Bloomberg News

Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Rolex, TCW: Intellectual Property

January 04, 2012

(This is a daily report on global news about patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property topics. Adds Boy Racer Inc. item in copyright section.)

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software company, received a patent for technology that would permit players of video games to multitask.

Patent 8,083,593, issued Dec. 7, is for a game-playing console with a built-in digital video recorder. According to the patent, the addition to the recorder would allow a game player to record television programs, films, or music while playing the game on the console.

When the device is in the recording mode, the user can toggle between media modes, according to the patent. Additionally, a user can record content from the television even when the console’s game-playing function is turned off.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft applied for the patent in January 2007, with the assistance of Philadelphia-based Woodcock Washburn LLP.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Coca-Cola’s ‘Appletiser’ Promotion Infringed, Tiffany Says

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.’s U.K. promotion for its Appletiser sparkling juice product has run afoul of Tiffany & Co., the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The promotion, which promises dinner for two at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan and a Tiffany’s gift card worth 1,000 British pounds ($1,551), was set up without Tiffany’s consent and the New York-based jeweler has gone to court in the U.K. to halt the promotion, according to the Telegraph.

Four British supermarket chains have also been drawn into the fray, with Tiffany demanding they remove products marked with the details of the promotion, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for Coca-Cola Enterprises told the Telegraph the company “acted in good faith with the promotion” and that it was “fully compliant with the law.”

Rolex Sues Brooklyn’s Rolex Deli for Trademark Infringement

Rolex Group’s Rolex Watch U.S.A. unit sued the owner of a delicatessen in Brooklyn, New York, for trademark infringement.

The Swiss maker of luxury watches objects to the name of the Rolex Deli Corp. According to the complaint filed in federal court in New York, the deli’s owner hasn’t responded to any of three cease-and-desist letters since, beginning in September 2010.

The use of “Rolex” in the deli’s name causes the public to be confused, the watch company says, and tarnishes the company’s brand and “reputation for high quality goods.”

Shawqu Ali, owner of the deli, told the New York Post that he chose the name because it was associated with quality and couldn’t understand what all the fuss is about, saying “apparently Rolex doesn’t know the difference between a sandwich and a watch.”

Rolex asked the court to bar the deli’s use of the Rolex name, and for a court order for the destruction of all allegedly infringing promotional materials, as well as awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Rolex is represented by Beth M. Frenchman, Jeffrey E. Dupler and Brian W. Brokate of New York’s Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP.

The case is Rolex Watch U.S.A. Inc. v. Rolex Deli Corp., 1:11-cv-09321-BSJ, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Boy Racer Seeks Copyright Infringement Defendant’s Identity

Boy Racer Inc., a New York-based maker of adult films, sued one unnamed defendant for copyright infringement in federal court in San Francisco.

According to the Dec. 23 complaint, the defendant is accused of infringing the copyright for Boy Racer’s “Burning Angel -- Krysta POV” through the use of the BitTorrent file- sharing protocol.

In its complaint Boy Racer said in an earlier case it initially determined the identity of the unnamed defendant. The defendant was identified by his roommate, according to court papers.

The roommate “recently and abruptly recanted his identification,” so Boy Racer filed the new suit “to complete its investigation into the infringer’s identity with the Court’s support and, if necessary, to prosecute the infringer.”

The film company said it presently has only the defendant’s Internet Protocol address, which is a number assigned to a device that connects to the Internet. Without the authorization of the court, Boy Racer says it will be unable to take steps to determine the defendant’s identity.

In the complaint Boy Racer said the roommate had decided not to cooperate in the identification of the alleged infringer. It asked the court to order the seizure of all unauthorized copies of its film, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

A search for the “Burning Angel -- Krysta POV” film through Google Inc.’s search engine brought up multiple notices that various search results had been removed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Boy Racer is represented by Brett L. Gibbs of Prenda Law Inc., of Mill Valley, California.

The case is Boy Racer Inc. v. John Doe, 3:11-cv-06634-SI, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

TCW, Gundlach Settle Suit Over Firing, Trade Secret Theft Claims

TCW Group Inc. and Jeffrey Gundlach, its former chief investment officer, said they settled a lawsuit over Gundlach’s firing in 2009 and allegations he stole trade secrets to set up his own firm.

TCW and the company founded by Gundlach, DoubleLine Capital LP, “jointly announce that they have settled all claims between and among themselves as well as DoubleLine Funds Trust, Jeffrey Gundlach, and other individuals,” TCW said Dec. 29 in a statement. “The terms of the settlement are confidential and the parties will not discuss them.” DoubleLine separately issued a statement confirming the agreement.

TCW, the Los Angeles-based unit of Societe Generale SA, and DoubleLine Capital LP, the asset-management firm Gundlach started within weeks after TCW fired him in 2009, In September, a jury awarded Gundlach and three other former TCW employees who had joined his firm $66.7 million in unpaid wages.

The Los Angeles jury also found that Gundlach had breached his fiduciary duty to TCW, without awarding the firm any damages. California Superior Court Judge Carl West was to decide what “reasonable royalties,” if any, TCW was entitled to based on the jury’s finding that Gundlach had misappropriated trade secrets.

TCW sued Gundlach, 52, in January 2010, after more than half of its fixed-income professionals joined DoubleLine. TCW said at trial that it suffered $566 million in damages.

Gundlach, who had worked at TCW for 25 years and was named Morningstar’s Fixed Income Manager of the Year in 2006, countersued, saying TCW fired him to avoid having to pay management and performance fees for the distressed-asset funds his group managed and that went “through the roof.” Gundlach sought about $500 million.

“We’re pleased that an agreement has been reached and that matter is now behind us,” Peter Viles, a TCW spokesman, said. “TCW is well positioned to continue the strong momentum and growth it has established over the past two years.”

The case is Trust Co. of the West v. Gundlach, BC429385, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County (Los Angeles).

--With the assistance of Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles. Editors: Mary Romano, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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