Bloomberg News

Apple, Fraden, A&R Collectibles: Intellectual Property

November 26, 2012

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), the maker of the iPad and iPhone, is seeking a patent on a technology aimed at making it easier for a user to read a display on a mobile device.

Application 20120287163, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Nov. 15, covers the scaling of a device’s visual content depending on its proximity to the user’s face.

Cupertino, California-based Apple explained in its application that while it is possible to expand or shrink many devices’ display system by placing two fingers on the screen and spreading them apart or pinching them together, this can be inconvenient if the user moved the device to different distances multiple times.

A user may typically hold a device at arm’s length, and then, when the arm becomes fatigued, may change positions multiple times, requiring multiple manual adjustments of the display’s scale, Apple said.

The technology covered by the application would determine the distance between the user’s face and the display screen, and then, using a calibration procedure involving one or more processors, would adjust the display’s scale.

Sensors that would capture the image of the user’s face for calibration purposes could include “ an infrared distance sensing device; a laser distance sensing device; a SONAR distance sensing device; and an image capture device.”

Apple filed the patent application in May 2011.

Fraden Gets Patent on Temperature, EMF Radiation-Sensing Phone

Fraden Corp., a closely held San Diego technology company, received a U.S. patent for a technology that would enable the use of a mobile phone to take a person’s body temperature.

Patent 8,275,413 covers the use of a wireless communication device with integrated electromagnetic radiation sensors.

According to the patent, a hand-held device, such as a so- called smartphone, could incorporate sensors and signal conditioning modules for measuring signals from external sources of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the low, radio, ultraviolet and infrared spectrums.

The patent envisions a device that combines the functionalities of the built-in digital photo camera, a non- contact thermometer and a pattern recognition algorithm for guiding the user for a proper positioning of the mobile communication device, aimed at insuring the optimal conditions for obtaining a reliable temperature measurement.

The device could also be used for monitoring the signals of electro-magnetic fields for assessing ambient radiation levels.

Fraden said this could be useful given concerns about long- term health effects of electromagnetic radiation from a variety of mobile devices and proposed legislation on some countries placing limits on the amount of such radiation to which children and young adults could be exposed.

The company filed the application for this patent in November 2011.

Chinese Patent Issued for Herbal Treatment for Tubal Adhesions

China’s Intellectual Property Office has granted a patent for an herbal remedy for fallopian-tube conditions that can prevent pregnancy.

Lee Xiaoping, a physician in China’s Hubei province, was granted patent 201110031968 for an herbal compound used to treat tubal blockage and tubal adhesions. Ordinarily these are treated with surgery or laparoscopy.

The compound covered by the patent is also used to treat pelvic inflammation, according to a statement from Lee.

Trudeau’s Glass Design Doesn’t Infringe Bodum’s, Court Rules

Trudeau Corp., a 123-year-old Canadian housewares company, has defeated an infringement claim by a unit of Humlebaek, Denmark’s Peter Bodum A/S.

The dispute involved the design of double-walled drinking glasses. Bodum USA Inc. and Pi Design AG claimed that a glass made by Trudeau infringed two registered industrial designs. In Canada, such designs are protected by registration instead of design patents, as is the case in the U.S.

The plaintiffs had also accused Boucherville, Quebec-based Trudeau of unfair competition and trademarks infringement.

According to court papers, Trudeau was accused of infringing the designs for two different double-walled drinking glasses, one with a convex outer wall and one that has a concave surface.

The court said it weighed the arguments of the parties and the testimony of an expert witness who was industrial designer, and found that the Trudeau glasses didn’t infringe. It also ruled that the Bodum glasses weren’t entitled to industrial- design registration because they weren’t sufficiently different from previous designs for double-walled glasses.

The case is Bodum USA Inc. and Trudeau Corp., 2012 FC 1128, Federal Court of Canada.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademarks

Artist Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter Over Doll Honoring Prince

A Seattle-based conceptual artist who created a 12-inch doll to honor one of his favorite performers has been sent a cease-and-desist letter by the performer’s legal counsel, the Minneapolis City Pages reported.

Troy Gua made his “Le Petit Prince” doll in 2011 to honor the musician known as Prince, and created multiple outfits and props for his creation, including a miniature motorcycle, according to City Pages.

Gua used his Facebook Inc. (FB:US) social media page to inform his fans that the performer had objected to the figure, and told City Pages he was “shocked and upset at the outpouring of negativity for Prince” that resulted.

The artist said that while he could argue that the figure “my re-imagining, my recreation, my expression of the inspiration behind it, and that it is an artistic entity in and of itself,” but chooses not to because “I won’t argue with my hero,” according to City Pages.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

A&R Collectibles Sues Over DMCA Takedown Notice for Moose Mugs

An Illinois manufacturer of gift items has sued a company specializing in Christmas items over a takedown request made to Amazon.com (AMZN:US) Inc.

A&R collectibles Inc. filed suit in federal court in Chicago Nov. 20, seeking a declaration it doesn’t infringe the copyright to a moose coffee mug sold by A Christmas Story House Inc. of Cleveland. Additionally, A&R seeks an order barring the Ohio company from interfering with its relationship with Amazon.com.

Wheeling, Illinois-based A&R said it commissioned the creation of a moose coffee mug in August 2006, and began selling them that year. The company claimed it hasn’t ever changed the product’s design or packaging.

In December 2006, A&R said it removed some “artwork, images and logos” in response to a request from Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. unit with reference to its “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” film. In this film, several characters drink eggnog from moose-shaped glasses, according to court papers.

In April 2008, A&R said the provider of its Web service received a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from Warner Bros. Warner Bros. then withdrew its request and has made no other objections since then, A&R said.

On Nov. 13, an attorney representing Christmas Story House filed a notice with Amazon.com requesting the delisting of all the A&R Christmas moose mug products, claiming that the products infringed that company’s copyrights. A&R said it sold moose mugs long before the Ohio company began making its product.

A&R said it has lost substantial sales and market share to what it calls “willful, wanton and knowing” interference with its relationship with Amazon.com. It says it’s suffered irreparable harm in the process.

In addition to requests for the non-infringement declaration and the court order, A&R asked for awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

Christmas Story House didn’t respond immediately to an e- mailed request for comment. Seattle-based Amazon.com isn’t a party to the litigation.

The case is A&R Collectibles Inc. v. A Christmas Story House Inc., 1:12-cv-09320, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Cooley Scores Two IP Specialists From Chadbourne & Parke

Cooley LLP hired Walter Hanchuk and John Kheit for its IP practice group, the San Francisco-based firm said in a statement.

The two lawyers joined from New York’s Chadbourne & Parke LLP where Hanchuk led its IP practice, and Kheit headed the mobile-technology practice.

Hanchuk, a litigator, also practiced at the now-defunct Morgan & Finnegan firm. He has represented clients in the financial services, information technology and telecommunications industries. He has also worked as an examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

He received his undergraduate degree from the Cooper Union and his law degree from George Washington University.

Kheit, who does both litigation and transactional work, has represented clients whose technologies have included computer software, microprocessors, electronic commerce, payment systems, communications, wireless and networks. Before he was a lawyer, he did software-development work at Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US) and NeXT Computer Inc.

He has an undergraduate degree in computer science and a master’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University, a law degree from New York Law School and a master’s degree in intellectual property law from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

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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