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Apple, Nobel Prize, Kim Dotcom, Bose, Beats, Chobani, Rader bobbleheads – the week in IP



Michael Loney


Apple being the world’s most-valuable brand, Kim Dotcom’s downfall, the patent involved in the Nobel Physics Prize, a trade mark fight over the word “how”, Bose and Beats agreeing a settlement, and a Randall Rader bobblehead competition were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

Apple: the most valuable brand

The brand and logo of Apple has been identified as the most valuable in the world, with a value of almost $119 billion, according to the Interbrand Best Global Brands annual report. This is more than the GDP of Morocco, Ecuador or Oman, reports The Guardian.

Google’s brand value was up 15% to $107 billion, putting it in second place ahead of Coca-Cola, which was up 3% to $81.5 billion, followed by IBM (with $72.2 billion) and Microsoft ($45.5 billion).

Facebook rose the most in this year’s rankings. Its brand value increased 86% to reach $14.3 billion. That placed it at 29th.

In contrast, Finnish mobile phone company Nokia fell 41 places to 9th, with a $41.1 billion value. Nintendo fell 33 places to 100th.


Kim Dotcom bubble bursts

Kim Dotcom has been very successful at being a thorn in the side of the music industry. But he has been less successful in his foray into New Zealand politics, as detailed in a story on The Diplomat this week called "The downfall of Kim Dotcom".

The Internet Mana alliance – a coalition of Dotcom’s Internet Party and the leftist party Mana, which advocates for Maori interests – failed to win any of the 120 seats in New Zealand’s elections held on September 20.

Dotcom lives in New Zealand. The US has been eager for him to be extradited after a 2012 raid by New Zealand police with the help of FBI agents. The Internet Party ran against mass surveillance and argued for free tertiary education and marijuana law reform.

The Diplomat said the Internet Party gained initial interest. But antics such as a repeated expletive-filled chant against New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and a burning of an effigy of him turned voters off.

As The Diplomat relays: "New Zealand voters’ loathing of Kim Dotcom and his tainting of the country’s left played no small part in delivering Key’s center-right National Party a landslide victory. After the election, a jubilant Key had only one piece of advice for the defeated Dotcom. 'Go away.’"


$180 for a prize-winning patent

One of this week’s winners of the Physics Nobel Prize years ago sold his patent for the discovery that won him the award for $180.

The winners of the prize were Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University, Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University and Shuji Nakamura of University of California, Santa Barbara. The three had worked on producing blue LEDs in the early 1990s. Previously only red and green LEDs had been invented. The creation of blue LEDs allowed the development of colour LED screens and a way of making white light that is now used in LED bulbs.

At the time, Nakamura worked for Nichia Chemicals, while the other two worked at the University of Nagoya. Nichia paid Nakamura $180 for the patent in the early 1990s. He sued in 2001. In 2004 a Tokyo Court ruled that Nichia had earned more than $1.1 billion in profits from blue LEDs and added six zeros to the original payment – awarding Nichia $180 million in compensation. (Managing IP covered the famous blue LED case back in 2003).

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences this week commented when awarding the prize:"Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps. Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps."


Lawsuit-cancelling headphones

Bose and Beats have settled a lawsuit related to noise-cancelling headphones.

Bose sued the Apple-owned Beats in July, accusing it of infringing five patents. It sought damages and an injunction to ban the sale of infringing Beats products. Apple announced it was buying Beats for $3 billion in May. The deal closed at the end of August.

A court filing this week in District of Delaware said the two parties have settled their respective claims and want to dismiss the case. No more details about the settlement were given other than to say both parties will be responsible for their own costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees.

 

How about that?

The New York Times this week – in a story with the confusing  headline " If the Word 'How’ Is Trademarked, Does This Headline Need a ™?" – reported on a bitter-legal battle between a best-seling author and Greek yogurt maker Chobani.

Author Dov Seidman has distilled his business of helping companies create more ethical cultures down to one word: how.

Chobani, founded in 2005, has recently strated using the prhase "How matters", a phrase previously used by Seidman in some of his materials. Seidman sued Chobani and its advertising agency to try to halt Chobani’s advertising campaign because it infringes his trade mark for the word how.
 

The great Randall Rader bobblehead giveaway

One of the more unexpected emails into Managing IP’s inbox this week came from Santa Clara Law, heralding the news that not only did such a thing as a Randall Rader bobblehead exist but also that they were giving two of them away.

A fair amount of thought has gone into the bobblehead. For instance, the former Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit holds a microphone in his right hand to symbolize "his status as a front man of DeNovo, and in many respects, of the patent bar itself", it says here.

He holds a nail in his left hand to symbolise both the NAIL polypeptide that revived the "obvious to try" doctrine and the nail-shaped trocar that clarified the law of co-inventorship and co-ownership.

To submit an entry, click here. But hurry, entries will not be accepted after close of business Monday.




Also on the blog this week:

Time to rethink the limits to trade mark rights?

Is Alice deterring US patent case filings?

Are utility models a key part of India’s economic strategy?

Who will be the UPC winners and losers?

Are patent boxes more than an IP-shifting exercise?

The worldwide problem of commercialisation

And in our news and analysis:

They tried to make me go to PTAB…

Federal Circuit orders Eastern District of Texas to stay Rockstar case

Indonesia’s new copyright law puts landlords on alert

Social media revealed as the new counterfeiting frontline

Brown Rudnick hires two in New York from Winston & Strawn

Honigman hires partner in Michigan from Harness Dickey

Academics call for EU law to protect trade mark fair use

Interview: Unified Patents targets more zones to protect against NPEs

PTAB petition filing down in September, second PGR filed

Canada’s Trademarks Act and Bill C-8 legislation makes progress

Federal Circuit schedules first IPR appeal argument

Singapore designated PCT international search authority

WilmerHale adds IP partner in London

Former IP High Court Chief Judge joins Yuasa and Hara

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