs and is now “broke,” the BBC reported.

He said he will represent himself at a legal hearing in New Zealand, according to the BBC.

Dotcom said his lawyers resigned because they weren’t being paid, according to the BBC.

He’s the founder of Megaupload, a file-sharing site through which movies and music were allegedly shared without authorization, the BBC said.

Russian Law to Mandate Permanent Blocking of Infringing Websites

Beginning in May 2015, a Russian law comes into effect that will permit the permanent blocking of a website a court finds has committed copyright infringement, the Moscow Times reported.

The bill specifies that a website, once blocked, will never be made accessible, according to the newspaper.

The measure also specifies that website owners must disclose on their sites identifying information including real names and e-mail addresses, the Moscow Times said.

To date, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition against the bill, the newspaper reported.

Blueprint Suit Against Restaurant May Proceed, Court Rules

Ruling in a dispute between an architecture firm and a Chicago restaurant operator, a federal appeals court said the statute of limitations for bringing an infringement claim begins to run when the copyright owner has actual notice of the infringement.

The suit, filed in 2012, pits Chicago Building Design PC against Mongolian House Inc. According to court papers, the firm was hired in 2006 to design an upgrade and renovation for the interior of a Mongolian House restaurant.

The architects completed the renovations in 2007. The next year, an employee of the firm visiting city government offices discovered a set of allegedly infringing blueprints filed under another architect’s name. The employee asked for a copy of those plans.

The city refused to release the blueprints, saying they were exempt from disclosure, according to court papers. The restaurant later defaulted on payments to the architecture firm for the renovations. After a new building permit was issued based on the blueprints, Chicago Building Design sued, claiming breach of contract and copyright infringement.

The trial court dismissed the infringement claims, saying the firm waited too long to file them. The restaurant argued the three-year period in which a claim could be filed began when the firm’s employee noticed the plans in city offices. The firm took the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, which said the trial court erred.

Because the infringement continued well after the date the employee discovered the plans, the three-year period for filing the claim wasn’t exhausted, the appeals court said.

The lower court case is Chicago Building Design PC v. Mongolian House Inc., 1:12-cv-01010, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The appeal is Chicago Building Design PC v. Mongolian House Inc., 12-307, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net David Glovin, Joe Schneider

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