Bloomberg News

MediaNet, Infineon, Hackers, Amazon: Intellectual Property (1)

July 26, 2013

Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann is suing MediaNet Digital Inc., the music streaming company, claiming that the company offered her music without authorization.

In a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on July 22, Mann, who was in the bands The Young Snakes and ‘Til Tuesday before starting a solo career, said her license with MediaNet terminated in December 2006, and the company continued to offer her songs after that date.

Frank Johnson, chief executive officer of MediaNet, said in an e-mailed statement that the claims are without merit.

“MediaNet has had a license for her music since December 2003,” Johnson said. “We have been paying royalties regularly to her agents on her behalf. MediaNet is a supporter of artist rights and copyright and has been since we launched in 2001. We expect this matter will be resolved.”

Mann is represented by Gradstein & Marzano PC of Los Angeles. A spokeswoman for New York-based MediaNet, Laurie Jakobsen, said the company was in the process of retaining counsel.

The case is Mann v. MediaNet Digital Inc., 13-cv-05269, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

For more copyright news, click here.

Patent

Infineon Wins Most of Appeals Case Over Qimonda Patents Rights

Infineon Technologies AG (IFX), Europe’s second-biggest chipmaker, won an appeals court ruling saying it still holds license rights to patents owned by insolvent Qimonda AG.

The Munich Higher Regional Court yesterday dismissed the majority of arguments brought by Qimonda insolvency administrator Michael Jaffe. The judges rejected his claim that the patent rights ended under German insolvency rules, court spokesman Wilhelm Schneider said in an e-mailed statement.

Infineon argued in a lower court that the suit covers thousands of Qimonda patents and that the question of whether it still has rights to that portfolio is key to Infineon’s business.

Infineon completed an initial public offering of Qimonda, its former unit, in August 2006 to reduce its dependence on businesses with volatile demand and prices. Qimonda filed for insolvency in 2009 after memory-chip prices fell.

Yesterday’s case is part of a wider dispute between Jaffe and Infineon. In a separate suit still pending in Munich, Jaffe is seeking 3.35 billion euros ($4.4 billion) he says is owed to Qimonda because of an incomplete filing when Infineon transferred its memory business to a shell company that became Qimonda. As part of that transaction, the patents were also transferred to Qimonda and licensed back to Infineon.

Jaffe has already appealed the ruling, Sebastian Brunner, his spokesman, said by phone.

Infineon is “delighted” that a second panel of judges has backed its legal argument, said Kay Laudien, company spokesman.

The case is OLG Muenchen, 6 U 541/12.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Chateau Ausone Wins Trademark Dispute in China, Decanter Reports

Chateau Ausone, a leading wine producer in Bordeaux’s Saint-Emilion region, won a trademark case in China against a person who tried to register a Chinese ideogram of its name, according to Decanter.com, the website of Decanter, a wine magazine.

Although the wine estate held no prior legal rights to the trademark, the Chinese Trademark Office, or CTO, ruled that the Chinese applicant seeking to register it had acted in bad faith, according to the website. Bordeaux wine merchant Barriere Freres, jointly owned by Castel Freres and Suntory, won a similar trademark dispute relating to its Grand Bateau trademark with a ship logo, Decanter said.

For more trademark news, click here.

In the News

Five Hackers Charged in Largest Data-Breach Scheme in U.S.

Four Russians and a Ukrainian were charged in what prosecutors called the largest hacking and data breach scheme in U.S. history.

The five conspired in a “worldwide scheme that targeted major corporate networks, stole more than 160 million credit card numbers and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses,” Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, said yesterday in a statement.

U.S. prosecutors in New York separately indicted one of the five men and another Russian in another hacking scheme that targeted 800,000 bank accounts. Two of the men are in custody.

The five men operated “a prolific hacking organization” that “penetrated the secure computer networks of several of the largest payment-processing companies, retailers and financial institutions in the world,” according to an indictment unsealed in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. They are accused of stealing user names and passwords, personal identification information, and credit and debit card numbers.

After stealing data, known as “dumps,” the men sold it to “dumps resellers,” who then sold it through online forums or to individuals and organizations, prosecutors charged.

The men encoded the data into the magnetic strips of blank plastic cards and withdrew money from automated teller machines and made credit-card purchases, the U.S. said.

“Financial institutions, credit card companies and consumers suffered hundreds of millions in losses, including losses in excess of $300 million by just three of the corporate victims, and immeasurable losses to identity-theft victims,” according to the indictment. Companies they allegedly targeted included Carrefour SA (CA), France’s biggest retailer.

All five were charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computer and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The cases are U.S. v. Drinkman, 09-cr-00626, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark); and U.S. v. Kalinin and U.S. v. Nasenkov, 09-cr-1093, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Amazon Sues U.S. Over $600 Million CIA Computing Contract

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US), which had won a $600 million contract for Central Intelligence Agency cloud-computing services, sued the U.S. after International Business Machines Corp. (IBM:US) secured a government mediator’s ruling that could reopen the bidding process.

Amazon filed its bid protest lawsuit July 24 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The complaint and other documents in the case are under seal until a judge decides what will be made public.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, the agency that makes recommendations on challenges to contract awards, sided with IBM on June 6, agreeing that the spy agency failed to properly evaluate prices and waived a contract requirement only for Seattle-based Amazon.

The GAO recommended that the CIA reopen negotiations with the companies. The decision, which agencies usually accept, would give Armonk, New York-based IBM another chance to land the computing contract.

IBM is a longtime federal contractor, amassing about $1.5 billion in awards in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2012. Amazon is newer to the market, setting up a dedicated government sales division only a few years ago. More than 300 U.S. agencies use the company’s computing services, Teresa Carlson, an Amazon vice president, said in statement in May.

Allison Price, a Justice Department spokeswoman, and John Tomczyk, a CIA spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment the lawsuit. Ana Rigby, a spokeswoman for Amazon, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment sent before normal business hours.

The CIA has until early August to decide whether to follow the GAO’s recommendation to reopen the bidding process, according to federal contracting regulations.

The case is Amazon Web Services Inc. v. U.S., 13-cv-00506, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Washington).

Law Firm Moves

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office GC Moves to McDermott

Bernard J. Knight Jr., general counsel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is joining McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s Washington office as a partner in the intellectual-property litigation practice group. He will be co-chairman of the firm’s post-grant practice, joining the firm in September.

“Bernie has been in the public spotlight as a key architect of the 2012 America Invents Act, which fundamentally changed several of the key provisions of patent law,” Sarah Chapin Columbia, partner and head of the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice group, said in a statement.

Knight has been the Patent Office’s general counsel since 2010. He was previously acting general counsel of the U.S. Treasury.

Jones Day Adds IP Lawyers in Dallas and Atlanta Offices

Richard “Jay” Johnson, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas focused on cyber crime, intellectual property theft and the collection of electronic evidence, joined the Dallas office of Jones Day LP as of counsel.

Geoffrey Gavin joined the firm’s Atlanta office as a partner earlier this month. He focuses on patent litigation and counseling and represents clients from industries including wireless telecommunications, software, athletic footwear and equipment, medical devices, paper products, floor covering and logistics equipment. Previously, Gavin was a partner in the Atlanta office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

Both Gavin and Johnson are joining the intellectual property practice of Jones Day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Rosen in New York at erosen14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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