Bloomberg News

Nokia, Twitter, Victoria’s Secret, Titan: Intellectual Property

November 05, 2013

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) said Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, agreed to license its patents for five more years, a boon for the Finnish company as it seeks to rebuild revenue after selling its handset unit.

Samsung agreed to pay Nokia additional compensation starting Jan. 1, according to a statement from Espoo, Finland-based Nokia yesterday. The amount will be settled in a binding arbitration expected to be concluded in 2015. The previous agreement was set to close at the end of this year.

Patents will be one area of focus for Nokia after the former mobile-phone market leader agreed to sell its handset division to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) in September. Without phones, the company’s largest business will be network equipment, and it is also retaining patents to generate licensing income.

“This deal demonstrates the opportunities for the new Nokia in intellectual property rights,” said Sami Sarkamies, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB (NDA) in Helsinki. “It’s significant because it relates to Samsung, the client with the biggest potential in such rights. It’s good timing for Nokia and shows they will be able to benefit from the device-unit divestment from the first day.”

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, overtook Nokia as the largest mobile-phone maker last year and has also become the biggest producer of smartphones, the most lucrative and fastest-growing part of the handset market. Malin Roennmark, a Samsung spokeswoman in Stockholm, confirmed the agreement, declining to comment further.

Mark Durrant, a Nokia spokesman, declined to comment on the terms of the deal. He said Nokia has average annual revenue of about 500 million euros ($675 million) from agreements with more than 50 licensees.

“This extension and agreement to arbitrate represent a hallmark of constructive resolution of licensing disputes, and are expected to save significant transaction costs for both parties,” Paul Melin, Nokia’s chief intellectual property officer, said in the statement.

Twitter Accused by IBM of Infringing Patents

Twitter Inc., which is set to price its shares tomorrow and begin trading the New York Stock Exchange (NYX:US), said it has been accused of infringing patents held by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM:US)

The San Francisco-based operator of the microblogging site said in a regulatory filing yesterday that IBM wrote the company “alleging that we infringe on at least three U.S. patents held by IBM, and inviting us to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations,” according to the filing.

In dispute are IBM’s patents 7,099,862, which relates to a networking technique based on common contacts; 7,072,849, covering a method of showing advertisements without interfering with an interactive site; and 6,957,224, pertaining to the use of interconnected computers to reduce Web traffic.

Armonk, New York-based IBM, which has been the biggest recipient of U.S. patents for the past two decades, gets about $1 billion a year in licensing revenue. The company rarely files infringement lawsuits. It spent four years talking with Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) before suing over Internet-commerce related patents in October 2006. The companies settled seven months later with Amazon.com paying an undisclosed amount.

Twitter had just nine patents and 95 pending applications as of Sept. 30, far fewer than its competitors or other companies in the industry. The company said that could make it a target for litigation, and it would be limited in its ability to fight back by asserting its own patents.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Victoria’s Secret Sued for Infringing Hanky Panky’s Trademarks

L Brands Inc. (LTD:US)’s Victoria’s Secret unit was sued for trademark infringement by a self-described maker of “ultra sexy lingerie.”

New York-based Hanky Panky Ltd. accuses Victoria’s Secret of infringing two of its registered U.S. trademarks, “After Midnight” and “Indulge Your Inner Flirt.”

Victoria’s Secret is offering an “After Midnight” collection of an aphrodisiac candle, aphrodisiac massage oil, a perfume product and a room spray, according to the complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in New York.

Hanky Panky also objects to Victoria’s Secret’s ad used with a line of sleepwear that urges potential buyers to “indulge your inner flirt.”

This use of the phrases by Victoria’s Secret “betrays a studied and deliberate misappropriation of Hanky Panky’s valuable intellectual property,” according to court papers.

Hanky Panky also complained that because of Victoria Secret’s larger size, advertising budget and resources,’’ the larger company’s use of the two phrases will “overwhelm and swamp” Hanky Panky’s.

The New York-based lingerie company asked the court to bar Victoria’s Secret’s use of the disputed trademarks, together with an order for the destruction of all promotional material containing them.

Hanky Panky also seeks money damages, including compensation for the cost of corrective advertising aimed at mitigating any consumer confusion resulting from the unauthorized use of its marks. Additionally, Hanky Panky asked for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs, and for a tripling of the damages in order to punish Victoria’s Secret for its actions.

Victoria’s Secret, based in Columbus, Ohio, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Hanky Panky Ltd. v. Limited Brands Inc., 1:13-cv-07742-PAC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Titan Trademark Challenge to Saint Sent Back for Reconsideration

Titan Industries Ltd., (TTAN) a Bangalore, India-based maker of watches and jewelry must face further scrutiny in its opposition to a trademark filed by competitor Saint Watches Ptv. Ltd., India’s Business Standard reported.

India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board has ruled that the deputy Registrar of Trademarks must consider one more issue raised by Saint Watches in the registrar’s dismissal of Titan’s opposition, according to Business Standard.

Saint Watches is arguing that Titan didn’t file its notice of opposition within the required time period, the newspaper reported.

Previously the deputy registrar said the two companies’ locals were sufficiently dissimilar as to prevent the possibility of deception or confusion, according to Business Standard.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

TorBoox to Dump 41,000 EBooks Onto Internet Free of Charge

TorrentFreak, the anti-copyright news site, reported that a German website that offers unauthorized downloads of e-books said it planned to dump about 41,000 books onto the Internet free of charge beginning yesterday.

The site, TorBoox, told TorrentFreak it had tried unsuccessfully to affiliate with the German publishers’ association to make a deal to offer the books legally for a flat rate.

TorBoox had set up a paywall and users who paid 3.33 euros ($4.50) a month could download as many books as they wanted, according to TorrentFreak.

The TorBoox operator told TorrentFreak he’s quitting because so much money came in that a “decent and reasonable ending” to the venture became “out of sight,” and the attempt to go legitimate had failed.

Tokyo Court Says Japanese Copyright Group Blocks Others’ Entry

The Tokyo High Court ruled that the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers has made it “extremely difficult’ for rival copyright management groups to enter the market, Japan Times reported.

The court canceled an order by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, withdrawing a cease and desist order it issued against the rights group for allegedly violating that country’s anti-monopoly law, according to the newspaper.

E-License, a competitor, had the grounds to challenge JSRAC, the court ruled, according to Japan Times.

The court found that JASRAC’s flat-rate payment system made it unattractive for broadcasters to use music managed by other groups such as E-license, Japan Times reported.

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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