Ford, Sriracha, Lynch, Amazon, Gao: Intellectual Property

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(Bloomberg) -- The Ford Motor Co. has applied for a patent on a car that can also become a bicycle.

Application 20150035250, published Feb. 5 in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers a motor vehicle configured to house a removable collapsible bicycle. The bike is put together using components of the automobile, including a spare wheel, a removable headrest and a jack.

According to the application, one of the car’s headrests can be reconfigured as a bicycle seat. The car’s jack will include a worm gear that can be used to drive one of the bicycle’s wheels and will also include a pedal. The movement of the pedal will cause the jack to apply the rotational force necessary to drive the wheel.

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford says the bike frame can be made from a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, titanium, thermoplastic or even bamboo or wood, just as long as the material has enough strength to support other bicycle components.

The bicycle can be collapsed and stored when the user reaches the destination. Ford says the invention can be used in crowded urban areas where parking may be difficult. The user can park farther from the destination, then assemble the bike and ride the rest of the way.

Ford applied for the patent Aug. 1, 2013.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Sriracha Hot Sauce Creator Didn’t Try to Register Trademark

Huey Fong Foods Inc., the Irwindale, California-based company that created the Sriracha garlicky hot sauce, didn’t register the name as a trademark, the owner told the Los Angeles Times.

David Tran, who founded the closely held company, said other companies’ use of the term is free advertising, and he notes that his sales have increased from $60 million to $80 million over two years, according to the newspaper.

Frito-Lay Inc., Jack in the Box Inc., H.J. Heinz Co. and Doctor’s Associates Inc.’s Subway units all have Sriracha products and are not paying licensing fees to Huey Fong, according to the Times.

Tran has registered the bottle shape and rooster logo associated with the sauce as trademarks and enforces them against knockoffs from China, the newspaper reported.

Lynch Seeks to Register ‘So I Won’t Get Fined’ as Trademark

Marshawn Lynch, a player for the Seattle Seahawks National Football League team, has applied to register as a trademark the phrase, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the athlete filed his application Feb. 18. At the Jan. 27 media day in advance of the Feb. 1 Super Bowl game, Lynch uttered the phrase 29 times, drawing wide criticism.

In his application, Lynch said he’ll use the mark on clothing, including hooded sweatshirts, baseball caps, t-shirts and track jackets.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Amazon.com Prevails in Copyright Suit by Self-Published Author

A self-published U.K.-based author unsuccessfully sued Amazon.com Inc. for copyright infringement, the BBC reported.

Ken Kook, author of “Antipodean Antics,” told the BBC he sued after he saw the book listed for sale with links to sellers who were offering used copies for very low prices.

He filed suit in Bournemouth County Court, which dismissed the case after finding that terms and conditions imposed by the Seattle-based company were fair, according to the BBC.

Kook said he sued “as a matter of principle” in order to help others “who have had their intellectual property taken away by big companies,” according to the BBC.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Former Two Sigma Analyst Gao Pleads Guilty to Software Theft

A former analyst at the quantitative hedge fund Two Sigma Investments LLC pleaded guilty to taking the firm’s data, the second of five men charged in a crackdown on the theft of intellectual property from financial firms to resolve his case.

In exchange for a 10-month sentence, Kang Gao, 29, a native of China, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of unlawful duplication of computer-related material. The plea came before New York State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser in Manhattan.

The former analyst was arrested in February 2013 and accused of taking confidential trading models and strategies and other information from Two Sigma. He faced a maximum of four years in prison if convicted of each charge.

Gao is among those charged by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in cases alleging intellectual-property theft. Wall Street is increasingly protective of software used for strategies such as high-speed trading, which have become more valuable as firms seek advantages over rivals that can be measured in milliseconds.

Gao’s plea came a day after Jason Vuu, 24, of San Jose, California, was sentenced in the same court to five years’ probation for stealing computer source code and strategies from Flow Traders, an Amsterdam-based trading house.

Vuu, along with another ex-Flow Traders employee, Glen Cressman, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Vuu’s former roommate, Simon Lu, 26, of Pittsburgh, were charged in 2013 with copying and taking proprietary trading strategy files and computer source code.

Gao’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, said he doesn’t expect his client to serve additional time as he already spent eight months behind bars after his arrest. The lawyer said Gao will probably be deported after sentencing, scheduled for April 28. He is in the U.S. on a work visa and hasn’t been employed, Agnifilo said.

The case is People of New York v. Gao, 00640-2014, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

School Won’t Say What it Pays Matthew McConaughey to Speak

The University of Houston, which has booked actor Matthew McConaughey to be the school’s commencement speaker in May, said it won’t release information about how much he’s being paid, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The school said its contract with the agency through which it booked the actor, Celebrity Talent International of Carlsbad, California, contains a confidentiality clause, the newspaper reported.

Under the contract, CTI has the right to object to the release of such information, according to the newspaper.

The Chronicle reports that the university has said that even though it doesn’t believe the information is confidential, CTI has the right to object and doesn’t want the fee information released.

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