Bloomberg News

Google, Sunbeam, Red Bull, Automattik: Intellectual Property (1)

August 15, 2013

Google Inc., whose GoogleGlass wearable device has raised privacy concerns, received a patent on a technology that would submit the wearer to the same sort of scrutiny.

Patent 8,510,166 was issued Aug. 13, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It covers what Mountain View, California-based Google calls a “gaze-tracking system.”

According to the patent, this technology includes a head-mounted gaze-tracking device such as a camera that communicates with a server. A second camera looks outward, capturing what is seen by the wearer. The gaze-tracking device can then tell the server exactly which element within the external scene is being viewed by the user, and sends that information to the server, which compiles a “gazing log” of items the wearer viewed.

Google doesn’t spell out specific uses for this technology in the patent, saying only that it can provide a reliable, low cost, and unobtrusive, eye-tracking system with “a variety of useful everyday applications.”

The application for this patent was filed in May 2011, with the assistance of Blakely Sokoloff Taylor & Zafman LLP of Los Angeles.

Sunbeam Wins Appeal Over Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker Patent

Nacco Industry Inc. (NC:US)’s patent on its Hamilton Beach portable slow cooker was found to be invalid by a federal appeals court.

In its Aug. 14 ruling, the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the Hamilton Beach unit made a purchase order with its foreign supplier for the product with features covered by the patent more than a year before it filed its patent application.

The appeals court said that the trial court had properly found that the patent claims Hamilton Beach was asserting against a Sunbeam product were invalid.

Hamilton Beach had filed the patent suit against Sunbeam in federal court in Virginia in May 2011. After the adverse ruling from the trial court, Cleveland-based Hamilton Beach then filed the appeal.

The lower court case is Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. v. Sunbeam Products Inc., 3:11-cv-00345-JRS, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond). The appeal is Hamilton Beach Brands Inc. v. Sunbeam Products Inc., 12-1581, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

Avanir Pharma Settles Nuedexta Patent Litigation With Sandoz

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Novartis International AG (NOVN)’s Sandoz unit have settled a patent dispute related to Avanir’s Nuedexta drug used to treat neurological problems associated with multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to an Avanir statement.

Aliso Viejo, California-based Avanir sued Sandoz in federal court in Delaware May 30, after Sandoz filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market a generic form of the drug. Avanir claimed this would infringe three patents.

According to an Aug. 14 statement from Avanir, Sandoz is granted the right to sell a generic version of the drug beginning July 30, 2026, or “earlier under certain circumstances.” Avanir said this settlement doesn’t end its litigation against four other companies that have filed applications to sell generic versions of the drug.

The case is Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AVNR:US) v. Sandoz Inc., 1:13-cv-00961-LPS, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

SEC, Big Ten Won’t License Trademarks to EA Football Games

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA:US) will no longer be able to use conference trademarks from the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten in the games company’s Sports NCAA football video game, ESPN.com reported.

The two conferences’ refusal follows the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s announcement that in the future it wouldn’t license its marks to the Redwood City, California-based game company for the college football games, according to ESPN.

The SEC said in a statement that while it wouldn’t license its marks, schools that are conference members could make their own decisions about whether to license their marks to EA, ESPN reported.

The NCAA is in the middle of a legal dispute with student athletes over what they say is the unauthorized and uncompensated use of their likenesses in EA sports video games, according to ESPN.

Red Bull Tells U.K. Brewery That ‘Redwell Brewing’ Infringes

Red Bull GmbH, the Austrian maker of the similarly named energy drink, has demanded a small U.K. brewery withdraw a trademark application and change its name or face potential legal action, the U.K.’s Independent newspaper reported.

The target of the Austrian company’s ire is Redwell Brewing, a small five-month-old craft brewery in Norwich, according to the Independent.

In a letter to the small brewery, Red Bull’s brand-enforcement manager Hanzbjorg Jeserznik said both names are comprised solely of English words and both contain the element “red,” making them “confusingly similar,” according to the newspaper.

Benjamin Thompson, one of Redwell’s four directors, told the Independent that his company was in a bind because it couldn’t afford the legal costs of fighting the Austrian company and didn’t have the money to pay the cost of rebranding, the Independent reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Automattik Calls DMCA Takedown Request an Attempt to Censor

Automattik Inc., the San Francisco-based developer of open-source software used by WordPress bloggers, said a copyright-infringement takedown request it received from a U.K. organization that campaigns for “heterosexual equal rights” was a misuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and amounted to censorship, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

Straight Pride UK filed the takedown request after a U.K. student who was attempting to interview the organization used part of a press release from the group in a posting in his WordPress blog, according to the Guardian.

Pater Sidorove, the head of operations for Moscow’s Straight Forward, an affiliate of Straight Pride UK, said in a statement that the press release was a private statement not intended for publication that the group decided to dress up as a press release in order to make the student feel like a reporter, the newspaper reported.

In that release, a spokesman for Straight Pride UK endorsed the anti-gay attacks in Russia and Africa, according to the Guardian.

Google Takes Down Reality-Show Judge’s YouTube Channel

Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s YouTube video-sharing service has shut down a channel belonging to a judge in an East Africa music reality-competition program, the Ghafla Kenyan entertainment news website reported.

Juliana Kanyomozi, a Ugandan judge on the Tusker Project Fame program, began uploading her own music videos on her YouTube Channel, thus sidestepping the fees she previously paid to music promoters to upload her songs, according to Ghafla.

She was reported for copyright infringement and her channel was shut down, Ghafla reported.

Kanyomozi turned to Facebook Inc. (FB:US)’s social media site to post a response, saying she couldn’t understand how someone could report her for copyright infringement on her own work, according to Ghafla.

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

  • NC
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  • AVNR
    (Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc)
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