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The week in IP - Qualcomm buys HP patents, Candy trade mark leaves bad taste, Rockstar drops suit against Huawei

Michael Loney

A selection of intellectual property stories from around the world that grabbed headlines this week

Have a break ...

Fresh from fighting over the colour purple, chocolate makers Nestlé and Cadbury have been back in court arguing about the registration of a 3D trade mark for Kit Kat chocolate bars. Nestlé applied for protection in the UK; and Cadbury opposed the application.

Following a UK IPO ruling that the four-finger mark had acquired distinctiveness at least for some goods, the case came before Mr Justice Arnold in the High Court. In an opinion last week, he seemed minded to side with Cadbury but decided that the judges of the CJEU should be consulted on two unclear aspects of EU law on 3D marks. Anyone know what their snack of choice is?

Qualcomm stocks up on HP patents

Qualcomm this week acquired a portfolio from Hewlett-Packard of about 1,400 granted patents and pending patent applications from the US and about 1,000 from other countries. The patents cover technologies that include fundamental mobile operating system techniques.

The company makes a lot of money from licensing patents. Its licensing unit brought in $7.6 billion in revenue in 2013, or 30% its total sales. The firm said the acquisition of the HP portfolio would “enable the company to offer even more value to current and future licensees”.

In a fizz

It appears that Veuve Clicquot, the world’s second-largest Champagne house, is not happy with an Italian winery called Ciro Picariello, which sells a wine called Brut Contadino. Veuve Clicquot is worried about confusion with its yellow-label Champagne, and claims to have trade marks for the yellow colour in the EU, US and Australia.

According to a report in The Drinks Business, the French company is trying to resolve the matter amicably and has not yet taken formal legal action. We look forward to seeing how the parties will celebrate if and when they seal the deal.

Rockstar drops suit against Huawei

A consortium made up of Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Sony this week dropped a patent infringement claim against Huawei. Rockstar Consortium in October had filed a number of lawsuits against Huawei, Google and other Android makers claiming they had infringed on patents the consortium bought from Nortel for $4.5 billion.

Candy trade mark leaves bad taste

The computer gaming community was not impressed this week when the USPTO accepted a trademark application from the makers of mobile game Candy Crush Saga for the word “candy”. The trade mark includes games and software, educational services and clothing.

King Limited, the markers of the game, has asked other developers to remove games with the word. It says it has a trade mark for “candy” in the EU as well.

Gaming developers believe it is unfair to approve a trade mark to a single word as common as candy. Other developers have 30 days to file an appeal with the USPTO to claim the trade mark will affect their business. A group of developers are making as many games as they can including “candy” to “fight trademark trolling by making games”.




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