Thursday, August 09, 2012

(BN ) RIM, Apple, Mistras, Monster Beverage: Intellectual Property

Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian maker of BlackBerry devices, won a judge's order overturning a $147.2 million patent-infringement award to rival MFormation Technologies Inc. RIM rose as much as 5 percent.

Jurors in federal court in San Francisco concluded in mid- July that RIM software violated Edison, New Jersey-based MFormation's patent-protected inventions.

"There was no legally sufficient evidentiary basis" for the jury's findings, U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware wrote in an Aug. 8 opinion.

MFormation, which makes mobile-device management software, sued RIM in 2008, saying it misappropriated technology learned during failed licensing discussions. RIM denied any wrongdoing.

"We appreciate the judge's careful consideration of this case," said Steve Zipperstein, RIM's chief legal officer, in a statement yesterday.

MFormation spokeswoman Stephanie Markham didn't immediately respond to voice- and e-mail messages seeking comment on the ruling.

RIM shares climbed 4.2 percent on Aug. 8 amid speculation by a Jefferies & Co. analyst that Samsung Electronics Co. may license the struggling BlackBerry maker's new BlackBerry 10 software or consider buying the company.

RIM's share of the worldwide smartphone market fell to 4.8 percent in the second quarter from 12 percent a year earlier as Google Inc.'s Android operating system climbed to 68 percent and Apple Inc.'s iPhone slipped to 17 percent.

RIM is planning to release two new BB10 phones early next year and try to claw back some of its lost market share.

The case is MFormation Technologies v. Research In Motion Ltd., 08-04990, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Apple Can Seek Appeal of Kodak Ruling on Imaging Patents

Apple Inc., which lost part of a court fight with Eastman Kodak Co. this month when a federal judge denied its ownership claim of two digital image patents, can seek an appeal of his decision, the judge said.

Bankrupt Kodak sued Apple in June, accusing the iPhone maker of trying to disrupt an auction of more than 1,000 patents that started Aug. 8. A judge in Manhattan ruled in favor of Kodak on two of 10 patents claimed by Apple, which Kodak plans to sell as part of its restructuring.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper told Apple in an Aug. 8 order that the company can ask for a review of the ruling before it becomes final, initiating a so-called interlocutory appeal. He declined to authorize an immediate appeal because federal policy was against "piecemeal appeals."

Apple was free to try to get a district judge to take the case, he said.

In a letter to Gropper, Apple had asked him to facilitate an immediate appeal.

"Apple believes it is in all of the parties' interests to resolve all potential appeals on these issues as soon as possible," the company said.

Apple has been trying to move the Kodak lawsuit from bankruptcy court to U.S. District Court so another judge can review the merits of its "inventorship and ownership claims," it has said.

It renewed its effort to move the case on Aug. 2, a day after Gropper's ruling in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. It might be "appropriate" if the judge's order included a qualification that his decision can be reviewed by a district judge, Apple said.

In an Aug. 2 letter to U.S. District Judge George Daniels, Apple noted that Gropper ruled against Kodak on eight of the 10 patents. Daniels invited Apple to come back to him after Gropper had ruled on the case, according to the letter.

The Apple lawsuit is Eastman Kodak Co. v. Apple Inc., 12- 01720, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more patent news, click here.


Mistras Defeats Trademark Infringement Suit by Sentinel

Mistras Group Inc., a provider of technical services to the energy industry, turned back a trademark infringement suit brought by a competitor.

Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc., based in Houston, sued Princeton, New Jersey's Mistras in federal court in Houston in May 2012, claiming its "AIM" trademark was infringed.

Sentinel alleged that by Mistras's use "AIM in its promotional material, the public was confused and Sentinel was harmed. The Texas company asked the court to order Mistras to halt its alleged infringement and for awards of attorney fees, litigation costs and both money damages and the profits Mistras realized from its alleged infringement.

The court was not persuaded by the Sentinel arguments. In a July 17 order, U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller issued an order affirming a jury verdict rendered in May. He entered a judgment of noninfringement, and the cancellation of Sentinel's disputed mark, saying the jury found the mark to be "generic or descriptive" and not entitled to protection under trademark law.

He also said that as the prevailing party in the suit, Mistras, is entitled to recover its "reasonable" costs connected with the litigation.

Mistras was represented by Ahmad Zavitsanos Anaipakos Alavi & Mensing PC of Houston.

The case is Sentinel Integrity Solutions Inc., v. Mistras Group Inc., 4:10-cv-01576, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

For more trademark news, click here.


Monster Beverage Accused of Infringing Beastie Boys' Copyrights

Monster Beverage Corp., maker of energy drinks and juice cocktails, was sued for copyright infringement by a hip-hop group.

In a complaint filed Aug. 8 in federal court in Manhattan, the Beastie Boys accuse Corona, California-based Monster Beverage of using their music without permission in several promotional pieces including a video.

The group said its music is used in a video promoting Monster's "Ruckus in the Rockies 2012," and that the video's text includes the group's name and the professional name of its lead performer, the late Adam "MCA" Yauch.

Monster is also accused of creating a link to a downloadable audio recording that uses a 23-minute medley of excerpts from the group's music. The video and some MP3 files of Beastie Boys music was initially posted on the website beginning in early May, the group said, and is also cross-posted on several commercial websites.

Beastie Boys said it is hurt by Monster Beverage's actions, which it calls both intentional and willful. The group also accuses the beverage company of infringing its trademarks and of violating the civil rights of the individual Beastie Boys members.

The group asked the court to bar further infringement of its copyrights and trademarks, and for removal of its music from any place Monster has stored it. Additionally, it seeks money damages and asked that they be tripled to punish Monster Beverages for its actions.

Beastie Boys also seeks awards for triple the profits Monster has realized from its alleged infringement.

Monster didn't respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

Beastie Boys is represented by Theodore C. Max and Kenneth B. Anderson of Los Angeles-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

The case is Beastie Boys v. Monster Energy Corp., 1:12-cv- 06065, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Aussies Turn to Legos in End Run Around IOC Copyright Rules

The Australian Broadcast Corp., Australia's national broadcast system, found a way to step around the organizing committee of the London Olympics strict control over use of content from the games.

In a video posted on Google Inc.'s YouTube video-sharing site, ABC broadcasters reenacted the winning performance of Aussie hurdler Sally Pearson by using figures constructed from blocks made by Lego A/S.

One of the broadcasters said in the video "I am so sick of running these still pictures" instead of videos of the event.

Under rules adopted in August 2011 by the International Olympic Committee, broadcast of the games "is subject to and protected by full IOC copyright."

Media groups that haven't been granted rights by the IOC to broadcast the games in a particular territory are limited to a maximum of six minutes of broadcast per day, all in the context of news coverage, and no more than two minutes of Olympic content can be used in any one news program.

News coverage of any particular event is limited to the lesser of one third of that event or 30 seconds, according to the rules. Content can't be aired until three hours after it is first show by the local rights-holding broadcaster.

The ABC video of the hurdles event includes Lego figured representing spectators, and an enactment of the awards ceremony. The video closes with one of the commentators saying that ABC was looking forward to the following day's events "which we will also not be able to show you."

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