Bloomberg News

Apple, Google, Pirates, Take-Two: Intellectual Property (1)

October 14, 2013

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), maker of the iPod and iPhone, has applied for a patent on a technology that would make it easier for users of mobile devices to eject their subscriber identification modules, generally known as “SIM cards.”

According to application 20130267106, which was published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Oct. 10, the mobile devices would have an ejector mechanism that would use a magnet. Presently most users have to unbend a paper clip and insert one end into a hole in the device to force the ejection of the module.

Cupertino, California-based Apple says in the application that eliminating this method would eliminate the problem of having an opening in the housing “that may allow debris to enter the housing and impair the functioning of the device.”

The mechanism of ejection would involve the attraction between a magnet in the tray holding the module and a magnet in the removable module, according to the application.

Apple applied for the patent in April 2012.

Lodsys, Kaspersky Settle Case; No Money Paid, Kaspersky Says

Lodsys Group, a Texas patent holder that has filed more than 50 infringement lawsuits since 2010, settled a case against the Russian information security company, Kaspersky Lab.

Marshall, Texas-based Lodsys sued Kaspersky in federal court in Marshall in May 2012, claiming that two patents related to the gathering of information from units of a commodity across a network were infringed.

According to a Sept. 30 court filing, Lodsys and Kaspersky agree to dismiss all claims and counterclaims, and each side paid its own litigation costs and attorney fees. The claims were dismissed with prejudice, which means that they can’t be brought again.

In a blog posting, company founder Eugene Kaspersky said that his company received a demand letter from Lodsys in 2011, seeking a fee to license the Texas company’s patents.

Kaspersky said that when the infringement suit was filed, Lodsys was seeking more than $25 million from his company. “We maintained that we did not infringe any of Lodsys’s patents and that their claims were invalid,” he said in his blog posting.

The company founder claims that of the 55 companies Lodsys has sued over the patents at issue, his was the only one that stuck with the case until the end rather than take a license. Kaspersky Labs didn’t pay Lodsys anything, he said.

Lodsys did not respond immediately to an e-mail seeking confirmation of Kaspersky’s claim that no one else took a license to the disputed patents.

The case is Lodsys Group LLC v. Brother International Corp., 2:12-cv-00290-JRG, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.

For trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Mom Says Her YouTube Video of Son Was Taken, Reposted, Monetized

A resident of California’s rural Butte County has filed a copyright suit over a video she shot of her toddler son playing in the bathtub with the family dachshund.

Ashley Candler shot the video in December 2010 and posted in on Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s YouTube video-sharing website on Jan. 12, 2011. According to the complaint she filed in federal court in Sacramento, California, Oct. 7, the day after she posted the video, someone copied it and posted it on the sweetfacesjc YouTube channel.

The person who took the video claimed falsely that she shot it with her Android phone and that the subject was her nephew, Candler said in her court papers. The person who took the video also claimed, falsely, that she was the owner of the copyright.

The video quickly went viral and, by the time the complaint was filed this month, had been viewed 69 million times, according to court papers.

Candler said that the person who copied and reposted the video also monetized it by permitting Google to insert advertisements into the video to play each time the video is viewed. Each viewing then nets the poster a payment, Candler said in her complaint.

In 2012 YouTube simplified the process of monetization by inserting a button a creator can click when uploading a video to the site: This will permit YouTube to find potential advertisers, and the creator will receive around half the proceeds of the advertisement.

Advertisers paid an estimated $4 billion for YouTube ads in 2012, up 60 percent from 2011, according to RBC Capital Markets stock analyst Mark Mahaney. He said in April that he expected the the site to attract $5 billion in ad dollars in 2013.

Candler filed a takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on May 8, and YouTube disabled the access to the video on the sweetfacesjc channel the nest day.

After the video was disabled, the operator of that channel filed a counter-notice, swearing to a good faith belief that the material was taken down because of a mistake or misidentification. The counter-notice was included in the case filing.

Counsel for Candler has since then attempted repeatedly, with no success, to contact the person accused of taking the video, according to the complaint.

Candler asked the court to bar further unauthorized use of her video, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. YouTube isn’t a party to the suit.

The case is Candler V. Carter, 2:13-cv-02072, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

Ugandans Face Trial Over Pirated School Books, Test Papers

Three Ugandans set to go to trial for pirated books and secondary-school test papers have entered not-guilty pleas, the AllAfrica.com news website reported.

They were accused of photocopying and selling copies of Uganda National Education Board and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education tests and chemistry, biology and mathematics textbooks without authorization, according to AllAfrica.com.

The suspects allegedly sold the pirated books -- some of which had missing pages -- and papers through various book shops, the news website reported.

While three suspects were arrested and entered pleas, police are still searching for another 10, who reportedly escaped from the book shops at the time of the raids, according to AllAfrica.com.

Daz Dillinger Sends Rockstar Games Cease-and Desist Letter

Daz Dillinger, an American rap performer, has sent a cease and desist letter to Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO:US)’s Rockstar Games unit, claiming the games company is making unauthorized use of his music, the ContactMusic.com music-industry news website reported.

The performer claims that his “C-Wal” and “Nothin’ But the Cavi Hit” songs are using in the Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V game, according to ContactMusic.com

He said after he had rejected the games company’s offers of $4,271 to use the tracks as “offensively low,” the company went ahead and used his content anyway, the news website reported.

In his demand letter, Dillinger has asked for a better offer to license his music or for the recall and destruction of the more than 15 million copies of the game, according to ContactMusic.com.

Take-Two didn’t respond immediately to an e-mail seeking comment on the letter.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Texas Court Says ‘Treasure Map’ Was Protected Trade Secret

In a case related to gas exploration, a Texas appeals court said a lower court properly found that a so-called “treasure map” of a gas field was a protected trade secret that was misappropriated by an oil and gas development company.

The court also affirmed a $4.9 million jury award for lost profit to the company that had proprietary interest in the data the map contained. The map covered a reservoir that contained gas in Zapata County, Texas, that had an estimated value of as much as $60 million.

In its ruling the appeals court said that the exploration company’s actions “fell below the generally accepted standards of commercial morality and reasonable conduct.” The court noted that, out of line with industry practices, the company didn’t conduct any independent research of the gas reservoir, and said that the jury reasonably concluded that the exploration company’s knowledge of the gas reservoir was obtained through unauthorized use of the “treasure map.”

The court also found that the exploration company drilled the reservoir in efforts to deplete it, thus reducing the value of the map.

The case is Thomas A. Lamont v. Vaquillas Energy Lopeno, 04-12-00219-CV, Texas Court of Appeals, Fourth Court of Appeals.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

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


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