Bloomberg News

Apple, Google, Bosch, CIT Group: Intellectual Property (1)

August 26, 2013

Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) don’t have to reveal confidential data including financial information, source code, business plans and market research reports to the public, a U.S. appeals court ruled Aug. 23.

A federal judge shouldn’t have ordered the world’s largest smartphone makers to reveal “exceptionally sensitive information” from their patent dispute that has remained under seal since the trial last year in California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ruled.

Apple won a $1 billion verdict, though the judge later ordered a retrial on some of the damages. It’s scheduled to begin in November.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, who presided over the trial, ordered the two sides to make public all exhibits used during the trial and in Apple’s unsuccessful request for an order that would halt sales of Samsung products. She declined requests by Apple and Samsung to redact information from the evidence, though her orders were on hold pending the appeal to the Washington court.

“We recognize the importance of protecting the public’s interest in judicial proceedings and of facilitating its understanding of those proceedings,” Circuit Judge Sharon Prost wrote for the three-judge panel. “That interest, however, does not extend to mere curiosity about the parties’ confidential information where that information is not central to a decision on the merits.”

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said the company had no comment. Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

News organizations including the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Wired.com, Bloomberg News and the New York Times (NYT:US) argued to make the information public. The Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals, said courts generally should make documents public. The exception, it said, was when the release will cause competitive harm to a business.

Apple sought to keep portions of 14 documents sealed and Samsung wanted parts of 12 filings kept confidential.

The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-1600, 12-1606 and 13-1146, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Google Buys Wearable Technology Patents From Taiwan’s Hon Hai

Google Inc., which is testing Web-enabled eyeglasses, bought patents for wearable technology used in gaming and training simulations from Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a primary assembler for Apple Inc.

The head-mounted display technology consists of a computer-generated image that is superimposed on a real-world view, Taipei-based Hon Hai said in an Aug. 23 e-mailed statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Google has been amassing technology for its Glass device from Taiwanese companies, agreeing to invest in Himax Technologies Inc. (HIMX:US) on July 22. The eyeglasses can take pictures and videos and share information via the Internet.

“This deal may allow the company to leverage Google’s content strength and seek manufacturing contracts from the U.S. firm on wearable-computing devices,” Edward Chen, a research analyst at Taipei-based First Capital Management Inc., said by phone Aug. 23.

Hon Hai doesn’t know if Google will use the display technology for Google Glass, Laura Liu, a spokeswoman for Hon Hai, said in an Aug. 23 phone interview.

Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Group, said reports the company will assemble Glass for Google were speculative, Economic Daily News reported July 23.

Hon Hai assembles iPhones and iPads, and the company is hiring as many as 90,000 workers in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhengzhou to meet client demand in the fourth quarter, Liu said. Liu declined to name the clients.

Taj Meadows, a Singapore-based spokesman for Google, said in an e-mail he didn’t immediately have any information available on Hon Hai’s announcement.

Bosch Reacquires Rights to Diabetes-Related Patents From Abbott

Robert Bosch GmbH’s Robert Bosch Healthcare systems unit has reacquired a group of patents and patent applications from Abbott Laboratories (ABT:US), according to a company statement.

The 150 issued patents and more than 40 patent applications are related to diabetes management and monitoring.

The patents returned to Bosch following the termination of a license with Abbott, according to the statement. The Palo Alto, California-based company said the patents and patent applications are now available for licensing to health-care companies focused on diabetes.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

CIT Group Asked to Back Down on Claims Against Illinois Company

CIT Group Inc. was sued in a trademark dispute by an Illinois truck dealership.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 23 in federal court in Peoria, Illinois, Central Illinois Trucks Inc. is seeking a court declaration that it doesn’t infringe the New York-based bank’s trademarks.

Central Illinois Trucks, which does business as CIT Group Inc., operates truck dealerships in Illinois, repairs trucks and through its subsidiaries, offers financing and leasing to its customers.

The company said it has used “Central Illinois Trucks” and ‘CIT” in connection with its truck sales and service business. In 2009, it formed CIT Group Leasing, which offers financing, leasing and rental of trucks solely in connection with its in-house truck sales and rental business, according to court papers.

The Normal, Illinois-based company said that while the New York-based CIT Group may incidentally offer leasing and financing of trucks, this is not the focus of the bank’s marketing.

In January, the truck company said it received a cease-and-desist notice from the New York bank. It argued in its filings that it doesn’t infringe the bank’s trademarks and seeks a judicial determination to that effect.

Additionally, the truck company asked the court to order New York’s CIT Group to quit threatening litigation or making statements that the Illinois company is infringing the bank’s trademarks.

Curt Ritter, a spokesman for New York’s CIT Group, said in an e-mail that his company doesn’t comment on pending litigation

The case is Central Illinois Trucks Inc. v. CIT Group Inc. (CIT:US), 1:13-cv-01379-JES-JAG, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois (Peoria).

Clorox Bid to Block Copycat Pine-Sol From Mexico to Be Probed

The Clorox Co. (CLX:US), the Oakland, California-based maker of household cleaning products, persuaded the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate imports of cleaning products made by a Mexican company.

According to the notice placed on the Washington-based trade commission’s website Aug. 23, Clorox is seeking to halt the importation of products from Mexico’s Industrias Alen SA.

The company filed a complaint with the commission -- which has the power to block imports that infringe U.S. intellectual property rights -- in July, claiming that the Mexican company’s “Cloralex” and “Pinol” brands of cleaning products infringe Clorox’s Clorox and Pine-sol trademarks.

Clorox filed a trademark-infringement suit against Alen in federal court in San Francisco April 15. That case was dismissed on Clorox’s request May 30, with the company noting that the Mexican company had not responded to the complaint.

That case is Clorox Co. v. Industrials Alen SA, 3:13-cv-01536-JST, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Travel Alberta Files DMCA Takedown Request Against Film Trailer

Travel Alberta, which promotes tourism to the Canadian province, has demanded that a film trailer be removed from Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s YouTube video-sharing site. The trailer is no longer available on YouTube.

The tourism agency claims that a trailer for a forthcoming film, “Welcome to Fort McMoney -- Remember to Breathe,” infringes the copyrights for its tourism-promotion films.

The movie is presently the subject of a crowd-sourced funding campaign on the Indiegogo.com website. The filmmakers are seeking support to travel to Fort McMurray, Alberta, to make a documentary on the tar sands oil project.

On their page on Indiegogo Inc.’s site, filmmakers Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis claim that the project is an environmental disaster that is being touted by promoters as “the fair trade coffee of the oil market.” They say promotional material associated with the project is “essentially an oil company ad mixed with a tourism commercial.”

They make use of one of the tourism board’s “Remember to Breathe” commercial in their film trailer.

In a statement on its website, the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation said that the takedown request was “no more than a crude attempt at censorship” and that the filmmakers’ use of the tourism-promotion clip fell within U.S. copyright law’s “fair use” exception.

EFF, a digital rights group, said the trailer used about four seconds of the travel advertisement in the filmmakers’ efforts to contrast the ad’s lush travel shots to the environmental destruction of the oil fields.

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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