Lumen View, Redskins, Sony, NSA: Intellectual Property
By Victoria Slind-Flor – Oct 28, 2013 7:01 AM ET
Lumen View Technology LLC, a Delaware-based patent holder that has filed more than 20 infringement suits since 2012, asked a federal court to order a company it sued to stop talking to the news media about its settlement offers.
The request, filed in federal court in New York Oct. 22, came in a suit against FindtheBest.com, a company operating a website that enables customer research.
Lumen View filed the suit in May, and in September, FindtheBest.com responded by filing a suit accusing Lumen View of trying to extort a settlement. In that complaint, FindtheBest.com said that counsel for Lumen View had accused its chief executive of committing a “hate crime” for calling one of the investors in Lumen View a “patent troll.” This is a pejorative term sometimes applied to patent owners who don’t make goods or provide services covered by the patents they are attempting to enforce.
That case is Findthebest.com Inc. v. Lumen View Technology LLC, 1:13-cv-006521-DLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
In the request filed in the case against FindtheBest.com, Lumen Technology also asked the court to require the company and its counsel to remove from the Internet its previous media disclosures, blog posts or press releases related to settlement offers.
That case is Lumen View Technology LLC v. Find the Best.Com. Inc., 1:13-cv-03599-DLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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NCAA Loses Bid to Dismiss Ex-Athletes’ Antitrust Claims
The National Collegiate Athletic Association lost a bid to dismiss antitrust claims in a lawsuit brought by ex-athletes over the use of their images and likenesses on television and in video games.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, denied the NCAA’s request Oct. 25 to throw out claims by ex-college athletes that the association conspired to block them from commercial use of their names, images and likenesses.
A four-year-old lawsuit by former University of California-Los Angeles college basketball forward Ed O’Bannon challenges the traditional notion that only the NCAA, conferences and schools can profit from selling the rights to players’ likenesses used in broadcasts and other media.
The NCAA says the claims are trumped by its rules designating college athletes as amateurs. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 1984 ruling upheld those rules.
Wilken said rules maintaining “the revered tradition of amateurism in college sports” don’t “stand for the sweeping proposition that student-athletes must be barred, both during their college years and forever thereafter, from receiving any monetary compensation for the commercial use of the names, images and likenesses.”
The NCAA’s press office didn’t respond to an e-mail message seeking comment on the ruling. Robert Carey, O’Bannon’s attorney, had no immediate comment.
Wilken said the NCAA may still challenge the athletes antitrust claims at a later stage of the case, and the players will need to show evidence that archival game footage and live game broadcasts were used primarily for commercial purposes. She gave the NCAA 14 days to respond to the athletes’ amended complaint.
O’Bannon alleged that the NCAA conspired with video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) to restrain athletes’ ability to profit from the use of their likenesses. EA announced in September that it settled claims against it and will pay athletes $40 million. The second-largest U.S. video-game publisher also said it was canceling its college football title for next year because of legal issues.
The case is In re NCAA Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, 09-cv-01967, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).
Washington NFL Team Denies ‘Braveheart’ Application Connection
The Washington Redskins National Football League team has no connection to a trademark application filed by a neighbor of team owner Daniel Snyder, a spokesman told the Washington Business Journal.
Nixon & Vanderhye PC’s Donna Bunton filed an application Oct. 17 to register “Washington Bravehearts” on behalf of Snyder neighbor Aris Mardirossian, specifying that the mark would be used with “entertainment in the nature of football games,” according to the Washington Business Journal.
Snyder has been under pressure by Native American groups to change the team name on the grounds that it is racist and derogatory, the newspaper reported.
Mardirossian is the founder of Technology Patents LLC, according to Washington Business Journal.
Armenian Commission Fines Telecom for Infringing Trademark
The Armenian State Economic Competition Protection Commission acted in response to a complaint by Orange Armenia that ArmentTel’s “Parzic Parz” mobile phone package sounded too much like “Parz,” which Orange Armenia used to one of its packages, according to Hetq.
In its complaint, Orange Armenia said ArmenTel’s ads featured orange and red billiard balls, which was a ply on Orange Armenia’s signature color, Hetq reported.
Orange Armenia registered “Parz” as a brand name in 2011, Hetq reported.
Maryland’s Moonshine Tavern Changing Name Over Trademark Issue
The Moonshine Tavern in Canton, Maryland, will switch its name to Myth & Moonshine Oct. 31, following six months of negotiations with Austin, Texas’ Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, according to the newspaper.
The Maryland restaurant features cocktails made from some of its 65 varieties of moonshine, a term formerly used for home-distilled liquor, the Business Journal reported.
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Sony Sues United Airlines Over Use of In-Flight Music, Videos
The suit, filed Oct. 22 in federal court in New York, alleges that the airline is using content from Arista and several other Sony units as part of its in-flight music service without authorization or compensation.
Appended to the complaint is a lengthy list of musical performances Japan’s Sony Corp claims are infringed. They include performances by cellist Yo Yo Ma, country singers Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, and by Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Hudson and the “Glee” cast.
Sony claims that the airline and its partner producers of in-flight entertainment have used thousands of the music company’s sound recordings and music videos without a license or any other form of authorization.
The music company seeks a court order barring further unauthorized use of its content, together with seizure and destruction of all allegedly infringing copies of its sound recordings and music videos, together with awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.
United spokeswoman Christen David said in an e-mail that her company declined to comment on pending litigation.
The case is Arista Music v. United Airlines Inc., 1:13-cv-07451-AT, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Danish Business Group Backs Down on NSA Monitoring Claims
Dansk Industri, Denmark’s largest business advocacy group, issued a statement saying it had no information that the National Security Agency had spied on Danish businesses and passed the information on to U.S. companies, the Copenhagen Post reported.
The statement came after Tom Tosgverd, head of the organization’s telecom monitoring branch told the Politiken newspaper that following Edward Snowden’s revelations of alleged targeting of various European countries, it would be “naive” to think that the NSA hadn’t been monitoring Danish companies, according to the newspaper.
Morten Bodskov, Denmark’s justice minister, then told Politiken that he had no reason to believe there had been unlawful monitoring of Denmark or Danish business interests, the Post reported.
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