Bloomberg News

Levi Strauss, Zillow, Citadel: Intellectual Property

August 14, 2014

Icon Laser Solutions LLC of Fort Worth, Texas, filed three patent-infringement suits in the past month against clothing makers including Levi Strauss & Co. over a process for using lasers to mark and fade textiles.

While Icon is asking for money damages in all three cases, filed in Dallas federal court, it hasn’t requested a court order barring further use of the technology.

Other defendants are Gap Inc. (GPS:US) and VF Corp. (VFC:US) VF didn’t respond

immediately to e-mailed requests seeking comment on the claims. A Levi Strauss spokeswoman, Amber Rensen, said in an e-mail that her company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. A Gap spokeswoman also said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The cases are Icon Laser Solutions LLC v. VF Corp., 14-cv-02887; Icon Laser Solutions LLC v. Levi Strauss & Co., 14-cv-02885 and Icon Laser Solutions LLC v. Gap Inc., 14-cv-02622, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Zillow’s Challenge to ‘LoanZilla’ Mark Rejected at Patent Office

Zillow Inc. (Z:US), the Seattle-based online real estate listing service, lost its challenge to a trademark application filed by a mortgage brokerage.

Super T Financial Inc. of Bellevue, Washington, filed an application to register “LoanZilla” as a trademark for mortgage services. Zillow objected, saying the use of “zilla” was too close to its own trademarks.

An appeal board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office disagreed, finding the two marks phonetically and visually distinguishable.

The board noted that Zillow said its name was based on its desire “to make zillions of data points for homes accessible to everyone.” The LoanZilla name instead made reference to Godzilla, the giant lizard featured in Japanese films, the board said.

Super T Financial said in its filings that the term “Zilla” is “‘routinely used by many industries to imply something large, dominating and/or intimidating.’’

In its ruling, the board said the evidence supported Super T’s contention that ‘‘zilla’’ suggests an association with the attributes of the movie monster, and that this is the impression that customers will receive from the trademark.

David Yurman Claims George Website Infringes Jewelry Copyrights

David Yurman Inc., a maker of high-end women’s and men’s jewelry and watches, sued a Georgia-based website operator for copyright infringement.

According to the complaint filed Aug. 12 in Manhattan federal court, copies of Yurman designs are being sold through the DashingDaisy.com. Operators of the website live in Atlanta, Yurman said in its pleadings.

The allegedly infringed designs are from Yurman’s Cable, Albion, Mosaic, Renaissance, X and Infinity collections. According to Yurman’s own website, some of these items sell for as much as $9,500.

Yurman said DashingDaisy was sent a cease-and-desist notice in March 2013, to no avail. The knockoffs, which are promoted as ‘‘David Yurman inspired” continue to be sold through the site, according to the complaint.

DashingDaisy didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is David Yurman Enterprises Inc. v. Kim, 14-cv-006394, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Court Orders Sanctions for Infringement Evidence Destruction

A federal judge in Manhattan sanctioned a defendant for destroying e-mail that was relevant to infringement allegations in a copyright case involving a consulting firm that provides regulatory advice to the financial-services industry.

At issue in the 2013 case was Regulatory Fundamentals Group LLC’s copyrighted work, which the company claimed was misappropriated by Gregory V. Wood, the Connecticut-based owner of Governance Risk Management Compliance and Manhattan Advisors LLC, and placed on his companies’ website without permission.

U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest entered a judgment Aug. 6 in favor of New York-based Regulatory Fundamentals. In her order, the judge said Wood deleted every relevant e-mail in an effort to avoid liability. The judge also said she will also consider an award of attorney fees.

The case is Regulatory Fundamentals Group LLC v. Governance Risk Management Compliance LLC, 13-cv-02493, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Second Ex-Citadel Worker Pleads Guilty in Trade-Secrets Case

A former Citadel LLC employee whose job was to research and develop high-frequency trading strategies pleaded guilty to obstructing a probe into the theft of trade secrets from the Chicago-based investment firm.

Sahil Uppal, 26, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle in Chicago five days after a co-defendant, Yihao Pu, pleaded guilty to taking proprietary information from Citadel and to stealing computer code from a New Jersey company. Their trial had been set for Sept. 2.

Led by founder Kenneth C. Griffin, Citadel manages more than $20 billion in assets, according to its website.

Pu and Uppal joined Griffin’s firm four months apart in 2010 after working for a Red Bank, New Jersey, investment technologies business, according to an April 2013 indictment.

Pu, who faced more than 20 counts of crimes including wire fraud, theft of trade secrets, computer fraud and obstruction, pleaded guilty to two counts of stealing trade secrets.

The case is U.S. v. Pu, 11-cr-00699, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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 David Glovin


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Companies Mentioned

  • GPS
    (Gap Inc/The)
    • $44.12 USD
    • 0.09
    • 0.2%
  • VFC
    (VF Corp)
    • $66.34 USD
    • 0.32
    • 0.48%
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