For some months, Larry Flynt and his brother Jimmy have been engaged in litigation to determine the ownership of the “Hustler Empire.” Well folks, this long-running courtroom soap opera has come to an end. Not wishing to keep our loyal readers in suspense any longer, the result is: Larry won. He is now legally recognized as the sole emperor of the porn empire. Jimmy’s claim of a partnership interest was denied.
We promised our readers that we would let them know if the outstandingly contentious case of Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation v. Actelion Ltd., et al. ever actually went to trial (see our previous blog entry, Decorum). Well, it did.
“If t’were done, t’were best done quickly” – good advice for murderers and attorneys. (Tivo Inc. v. Echostar Corporation et. al.)
The long-running Lime Wire saga is over. It ended not with a resounding jury decision as to the amount of damages suffered by the “record labels,” but an anti-climactic, last-minute settlement, albeit one in the amount of $105 million.
Although the jury sitting in the damages trial never had the opportunity to return a verdict, the trial did offer some interesting, not to say dramatic, moments.
General Patent’s Subsidiary, Advanced Video Technologies, Licenses Isonic under Its Full Duplex Single Chip Video Codec Patent
Suffern, N.Y., May 24, 2011 - General Patent Corporation (GPC), a leading patent licensing and enforcement firm, announced today on behalf of its subsidiary, Advanced Video Technologies LLC (AVT), that it settled a patent infringement lawsuit with Imation Corporation of Oakdale, Minn., and Isonic Corporation of New York, N.Y.
While Japan is making great strides in nuclear power plant operation and associated public relations management, and China is developing startling new food additives, the United States remains the world leader in “the development of technological advances in the muzzle-loading firearms industry.” Should the reader be unfamiliar with muzzle-loading firearms, think of Davey Crockett and his trusty rifle, “Old Betsey” (for the benefit of those readers whose memories have grown dim, Crockett was the character in the Disney movies who roamed the woods wearing a coonskin yarmulke).
It appears that the folks at the Jim Beam distillery may have been sampling some of their fine Old Crow bourbon. In any event, they once again find themselves being sued for trademark infringement. (See our previous blog, A Sober Investment) (Rare Breed Distillery LLC v. Jim Beam Brands Co.)
For those readers who may have missed the latest episode in the long-running legal soap-opera, Bryant v. Mattel Inc., we provide the following summary.
As a general rule, lying under oath is not a good idea. However, if you simply must lie, try to make it plausible. (be2 LLC v. Ivanov).
be2, the operator of dating website be2.com, sued Ivanov, in Illinois, alleging that he was the CEO of a Bulgarian dating website that used the “confusingly similar” web address be2.net.
Neither Ivanov, nor any other Bulgarian, responded to the suit and, in due course, be2 (the American dating website) was awarded a default judgment against Ivanov and be2 (the Bulgarian dating website).
May 20, 2011 - Eolas Technologies Inc. has settled with JPMorgan Chase & Co., which was a defendant in Eolas Technologies Inc. v. Adobe Systems Inc., et al. The lawsuit is still pending against several other defendants in a wide array of industries, including Amazon, Apple, Citigroup, Frito-Lay, Adobe, J.C. Penney, PepsiCo, YouTube and others.
Under some circumstances it is legally permissible for two different parties to employ the same trademark for different goods. Generally, this involves goods which are so disparate that ordinary consumers would not assume that they originated from a common source. The classic example of this is the use of CADILLAC as a trademark for both automobiles and dog food. Automobile manufacturers do not produce dog food and dog food producers do not manufacture automobiles. Hence, erroneous belief that there is a common source for both goods is unlikely.
A wise man picks his battles or, more precisely, knows which battles to avoid. (Righthaven LLC v. Kayse Jama and Center For Intercultural Organizing)
As anyone who has dealt with lawyers can attest, they NEVER DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION – even information which is otherwise readily available and not confidential – NOTHING. Sometimes this is good practice, but sometimes it comes back to bite them where they sit. (BIAX Corporation v. NVIDIA Corporation, et al.)
GPC's Alexander Poltorak was interviewed regarding the implications of a ruling in a highly watched case ("Appeals Court Vacates Rambus's Patent Win Vs Hynix," Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2011 - subscription required).
May 16, 2011 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ruled that Rambus Inc. was wrong to shred documents related to its lawsuits against Micron Technology and Hynix Semiconductor, and sent the cases back to the lower courts that originally heard them.
The ruling was based on evidence (from another of Rambus' patent lawsuits) that Rambus held "shred days" - complete with "pizza, beer, champagne, etc." - as part of its preparation for patent infringement litigation.
May 13, 2011 - A judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that Eastman Kodak does not infringe two of Apple Inc.'s patents on certain aspects of image-processing in digital cameras and mobile devices.
Apple filed this lawsuit as a countersuit after Eastman Kodak sued them and Research in Motion (RIM) for infringement of its image-preview patent. The ITC overruled that complaint in January 2011.
Apple and Eastman Kodak are still involved in two other lawsuits in a federal district court in Rochester, N.Y.
The copyright infringement suit brought by approximately the entire recording industry against Lime Wire is about to come to an end. A trial on the issue of DAMAGES is scheduled to begin on May 2. (Early in the case, the Court disposed of the question of LIABILITY by granting a summary judgment that Lime Wire was guilty of “secondary copyright infringement.”) In preparation for this momentous anti-climax, the Court recently issued three pre-trial decisions.
In claim drafting, like the song says, “little things mean a lot.” (Mikkelsen Graphic Engineering Inc. v. Zund America, Inc.)
The Canadian Press - "BlackBerry maker could be on its own or part of group for bid on Nortel patents"
Richard Ehrlickman, GPC's Vice President of Intellectual Property and Licensing and President and founder of IPOfferings (GPC's patent brokerage), was interviewed about the developing bidding war over the Nortel patent portfolio (BlackBerry maker could be on its own or part of group for bid on Nortel patents, The Canadian Press, May 9, 2011).
May 6, 2011 - Rosetta Stone Inc., which develops language-learning software, said in a statement that it has settled 77 cases against counterfeiters.
The defendants were in 73 cities and 27 states, and were found to infringe Rosetta's copyrights and trademarks through copying, downloading, sharing or selling pirated versions of Rosetta Stone software.
Often, lawyers are accused of being rude, undignified, discourteous and just plain obnoxious in the courtroom (and elsewhere, but that’s another matter). They generally respond that they are merely meeting their obligation to vigorously and zealously represent their clients. It is certainly true that they have such an obligation; yet, there must be some point beyond which their behavior is simply unacceptable. While we don’t know exactly where this point may be, it was certainly far exceeded in one recent case, where boorishness reached new heights.
May 4, 2011 - When we last reported on this lawsuit on October 17, 2010, the U.S. Patent Office had affirmed TiVo's patent on its "Time Warp" technology (a DVR system that allows the user to record one program while watching another).
May 2, 2011 - Crayola, aka Binney and Smith, and a small competitor called C2C Technologies are involved in litigation over whether Crayola's new washable colored bubbles infringe C2C's patent.