Bloomberg News

Intellectual Ventures, Home Depot: Intellectual Property

March 07, 2013

Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, Washington-based company started by former Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, said it has settled a patent dispute with Lattice Semiconductor Corp.

According to a March 6 joint company statement, Lattice has become a licensee to IV’s portfolio of almost 40,000 IP assets.

Hillsboro, Oregon-based Lattice was the target of a 2010 patent case filed in federal court in Delaware. The other three defendants were Microsemi Corp. (MSCC:US) of Aliso Viejo, California, and Xilinx Inc. (XLNX:US) and Altera Corp. (ALTR:US), both of San Jose, California. Microsemi and Intellectual Ventures settled their dispute in January, according to a joint statement from those two companies.

The case is Intellectual Ventures LLC v. Altera Corp., 1:10-cv-01065-LPS, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Home Depot Sued by PayOne Over Patent-Infringement Claims

Home Depot Inc. (HD:US) was sued by PayOne Corp. over claims the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer is infringing patents for the processing of payment transactions and validating subscriber lines.

PayOne, formerly known as PaymentOne, wrote to Atlanta- based Home Depot in November to notify the company of the infringement, according a complaint filed March 5 in federal court in San Jose, California.

Home Depot infringed a patent at issue by offering PayPal’s In-Store Checkout System as a payment option, according to the complaint. PayOne, based in San Jose, owns a system that allows consumers to charge digital purchases to mobile, broadband or home phone bills, according to its website.

Home Depot spokesman Steve Holmes said yesterday he hadn’t seen the suit yet.

In dispute are patents 7,848,500, 7,848,504 and 8,379,815. Two of those parents are also at issue in a case PaymentOne filed against Zong Inc. of Palo Alto, California in May 2011. Zong, which offered mobile payment systems, was acquired by EBay Inc. (EBAY:US) in August 2011.

The case is PaymentOne Corp. v. Home Depot Inc., 13-cv- 00993, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). The case against Zong is PaymentOne Corp. v. Song Inc., 5:11-cv-02186-HRL, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Samsung’s $1 Billion Fight With Apple Spurs U.S. Lobbying Push

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) has doubled mobile-phone sales in the U.S. since 2008. As the company faces anti-dumping measures and a protracted court battle with Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), its U.S. lobbying bill is growing even faster.

Samsung boosted spending on lobbyists to $900,000 last year from $150,000 in 2011 as it tries to influence the federal government on issues ranging from intellectual-property infringement to telecommunications infrastructure, regulatory filings show. The company also hired Sony Corp. (6758) veteran Joel Wiginton to run a new government-relations office in Washington.

The higher spending comes as the South Korean company is embroiled in patent disputes with Apple on four continents as the two struggle for dominance in an industry expected to double to $847 billion in sales by 2016. In a U.S. lawsuit, Apple was initially awarded $1 billion in damages after a jury decided Samsung copied the iPhone maker’s designs for mobile devices.

Last year’s lobbying expenditure was the biggest for Samsung in a single year, according to a U.S. government database of lobbying disclosure filings dating to 1999. The previous high was $370,000 in 2008.

In a statement, Samsung said the expanded effort is “a prudent step as part of day-to-day business operations, our growing presence outside of our headquarters country, and our commitment to transparency.” The company declined to comment further on its lobbying expenditures.

Samsung’s increased spending is small compared with some rivals, though it’s growing faster than many. Apple spent $2 million on U.S. lobbying last year, down 13 percent from 2011, and Sony spent $3.3 million, a decrease of 10 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington group that tracks lobbying.

Google Inc. boosted its spending 88 percent last year to $18.2 million, while lobbying expenses at Facebook Inc. (FB:US) jumped to $4 million from $1.4 million in 2011, according to the center.

The greater focus on lobbying by technology companies reflects the growing importance of U.S. laws and regulations to the industry as Congress considers issues from patents to Internet privacy to copyright infringement, said Mark Lemley, who teaches patent law at Stanford Law School in California.

The bulk of Samsung’s U.S. lobbying money last year, $760,000, went to the Washington-based law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, according to the filings. The firm also lobbied on behalf of AT&T Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd., filings show. Akin Gump declined to comment.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Amazon Persuades Court to Dismiss Multi Time Machine’s Suit

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US), the world’s largest online retailer, defeated a trademark-infringement claim brought by a Los Angeles-based jewelry distributor.

Multi Time Machine Inc. sued Amazon.com in federal court in Los Angeles in November 2011. The California company said that when customers searched for its watches in Amazon’s database, what came up instead were the names of rival companies’ products.

This was an unauthorized use of its trademarks, Multi Time Machine said, claiming that it was harmed and the public was confused by its actions.

The court disagreed with the infringement allegations. U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson said that Multi Time Machine had failed to present any evidence of customer confusion, and the trademarks the watch company claimed were infringed are “conceptually weak,” and not entitled to protection under U.S. trademark law.

He said Seattle’s Amazon.com was persuasive in showing that the marks “are at best subjective and more likely descriptive.” The watches whose trademarks Multi Time Machine claimed were infringed are sold as “MTM Special Ops” and “MTM Military Ops” timepieces.

The court dismissed the case and awarded costs of the litigation to Amazon.com.

The case is Multi Time Machine Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 2:11-cv-09076-DDP-MAN, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

Diamondback Tactical Sued by Gun Manufacturer Over ‘Diamondback’

Diamondback Tactical LLP, a maker of armor systems, was sued in a trademark dispute by Diamondback Firearms LLC of Cocoa, Florida.

According to the complaint filed March 4 in federal court in Orlando, Florida, Diamondback Tactical, a gun manufacturer from Spindale, North Carolina, has been threatening to sue the Florida company for infringement. The suit is related to allegations the armor-maker has made, claiming its “Diamondback Firearms” marks are being infringed.

Diamondback Firearms asked the court to declare that its use of “Diamondback” doesn’t infringe. The company argued in its pleadings that there are at least 20 other U.S. trademarks that use the term, and that Diamond Tactical doesn’t have exclusive use of the mark.

The Florida company also asked the court to order Diamondback Tactical to quit claiming the gun manufacturer infringes its trademarks.

Diamondback Tactical didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

The case is Diamondback Firearms LLC v. Diamondback Tactical LLP, 6:13-cv-00360-GKS-KRS, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Lawyer Dismisses Defamation Suit He Filed Against His Critics

A Chicago-based IP lawyer who brought a defamation suit brought against two named and 10 unnamed defendants who criticized the handling of a copyright suit has dismissed the case.

John L. Steele’s suit, originally filed in state court in Florida and moved to federal court March 1, accused the defendants of libel made “under the disguise of such childish and unsophisticated pseudonyms as ‘die troll die,’” according to court papers. They also were accused of calling him “one of the vilest porn copyright trolls of today.”

Steele said in his pleadings that such statements “if made under the light of day,” would “prompt loved ones to suggest (or intervene and force) intensive psychological therapy.”

He objected to their criticism of his handling of copyright-infringement cases in which he represents makers of adult films that are copyright holders to the films.

He filed his dismissal March 6, without giving any response.

The case is John L. Steele v. Paul Godfread, 1:13-cv-20744- JAL, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

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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