Bloomberg News

Amazon.com, Hershey, KCG Holdings: Intellectual Property

June 06, 2014

Photographers challenged a patent issued to Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) by posting an online petition asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rescind it.

Patent 8,676,045, issued March 18 to the Seattle-based online retailer, covers a studio arrangement for photography that includes a method of lighting the photo subject so that the background appears to be seamless. Photographers claim the method is well-known and a patent shouldn’t have been granted.

The petition is posted on the watchdog.net website.

Tesla’s Musk Plans ‘Kind of Controversial’ Action With Patents

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:US) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said he’s inclined to share some of his company’s patented technology to encourage other automakers to produce more electric vehicles, the Transport Evolved industry news website reported.

Musk spoke at a June 3 shareholder meeting, according to Transport Evolved. He said he’s planning on doing something with some Tesla patents that would be “kind of controversial” and that he’s trying to think of ways to encourage other carmakers to go electric, the website reported.

Musk said other manufacturers’ success wouldn’t have a negative effect on Palo Alto, California-based Tesla because “ultimately we need all cars to go electric” and it would take 20 years to replace all existing gas-powered vehicles, Transport Evolved reported.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Hershey Claims Pot Dispensary Names Infringe Its Trademarks

Hershey Co. (HSY:US) sued a Seattle marijuana dispensary for trademark infringement over some of its product names.

Conscious Care Cooperative’s “Reefers Peanut Butter Cup” and “Mr. Dankbar” infringe the Reese’s and Mr. Goodbar trademarks, according to the June 3 complaint filed in federal court in Seattle.

Conscious Care didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the complaint.

Hershey, based in Hershey, Pennsylvania, asked the court for orders barring further infringement, and for the destruction of all infringing products and promotional materials, as well as the award of money damages.

The case is Hershey Co. v. Conscious Care Cooperative, 14-cv-00814, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Web Browsing Doesn’t Constitute Infringement, EU Court Rules

The European Court of Justice said that Internet users who visit a website when browsing the Web cannot be sued for copyright infringement, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

In its ruling yesterday, the court said that permission from the content owner isn’t necessary for those who are simply browsing, according to the Guardian.

The ruling doesn’t apply to cached copies made by the user, the newspaper reported.

The case stemmed from a dispute between the U.K.’s Newspaper Licensing Authority and the Public Relations Consultants Association, according to the Guardian.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

KCG Holdings Code Theft Said to Be Probed by New York Prosecutor

An alleged theft of computer code from KCG Holdings Inc. (KCG:US), a firm that specializes in high-frequency trading, is under investigation by New York prosecutors, a person familiar with the matter said.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is looking into allegations made by lawyers for the New Jersey-based automated market maker, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private.

Chinese Military Trains for Sophisticated Attacks, Pentagon Says

China’s military is improving its military doctrine, training, weapons and surveillance to be able to conduct more sophisticated attacks against the U.S. and other adversaries, the Pentagon reported.

After jamming communications and mounting other forms of electronic and cyberwarfare, stealthy Chinese aircraft, drones and missiles could attack American warships, aircraft and supply craft, the Defense Department said yesterday in its annual report on China.

Last month, the Justice Department escalated its effort to curb China’s technology theft from American companies by charging five Chinese military officials with stealing trade secrets, casting the hacker attacks as a direct economic threat.

The Justice Department said the officials belonged to Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Pentagon report doesn’t mention the unit.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Stephen Farr, Charles Carter


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