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Posts Tagged ‘Intellectual Property’

postheadericon Overseas interest in stadium intellectual property


The intellectual property rights for the Forsyth Barr Stadium
could even be a potential revenue earner, with interest in
the Dunedin venue coming from as far afield as France and
Scandinavia.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive, David Davies,
said he was not surprised by the comments from former England
and Lions prop Phil Vickery that the stadium “is a great
model for the northern hemisphere”.

Vickery, who Mr Davies knew from his time as chief executive
of London Wasps, spent several hours at the stadium, and
spoke positively about the roofed venue.

“I am not surprised he found the country and city engaging.”

Mr Davies said over the last 10 months DVML had received
inquiries from overseas about the venue, and “I think there
will be a continual interest”.

While stadium management were yet to field inquiries from the
United Kingdom, he confirmed there had been interest in the
stadium from France and Scandinavian countries.

It was unknown if those inquiries would “transform into
people prepared to pay for some of the intellectual
property”, which, “quite rightly” had been protected by the
city, he said.

Intellectual property rights concerning the stadium had not
been budgeted for as a potential revenue earner, “but it is
an area I can see for growth”.

Although you could not stop people building their own covered
stadium, he expected the city would be contacted by any group
wanting to replicate something similar to Forsyth Barr
Stadium.

“I suspect the best thing would be to engage those people who
have gone before.”

 


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon GEN ELEC : GE Healthcare and Bio-Rad reach settlement in label-free detection … – 4

13 August 2011

GE Healthcare and Bio-Rad reach settlement in label-free detection lawsuit

Chalfont St.Giles, UK, August 13th, 2011 – GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced today that a settlement has been reached with Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) in an intellectual property lawsuit related to GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ technology for studying molecular interactions with Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). In 2010, GE Healthcare had filed suit in Germany for infringement of SPR related patents against Bio-Rad. GE Healthcare and Bio-Rad have now agreed to settle their dispute and withdraw their claims pursuant to a license granting Bio-Rad access to a collection of GE Healthcare patents.

The licensed patents relate to certain aspects of GE Healthcare Life Sciences’ unique technology and BiacoreTM instrument for SPR-based quantitative studies of molecular interactions. This non-exclusive license grants Bio-Rad rights with respect to using GE Healthcare’s proprietary technologies in Bio-Rad’s own SPR products.

“This license recognizes the considerable value that our RD effort and surface plasmon resonance technology brings to life scientists” said Johan von Heijne, General Manager Research Products, GE Healthcare. “We are pleased that granting this license to Bio-Rad will enable scientists to expand the use of SPR for molecular interaction and binding studies even further in pharmaceutical drug discovery and development, and in basic life sciences research.”

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our “healthymagination” vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

For our latest news, please visit http://newsroom.gehealthcare.com

Contact

College Hill

Dr Lynne Trowbridge, Tim Watson, Dimithri Wignarajah

+44 (0)20 7866 7861

GE-Corporate@collegehill.com

PRESS CONTACTS

Dr Val Jones

GE Healthcare

+44 1494 498052

+44 7917 175192(mobile)

val.jones@ge.com


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon MacOS KenDensed: Apple Statistics and Lawsuits: Welcome to Moronica

Mac OS KenTurns out the iPhone and Android have their own Mason-Dixon Line, Apple is on track to be the new portable gaming king, a new lawsuit says Apple is too fast, and there are riots in London. All this and more has Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray all wound up this week.

The North and the South
Save your Confederate money, boys, and trade it in for an Android phone apparently. Electronista has word of a surprising set of findings from mobile advertising firm Jumptap.

According to the firm’s ad reports culled from about 83 million interactions, Google’s Android platform dominates in the U.S. south and southwest, while the iPhone is more prevalent the northeast and mid-west, and strongest in the Yankee stronghold of New England.

Jumptap didn’t try to explain why iOS phones saw more traction with the blue while Androids were dug in with the grey. Could I hazard a guess, though? I mean, since they won’t?

Could it not have to do with the concentration of Apple Stores? Two in Alabama, one in Mississippi and five in Georgia, versus one in Rhode Island — significantly smaller than any of the southern states. Four in Connecticut — significantly smaller than any of the southern states — and ten in Massachusetts, significantly smaller than any of the southern states.

There was one weird bit in the finding, though. New York state had a distinctly maple flavor, featuring a surprisingly large number of BlackBerry phones. The piece supposes that the Empire State’s high concentration of bankers and big business types may account for that.

So here in the states, it’s the blue and the grey, while in the UK the most obvious division is seen between the grey and those who have not gone grey yet.

Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, has released its latest numbers on smartphone addiction in the United Kingdom. Um… adoption… adoption in the United Kingdom.

Quoting their press release:

New Ofcom research reveals the extent to which the UK has become addicted to smartphones, with people confessing to using them everywhere from the dining table to the bathroom and bedroom.

Oh. I guess I did mean addiction, though I question the validity of the report since — from what I’ve heard — at least one of those words should have been “loo.”

According to Ofcom, 27 percent of adults under the queen’s care and 47 percent of teens now own a smartphone, with 59 percent of those having been acquired in the last year. The smartphones, that is, not the teens and adults.

Meanwhile, a separate report on the Ofcom study from the BBC says Apple’s iPhone was favored by 32 percent of adults surveyed, while the Blackberry was preferred by 37 percent of the teens.

This, I officially, do not get.

Get Your Game On
The website IndustryGamers.com is turning into a fairly interesting read. A few weeks ago Id Software’s John Carmack made the point to the site that the mobile device of tomorrow will unquestionably out-power the video game consoles of today. That totally makes sense when you hear someone say it, and it’s neat to hear someone say it.

Last week, EA founder and Digital Chocolate bunny Trip Hawkins tried to skewer Apple for the site, citing its walled garden and lack of Flash-support. I don’t think that was super successful, but it did give food for thought, where food equals Cheetos or some generic cheese curl equivalent.

Now say “hey” to Epic Games president Mike Capps, who is presenting a really interesting glimpse of a possible future for gaming, which, again, makes perfect sense when you hear someone say it, and it’s neat to hear someone say it.

Nintendo’s Wii U may be cool, and the PS4 and Xbox 720 — imaginary or assumed names as far as I know — may be cool a few years down the road, but holy crap are you watching what’s happening in the mobile space?

By the time we get to the successor for the Xbox 360, mobile could pretty much kill the need for consoles in Capps’ opinion.

Quoting Industry Gamers: “Capps believes that the rate of technological progress in smartphones and tablets is completely changing the industry. By the time the next generation of consoles gets into full gear, we’ll have smartphones that are probably even more powerful than today’s Xbox 360,” which pretty much echoes the thoughts of Id’s Carmack.

Quoting Capps:

Your iPhone 8 will probably plug into your TV, or better yet, wirelessly connect to your television set to give you that big screen gaming experience with good sound. So really, what’s the point of those next-gen consoles? It’s a very interesting situation to be looking at. That’s what we’re starting to think about more… not how do we scale from some Nintendo platform to some other future console.

Of course, the industry is already headed that way, whether it knows it or not. Apple’s iOS 5 is set to support AirPlay to Apple TV in a bigger way than does iOS 4, with at least one developer — Real Racing’s Firemint if memory serves — saying it plans to shoot its titles to the big screen via Apple TV and AirPlay as soon as the OS is available.

On Top of the PC World
Which company will own the portable computer space for the rest of the year? Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore says that’ll be the company that dropped computer from its name a few years ago. And went on stage to demote its computers earlier this year.

Apple. I’m talking about Apple.

Fortune has Whitmore saying Apple will PWN the space. There’s just one catch: You have to count tablets as computers.

With iPad included, Apple is number one in the portable PC space. Without it, not so much, though Whitmore does say if you leave the iPad out, Apple still stands to gain on HP, Dell, and the rest of the Windows PC gang.

Whitmore says not much new is going on in the Windows space for the second half of the year, while “Apple will be competing with an upgraded Mac OS, new MacBook Airs (and other forthcoming Macs) and a new iPad iOS.”

“Within the tablet market,” writes Whitmore, “the iPad remains the Gold Standard as competitors struggle for mindshare and traction (note HP’s price cuts on the TouchPad). Meanwhile, competing PC manufacturers have suggested Ultrabooks won’t ramp in material volumes until 2012 due to challenges driving price points meaningfully below Apple’s Air. As such, Apple appears particularly well positioned for more share gains heading into the back-to-school and holiday selling season.”

The Need for Speed
Imagine this as an actual thing: Random tech-company-X says to consumers, “Well gee… we’d love to make our operating system boot-up faster… but… we’re afraid… someone might sue us.”

Sounds stupid, right?

Welcome to Moronica.

Elecronista has Operating Systems Solutions, or OSS, suing Apple over the speed with which Mac OS X gets going. According to the piece, the “complaint argues that the MacBook Pro and other Macs copy technology used to check whether a previous boot configuration exists and start up the OS faster than it would otherwise.”

The patent was owned by LG at one point, though it was reissued as an OSS patent in February of 2008. Electronista could find no other presence for OSS online, indicating DNA of a trollish nature.

OSS is looking for tripled damages because of Apple’s alleged “willful disregard” of the patent that they didn’t used to own. They’ve also demanded “that Apple destroy all marketing and other materials for the fast boot method.”

I’m guessing money makes them go away at some point. That is, if they’re acting on their own.

Computerworld has patent expert Florian Mueller speculating that OSS is less a troll and more a pawn of LG, being played in the continuing Apple versus Android game. Quoting Mueller: “This previously-unheard-of Florida-based plaintiff could be a proxy steered by LG. In that case, this would be either a warning shot or the beginning of a wider conflict between Apple and LG, which the latter may deem inevitable.”

Mueller bases the speculation on a few points. First, there’s the aforementioned practical non-existence of OSS online. Then there’s the fact that the entity was registered less than eight months ago, and then there was the trouble Mueller had finding a phone number or email address for the firm or its principal, Daniel Sherr.

Trouble that never ended. Mueller couldn’t find contact info anywhere.

Interesting idea. Might be fun to see what happens, or it may turn into yet another dry, dragging, multi-national slap fight.

The Samsung Smackdown
Samsung hit a worldwide region of hurt this week. Fortune has a court in Germany granting Apple a preliminary injunction yesterday that ends up barring import of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 into the European Union, Netherlands not included.

The ban comes just a week after Samsung agreed to postpone the launch of the device in Australia, pending approval of a model that didn’t hork the look and feel of Apple’s hardware and packaging.

FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller sums up the case to this point:

Apple alleged that the Galaxy Tab imitates the iPad and infringes on various intellectual property rights owned by Apple. Apple asked the Landgericht (district court) of Düsseldorf, Germany, to order an injunction under which Samsung is threatened with fines of up to EUR 250,000 (US$ 350,000) for each violation or imprisonment of Samsung’s management in the event of continued infringement. Those are standard sanctions under German tort law for contempt of a preliminary injunction.

Holy CRAP!

Fortune says “Mueller notes that German patent law is considerably stricter than U.S. patent law with respect to injunctions…” and that may earn him the award for understatement of the week.

Interestingly, Samsung says losing the ability to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in almost all of Europe is really no big deal. The company pointing out that the move is not yet final and has nothing to do with the other legal fights it’s fighting against Apple on other parts of the planet.

Samsung director of public relations Kim Titus says, “This decision by the court in Germany in no way influences other legal proceedings filed with the courts in Europe and elsewhere.” Titus goes on to say, “The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung… We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world.”

While Samsung would love for the world to believe that the German court’s move ain’t nothin’ but a thang, intellectual property expert Mueller begs to differ.

Computerworld has Mueller saying, “This is a serious blow to Samsung in a huge market. It will give Android device makers as well as developers pause.”

Mueller thinks Google should do more to protect manufacturers using their operating system — and gaining them market share. Well, trying to gain them market share, apparently in agreeance with Mueller, J. Gold Associates’ Jack Gold.

He says the ruling is “not so much a swipe at Android as it is at Samsung. There are,” he says, “just [limited] ways you can do things to be competitive in product function. Do all LCD TVs copy one another?”

Hey that sounds like a lawsuit.

Agreeance is a word, by the way. I’m lookin’ to bring it back.

Looking on the Bright Side
Forrester research sees a glimmer of hope for Android Tablets in Europe. AppleInsider has Forrester seeing Apple maintain an 80 percent share of the tablet market in the states this year, and holding on to a 70 percent share in Europe.

But there is a window of opportunity for Android tablets in Europe, according to Forrester analyst Sarah Rottman Epps. Not a great, big window, but a window none the less. It comes in the shape of Apple stores, and the lack of them in Europe.

There are currently 52 Apple stores in the UK and Europe, versus 238 in the states. Apparently her thinking is that that leads to a fairly level playing field, at least as far as places to buy.

“But,” she points out, “the competition is very fragmented. Competing with Apple will require a different approach from what we’ve seen so far. A competitor to Apple would have to put together the right content, the right price and the right channel strategy. There isn’t anyone that has all three.”

So there’s a window through which no one can crawl?

“Manufacturers, retailers and operators we spoke with all commented on the failure of the first 7-inch tablets that attempted to compete with the iPad,” says Forrester. “The newer generation of iPad challengers, such as the 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Acer Iconia Tab, are getting better reception, but they’re still at a disadvantage to Apple in terms of channel strategy.”

Well, that and the fact that they can’t sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe anymore — a decision handed down after the Sarah Rottman Epps assertion.

Calm Down, Kids
So this headline from The Unofficial Apple Weblog piqued my interest. “Apple Reacts to London Riots” it said, referring to the four days of unrest that have now found their way outside of the Square Mile.

And I thought, “Wow… how is Apple reacting? Appealing for calm? Giving away iTunes gift cards for Pipes of Peace and Don’t Worry, Be Happy? How are they reacting?”

The answer: clearing out their stores of inventory before looters do it for them. It’s really a more sensible reaction. Who are Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Batman and Robin?

Pictures online show the Apple Stores in Manchester and Liverpool cleared of inventory, at least during the overnight hours, and there’s word that Apple’s Regent Street store closed early, and was being guarded Tuesday into Wednesday by the police. Not to be confused with the band of my upbringing, The Police.

I make light because that tends to be something I do. But I hope no one listening has been affected by this week’s unrest — and I hope it stops soon.

I’d like to sound more intelligent or profound about it but… that’s really all I’ve got.

Ahimsa. And that’s REALLY really all I’ve got.


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon Congress works on first patent system overhaul in 50 years

The race to patent new inventions and intellectual property may soon follow different rules in the wake of the first overhaul of the nation’s patent process in more than 50 years.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in late June that would have the United States award patents to the “first to file,” rather than the “first to invent.”

Though the bill would overhaul the nation’s patent process for the first time in more than 50 years and bring America in line with other countries that use first-to-file systems, critics worry the new guidelines could present disadvantages to small businesses and inventors.

Granting patents on a first-to-file basis would give companies a new sense of urgency about their patent decisions, said Tim Fogarty, the director of energy programs at Innovation Works, a program which invests Pennsylvania state money in startup companies.

For small companies in particular, he said, that added pressure could compel the organization to incur expenses earlier and allocate precious capital toward intellectual property defense.

Non-provisional applications establish the filing date of a patent application and begin the formal examination process. These applications can run companies anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $25,000 or $35,000, said Julie Meder, an intellectual property attorney at the Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh. Most of that money goes to legal fees, she added.

Provisional applications, on the other hand, establish the filing date of an application without entering the patent into the examination process, making it a “patent pending.” These applications expire after one year, but can cost as little as several hundred dollars and offer a cheaper option to small companies and inventors not ready to file for a formal patent.

Should the new bill become law, Meder expects the number of provisional patent applications will rise as companies with limited resources feel pressured to file for patents sooner and more frequently.

“I think it’s tougher on a small company or an individual because of the cost involved,” she said. “Whereas a larger company may have the ability to invest on all the technology they think is going to be valuable, with a new company, they have to make a judgment.”

Proponents of the bill say that it will improve patent quality and help all inventors. It should also simplify the process for parties filing patents in multiple countries, as each application would fall under the first-to-file umbrella.

In addition to redefining the basis for granting patents, the legislation would alter the patent review process to let third parties submit information on other parties’ applications. Like the current process, the new one would give inventors a 12-month grace period between publicly disclosing inventions and filing for patents — a critical concern for universities, where professors often publish their work before handling the patent process.

In most other countries, patents must be filed prior to public disclosure. But the new bill, while mostly streamlining U.S. practices with those of other countries, would preserve that grace period between public disclosure and patentability for inventors.

While the bill has yet to be signed into law, its prospects look good. The legislation has bipartisan backing and a similar form passed the Senate in March. The White House has also signaled its support for the overhaul.

The most controversial provision of the House version involved funding: It would allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to keep enough patent fees to cover its annual budget and funnel the excess into reserves supervised by Congress.

The Senate bill had given the patent office the rights to all the fees it collected, a measure supported by companies and investors who hope additional funding would help the office clear its backlog of more than 700,000 applications and expedite reviews.

(Email reporter Alison Griswold at agriswold(at)post-gazette.com.)

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.)


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon Google Steps Up to Defend Android Developers From Patent Troll Lawsuit

Google has intervened in an ongoing intellectual property dispute between smartphone application developers and a patent-holding firm, Wired.com has learned, marking the Mountain View company’s first public move to defend Android coders from a patent troll lawsuit that’s cast a pall on the community.

The company says it filed a request with the United States Patent and Trademark office Friday for reexamination of two patents asserted by East Texas-based patent firm Lodsys. Google’s request calls for the USPTO to assess whether or not the patents’ claims are valid.

“We’ve asked the US Patent Office to reexamine two Lodsys patents that we believe should never have been issued,” Google senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker told Wired.com in a statement. “Developers play a critical part in the Android ecosystem and Google will continue to support them.”

Lodsys is currently suing 11 smartphone app developers for allegedly infringing the two patents, U.S. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565. Lodsys claims its patents cover the use of in-app payments technology, which allows users to carry out transactions within the context of an app itself. Countless app developers use in-app payments technology in their applications.

Lodsys CEO Mark Small did not respond to an e-mail, and the company did not immediately respond to a telephone inquiry from Wired.com on Friday evening, after Google filed its request.

If Google’s request for reexamination is granted, it could end up saving the developers and development studios — many of whom are composed of a handful of staffers — from large litigation fees.

“Reexaminations are often times a tool used to stay ongoing litigation,” said Julie Samuels, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights advocacy group. “It’s much, much cheaper than federal litigation, which on average costs between two and five million dollars.”

Since Lodsys first began targeting application developers months ago, the patent saga has been long and messy. The firm originally dispatched a series of cease and desist letters to iOS and Android app developers in May. The letters threatened legal action within a 21 day period if developers did not negotiate to pay Lodsys a licensing fee for the use of the technology. The company is now suing 11 defendants, ranging from small app development studios to major game companies like Atari, Square Enix and Electronic Arts.

Dan Abelow, the former owner of the patents who sold them in 2004, told Wired.com he was unable to comment on the matter.

Lodsys’ actions are what many intellectual property experts refer to as “patent trolling” — the practice of using patents for little else outside of suing other companies for damages or coaxing them into licensing agreements.

Both Google and Apple have licenses for Lodsys’ patents, so Lodsys has been going after third-party developers instead. But the potential impact on Apple and Google is clear enough. Whether or not Lodsys wins its lawsuit, the threat of potential litigation for iOS and Android developers may cause them to think twice before creating apps for the two mobile platforms.

“In this case, the strategic interest of Apple and Google is to make app developers happy, or at least comfortable,” said Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst who has covered the lawsuit exhaustively in his blog. (Defendants Rovio and Illusion Labs declined comment.)

But despite the fact that two Android developers were named as defendants — Rovio, the Finnish development studio behind Angry Birds, and Illusion Labs, a Swedish company that produces the game Labyrinth — Google has remained conspicuously quiet on the issue until now, rankling many in the development community.

Apple, in contrast, has attempted to insert itself into the Lodsys lawsuit on behalf of developers. On Monday, Apple filed a brief claiming it has the right to intervene in the case because Apple provides the in-app billing technology to its developers and retains its own license for the patents in question. Therefore, Apple argues, its license extends to coders who use Apple’s technologies as well.

Google’s request for reexamination is the company’s first major public action backing up its developer community. If a reexamination is granted, the patents in question could be amended to the extent that they won’t affect developers.

“It’s rare that an entire patent is invalidated through the USPTO,” said Samuels. “More likely is that the claim of the patent will be narrowed.”

Google confirmed they filed this request “inter partes,” which essentially means Google will be involved in the precedings throughout the entire process.

“Inter partes requests are usually more thorough,” said Samuels. Ninety-five percent of “inter partes” reexamination requests filed since 1999 have been granted by the USPTO.

Of course, even if the USPTO grants the reexamination request, there’s no guarantee that the court will grant a stay.

“Courts have inconsistent track records of granting stays of litigation,” Samuels said. Especially in the eastern district of Texas — home to a federal court that is often favorable to patent litigation plaintiffs — where the lawsuit was filed. Eastern district courts grant motions to stay litigation pending reexamination around 20 percent of the time, according to a 2009 study conducted by Matthew Smith, senior counsel at Foley and Lardner LLP.

That could complicate things for the developer defendants, and potentially continue to cost them money for ongoing litigation expenses.

Still, Google’s request marks an entirely different strategy than Apple’s, and could potentially pay off for all parties involved.

Except, of course, for Lodsys.


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon Google Steps Up to Defend Android Developers From Patent Lawsuit

Google has intervened in an ongoing intellectual property dispute between smartphone application developers and a patent-holding firm, Wired.com has learned, marking the Mountain View company’s first public move to defend Android coders from a patent troll lawsuit that’s cast a pall on the community.

The company says it filed a request with the United States Patent and Trademark office Friday for reexamination of two patents asserted by East Texas-based patent firm Lodsys. Google’s request calls for the USPTO to assess whether or not the patents’ claims are valid.

“We’ve asked the US Patent Office to reexamine two Lodsys patents that we believe should never have been issued,” Google senior vice president and general counsel Kent Walker told Wired.com in a statement. “Developers play a critical part in the Android ecosystem and Google will continue to support them.”

Lodsys is currently suing 11 smartphone app developers for allegedly infringing the two patents, U.S. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565. Lodsys claims its patents cover the use of in-app payments technology, which allows users to carry out transactions within the context of an app itself. Countless app developers use in-app payments technology in their applications.

Lodsys CEO Mark Small did not respond to an e-mail, and the company did not immediately respond to a telephone inquiry from Wired.com on Friday evening, after Google filed its request.

If Google’s request for reexamination is granted, it could end up saving the developers and development studios — many of whom are composed of a handful of staffers — from large litigation fees.

“Reexaminations are often times a tool used to stay ongoing litigation,” said Julie Samuels, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights advocacy group. “It’s much, much cheaper than federal litigation, which on average costs between two and five million dollars.”

Since Lodsys first began targeting application developers months ago, the patent saga has been long and messy. The firm originally dispatched a series of cease and desist letters to iOS and Android app developers in May. The letters threatened legal action within a 21 day period if developers did not negotiate to pay Lodsys a licensing fee for the use of the technology. The company is now suing 11 defendants, ranging from small app development studios to major game companies like Atari, Square Enix and Electronic Arts.

Dan Abelow, the former owner of the patents who sold them in 2004, told Wired.com he was unable to comment on the matter.

Lodsys’ actions are what many intellectual property experts refer to as “patent trolling” — the practice of using patents for little else outside of suing other companies for damages or coaxing them into licensing agreements.

Both Google and Apple have licenses for Lodsys’ patents, so Lodsys has been going after third-party developers instead. But the potential impact on Apple and Google is clear enough. Whether or not Lodsys wins its lawsuit, the threat of potential litigation for iOS and Android developers may cause them to think twice before creating apps for the two mobile platforms.

“In this case, the strategic interest of Apple and Google is to make app developers happy, or at least comfortable,” said Florian Mueller, an intellectual property analyst who has covered the lawsuit exhaustively in his blog. (Defendants Rovio and Illusion Labs declined comment.)

But despite the fact that two Android developers were named as defendants — Rovio, the Finnish development studio behind Angry Birds, and Illusion Labs, a Swedish company that produces the game Labyrinth — Google has remained conspicuously quiet on the issue until now, rankling many in the development community.

Apple, in contrast, has attempted to insert itself into the Lodsys lawsuit on behalf of developers. On Monday, Apple filed a brief claiming it has the right to intervene in the case because Apple provides the in-app billing technology to its developers and retains its own license for the patents in question. Therefore, Apple argues, its license extends to coders who use Apple’s technologies as well.

Google’s request for reexamination is the company’s first major public action backing up its developer community. If a reexamination is granted, the patents in question could be amended to the extent that they won’t affect developers.

“It’s rare that an entire patent is invalidated through the USPTO,” said Samuels. “More likely is that the claim of the patent will be narrowed.”

Google confirmed they filed this request “inter partes,” which essentially means Google will be involved in the precedings throughout the entire process.

“Inter partes requests are usually more thorough,” said Samuels. Ninety-five percent of “inter partes” reexamination requests filed since 1999 have been granted by the USPTO.

Of course, even if the USPTO grants the reexamination request, there’s no guarantee that the court will grant a stay.

“Courts have inconsistent track records of granting stays of litigation,” Samuels said. Especially in the eastern district of Texas — home to a federal court that is often favorable to patent litigation plaintiffs — where the lawsuit was filed. Eastern district courts grant motions to stay litigation pending reexamination around 20 percent of the time, according to a 2009 study conducted by Matthew Smith, senior counsel at Foley and Lardner LLP.

That could complicate things for the developer defendants, and potentially continue to cost them money for ongoing litigation expenses.

Still, Google’s request marks an entirely different strategy than Apple’s, and could potentially pay off for all parties involved.

Except, of course, for Lodsys.


Latest Intellectual Property Legal News

Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon Everything You Need To Understand The Louboutin v. YSL Red Heels Lawsuit

While there is so much fashion law news of dubious importance that CATWALK JUSTICE could cover this week, one case towers over all others in its importance and heel height.  That case, of course, is Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America, which CATWALK JUSTICE has reported on before, and which CJ’s author has blogged about on LAW OF FASHION in exhaustive, exhausting detail.  (Quick plug for the new, official LAW OF FASHION LinkedIn group affiliated with the blog, where we discuss all things fashionable and legal; we’d love to have you.)

Because of the enormous importance of this week’s ruling in the Louboutin case, CATWALK JUSTICE is going to devote this week’s entire column to the case.  So without further ado, let’s break this thing down… in QA format!

Question: What’s the difference between patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and which of these are relevant in the Louboutin case?

Answer: You’ve identified the “big three” in intellectual property.  Patents cover novel inventions of useful products and processes, as well as certain ornamental aspects of functional goods.  Copyrights protect non-utilitarian, original works of authorship.  Only trademark protection (along with related, secondary areas of IP) is at issue in the Louboutin case.  Trademarks protect words, symbols, and pretty much anything else that indicates the source of a good or service.  But it’s that “pretty much” that is the new thorn in Louboutin’s side.

Q: Everyone knows that bright-red soles = Louboutin, so why is this a hard case?

A: Louboutin sued YSL for selling a variety of monochrome shoes that had bright-red soles (along with bright-red “uppers”).  Along with the usual defenses to claims of trademark infringement — an insufficient percentage of consumers associate bright-red soles with Louboutin, consumers are not likely to be confused about the source of the shoes — YSL took the aggressive position that a single color on an article of apparel can never be a valid trademark.  The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that color alone may serve as a trademark, provided there is an adequate level of consumer recognition and the color is not functional.  (No one could, for example, claim trademark rights in the color red for stop signs.)  The reason for this “functionality” bar is that it is patent law’s job — and not that of trademark law — to grant monopolies on useful items.  And when patent law does grant those rights, they’re temporary — fourteen to twenty years, depending on the type of patent — whereas trademark protection can theoretically last forever.

YSL seized on this functionality rule, urging the district court to carve out what was essentially a special exception for fashion, taking the position that single colors are always functional in fashion because they are a basic design element that all labels need to have access to in order to compete in the marketplace.  Many district court judges are wary of “making new law,” as that is generally the role of appellate courts in the judiciary; but YSL’s lawyers were likely emboldened to take such an aggressive stance because 1) YSL is a venerable design house with strong credibility; 2) Louboutin had (probably unwisely) sued over monochrome shoes, instead of shoes where the red sole contrasts with the upper; 3) Louboutin’s trademark registration was quite vague, and judges don’t like uncertainty in the law; and 4) the question “Is a single color inherently functional in fashion?” was posed during proceedings over Louboutin’s requested preliminary injunction — an early stage of the case where a plaintiff has an extra burden to get what it wants from the court.

Q: So you’re saying that if a trademark is found to be functional, it doesn’t matter whether the trademark owner has secured a registration from the Trademark Office, or how many consumers associate the trademark with the owner?

A: That’s right.  Unlike some other challenges to trademark registrations, a challenge for functionality can be brought at any time.  (Similarly, a challenge that a mark is, or has become, “generic” can be brought at any time, which is why companies like Chanel sometimes run ads instructing people not to use their brand names in a generic way; they’re trying to avoid what trademark lawyers call “genericide.”)

Q: But doesn’t color always serve the “function” of making something more attractive?

A: In many instances, yes.  But in many industries, the attractiveness of the product doesn’t matter.  The product at issue in the Supreme Court case I mentioned earlier, for example, was a dry cleaning pad with a distinctive green-gold color.  Dry cleaners probably don’t care what color their pads are; the customers never see them, anyway.  But in fashion, color is a central feature that determines whether consumers will want to buy the product or not.  YSL’s lawyers argued, quite persuasively, that because of this, fashion is just different.  And the judge accepted that argument.

CONTINUED: Why “fashion is just different.”


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Article source: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/173394/overseas-interest-stadium-intellectual-property

postheadericon iPhone Patent Wars: Could it all End in a Truce?

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The usual practice in technology is that unit prices will decrease but manufacturers will make money on the volume.

Big money is at stake. In July, the so-called “Rockstar Bidco” group shelled out $4.5 billion for 6,000 wireless patents from defunct Nortel Networks of Canada. The members were Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, EMC, Sony and Ericsson, who outbid Google, Intel and RPX in a round that started at only $900 million.

In reaction, InterDigital, a King of Prussia, Pa., holder of 1,300 wireless patents, hired investment bankers to auction its IP on July 18. The company’s market capitalization has soared 73 percent since, to around $3.4 billion.

That’s one reason why 36 percent of all U.S. patent lawsuits filed in the U.S. this year by the Fortune 100 have been in the tech sector, along with an additional 11 percent for telecommunications, according to Ocean Tomo, the Chicago-based intellectual property investment bank.

“When you have hot products, the competitors all stand around in a circle and fire at each other,” said Dan Scovel, of Tokeneke Research. “The only solution is an armistice.”

That’s what happened in the PC wars of the late 1980s and the 1990s, as the x86 microprocessor that fueled the explosion of PCs was fought over by co-developer Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. The two California semiconductor giants fought for years in every conceivable court and spent tens of millions on litigation.

Finally, they settled, on Nov. 12, 1999, Intel and AMD cross-licensed each other and dropped the case. The deal has held ever since, although Intel expressed concern when AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., sold its manufacturing lines and other assets to GlobalFoundries, a holding company controlled by Abu Dhabi interests.

But there may no truce this time, lawyers and bankers say, because the sector is so dynamic. As well, governments outside the U.S. are vigorously defending their intellectual property, especially in emerging markets.

“When a business is growing quickly, the market share gets very sensitive,” said Michael Molano, a partner with Mayer Brown in its Silicon Valley practice. “If a company detects it’s losing market share, the first thing management says is, ‘I’m going to call my lawyer and tell him I want to see what patents have been infringed and I want you to start a war.’ “

Tech companies with deep pockets, like an Apple, Google, Motorola Mobility or Samsung, can easily afford the $3 million average cost of a lawsuit, said S. Gregory Boyd, a patent lawyer with Davis Gilbert in New York.

Boyd believes the chip precedent will ultimately prevail  among the smartphone and tablet developers, with the possible exception of small “patent trolls” or entities whose sole purpose is to sue for patent rights.

“Peace is always better than war,” Boyd said. Besides cross-licensing, settlements could include royalty payments or straight cash settlements, which allow the technology players to get back to work,

Ocean Tomo CEO James Malackowski is not so sure. Noting a surge in IP cases over the past 25 years, he said the “détente” or “mutual assured destruction” strategy of the chip wars may not hold in the new era.

“The big gladiators are still fighting each other,” Malackowski said. “But there are new kids on the block, Asian manufacturers have nothing to lose by suing about IP.”

Some of the biggest players, including Apple, no longer manufacture their own products, effectively entrusting their crown jewels to contract manufacturers, like a Foxconn in Taiwan and China, or HTC in Taiwan.That may be why its has filed suit against rival manufacturers but not yet against Google itself, whose Android OS runs on the rival products.

“Today the companies are fighting over a product that has consumer appeal,” so each vendor wants to differentiate among products that often share similar technologies, the Ocean Tomo CEO said.

Malackowski, whose firm participated in the Nortel Networks auction, said “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to see that the big vendors are also concerned their IP might migrate away from the U.S. to China but then to even less-developed venues like Africa.

While the U.S. International Trade Commission plans to evaluate claims by Apple that Samsung violated its patents, it’s not likely to bar Samsung from U.S. markets. On the other hand, the European Union appears to take a tougher line

This week, a German court issued a preliminary injunction barring Samsung from shipping its Galaxy tablets in most of Europe, accepting a complaint by Apple that it had “slavishly” copied its IP. Samsung on Friday announced it would appeal, at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 25.

In the U.S., Congress has been working on patent reform but generally maintains “a laissez-faire attitude,” said Ocean Tomo’s Malackowski. That could mean tougher sailing down the line.


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