Bloomberg News

Intellectual Ventures, Canonical, Google: Intellectual Property

November 12, 2013

Intellectual Ventures Inc., the company started by former Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, wants to shift its image from patent troll to innovation facilitator, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

Myhrvold told the publication that people “misunderstand our business and how we do it.”

The company, based in Bellevue, Washington, has begun a partnership with a Seattle-based startup incubator SURF to educate and mentor the region’s startup companies, according to Puget Sound Business Journal.

SURF director Neil Bergquist said the partnership will give Intellectual Ventures a chance to “get beyond what’s in the headlines” about its patent litigation and acquisitions and “frank discussions” with inventors, the publication reported.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Canonical’s Shuttleworth Apologizes for Trademark Complaint

Mark Shuttleworth, the South African who paid the Russian Space Agency $20 million for a visit to the orbiting Soyuz space station, has apologized for sending a cease-and-desist letter to the operators of a website that criticized the Ubuntu computer operating system.

His Canonical Ltd. distributes the Ubuntu system, and Shuttleworth said in a blog post that someone at his company “made a mistake in sending the wrong response to a trademark issue out of the range of the responses we usually take.”

The cease-and-desist notice was sent to operators of FixUbuntu.com. When news of the notice leaked out, Suttleworth said that among other things “the Internet went wild,” and Wired magazine “picked a headline accusing Canonical of a campaign to suppress critics.”

Canonical’s trademark policy, Shuttleworth said, “allows community members to use the marks (good) and allows for satire and sucks sites even in jurisdictions where the local law does not (great!).”

After the criticisms began to mount, Shuttleworth said company officials reviewed the decision, corrected the action and addressed the matter publicly. He compared the error in sending the notice to a bug in a line of code.

He also apologized for referring to what he called the “vocal non-technical critics of work that Canonical does,” as members of the “open source tea party.” He said this was equally offensive to members of the real Tea Party and “the people with vocal non-technical criticism of work that Canonical does.”

Homeland Security Seizes Money, Domain Name, PayPal Account

A Durango, Colorado, resident is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over the alleged sale of counterfeit soccer jerseys, the Durango Herald reported.

The government agency obtained a federal warrant to seize more than $107,000, the Internet domain name and a PayPal account associated with the sale of the fake jerseys, according to the Herald.

An agent with U.S. Customs and Border Protection bought two of the fake jerseys in a financial transaction operated through a pizza restaurant in Hermosa, Colorado, that shared a storefront with the retail outlet operated by the Durango resident, according to the newspaper.

A Homeland Security agent bought three jerseys through the website belonging to the accused seller of fake items, the Herald reported.

Sears Canada Sued Over Parkas Canada Goose Claims Are Knockoffs

Sears Canada Inc. (SCC) was sued for trademark infringement by Toronto-based Canada Goose Inc., a manufacturer of outdoor clothing, the Edmonton Journal reported.

Canada Goose has claimed that Sears is selling knockoffs of one of its parkas, and that the public is confused as to the source of the parkas they are buying at Sears, according to the Journal.

A Sears spokesman told the Herald the suit is without merit and that there could be no confusion between its parkas and those made by Canada Goose.

Canada Goose said in its court papers that it has sold $225 million of its products in Canada since 2005, and that its goods have “enormous consumer recognition” both in Canada and outside the country, the Herald reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Premier League Drops Copyright Case Against Google, YouTube

The Football Association Premier League Ltd. has settled its copyright suit against Google Inc. (GOOG:US), and the search engine’s YouTube video-sharing unit.

Google’s YouTube was sued in May 2007 in federal court in New York for allegedly permitting postings of copyrighted material from the Premier League without permission.

YouTube and Google have said their actions were permitted under U.S. copyright law, which allows “fair use” of protected material. They had also argued that the Premier League hasn’t done enough on its own to limit illegal postings.

In July 2009, Google won dismissal of some of the claims for money damages. U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton rejected the soccer group’s claim for punitive damages under U.S. copyright law, and also dismissed most of the a claims for statutory damages, with an exception for live broadcasts.

“There is no circumstance in which punitive damages are available under the Copyright Act of 1976,” Stanton said in that ruling. Statutory damages were dismissed with respect to most “foreign” works that weren’t registered in the U.S.

Facebook Inc. (FB:US), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US), EBay Inc. (EBAY:US)and IAC/Interactive Corp. (IACI:US) had all submitted friend-of-the-court briefs on Google’s behalf.

Other than the fact that all parties were to bear their own litigation and attorney fee costs, no details of the dismissal were revealed in the court filing.

The case is Football Association Premier League Ltd. v. YouTube Inc., 1:07-cv-03582, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

WilmerHale Hires Weil Gotshal’s Jason Kipnis for IP Practice

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dore LLP hired Jason Kipnis for its IP practice group, the Washington-based firm said in a statement.

Kipnis, who does both litigation and transactional work, joins from New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

He has represented clients in the computer hardware, software, networking, consumer electronics, Internet, and semiconductor processing industries.

Before he was a lawyer, he worked as a consultant at Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US)

Kipnis has an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from Stanford University.

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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