Bloomberg News

EPlus, Microsoft, Getty Images, WIPO: Intellectual Property

November 23, 2012

EPlus Inc. (PLUS:US) can pursue a modified order limiting certain sales of Lawson Software Inc. products after a U.S. appeals court upheld part of a patent-infringement ruling over software for supply chain management.

Lawson infringed one of five patent claims asserted by EPlus, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Nov. 21.

The court said two claims were invalid, while the other two weren’t infringed. It remanded the case to the trial judge for a modification of an order to halt further infringement. The court also upheld the judge’s decision to preclude EPlus from seeking damages in the trial.

The case is EPlus v. Lawshot Software, 11-01396, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

Microsoft Seeks to Patent System to Base Fees on Viewer Numbers

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), the largest software company in the world, is seeking a patent on a technology that would enable content- owners to monitor the number of users consuming content or playing a game.

According to application 20120278904, the content owner would then be able to restrict access if the viewers or players exceeded the licensed number.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in the application that content owners can already place some restrictions on downloaded content, such as limiting the amount of time it is available for use, or the number of times it can be viewed.

The technology covered by the patent would expand this, by enabling content owners to restrict content on a per-user view basis. This would involve the use of a camera of other capture device to be used as a consumer detector, Microsoft said in its application.

Microsoft filed its patent application in April 2011.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademarks

Getty Images Loses EU Court Challenge Over Photos.com Trademark

Getty Images Inc. lost a European Union court appeal over its attempt to gain trademark protection for the name of its photos.com service.

The EU’s General Court upheld a decision by the EU’s trademark office to reject an application to protect the term photos.com because the words were “devoid of distinctive character,” according to a Nov. 21 ruling.

The case is T-338/11 Getty Images Inc. v. Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market.

Mexico Joins Madrid Protocol International Trademark System

Mexico has joined the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks, the World Intellectual Property Organization said in a statement.

The Madrid Protocol, established in 1989, offers a trademark owner the possibility to have a trademark protected in several countries by simply filing one application directly with the owner’s national or regional trademark office.

An international mark registered under the protocol, is equivalent to an application or registration in each of the protocol’s member countries the applicant designates.

According to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, Mexico is the third Latin American country to join this system.

Other countries that joined the Madrid system this year are Philippines, Colombia and New Zealand.

WIPO is a United Nations agency responsible for the development and protection of an international intellectual property system.

Facebook Taking a Look at ‘Facefood’ Cafe in Wales, BBC Says

Facebook Inc. (FB:US) is “looking into” the design and promotional materials for a cafe in Wales that calls itself “Facefood,” the BBC reported.

The cafe, in a suburb of Cardiff, has a facade that strongly resembles the logo of the Menlo Park, California-based social-media company, according to the BBC.

Facefood Manager Samir Bougaci told the BBC that there were similarly named cafes in other countries and the name of his cafe used “different words” from Facebook’s.

He acknowledged that his company hadn’t sought or received permission from Facebook to use the name, the BBC reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Chapel Club Says It’s OK to Make Money by Remixing Its Song

Chapel Club, a U.K. pop band, has invited fans to make a copy of one of its songs, remix it and sell it.

In a blog posting, Stephen Taverner, the band’s manager, said that after Chapel Club parted ways with Universal Music Group Inc. the band “wanted to do something non-traditional in what is still a very traditional industry.”

In what Taverner terms “The Remix Project,” fans can download what he called the “stems” of Chapel Club’s “Good Together” and remix it. He said that whoever releases a remix “gets to keep all of the master income from sales, synchronization and any third-party licensing.”

The only restriction the band is placing is that the band retains approval rights over where the remix is synchronized, Taverner said.

Marylander Pleads Guilty in $4 Million Infringement Case

A Maryland resident pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement involving commercial software programs, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Naveed Sheikh, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts of infringement and conspiracy committed by reproducing more than 1,000 commercial software programs worth $4 million. These were sold through multiple websites, the government said, with Sheikh warning customers the programs weren’t legal and couldn’t be registered with the companies that developed the software.

According to the government statement, Sheikh rented computer server space in Pennsylvania and hosted websites through which he sold the software on computers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He used a credit-card processing system from a defunct business previously owned by his family, and used services such as Western Union to transmit money outside the U.S., particularly to Pakistan, the government said.

Court documents indicate that Sheikh attempted to conceal his activities by using the names “Turkish Lamps,” “Ruby Corp.” and “Laundryland.” The latter was at one time a storefront laundromat in Baltimore operated by Sheik’s family members.

Among the products he infringed were software programs by Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE:US) and Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), the government said.

During the investigation stage of the case, Sheikh claimed that the infringement was done by another person, and, according to court documents, he created fake recorded conversations with this person. He also left the U.S. for Pakistan without giving the government notice, and when he returned, he was found to be carrying a computer containing evidence of his illegal actions, the government said.

He faces a sentence of as many as five years in prison and $250,000 fine for each of three counts. As part of the plea agreement, he must forfeit $4 million. Sentencing is set for Feb. 19.

The case is U.S. v. Sheikh, 1:10-cr-00713-RDB, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Baltimore).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Baker & McKenzie to Conduct Trade Secrets Survey for EU

European Commission has contracted with the international firm of Baker & McKenzie LLP to conduct a study on the economic and legal aspects linked with the use, misappropriation and litigation on confidential business information and trade secrets.

According to a statement from the commission, the firm will survey companies about how they manage their know-how and other information of strategic value for their competitiveness.

The survey will look at companies of all sizes throughout the European Union. The commission hopes to find whether there is a need to provide companies with better means of redress against the economic harm from misappropriation of proprietary information.

Any company wishing to participate in the survey can contact the firm through a special e-mail address: tradesecretstudy@bakermckenzie.com. Participants will be given a user ID, a password and a link to the webpage for the survey, and can chose among a number of languages in which to respond to the survey queries.

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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Companies Mentioned

  • PLUS
    (ePlus Inc)
    • $61.0 USD
    • 0.75
    • 1.23%
  • MSFT
    (Microsoft Corp)
    • $46.01 USD
    • -0.61
    • -1.33%
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