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Samsung, Apple, Google, BMW, Pom Wonderful, Pur Beverages, UK’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit, Uber – the week in IP



Michael Loney


A Federal Circuit denial of Samsung’s request for a rehearing, the IP implications of Google’s Alphabet, a setback for Pom Wonderful in its trade mark fight with Pur Beverages, the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit anti-piracy progress, and an Uber trade secrets case were in the IP headlines in the past week

Also on the blog this week:

Patents, innovation and The Economist

Find out about the research for the 2016 IP Stars

US copyright litigation report reveals file sharing cases now outnumber all others

Samsung denied another bite of the Apple

The Federal Circuit on Thursday denied Samsung’s petition for an en banc rehearing of the case it decided in May. Samsung wanted a rehearing of the part of the verdict related to Apple’s design patents, which accounts for about $400 million of the $548 million in damages Samsung must still pay Apple from their first trial, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Samsung argued that the court was wrong to allow damages to be based on its whole profit rather than a part of it.

The Federal Circuit still has to rule on a second trial that involves Apple’s patents. According to Bloomberg there are two appeals in that case, one involving the underlying liability finding and one involving the issue of whether Apple is entitled to an order blocking sales of some Samsung products.



The IP angle to Google’s Alphabet

The technology media went into meltdown this week with Google’s formation of a holding company called Alphabet.

Its choice of domain for the new company’s website – abc.xyz – attracted attention. According to The Domains, the new gTLD .xyz saw nearly 20,000 domain names registered in the two days after the announcement. The gTLD had been getting about 3,000 new registrants a day up to then.

It also turns out that many other companies had thought of the name Alphabet before Google did. According to Business Insider, BMW is looking into whether Google infringed any trade mark rights. BMW’s Alphabet provides services to companies with vehicle fleets.

Business Insider quoted a BMW spokeswoman as saying: ""We are examining whether there are any implications over trade marks."

Some 103 trade mark registration in the US include the word "alphabet".



The lady is not for turning

A judge has ruled against Pom Wonderful for a second time, reports The Packer. Judge Margaret Morrow of the Central District of California denied the drink maker’s request for an injunction against Pur Beverages on August 6, a repeat of her ruling in January 2014.

The Ninth Circuit of Appeals had sent the case back for rehearing, saying that Morrow had abused her discretion when she concluded Pom did not deserve a preliminary injunction. Circuit Judge David Ebel said at the time: "The district court’s likelihood-of-confusion finding leaves us with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed."

The Packer also reports that the owner of Pur Beverages, Robert Hubbard, is pursuing a trade mark cancellation against Pom, claiming it has abandoned the Pom trade mark because it has replaced the letter "O" with a heart.



UK police claim anti-piracy win

The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) says it has "almost entirely" stopped UK campaigns by the car, food and drink, and property industries being placed on illegal web pages, reports the BBC.

Operation Creative was launched by Pipcu in 2013. The scheme involves a blacklist that is shared with advertisement brokers whose software determines the placement of ads.

Pipcu said there has been a 73% drop in advertising from the top ad spending companies’ on the affected sites.

However, one specialist interviewed by the BBC said the strategy "does not tackle the underlying problem". The specialist said: "[I]f a few [advertising] sectors do indeed pull out, others will automatically take their place, and the effect on the website's income may be negligible."



Uber case driven back to state court

A trade secrets case against ride sharing service Uber has been remanded back to San Francisco Superior Court by the Northern District of California, according to Orrick’s NorCal IP Blog.

The action was brought by Kevin Halpern and Celluride Wireless earlier this year, claiming Uber stole its mobile ride-sharing technology and asserting claims for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract conversion and declaratory relief.

Uber had scored a victory when a judge agreed with Uber’s argument that the plaintiffs claim for conversion was essentially a claim for copying falling under the Copyright Act.

"Uber’s victory was ultimately short lived, though," Orrick explained. "In their reply brief, the Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their conversion claim if Judge White found pre-emption. Judge White obliged, and dismissed the Plaintiffs’ conversion claim with prejudice – and with it, Judge White also dismissed the sole basis for federal jurisdiction. Finding there was no remaining basis to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ remaining claims, Judge White then remanded the action (including the plaintiffs’ remaining state law claims) back to San Francisco Superior Court."



In our news this week:

Davies Collison Cave opens Singapore office

Former Qualcomm director of patents joins Rouse

Can you afford to litigate in the Unified Patent Court?

Why brand owners need to improve communication

Dallas Buyers Club, poisonous priority & UPC locations – news roundup

Twelve tips for identifying and developing patents of value

"A truthful irrelevancy" – Bass responds to Celgene accusations, files three IPRs

Federal Circuit finds direct infringement in Akamai v Limelight remand

A high water mark for comparative advertising

Data – US software patent suits being filed at higher rate than in 2013

Federal Circuit hears arguments on ITC's authority over digital goods

Federal Circuit: ITC may act even when direct infringement occurs after importation

PTAB data – petitions down in July but spike in IPR settlements continues

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