Bloomberg News

3D Systems, Science Friday: Intellectual Property

November 27, 2012

Formlabs Inc., a Massachusetts company that used Kickstarter Inc.’s crowd-sourcing funding platform to raise money to produce three-dimensional printers, was sued for patent infringement by 3D Systems Inc. (DDD:US)

According to a complaint filed Nov. 20 in federal court in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Formlabs began a campaign through Kickstarter Sept. 26 with the aim of raising $100,000. Instead, by Oct. 26, Formlabs had been pledged $1,945,885 by 2,068 backers, some of whom pledged as little as $5.00.

Kickstarter’s website specified that those who choose to back a project are charged their pledge amount on their credit cards when the fundraising goal is met. 3D Systems claims that Formlabs has used this mechanism to sell 1,028 Form 1 3D printers that allegedly infringe patent 5,597,520, which was issued in January 1997.

It was “well-known in the industry” that Formlabs’ printer would infringe the patent, according to the complaint. 3D Systems accused Formlabs of “willful blindness” to the patent.

Kickstarter is co-defendant with Formlabs. Rock Hill-based 3D Systems said that by providing the funding mechanism for Formlabs’ printer project, the company induced infringement of the patent.

In addition to seeking money damages, 3D Systems asked the court for extra damages to punish the defendants for their actions, awards of attorney fees and litigation costs. 3D Systems requested a court declaration that its patent is valid and enforceable and infringed by the defendants.

Formlabs didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment. Kickstarter spokesman Justin Kazmark said in an e- mail that his company declined to comment.

The case is 3D Systems Inc. v. Formlabs Inc., 12-cv-03323- MBS, U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina (Rock Hill).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademarks

ScienceFriday Says Pastor’s ‘Real Science Friday’ Infringes Mark

ScienceFriday Inc., producers of the Science Friday radio show, sued the pastor of a Colorado church for trademark infringement.

A complaint was filed in both state and federal courts in New York. The plaintiff accused Bob Enyart, pastor of the Denver Bible Church, of infringing the “ScienceFriday” trademarks by taking the name “Real Science Friday” for his radio program and the website he used to promote his program.

ScienceFriday also claims a logo used by Enyart infringed the trademark, and that Enyart uses “Real Science Friday” in connection with videos posted on Google Inc.’s YouTube video- sharing site.

According to exhibits filed with the complaint, Enyart seeks to debunk evolution and states that one of the causes of school gun violence is the tolerance of abortion. He also devotes space on his website to arguments countering those who say the Apollo 11 moon landing was fake.

ScienceFriday, which airs on more than 300 National Public Radio stations and in its 22nd year of broadcast, asked the court to bar Enyart’s use of “Real Science Friday,” and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Enyart didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit. A notice on his website states that the suit “threatens to severely impact not only Bob’s ministry; but creation ministries across the globe, as the law is used as a weapon to silence God’s word that He is our Creator.”

The state court case is ScienceFriday Inc. v. Bob Enyart Inc., 653879/2012, New York Supreme Court, New York County. The case in federal court is ScienceFriday Inc. v. Bob Enyart Inc., 1:12-cv-08558, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Facebook Responds to CVG-SAB’s ‘Want’ Infringement Suit

Facebook Inc. (FB:US), the world’s largest provider of social- network services, has responded to a trademark suit brought by CVG-SAB LLC of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

The Menlo Park, California-based was sued in federal court in Flint, Michigan, on Oct. 12. CVG objected to Facebook’s introduction of a “want” button on its social media site.

The Michigan company claimed that it has used a “want” button on its own social-media site since September 2010. It said that its “want” button provided its users to indicate a “preference or purchasing intent” for products of services offered by its customers.

CVG said it registered the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has pending registrations for other uses. It claimed that Facebook’s use of the term caused consumer confusion, and that the California company was trying to pass itself off as the senior user of the mark.

In its Nov. 14 filing, Facebook denied that its use of “want” caused confusion. Facebook said the word “want” is so commonplace that it’s not entitled to trademark protection. The term is generic, Facebook argued, and is in widespread use by English-speaking people.

It asked for the court to find it hadn’t infringed and sought an order canceling CVG’s various “want” registrations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Facebook also sought awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is CVG-SAB LLC v. Facebook Inc., 4:12-cv-14521- GAD-DRG, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Flint).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Winehouse Play Canceled in Copenhagen by Copyright Agency

A play about the late singer Amy Winehouse has been canceled because of copyright issues, the Copenhagen Post reported.

The play looks at issues in Winehouse’s life including her relationship with drugs, according to the newspaper.

Koda, Denmark’s copyright agency, withdrew authorization for the play without giving any reason, the Post reported.

The singer’s father, Mitch Winehouse, had opposed the play, saying the creators were “only interested in making money.”

U.S. Photo Groups Join Forces to Protest U.K. Legislation

A coalition of photography-industry trade groups sent a letter to the U.K.’s parliament protesting proposed changes in copyright-licensing policy in that country.

The letter, which was posted on the PetaPixel photography news blog, was signed by representatives of the American Society of Media Photographers, Professional Photographers of America, National Press Photographers Association, Picture Archive Council of American, American Photographic Artists and Graphic Artists Guild.

Their concern is a provision that would potentially place so-called “orphan works” in a licensing program without the knowledge or consent of their foreign owners. A photograph or other piece of visual art could be designated an “orphan work” as long as a “diligent search” for the owner of the copyright proved unfruitful.

The trade groups argued that the U.K. has no legal right to determine the fees or other compensations due foreign creators in exchange for the exploitation of their copyrights in the U.K.

The proposed legislation to which they are objecting is Clause 68 of the U.K.’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Wilson Sonsini Hires Jasemine Chambers From U.S. Patent Office

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC hired Jasemine Chambers for its IP group, the Palo Alto, California-based firm said in a statement.

Chambers joins from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office where she served as deputy administrator for the Office of Policy and External Affairs. She has also directed the patent office’s Technology Center 2600, which covers design patents; and Technology Center 1600, where she oversaw the examination of patent applications related to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and organic chemistry.

She has also worked on IP-related trade issues, and was a member of the patent office’s Policy Council and Management Council.

Chambers was a judicial clerk to Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Washington-based court that hears appeals of patent cases.

Before she was a lawyer, Chambers was a researcher at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Duke University, and was a senior staff fellow at the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.

Chambers has an undergraduate degree in biology from Agnes Scott College, a doctorate in molecular biophysics from Florida State University and a law degree from George Washington University.

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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