Samsung, Apple, Hyundai, Tardis: Intellectual Property
By Victoria Slind-Flor - Nov 13, 2013 7:01 AM ET
Apple Inc. (AAPL) is set for a replay of a court fight against Samsung Electronics Co. in which the iPhone maker may seek to recoup more than the $411 million in damages a judge cut from a $1.05 billion jury award in 2012 over patents.
Jury selection began yesterday in San Jose, California, in a retrial over how much Samsung should pay for infringement of Apple’s intellectual property. The original verdict in August 2012, which was the year’s largest in the U.S. at the time, was found by a judge to be flawed because jurors miscalculated the period that the infringement occurred for some of the 28 Samsung devices on trial.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will instruct jurors at the outset of the retrial that the previous nine-member jury found Samsung infringed five valid Apple patents and that their “sole job” is to determine the amount of damages Samsung must pay for the infringement of 13 Samsung products. While Apple hasn’t said how much it will seek, this jury’s revision of the damages to properly account for the infringement may result in more than the $410.6 million subtracted from the previous award, according to Carl Howe, an analyst with Yankee Group.
“The argument at this point is simply about how much Samsung must pay Apple,” Howe said. “In my view, there is no chance that the penalties assessed will be small; the argument is just over whether they will be big or huge.”
Koh concluded in March that the original jury may have overstated damages by basing its calculations on incorrect dates for when Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung was first on notice that its products infringed Apple’s patents. She also found that the jury mistakenly awarded damages on profits for some Samsung products that infringed only utility patents, which isn’t legally permitted.
Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, and Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on the retrial.
The judge has said in court filings that evidence at the retrial should “hew as closely as possible to that presented at the original trial — with the exception of the corrected notice dates.”
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
Apple in Trial With Inventor Who Calls Smartphone His Idea
Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable technology company, faces a trial over claims by a California inventor that a patent he holds covers key features of the iPhone.
Apple maintains the NetAirus Technologies LLC patent is invalid because the technology was known long before the company filed its patent. Cupertino, California-based Apple has won pretrial rulings that cap any recovery NetAirus may win.
The company owned by inventor Richard L. Ditzik filed the patent application in 1997 for a handheld device that combines computer and wireless-communications functions over both a local-area network and a wide-area network. Jury selection started yesterday in Los Angeles federal court in the lawsuit, filed 3 1/2 years ago by NetAirus.
Apple said in court filings that its Newton message pad, with add-on hardware, could perform the same functions as those claimed by NetAirus’s patent as early as 1994.
U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt last year allowed NetAirus to proceed on its claim that the iPhone infringes its patent for a mobile phone configured as a personal digital assistant that switches between a Wi-Fi and a cellular network connection.
NetAirus can’t seek damages for alleged infringement that occurred before Oct. 8, 2012, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a reexamination certificate that the judge agreed “substantially” changed the patent’s claims. The ruling narrows the potential damages to sales of iPhone 4 models after that date.
NetAirus filed a new complaint against Apple in May for patent infringement by the iPad, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
The case is NetAirus Technologies LLC v. Apple Inc., 10-cv-03257, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
Hyundai Rejected by Supreme Court on $11.5 Million Patent Award
The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) unit’s appeal of an $11.5 million award in a patent lawsuit over a means of creating customized printed proposals for prospective customers.
The justices yesterday let stand a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the award, won by Clear With Computers LLC against Hyundai Motor America Inc.
Hyundai contended that faulty jury instructions given by a federal trial judge undermined the company’s bid to invalidate the Clear With Computers patent. Hyundai said similar electronic-proposal systems were already available in the marketplace when the patent application was filed.
The case is Hyundai v. Clear With Computers, 13-296.
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Rights to ‘Dr. Who’ Tardis Disputed by Heir to Series Creator
The son of the writer who created the first episode of the BBC’s “Dr. Who” science-fiction television series is disputing the network’s right to the “Tardis” — the blue police phone box time machine that is bigger on the inside than on the outside — used in the program, the U.K.’s Independent reported.
James Anthony Coburn, who died in 1977, wrote “An Unearthly Child,” the first episode in what is now the world’s longest running science-fiction serial, the Independent reported.
His son Stef Coburn claims the idea of a police phone box as a time machine was entirely his father’s and has demanded that the BBC halt its use of the Tardis or pay a fee for each use since that first program, according to the newspaper.
The BBC, which will run a program about the show’s genesis in connection with its 50th anniversary this year, said it’s considering the complaint and that its copyright until now had been unchallenged since the network registered it in the 1980s, according to the Independent.
Anheuser-Busch Sued Over Use of ‘Lady’ in Bud Light Commercial
Anheuser-Busch LLC was sued for infringement by the owner of the copyright to “Lady,” a song performed by the American rock band Styx.
Dobre Films LLC, based in Los Angeles, is a co-defendant.
The lawsuit is related to the alleged unauthorized use of “Lady” in a commercial for Bud Light beer made by Dobre. Wooden Nickel Music of New York said it owns the copyright to both the music and its performance in the recording by Styx.
The music company claims that Dobre’s video “Bud Light Commercial-The Elevator” was uploaded to Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing website. At the beginning of the video, the text states this is a “Budlight Commercial Spec” directed by Christopher D’Elia, and a notice that the copyright for the commercial belongs to Dobre Films.
Counsel for Wooden Nickel contacted Anheuser-Busch in August, notifying the brewer of the use of its music and asking whether the company obtained a license to use it, and, if so, from whom.
Although counsel for Anheuser-Busch replied, saying the company had no record of ever seeing the commercial and that the company wasn’t responsible for Dobre’s use of the music, Wooden Nickel named the brewer as a co-defendant with Dobre.
Wooden Nickel asked the court to bar further unauthorized use of its content, and for awards of money damages, profits the defendants realized flowing from their alleged infringement, attorney fees and litigation costs.
Neither Anheuser-Busch nor Dobre responded immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.
The case is Wooden Nickel Music v. Anheuser-Busch LLC, 13-cv-08145, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
High Court Will Not Hear Case Involving Gagosian Gallery
Patrick Cariou, a Paris-based photographer, sued the gallery, its owner Larry Gagosian, Prince and Rizzoli Publishing Italia Srl for copyright infringement in December 2008. The photographer accused the defendants of unauthorized use of the photos in his book “Yes Rasta,” which contains a series of photos of Rastafarians.
Prince used the photos from the book in a variety of ways, including scanning them into a computer and incorporating them into his paintings, Cariou said in his pleadings.
“Canal Zone,” a show of the Prince paintings, was held at the gallery, and Rizzoli published a book of the same name and based on the show.
According to court papers, the show of the infringing art was so successful that eight of the paintings were sold for a total of $10.5 million, with 60 percent of the proceeds going to the artist and the other 40 percent to the gallery.
In March 2011, a federal judge in Manhattan found that the gallery and the artist did infringe, saying “it has been a matter of settled law for well over 100 years that creative photographs are worthy of copyright protection even when they depict real people and natural environments.”
She gave the artist, the gallery and the book publisher 10 days to deliver of all infringing art and unsold copies of the catalog for destruction. She also required them to notify any present or future owners of the Price paintings that the work infringes the photographer’s copyright and because of this they “cannot be lawfully displayed.”
Gagosian and Prince then appealed. The federal appeals court said in April that the lower court ruling reached too far to find infringement, and that most of the accused works fell into copyright law’s area of “fair use” because they were sufficiently transformative.
Cariou then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a rehearing. The court declined to hear the case without comment yesterday.
The lower court case was Cariou v. Prince, 08-cv-11327, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeal was Cariou v. Prince, 11-1197, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).
The Supreme Court case is Cariou v. Prince, 13-261.
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Animal Sanctuary Bars Bear Fan’s Visits Over Trademark Dispute
Because of a trademark dispute, a Glendale, California, resident is barred from visiting the animal sanctuary where a bear she helped saved now resides, the Glendale News Press reported.
Meatball the bear was headed for euthanization for his wanderings in suburban neighborhoods before Sarah Aujero began a media campaign to raise funds to relocate him to Lions, Tigers & Bears, an animal sanctuary in Alpine, California, according to the newspaper.
The sanctuary asked Aujero to give up all rights to his name and to the account on Twitter Inc.’s short-messaging service she used in the campaign and when she refused, told her she was no longer welcome at the facility, the News Press reported.
Bobbi Brink, founder of the sanctuary, said it’s simply trying to protect animals from exploitation, the newspaper reported.
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