Bloomberg News

FIL, Apple, Nobel Prize, Haaretz: Intellectual Property

October 24, 2012

FIL Ltd., the holding company of the Fidelity group that manages $233 billion of assets, sued Singapore and Hong Kong companies for using the Fidelity name without its permission.

FIL accused Fidelity Trust & Wealth Pte in Singapore of using the name “Fidelity” to take unfair advantage of the distinctiveness of the mark and said in a lawsuit filed at the Singapore High Court that it creates confusion. A closed hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.

In a separate lawsuit filed in Hong Kong in August, FIL is seeking a court order to stop Fidelity International Group Ltd. from claiming that it’s authorized or licensed by FIL

FIL, known as Fidelity Worldwide Investment, is partly owned by the billionaire Johnson family, which founded Boston’s Fidelity Investments.

“We always take action to protect our trademark rights,” said Tomoko Aikawa, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for FIL. “Fidelity Worldwide Investment takes any infringement of its intellectual property very seriously.”

The Singapore firm’s two shareholders are Agus Salim and Edwin Wong Mun Chieh, FIL said in court papers, citing Fidelity Trust’s company records filed with the city’s accounting regulator.

Calls to Salim’s and Wong’s homes as listed in Singapore’s public phone directory weren’t answered. Fidelity Trust hasn’t filed its defense and its lawyers removed themselves from the case earlier this month after they were paid with a dishonored, check, according to court papers. No contact details were publicly available in Hong Kong for Fidelity International Group.

FIL asked for unspecified damages from both the Singapore and Hong Kong firms, accounts of their profits and to stop using Fidelity in their names, according to the complaints.

Fidelity Trust, incorporated in September 2010, had advertised itself as a part of Fidelity International Group, which provides financial services worldwide, according to the Singapore complaint.

FIL’s sales in Singapore under the Fidelity trademark fell 67 percent to $619 million for the year ended June 2012, according to court papers.

The Singapore case is FIL Ltd. v Fidelity Trust & Wealth Pte. S705/2012. Singapore High Court. The Hong Kong case is FIL Ltd v Fidelity International Group Ltd. HCA1519/2012. Hong Kong Court of First Instance.

Tiffany Seeks $2 Million Damages for Each Infringed Trademark

Tiffany Inc. (TIF:US), the luxury jeweler, sued the operator of two websites for trademark infringement.

Olga Sanchez, a Texas resident, is accused of selling fake Tiffany items through her websites, bagfashionnmore.com and bagfashionnspa.com. According to the complaint filed Oct. 22 in federal court in Dallas, Sanchez is accused of selling fake bracelets, earrings, and necklace marked with copies of the New York jeweler’s trademarks.

Tiffany claims Sanchez and 10 unidentified defendants are selling the fakes “with knowledge that such goods will be mistaken for the genuine high-quality products” sold by the New York company.

The defendants are accused of misappropriating Tiffany’s “advertising ideas and business styles.” Tiffany claims it’s harmed by these actions that are undertaken “knowingly and intentionally or with reckless disregard for or willful blindness” to the jeweler’s rights.

Potential customers are likely to assume falsely that some connection exists between the merchandise the defendants are selling and genuine Tiffany articles, according to court papers.

The defendants didn’t respond immediate to an e-mail request for comment sent through one of the retail websites.

Tiffany asked the court to order the defendants to quit infringing the marks, and for money damages that include $2 million for each counterfeit Tiffany mark per type of goods sold. The company is also seeking triple damages and an award of the defendants’ profits related to the alleged infringement as well as attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is Tiffany (NJ) LLC v. Olga Sanchez, 3:12-cv- 04266-M, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

For more trademark news, click here.

Patents

Apple Gets Patent on Voice-Command Data Processing Technology

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), maker of the iPad and iPhone, received a patent on a method of voice command data processing related to the Siri virtual assistant that is part of the Cupertino, California- based company’s 4s mobile phone.

Patent 8,296,383, issued yesterday, covers the voice command and contextual data processing capability. According to the patent, the contextual data that responds to the voice command can reside in the device itself and also exist within a desktop computer or a remote server.

The remote server or the desktop computer can transmit information to the device so that it can respond to the voice command.

Apple acquired Siri Inc. in April 2010. According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple’s patent application was filed in May 2012 with the assistance of Philadelphia’s Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Instead Technologies Patents Robot to Aid Stroke Rehabilitation

A robot aimed at helping rehabilitate stroke patients has been patented by a spin-off from Spain’s Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche, EE Times reported.

Instead Technologies Ltd. of Elche, Spain, has two different robots, one that helps patients move in two dimensions, and another that can work if the patient is seated or lying flat, according to EE Times.

The company said it is now seeking financing to develop the prototypes, which will be given trials in public and private hospitals, EE Times reported.

Although the robots are designed for use with stroke patients, the company is working with associations representing patients with other disorders that limit movement and muscle control, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

15 Publishers Claim Rights to Nobel Laureate Mo Yan’s Work

After Mo Yan, author of “Red Sorghum Clan,” was named the winner of the Nobel Prize for literature this year, 15 different publishers claimed the right to his works, China Daily reported.

Shao Hu of the Beijing H&J Law Firm said the confusion has developed over the rights to Mo’s work because when the author started publishing 30 years ago, writers, readers and publishers did not have a very sophisticated understanding of copyright law, according to China Daily.

Wantt Zhicheng of China’s State Copyright Administration told China Daily that one of the benefits of the competing claims to Mo’s work could be a heightened awareness of copyright.

The Beijing Genuine and Profound Culture Development Co. said it signed an agreement with the author in May and that he has asked the company to help enforce his rights to his work, China Daily reported.

Medvedev Says Both Government and Society Must Fight Piracy

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said anti-piracy efforts must go behind legal enforcement and address questions related to economics and manufacturing, the Moscow Times reported.

Medvedev, speaking at an anti-counterfeiting conference in Moscow, said the responsibility for upholding the protection of intellectual property rights belongs to both government and civil society, according to the newspaper.

Speaking at the same conference Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry -- a music-industry advocacy group -- said that piracy is one of the biggest barriers to her industry’s entry into the Russian market, the Moscow Times reported.

Moore said Russia needs to enact copyright laws related to Web content and the responsibilities of Internet service providers, according to the Times.

Princeton Receiving Fewer Complaints About Student Infringement

Last year 123 students were brought before the Princeton University’s Committee on Discipline for violations of school’s copyright-infringement policies, the Daily Princetonian reported.

First-time offenses, while they result in what is known as a “Dean’s Warning,” don’t affect student status, the newspaper reported. Second offenses win a disciplinary probation, and students who get a third strike have their campus Internet access off for a period of time, the newspaper said.

While Princeton doesn’t search for violators, copyright owners do, and have filed copyright complaints against students.

Although the school has previously received subpoenas from the content-industry groups, seeking identification of students whose Internet protocol numbers are associated with illegal downloading, the newspaper reported that no such subpoenas were served on the school in the past two years.

Haaretz Ordered to Pay Damages in Copyright Infringement Suit

Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, was ordered to pay money damages to the Hebrew-language newspaper Ma’ariv for copyright infringement, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Central District Court awarded Ma’ariv 6 million Israeli shekels ($15,600) instead of the 15.7 million shekels the newpaper had sought for the unauthorized use of some of its content on the website of Haaretz’s business-oriented publication, TheMarker, according to the Jerusalem Post.

TheMarker had used economic updates from Ma’ariv and, while it credited the newspaper, had failed to name the authors, the Post reported.

Ma’ariv got fewer damages than requested because it had failed to complain about the alleged infringement for an extended period, according to the newspaper.

For more copyright news, click here.

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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    (Tiffany & Co)
    • $101.15 USD
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  • AAPL
    (Apple Inc)
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