Bloomberg News

Microsoft, Tilaknagar, Macy’s, Apple: Intellectual Property

January 04, 2012

(This is a daily report on global news about patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property topics. Updates with Apple item in Copyright section.)

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. and Datel Design and Development Inc. settled patent-infringement and antitrust litigation, according to Dec. 30 court filings.

The suits were related to the Xbox 360 video-game system.

Datel, based in Staffordshire, England, sued Microsoft in federal court in San Francisco in November 2009, claiming that an upgrade issued by Microsoft was intended to disable Datel products.

Microsoft then sued Datel in federal court in Seattle in December 2010. The Redmond, Washington-based company claimed Datel infringed patent 7,787,411, which covers a protocol for peripheral devices used with a wireless gaming console.

Datel then redesigned its controllers and stopped importing versions known as TurboFire2 Xbox 360 Wireless that were at the heart of a complaint before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. In August, Microsoft withdrew its infringement case, while still pursuing compensation for past infringement.

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz confirmed the confidential settlement of the litigation, saying the terms were “to the satisfaction of both parties.”

The patent case is Microsoft Corp. v. Datel Design and Development Inc., 2:10-cv-02065-JLR, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

The antitrust case is Datel Holdings Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp., 3:09-cv-05535-EDL, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Tilaknagar Industries Defeats Label Trademark-Infringement Claim

Bombay’s High Court dismissed a trademark-infringement case against Mumbai’s Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. by a Dutch distiller, India’s Economic Times reported.

The lawsuit was related to artwork depicting a London building on a label used by Tilaknagar, according to the Economic Times.

UTO Nederland BV and Distilleerderji en Likeurstokerji Herman Jansen BV had sued the Indian distiller saying its label infringed their “Mansion House,” “MH,” “MHB” and “Savoy Club” labels, Economic Times reported.

The court said that there was no similarity between the labels, and the depiction of the building didn’t constitute infringement, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Bloomingdale’s, Varvatos Accused of Infringing Musician Photos

Macy’s Inc.’s Bloomingdale’s unit and clothing designer John Varvatos were sued for copyright infringement by the estate of photographer James Marshall.

The suit is related to a series of photos of rock music performers the estate claims are used in Bloomingdale’s and Varvatos’s stores without authorization.

According to the complaint filed Dec. 29 in federal court in Oakland, California, photo subjects include the Beatles, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Jim Morrison, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin and Miles Davis.

Varvatos bought proof copies of these photos and is accused of making unauthorized copies to display in his store in New York.

When Marshall learned of this while he was still alive, he put Varvatos on notice that it wasn’t acceptable and “did Varvatos a favor and allowed him to keep the reproductions on the wall in the one store and the one store only,” according to court papers.

After Marshall’s death, Varvatos is accused of making “new infringing reproductions” to display in additional stores.

The estate says it’s harmed by these actions and asked the court for an order barring future use of the images by the defendants, and awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Bloomingdale’s spokeswoman Marissa Vitagliano said in an e- mail that her company doesn’t comment on litigation. Varvatos didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The estate is represented by Lawrence G. Townsend of the Law Offices of Lawrence G. Townsend in San Francisco.

The case is Estate of James J. Marshall v. John Varvatos of California Inc., 3:11-cv-06702-DMR, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

Apple Loses Bid to Keep Software Information Under Seal

Apple Inc.’s bid to keep under seal information it called “trade secrets,” even though it’s already available on the Internet and in print, was denied by a federal judge.

Because much of the information about Apple’s Mac OS X operating systems is publicly available by examining the software itself or through websites and a book on the technology, it can’t be given trade-secret protection, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in a ruling yesterday in San Francisco.

The ruling came in Apple’s successful copyright- infringement lawsuit against Psystar Corp., a maker of Macintosh computer clones that was barred in 2009 by Alsup from selling copies of Apple’s operating system.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the ruling. Kiwi Camara, an attorney for Psystar, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The case is Apple v. Psystar Corp., 08-cv-3251, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Court Lets 17 Insurers Off Hook to Cover Infringement Verdict

A Pennsylvania state court judge said a group of 17 insurers has no obligation to indemnify two defendants who were ordered to pay a $30 million judgment in a copyright- infringement lawsuit, Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette reported.

The $30 million is to be paid to the William A. Graham Co. insurance brokerage, which sued USI MidAtlantic Inc. and Thomas P. Haughey for unauthorized use of the company’s documents, according to the newspaper.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Stanley Ott said the infringement defendants’ actions didn’t fall within their insurance policy’s “advertising injury” coverage, according to the Post-Gazette.

The defendants had argued their actions fell within their policy’s coverage of “an offense committed in the course of advertising your goods, products or services,” the Post-Gazette reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Sheppard Mullin Lures Trademark Specialist Pietrini from Manatt

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP hired Jill M. Pietrini for its IP practice group, the Los Angeles-based firm said in a statement.

Pietrini, a trademark specialist, joins from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP of Los Angeles. She headed the firm’s IP practice group.

She has done both trademark acquisition work and litigation involving trademarks, copyrights and patents, appearing in federal court and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Copyright Office. Among the clients she has represented are Summit Entertainment LLC, CafePress Inc., and performers Gwen Stefani, Metallica and Will Smith.

Pietrini has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Santa Clara University.

Panitch Schwarze Hires IP Litigator Frederick A. Tecce

Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP hired Frederick A. Tecce, the Philadelphia-based IP specialty firm said in a statement yesterday.

Tecce joins from Philadelphia’s McShea & Tecce. A former assistant U.S. Attorney, he has represented clients in IP disputes involving theft of trade secrets, antitrust, restrictive covenants and unfair competition, as well as maintaining a general litigation practice.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Pennsylvania State University.

--With assistance from Susan Decker in Washington. Editors: Mary Romano, Stephen Farr

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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