Apple, Nike, Pom Wonderful, Ford: Intellectual Property

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc., maker of the iPod and iPhone, has received a patent on a technology that will enable those who use a special stylus to write or draw on any surface and have the content show up on the screen of a digital computer.

Patent 8,922,530, issued yesterday, covers what Cupertino, California-based Apple calls a “communicating stylus.”

According to the patent, the stylus can write on any surface or be moved in three-dimensional space and corresponding images will be displayed on the screen of the computing device.

The stylus can either store the data or transmit it immediately to the computing device. It allows for the digitization of the user’s handwriting.

This is not Apple’s first foray into handwriting recognition. The company’s short-lived Newton personal digital assistant was introduced in the early 1990s and ended in 1998. Because of the inaccuracy of its handwriting-recognition program, the Newton was the butt of many jokes, most notably in a Doonesbury cartoon.

Apple applied for this patent in January 2010.

Nike’s New Patents Indicate Company’s Technology Orientation

Nike Inc., the Beaverton, Oregon-based maker of athletic shoes and gear, received 541 patents in 2014, the Portland Business Journal reported.

The balance has shifted for the company, with more technology patents being sought and received than those for apparel, according to the publication.

Many of the technology patents are related to tracking activity, aimed at helping athletes improve workouts and performance, the Business Journal reported.

Other patents are related to automated manufacturing technology, with the goal of reducing overhead and shipping costs, according to the Business Journal.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Pom Wonderful Prevails in Appeal of Trademark Infringement Case

Pom Wonderful LLC, the Los Angeles juice company owned by billionaire Stewart Resnick, has prevailed in a trademark suit against a Pennsylvania-based beverage company.

In its Dec. 30 opinion, a federal appeals court said a lower court erred in ruling that the public was unlikely to be confused between Pom Wonderful’s “POM” trademark and the use of “pom” by Pur Beverages of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said “POM” was a commercially strong trademark, and Pur Beverages’s “pom” mark was too similar in sound, appearance and meaning. The court sent the case back to the trial court and told it to determine whether Pom Wonderful is entitled to an order barring Pur Beverage’s use of “pom”.

The case is Pom Wonderful LLC v. Hubbard, 14-55253, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (San Francisco). The lower-court case is Pom Wonderful LLC v. Pur Beverages LLC, 2:13-cv-06917, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Ford, Ecoboost Engine-Maker, Seeks ‘Ecobeast’ U.S. Trademark

Ford Motor Co., the maker of Ford and Lincoln automobiles, filed two applications to register “Ecobeast” as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s Dec. 22 application specifies that the mark will be used for automobiles and auto engines. An earlier application, filed Feb. 26, is for the term to be used with automobile-related graphics, decals and bumper stickers.

According to the auto-enthusiast website Motrolix.com, which initially uncovered the trademark filings, it is likely the new trademarks would be used with high-performance versions of the automaker’s Ecoboost engines.

Mophie Wins Trademark Infringement Suit Over Battery Cases

Mophie Inc., a maker of mobile battery cases for smartphones, has prevailed in a trademark suit against a Texas-based competitor.

Mophie, of Tustin, California, sued in federal court in Santa Ana, California, in August 2013, alleging that Dharmesh Shah, who according to court papers does business as Source Vista, sold battery cases that infringed the company’s trademarks. Mophie also claimed that Source Vista violated the California Unfair Competition Law.

According to court papers, Source Vista was selling reproductions or counterfeit copies of Mophie’s Juice Pack products without permission.

Mophie asked the court to bar further infringement and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. The company also requested that the damages be tripled to punish Source Visita for its actions.

The jury returned an infringement verdict Dec. 19. According to court papers, Mophie has until Jan. 12 to submit a court filing addressing possible punitive damages and what kinds of court orders should be issued with respect to the California Unfair Competition Law.

The case is Mophie Inc. v. Shah, 8:13-cv-01321, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Copyright Issues Leave King’s Speeches Absent From ‘Selma’ Film

The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches are not included in the newly released feature film “Selma” about the early days of the U.S. civil rights movement because of copyright issues, the Washington Post reported.

Director Ava DuVernay told the Post that he and the producers “never even asked” the King family, which holds the rights to the late civil rights leader’s speeches, for permission to use them, according to the Post.

“We knew those rights are already gone,” DuVernay said, noting that the King family has sold them to DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., for a film to be directed by Steven Spielberg, according to the newspaper.

DuVernay and screenwriter Paul Webb paraphrased King’s speeches, so they have the civil rights leader’s “cadence and meaning” despite the fact that they are not his original words, the Post reported.

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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