Bloomberg News

Intellectual Ventures, Lions Gate: Intellectual Property (1)

August 29, 2013

Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, led by a former chief technology officer of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), is seeking $3 billion for a fund that would give it steady cash flow from patents and invention rights, according to an investor presentation obtained by Bloomberg News.

Invention Investment Fund III will purchase patents, patent licensing rights and applications as well as other invention rights, according to the April presentation from the Bellevue, Washington-based firm. The firm, founded in 2000, has historically made some of its money from suing over patent infringements.

Mercury Capital Advisors LLC, an advisory firm that helps firms raise money from institutional investors, is the fund’s placement agent. Kyle Mahoney, a spokesman for Intellectual Ventures, declined to comment on the fundraising.

Intellectual Ventures is among a growing number of investment firms seeking to take advantage of investor appetite for predictable cash flow. Last week, Harbert Management Corp. announced a separate account with California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, that will provide cash distributions from contracts to sell power plants’ capacity and energy.

Intellectual Ventures was founded by Nathan Myhrvold, former chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft, along with Edward Jung, Greg Gorder and Peter Detkin.

Jung, who is Intellectual Ventures’ CTO, was previously chief software architect and adviser to executive staff at Microsoft. Gorder was a partner at law firm Perkins Coie LLP.

Detkin, who was a vice president and assistant general counsel at Intel Corp, is credited with coining the phrase “patent troll” to describe patent holders who do not make products or provide services covered by the patents they seek to enforce.

Like previous funds, the firm’s new offering will primarily make investments in technology invention rights. The firm makes its money from legal settlements, strategic sales of portfolios, retail licensing and subscription-based licensing, according to the presentation. This year, it has brought lawsuits for patent infringement against several companies, including HSBC Holdings Plc, SunTrust Bank Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings LLC and Toshiba Corp. (6502)

Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp. this year led a group of companies that bought license rights to Kodak’s digital-imaging portfolio for $527 million. Kodak used the proceeds to pay off bankruptcy debt.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Chinese Applicant for ‘Tesla’ Also Seeks Other Companies’ Marks

The Chinese citizen who is seeking to register “Tesla” trademarks in his country has also tried to register trademarks associated with three other non-Chinese companies, International Business Times reported.

Zhan Baosheng, who is claiming he will build an electric-powered car, has also registered “Loremo,” “Cobasys” and “Cuill,” according to the newspaper.

Loremo was a German automaker. Cobasys LLC is a U.S. company that makes nickel metal batteries, and the now-defunct Cuill was a company some ex-employees of Google Inc. (GOOG:US) started in 2008, according to International Business Times.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:US) is opposing the Chinese applications of Zhan, who has a Chinese-language website with a photo of an electric car and the phrase “Tesla, live for Electricity,” the newspaper reported.

Apple Seeks to Register ‘Startup’ as Australian Trademark

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), maker of the iPhone and iPod, has applied to register “startup” as a trademark in Australia, according to IP Australia’s database of pending applications.

The Cupertino, California-based company said it plans to use the mark for retail store services; computer maintenance and repair; computer-related educational services; and the design and development of computer hardware and software.

The application is presently under examination, according to IP Australia. Apple also filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the term for a range of uses similar to those outlined in the Australian application.

More than 30 other applications have been filed in Australia to register some form of “startup.” Most include a hyphen in the word, or use the word in combination with others, such as “SBYR startup your business right,” which is owned by an Australian company and used with computer software.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Lions Gate, Tyler Perry Win Dismissal of ‘Good Deeds’ Suit

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF:US) and a production company belonging to performer Tyler Perry persuaded a federal court to dismiss a copyright infringement case related to Perry’s “Good Deeds” film.

Terry Donald of Philadelphia filed the suit in November 2012, claiming the film infringed the copyrights to her book “Bad Apples Can Be Good Fruit.” She said she had sent a copy of the book to the defendants for “review and consideration” and never entered into any agreement with them for any rights to the book.

The film was so similar to the book, she claimed that it infringed her copyright. She sought money damages, and a court order requiring the inclusion in the credits “Based upon the novel ‘Bad Apples Can be Good Fruit’ by Terry V. Donald.”

The suit was filed in Philadelphia and transferred to a federal court in New York in March.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley dismissed the case Aug. 21 on the defendants’ request for a judgment based on court filings.

The case is Terry V. Donald v. The Tyler Perry Co., 1:13-cv-01655-WHP, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Demand Media’s Cracked Fights Alleged Infringement With Satire

Demand Media Inc. (DMD:US)’s Cracked.com humor website responded to what it said was a British tabloid’s use of its content without permission by posting a so-called “sincere apology.”

Cracked claimed that the U.K.’s Daily Mail ran a story “World’s Worst Tourists Revealed” that was a “carbon copy” of “5 Tourists Who Managed to Be the Worst People in the World,” it had published the day before the Daily Mail’s story.

In its “apology,” Cracked.com said the reason the similar stories appeared is that “once in a blue moon” it finds that one of its writers does some space-time travel, steals an article from the future and passes it off as his own in the present.

Then Cracked went on to say that as the result of this event, its editorial writers are now barred from “using their Time-Lord abilities to assist in the research or writing of articles. Otherwise, our site would just be a laundry list of tomorrow’s lotto numbers and excerpts from William Shakespeare’s upcoming play.”

UMG Unit Sued Over Website’s Alleged Use of Tupac Shakur Photo

Universal Music Group Inc.’s G-Unit Records unit was sued for copyright infringement by a New York-based photographer.

The suit is related to the alleged unauthorized use of a photo of the late Tupac Shakur on the ThisIs50.com website associated with performer 50 Cent. The website focuses on hip-hop music and performers.

Gary Miller said the website used his photo of Shakur following the 1994 attempt on Shakur’s life. In that photo, the performer, bandaged and in the process of being loaded into an ambulance, is making an obscene gesture that Miller characterized in his pleading as “a characteristic display of defiance.”

The photographer claims that despite his sending G-Unit repeated cease-and-desist notices, the photo remains on the website without permission.

In March 2013 Miller filed a similar suit against Global Grind Digital Inc. of New York, also an operator of a hip-hop themed website. That case settled for undisclosed terms on June 17, according to a case filing.

In the new suit, Miller asked the court for money damages, a court order barring unauthorized use of his image, and for awards of litigation costs and attorney fees.

The new suit is Gary Miller v. G-Unit Records Inc., 1:13-cv-06075, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The earlier suit is Miller v. Global Grind Digital Inc., 1:13-cv-01737-ALC-FM, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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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