Monday, December 31, 2012

(BN) Apple, Samsung, Asahi Kasei, Stallone: Intellectual Property

(Bloomberg) Apple Inc. agreed to drop Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)'s Galaxy S III Mini from a patent-infringement lawsuit against the South Korea-based company, according to court records.

Apple said it agreed to withdraw the smartphone from its case because Samsung assured the court the phone won't be sold in the U.S., according to a Dec. 28 filing in federal court in San Jose, California. The filing, which follows an August verdict in the same court in Apple's favor on other infringement claims, comes in a second patent case between the two companies, scheduled for trial in 2014.

Apple will withdraw the Galaxy S III Mini "given Samsung's representation that it is not making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing that product into the U.S.," according to the filing. Apple claims that the smartphone is available for sale through (AMZN), and said it will agree to drop its claims against the Galaxy S III Mini only if Samsung's assurances remain true.

In the earlier case, a jury on Aug. 24 decided after a trial that Samsung should pay $1.05 billion for infringing six Apple patents. Apple awaits a decision from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on its request for additional damages against Samsung for infringement after the iPhone maker lost its bid to block U.S. sales on 26 of the Galaxy maker's devices. Apple failed to establish that consumer demand for Samsung products was driven by technology it stole, Koh ruled.

Samsung and Apple, the world's two biggest smartphone makers, have each scored victories in patent disputes fought over four continents since Cupertino, California-based Apple accused Asia's biggest electronics maker of "slavishly copying" its devices.

Samsung, facing an antitrust probe by European regulators, has said it will halt efforts to block sales of Apple products in Europe.

Newer smartphones made by both companies, including Samsung's Galaxy S III and Apple's iPhone 5, have been added to the case set for trial in 2014.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment.

The case is Apple v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 12- cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). The earlier case is v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Asahi Kasei Zoll Unit Sues Philips' Respironics Over Patent

Asahi Kasei Corp. (3407)'s Zoll unit sued Royal Philips Electronics (PHIA)' Respironics Inc., alleging infringement of a U.S. patent with equipment used to monitor patients being treated for sleep-disordered breathing.

Zoll, based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, contends Respironics is wrongly using protected technology for data collection, covered by a 2004 patent, in its Philips EncoreAnywhere respirator, according to a complaint filed Dec. 27 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. In dispute is patent 6,681,003.

"Respironics does not have a license or permission to use the patent," and "Zoll will continue to suffer additional irreparable injury" if a judge doesn't stop the infringement, plaintiffs lawyers said in court papers.

The patent covers a system of data-collection and management for medical devices worn by patients, with electronic readings transmitted over the Internet to a doctor's office or other location.

A spokeswoman for Murrysville, Pennsylvania-based Respironics, Maryellen Bizzack, didn't immediately return voice and e-mailed messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Zoll Medical Corp. v. Respironics Inc., 1:12- cv-01778-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


Topson Downs Gets Approval to Register 'Tinseltown' Trademark

Topson Downs of California Inc., a manufacturer of women's clothing, has won its battle to register "Tinseltown" as a U.S. Trademark.

The Culver City, California-based company filed an application with the U.s. Patent and Trademark Office in June 2012 to register the term for use with sportswear. The examiner rejected the application, saying it was a term indicating geographic origin.

Topson Downs is a private-label supplier to Macy's Inc. (M), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Target Corp. (TGT), Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) and Nordstrom Inc. (JWN), according to the company website.

The company appealed, and a patent office appeal board said that while "Tinseltown" is commonly understood to indicate the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, it has acquired additional meaning.

"The record clearly supports a finding that Hollywood denotes a section of Los Angeles once exclusively located in Hollywood and now located in various parts of Los Angeles, as well as the iconic styles associated therewith and its often desperate imitators," the board said in its ruling.

"Tinseltown" also denoted "the movie industry, its stars and the fashion and style trends they have made famous," according to the ruling.

The board said that the examiner, in making the initial rejection, had failed to establish the primary significance of "Tinseltown" as a geographic location.

Other applicants have successfully registered the term for other uses in the past. A Florida-based fragrance company registered "Tinseltown" in May for use with perfumes and cosmetics. In September, a U.K.-based restaurant company registered the term to use for restaurant services.

Cinemark USA Inc. registered "Tinseltown" in 1996 for use with movie theaters. An applicant from Ontario, California, registered the mark in January to use for online social- networking services.

Department of Defense Registers 'NORAD Tracks Santa' Trademark

The U.S. Department of Defense, whose North American Aerospace Defense Command every year provides "tracking" information on the whereabouts of Santa Claus, has registered "NORAD Tracks Santa" as a trademark, the Denver Post reported.

According to the Department of Defense Licensing Office, the trademark was sought to prevent its unauthorized use by others rather than as a money-maker, the newspaper reported.

The department does sell merchandise bearing the mark, with the biggest sellers a customized letter from Santa and a t-shirt that says "I tracked Santa 2012," according to the Post.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 and signed a licensing agreement in November with U.S. Allegiance Inc. of Bend, Oregon, which has produced other licensed products for the military in the past, the Post reported.

Apple Applies to Register Leaf Silhouette Trademark in EU

Apple Inc. (AAPL), maker of the iPhone and iPad, applied to register a leaf silhouette as a trademark.

According to application data published in the database of the European Union's trademark registration office, the leaf is a simple oval with two pointed ends, placed on a slant.

Cupertino, California-based Apple said in the application it plans to use the mark for a range of products far beyond electronic gear. Among the proposed uses are jewelry and clocks, desk accessories, bumper stickers, patterns for t-shirts and sweatshirts, and messages among computer users about concerts.

Apple submitted the application in March, and according to the database some of the initial processing of the application has been completed.

For more trademark news, click here.


Stallone's 'Expendables' Didn't Infringe Screen Play Copyright

Sylvester Stallone has defeated a copyright infringement claim brought by a Connecticut resident.

Marcus Webb of Stamford, Connecticut, sued Stallone in federal court in New York in October 2011, claiming that the actor/director's "Expendables" film infringed the copyrights for a screenplay he had written.

In June, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that Webb's claim couldn't go forward, and on Dec. 27 he filed an order outlining his reasons and entering a final judgment.

Webb said there were too many similarities between his "Cordoba Caper" screenplay and the film for copyright infringement not to have occurred. He said he had submitted the play to "various literary forums" through which it was widely available to the community of filmmakers.

In his ruling, Judge Rakoff said that Webb's screenplay was written after a script on which Stallone based some of the film was created, so it wasn't possible for Stallone to have copied. He also dismissed Webb's claims that there was substantial similarity between the two screenplays.

The judge also said that he had "carefully examined the entire litany of plaintiff's proffered 'striking similarities' and finds none of them remotely striking or legally sufficient." He ordered the case closed.

The case is Marcos Webb v. Sylvester Stallone, 1:11- cv-07517-JSR, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).


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