News, Views and Muse

Protecting the value of IP is not a strategy reserved for headliner tech companies

Clearly Candace Nelson is a master of promotion.  The California company she founded, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Inc., has been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Martha Stewart Show,” and “Entertainment Tonight,” and she is one of the judges on the “Cupcake Wars” reality television show.

It’s no surprise that such an investment in brand will be coupled with a willingness to defend it, and now Sprinkles has sued Pink Sprinkles LLC for infringement in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, claiming to be harmed by the Connecticut baker’s name and Internet domain name. Sprinkles is asking for an injunction barring the use of “Pink Sprinkles,” transfer of ownership of Pink Sprinkles’ domain name, damages, costs, and destruction of infringing products and marketing collateral.

Trial on Verizon’s alleged VOD infringement begins

Opening arguments began in Norfolk, VA, in the video-on-demand infringement suit brought by ActiveVideo (and inventor Leo Hoarty) against Verizon.  ActiveVideo is seeking $200M in damages.

Spain and Italy file nearly identical challenges to the EU unitary patent movement

In March the European Parliament and Council decided to create (or at least to keep moving towards the creation of) a unitary patent for the EU. Theoretically, the EU patent will make patents granted in one country valid in all participating EU member states, cutting the cost of patent protection.

On July 5, the governments of Spain and Italy filed nearly identical complaints with the European Court of Justice calling for the annulment the March decision, essentially saying the EU does not have the competence to pull it off.

For now Amazon can continue with their “App Store”

Apple is still in trademark litigation with Amazon, but Apple’s request for an injunction prohibiting Amazon’s use of “app store” pending the litigation results was turned down. Apple is being consistent, slapping minor-players Amahi (home servers) and GetJar (wireless application store) with cease and desist letters for their use of “app store.”   The Apple effort is instructive because of how little time it took for “app” to go generic…if indeed the courts find that it has.

Apple loses patent infringement suit on downloadable playlists

Or did they? The court said Apple infringed on patents owned by Personal Audio, a patent licensing company. Personal Audio had asked for $84M in damages for Apple’s unauthorized use of patents numbered 6,199,076 and 7,509,178. (There were other defendants in the case, but they settled earlier.) Damages were assessed at just $8M, so low that Florian Mueller feels there may not even be an appeal.

Whither patent reform?

Patent reform bill H.R. 1249 has not been brought up in the Senate for nearly two weeks because of negotiations over the U.S. government debt ceiling.