InterDigital, Tata, Apple, Google: Intellectual Property

(Bloomberg) -- InterDigital Inc. lost its bid to revive patent-infringement claims against Microsoft Corp. and ZTE Corp. over mobile phone technology.

Four InterDigital patents weren’t infringed and a fifth is invalid, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an opinion posted on its website Wednesday. The court upheld a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which rejected InterDigital’s bid to block phones made by ZTE and Microsoft.

InterDigital relies as its sole revenue source on licensing its technology that lets mobile phones transmit information more quickly. The Wilmington, Delaware-based company was counting on this and other patent cases to force ZTE and Microsoft to pay royalties. The dispute is over patents covering ways to improve transmissions without using too much power.

“We remain very confident in the strength of our portfolio, and in our ability to continue to grow our licensing program,” InterDigital Chief Executive Officer William Merritt said in a statement.

Another case that InterDigital lost at the ITC against Microsoft and ZTE is being appealed, though it was put on hold until the Federal Circuit issued an opinion in this case. Some of the issues decided in Wednesday’s opinion overlap.

InterDigital won a trial in October in Wilmington against ZTE on some of the same technology, though different patents. Another trial has to be held to determine damages.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, inherited the fight with InterDigital when it bought the mobile device business from Nokia Oyj. InterDigital and Nokia have been fighting over royalties for more than seven years.

InterDigital can ask the three-judge panel at the Federal Circuit to reconsider Wednesday’s decision, or have the case heard before all active judges of the court, which specializes in patent law.

The case is InterDigital v. ITC, 2014-1176, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The other cases are InterDigital v. ITC, 2015-1051, Federal Circuit; In the Matter of Certain 3G Mobile Handsets, 337-613, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington); and InterDigital v. ZTE, 13-009, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Samsung Hit With $15.7 Million Verdict in Bluetooth Patent Case

Samsung Electronics Co., which was found to have infringed two patents belonging to a Pennsylvania patent-enforcement company, was ordered to pay $15.7 million in damages.

The jury verdict came in a case filed in March 2013 by Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

The disputed patents were related to the Bluetooth wireless technology standard. Rembrandt claimed that a range of Samsung products infringed, including television sets and Galaxy mobile devices.

At issue were patents 8,023,580 and 8,457,228.

The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue popular for patent-infringement cases because of a belief that juries there tend to be sympathetic to patent owners’ claims.

The case is Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-cv-00213, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.


Tata Told ‘Vistara’ Trademark for Airline Probably Won’t Fly

Tata Sons Ltd.’s application to register “Vistara” as a trademark has hit a roadblock, India’s Financial Express reported.

India’s Registrar of Trademarks told Mumbai-based Tata that the mark -- the brand name for a joint aviation venture with Singapore Airlines Ltd. -- is “liable to be refused,” according to the Financial Express.

A representative of the joint-venture airline told the Financial Express that it wouldn’t be possible to comment on the pending application while it’s under consideration.

Financial Express reported that on Jan. 12, the trademark authority told the company the probable grounds for registration refusal are that similar names have already been registered for similar goods or services.

WWE Seeks U.S. Trademark For ‘Redneck’-Themed Performances

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. has applied to register “Redneck Reckin’ Company” as a trademark.

According to an application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Feb. 15, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said it will use the mark with wrestling exhibitions and performances, as well as the provision of wrestling news through a global computer network.

For more trademark news, click here.


Apple Lets GIF Finder Return to App Store After Modifications

Apple Inc.’s App Store told the developer of an application that lets users find images on the Internet in the GIF format that his product had to be removed because of potential copyright problems, the MacRumors website reported.

Matt Cheetham’s GIF Finder app amasses a collection of GIFs and images and distills them into categories or as search results for users to browse, according to MacRumors.

Although the app had been offered through the App Store since 2012 and had been downloaded almost 90,000 times, when Cheetham tried to submit an update that would eliminate a bug, he was told he would have to demonstrate his right to use the images, MacRumors reported.

Cheetham appealed to Apple and told MacRumors that he’s now been informed that if he removes mentions of images related to “Dr. Who,” “Star Trek” and “Nigel Thornberry” from the “Wild Thornberrys” television series, the GIF Finder can once more be distributed through the App Store.

YouTube Tells User His Cat-Purring Video Infringes Copyright

Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site has told a user who posted a video of his cat purring that he was infringing a music company’s copyright, TorrentFreak reported.

The user, identified by TorrentFreak only as Digihaven, told the news website that after he filed a dispute with YouTube, the music company backed down in its claim.

He said that because of the music company’s complaint, he is still not able to monetize his video on YouTube through ad placement, according to TorrentFreak.

YouTube’s copyright notice told Digihaven his video was flagged by a content-identification system as the infringement of a musical composition, TorrentFreak reported.

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 Andrew Dunn, Joe Schneider

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