Bloomberg News

Air Liquide, Pepsico, Tolkien Firm: Intellectual Property

June 12, 2014

A chemical engineer who formerly worked for Air Liquide SA (AI)’s Voltaix unit was indicted for trade-secret theft in federal court in Dallas June 9.

Mattias Tezock is accused of taking trade secrets related to the production and purification of germane, a gas used in the semiconductor industry. Tezock allegedly used the secrets to open his own company, Metaloid Precursors Inc., which also produces the gas, according a U.S. Justice Department statement. He also allegedly solicited at least one ex-Voltaix customer.

Tezock is represented by Burleson Pate & Gibson LLP of Dallas. In an e-mailed statement, the firm said that after Tezock left Voltaix, he applied for and was granted a patent on germane production without objection from his former employer.

He, his company and his shareholders “vehemently deny any allegations” made by Voltaix, and he has pleaded not guilty, the firm said in its statement, adding that the indictment was issued eight years after the alleged misappropriation.

The case is U.S. v. Tezock, 3:14-cr-00211, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

For patent news, click here.

Trademark

Pepsico India Successfully Defends ‘Aquafina’ Trademark

Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. prevailed in a dispute involving its “Aquafina” trademark, the Financial Express reported.

The Delhi High Court said India’s Aqua Mineral’s use of “Aquafine” was deceptively similar to the Pepsico mark, according to the newspaper.

The court issued an order permanently barring Aqua Mineral from using “Aquafine” and ordered the company to pay damages to Pepsico, the newspaper reported.

Baylor University Sues Alumni Group Over Use of School Trademark

Baylor University sued its alumni association in Texas state court, seeking a declaration it properly severed its trademark license agreement with the association and asking for money damages.

The school terminated its license agreement in May 2013 and sent the association a cease-and-desist notice in December. The school said the association has “abandoned its charitable purposes” and asked that its function be limited to providing financial aid to the school and its students.

Keith Star, president of the alumni group, said in an e-mailed statement that the association has tried for several years to reach an accord with the school and will present its counterclaims and oppose Baylor’s “relentless efforts to silence” it.

The case is Baylor University v. Baylor University Alumni Association, 2014-2287-3, District Court of McClennan County, Texas, 74th Judicial District.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Greenberg Glusker Firm’s Disqualification Sought in Tolkien Suit

In a copyright suit over merchandising rights for J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US)’s Warner Bros. unit asked the court to disqualify Los Angeles’s Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP as counsel for the Tolkien copyright holders.

According to a June 9 court filing, the studio objects to the firm’s use of two former United Artists Corp. in-house lawyers as expert witnesses in the case. The studio said that 45 years ago, the two lawyers represented United Artists in negotiating and drafting agreements with the Tolkien interests and that they are the “only living percipient witnesses” on the U.A. side.

Greenberg put itself “in the position of representing not only the key witnesses on both -- and opposite-- sides of the contract,” the studio claimed. It also objected to the payment of “expert witness” fees to the two lawyers, and said the firm has solicited them to violate their duties of loyalty and confidentiality to their former employer.

Bonnie Eskenazi, one of the Greenberg Glusker lawyers, said in an e-mail that there’s no basis for the motion filed by the studios and that her firm has “acted properly in all respects at all times.” She said the motion was filed for “purely and transparently tactical and strategic reasons.”

The case is Fourth Age Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Digital Distribution Inc., 2:12-cv-009912, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

For more copyright news, click here.

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 Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn


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