Bloomberg News

Apple, Baidu, Karmaloop, WikiLeaks: Intellectual Property (1)

November 14, 2013

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) is asking a federal jury to award $379.7 million in a retrial over how much Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) owes for infringing mobile device patents.

Harold McElhinny, Apple’s lead attorney, asked jurors to relive the excitement of the 2007 introduction of the iPhone as he urged them to consider how much damage was done in the copying of features by the company’s Suwon, South Korea-based rival.

Samsung made $3.5 billion by selling 10.7 million products in the U.S. that infringe Apple patents, he said in his opening statement yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California.

“At the end of this case, you will decide how much of that $3.5 billion Samsung should rightfully return to Apple,” McElhinny told the jury of six women and two men.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is aiming to recoup part of the $410.5 million in damages that a judge cut from a $1.05 billion jury award in August 2012 against Samsung. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled the verdict was flawed because jurors miscalculated the period that the infringement occurred for some of the 28 Samsung devices on trial.

While the 13 Samsung products at issue in the retrial are no longer sold by Samsung, a second patent case between the world’s two top smartphone makers, also before Koh, is set for trial in March. The stakes are higher in that case because it covers technology in newer smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

Koh instructed jurors yesterday that the previous nine-member jury found Samsung infringed five valid Apple patents and that their “sole job” in the retrial is to determine the damages Samsung must pay for infringement.

Bill Price, a lawyer for Samsung, asked the jury in his opening statement to award Apple $52 million, which he called “not a trivial sum.”

He encouraged jurors to keep an “open mind” because it’s “kind of hard to not start leaning one way or another.”

“You’re going to find that Apple is simply asking for more money than it’s entitled to,” he said.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Crocs Accused of Infringing Patent for Child’s Sock-Topped Shoe

Crocs Inc., maker of the foam-resin clogs, was sued for patent infringement by Celebrity International Inc.

Crocs, based in Niwot, Colorado, is accused of infringing patent 8,371,043. The patent, issued Feb. 12 to Celebrity International of New York, covers footwear that combines sock and shoe and provides traction and foot protection for children who are learning to walk.

In the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in New York, Celebrity claims that the alleged infringement is “willful and deliberate” and that it has lost profit as a result of the Colorado company’s actions.

It asked the court for an order for the seizure and destruction of all infringing products and a ban on further infringement, in addition to awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Celebrity requested that the damages be increased to punish Crocs for its actions.

Crocs didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Celebrity International Inc., v. Crocs Inc. (CROX:US), 1:13-cv-08054, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

Tencent, Sohu Accuse Baidu of Infringing Video Copyrights

Chinese online-video providers Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700) and Sohu.com Inc. (SOHU:US) said the owner of China’s largest search engine, Baidu Inc. (BIDU:US), infringed copyrights by providing access to pirated content.

Some material on Baidu’s video search, Baidu Yingyin, Baidu Video App and Baidu TV Stick is available without authorization, companies including Tencent, Sohu and Youku Tudou Inc. (YOKU:US) said yesterday in a joint statement.

Chinese online video companies spend billions of yuan annually on content as they compete in a market that consultant IResearch estimates may generate 16.2 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in advertising revenue next year. Pressure to comply with intellectual property rules has increased for the publicly traded companies.

“The video industry now has walked to the crossroads,” Charles Zhang, chairman and chief executive officer of Sohu, said in an e-mailed statement. “If we let such industry malpractices continue, it would be a devastating blow.”

Baidu values copyright protection and has blocked links to more than 5.8 million videos since June, Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based spokesman for the company, said in an e-mailed statement.

Youku Tudou sued Baidu in Beijing and Shanghai, Jean Shao, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail. Sohu also sued Baidu, Jiang Xin, a spokeswoman for Sohu, said by text message without elaborating.

Baidu agreed in July 2011 with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony Corp. (6758) to pay owners of copyrighted material available on a social-music platform. Later that year, it was removed from the U.S. list of “notorious markets” known for sustaining piracy and counterfeiting of intellectual property.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

Karmaloop, Dr. Denim Sued for Infringing Premium Lounge Mark

Karmaloop Inc. of Boston and Dr. Denim Inc. of Philadelphia, both retailers of men’s clothing, were sued for trademark infringement by Brooklyn, New York’s House of Premium Lounge LLC.

In a suit filed yesterday in federal court in New York, the Brooklyn company accused the retailers of using the “Premium Lounge” marks on men’s outerwear without authorization.

Amazon.com Inc., Boylston Trading Co. and American Stitch LLC are also named as defendants, as is the former owner of the “Premium Lounge” trademark.

Premium Lounge LLC said an investigation it conducted found the defendants were selling items that it was purported to have made or sold. The company said such unauthorized use of its marks is willful and “amounts to a fraud upon the public.”

The company asked the court to bar further unauthorized use of its marks. It’s also seeking money damages, including profit defendants realized from the alleged infringement. Premium Lounge asked for additional damages to punish the defendants for their actions, as well as attorney fees and litigation costs.

Neither Karmaloop nor Dr. Denim responded immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is House of Premium Lounge v. American Stitch LLC, 13-cv-08051, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Studio Movie Grill Unit Sued for Using ‘Eat, Drink, Movies’

Studio Movie Grill Concepts I Ltd.’s Charlotte, North Carolina, unit was sued for trademark infringement by a competitor based in Asheville, North Carolina, for using the slogan “Eat, Drink, Movies.”

Cinebarre LLC claimed in a suit filed Nov. 8 in federal court in Charlotte that the slogan infringes its “Eat. Drink. Watch Movies.” trademark.

Cinebarre said in its filing that its theaters offer a variety of freshly prepared food and eating surfaces in front of their seats so patrons can eat and drink while watching movies.

The company said that Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill’s business model is based on Cinebarre’s and that the company is infringing through the use of “Eat, Drink, Movies” for advertising, marketing and identifying its theaters.

The public is confused by similar phrases, causing Cinebarre “damages, embarrassment and injury to reputation,” the company said.

Cinebarre asked the court to halt Studio Movie Grill’s use of the phrase, and for money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

Studio Movie Grill didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

The case is Cinebarre LLC v. Movie Grill Concepts XV LLC, 13-cv-00618, U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina (Charlotte).

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade-Related Intellectual Property

WikiLeaks Says Pacific Trade Draft Would Hurt Consumers

Provisions of a trade accord being negotiated by Pacific-region nations would “trample over individual rights,” according to WikiLeaks, which released what it said is a draft of the document.

WikiLeaks, based in Melbourne, Australia, said the 94-page document is the intellectual property rights chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership being drafted by 12 nations including the U.S. and Japan.

Speaking at an event yesterday, Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, cautioned against drawing conclusions from the WikiLeaks document.

“The agreement does not yet exist,” he said at a conference in Washington sponsored by The Atlantic.

Froman’s office didn’t respond to a question about the authenticity of the document other than to issue a statement yesterday saying negotiations are still under way.

“We are working with Congress, stakeholders and our TPP negotiating partners to reach an outcome that promotes high-paying jobs in innovative American industries,” according to the statement, which cited a need for balanced copyright protections and access to medicine.

Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer group that is a partner of WikiLeaks in the release, said in a statement that the document shows the U.S. is “demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

The U.S. has said it trying to pursue a “21st century” trade accord that would set a high standard for issues including intellectual property rights and protections for businesses that compete with government-owned companies. Froman has said the nations negotiating the pact are aiming for an agreement by the end of the year.

In addition to Japan and the U.S., the other nations negotiating the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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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  • CROX
    (Crocs Inc)
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