Bloomberg News

VirnetX, Reuters, DreamWorks: Intellectual Property

April 04, 2013

VirnetX Holding Corp. (VHC:US) said it filed a request for a new trial after losing a patent-infringement lawsuit against Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO:US)

In a statement yesterday, VirnetX Chief Executive Officer Kendall Larson said the company hopes that “with a new trial, a jury can decide the issues of infringement and damages based on the judge’s instructions and the merits of our claim.”

In March, a jury in Tyler, Texas, cleared the networking- equipment maker of allegations it infringed inventions related to virtual private networks. VirnetX was seeking $258 million in damages.

Doug Cawley of McKool Smith PC, a lawyer representing VirnetX, argued Cisco used the technology to improve security in its own networks. A virtual private network allows a website owner to interact securely with a customer or give an employee working remotely protected access to a company’s electronic files.

VirnetX won a $368.2 million verdict against Apple Inc. in November over the same technology, including two of the same patents, before a different Tyler jury. In 2010, Zephyr Cove, Nevada-based VirnetX reached a $200 million settlement with Microsoft Corp. over the same inventions.

The case against Cisco focused on the San Jose, California- based company’s routers, software and phones that have virtual- private networking functions including its Unified Communications Manager product, Telepresence or AnyConnect.

VirnetX relies on patent licensing for its revenue. The company is testing its Gabriel Connection Technology to create secure communications links, according to its annual report.

The case is VirnetX Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc., 10- cv-00417, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

Thomson Reuters Patents System to Rank Lawyers, Professionals

Thomson Reuters Corp., the New York-based specialty publishing house, received a patent on a method of rating lawyers and other professionals.

Patent 8,412,564, was issued April 2, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It covers a “system and method of identifying excellence within a profession.”

The patented technology depends on peer nomination and the peer evaluation of the top-ranking candidates scored in an independent research and objective evaluation process.

Thomson Reuters applied for this patent in April 2008, with the assistance of Boston’s Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Danish Games Company Can Use ‘Opus Dei’ Trademark, Court Says

Opus Dei, the organization of Catholic clergy and laity that was heavily featured in “The DaVinci Code,” failed in its attempt to stop a Danish games company from using “Opus Dei” for the name of one of its games, the Copenhagen Post reported.

A Danish court said Dema Games Asp’s “Opus Dei --Existence After Religion” game doesn’t fall into any categories that would conflict with the religious group’s trademark, according to the newspaper.

Initially the Danish patent office rejected Opus Dei’s challenge to the games company’s mark. When that was unsuccessful, took it the issue to the Danish court that specializes in IP disputes, the Post reported.

In addition to losing the case, Opus Dei was ordered to pay the games company’s 45,000 Danish kroner ($7,756) legal fees, according to the Post.

Suffolk County Raid Nets $10 Million in Counterfeit Goods

Authorities in Suffolk County, New York, charged five people with trademark counterfeiting, racketeering, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with a haul of fake goods so big a tractor trailer and seven box trucks were needed to cart the goods away, the Suffolk County District Attorney said.

The seized goods included fake handbags, sunglasses, shoes, and machinery used to create fake counterfeit designs, according to a statement by prosecutors.

District Attorney Thomas J. Spota said the accused defendants were buying fake made-in-China handbags for $2 each and selling them for as much as $25. If the handbags were sold on the street or at an at-home handbag party, they would have fetched as much as $100, according to the statement.

Among the brands featured on the fake products was LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC)’s Louis Vuitton. Spota said a genuine Louis Vuitton bag costs from $1,000 to $4,000.

Among the other brands that showed up on the counterfeit goods were Coach, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Nike, Oakley, Prada, Chanel and Kate Spade. The retail value of the seized merchandise is in excess of $10 million, prosecutors said.

The defendants laundered their profits by buying jade and other jewels, and real estate, with some of the rest of the money sent to banks in China and to pay for real estate investments there and in Manhattan, Florida and California.

Estee Lauder Sued by Texas Cosmetics Company Over ‘Shy’ Mark

Estee Lauder Cos. (EL:US)’ Clinique Laboratories unit was sued for trademark infringement by a Texas-based cosmetics company.

Sara Cosmetics Inc., of Richardson, Texas, objects to Clinique’s use of “Shy” in connection with some of its lipstick and blush products. Sara Cosmetics registered the term as a U.S. trademark in February 2011, according to the complaint filed April 2 in federal court in Dallas.

Clinique is also accused of using look-alike packaging that includes “adornments of green aloe leaves” that are allegedly substantially similar to the packaging used by Sara Cosmetics. Packaging design is protected under U.S. trademark law.

The Texas company said customers are likely to be confused and that it is harmed by Clinique’s actions.

Sara Cosmetics asked the court to bar further infringement of its mark and packaging, and for awards of money damages, including lost profits. Additionally, the Texas company asked the court for extra damages for what it claims is “oppression, fraud, malice and gross negligence” on Clinique’s part, and also seeks awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Estee Lauder didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Sarah Cosmetics Inc. v. Clinique Laboratories LLC, 3:13-cv-01362-M, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

DreamWorks Fails to Win Dismissal of ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Suit

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. has to face a copyright infringement suit over its “Kung Fu Panda” film, a federal judge in Boston ruled.

U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro, rejecting the Glendale, California-based film studio’s bid to have the suit dismissed, ruled that Boston artist Jayme Gordon raised enough genuine issues of material fact in the February 2011 case to bar an early end to the litigation.

Gordon contends he first created his Kung Fu-fighting panda in “the early 1990s” and registered his copyright in 2000. He began selling clothing items featuring his characters through a retail store in the 1990s and had costumes made depicting some of them. The characters appeared at promotional events in and around Boston and were displayed on his website, luckylizard.com, he said.

Gordon said he sent his illustrations and stories to the animation division of DreamWorks in the 1990s. He received a rejection letter in October 1999 acknowledging receipt of the work, according to his complaint.

Gordon claimed that DreamWorks’ “King Fu Panda” films and other products feature “characters, character depictions, character personality traits, illustrations, expression, settings, story elements, plot and sequences of events that are unlawful copies and derivatives” of his “Kung Fu Panda Power” work.

He asked the court to order DreamWorks to pay him money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs and to acknowledge he is an author and creator of the “Kung Fu Panda” products.

The judge said in his March 28 ruling that DreamWorks Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg provided “conflicting testimony” about his procedure for handling unsolicited submissions made to the studio. He also said it was unusual that Gordon never got back his submitted material.

These discrepancies need to be addressed by the court, the Tauro said. A court must decide whether DreamWorks independently developed the film or was influences by Gordon’s submissions, he said.

The case is Jayme Gordon v. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA:US), 1:11-cv-010255-JLT, U.S. District Court, District OF Massachusetts (Boston).

St. Louis University May Sue Professors for Infringement

The American Association of University Professors’ St. Louis University chapter may face copyright-infringement allegations if it releases a survey aimed at measuring the mood on campus, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The professors group had taken exception with a survey released by SLU administrators that contained only one question about the school’s president, about whom they claimed there was much campus discontent, according to the newspaper.

General counsel for the school sent an e-mail to the president of the faculty organization warning that its survey is too similar to the administration’s, and that the school may file an infringement suit, and have to pay money damages and the school’s attorney fees, the Post-Dispatch reported.

In response, the president of the faculty group has filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union, saying its free-speech rights are being violated, the newspaper reported.

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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Companies Mentioned

  • VHC
    (VirnetX Holding Corp)
    • $14.14 USD
    • 0.27
    • 1.91%
  • CSCO
    (Cisco Systems Inc)
    • $25.71 USD
    • -0.21
    • -0.82%
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