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Spherix shares rise then fall, .club takes number one gTLD slot, Apple requests retrial, Marines go on trade mark offensive – the week in IP

Apple requesting a retrial with Samsung, shares in Spherix surging then plummeting, the .club domain name becoming the number one gTLD, the Marines increasing trade mark filing, and a potential thawing in Disney’s attitude to copyright infringement were among the intellectual property stories hitting the headlines this week

Below is a selection of intellectual property stories attracting attention on the internet in the past week that were not covered on (see the bottom of this blog post for the top stories published by Managing IP this week).

Apple wants rematch

Despite talks of a cease fire between the two electronics giants, Apple has requested a retrial of the California case in which a jury ordered Samsung to pay it $119.5 million in damages for infringing two of its patents. Apple also filed a permanent injunction to stop Samsung using the patents it was found to have infringed.

Apple had been seeking $2.2 billion in the case in which Samsung was found to have infringed two of four patents being disputed as well as another patent that Judge Lucy Koh had already ruled was infringed. Apple for its part was found to have infringed one Samsung patent and told to pay damages of $158,400.

Florian Mueller, a prominent blogger who has been watching the case closely, said Judge Koh is unlikely to be swayed by Apple’s arguments that the trial was prejudiced.

“She may make some minor adjustments to the verdict, and then she'll let the parties appeal the unfavorable parts of the ruling to the Federal Circuit,” Mueller said in a blog post. “Thereafter, there may be a retrial – but in the meantime the parties will probably settle because this litigation has become a waste of resources.”

Domain owners rush In Da .Club

New domain name .club has taken the number one spot of all the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) names.

After a New York launch party last week, hosted by rapper 50 Cent, .Club Domains, the company operating the new gTLD, announced more than 60,000 new .club web addresses were registered in under three weeks of general availability.

At the New York event 50 Cent launched a new fan site at When .club went live on May 7, more than 32,000 domain names sold in the first 24 hours, making it the biggest debut of any new generic domain.

Spherix’s up and down week

Shares in IP monetization company Spherix surged and then plummeted this week.

After closing at $1.51 on Friday May 23 before the Memorial Day holiday, shares closed at $2.97 Tuesday and $3.46 Wednesday – a 130% increase in two days. However, much of this increase was wiped out Thursday and Friday, with the shares closing at $2.07 and then $1.93.

The reason for the spike in share price? Senator Patrick Leahy pulling his patent reform bill off the table. Shperix’s management was very pleased with this turn of events. “The removal of this bill from the Senate Judiciary Committee schedule should remove some of the uncertainty which has been clouding our industry," said Spherix CEO Anthony Hayes. "Spherix is committed to responsibly protecting the patents it owns, and we remain eager to work with companies large and small to reach fair agreements."

Hayes would have been less pleased to see his share price slump again. This was prompted by the firm announcing a registered direct offering of preferred stock.

All of this is a far cry from the $21.70 share price the firm was enjoying in August last year, a fact that also led to an investigation from a law firm this week.

Marines get tough on trade marks

The New York Times reported that the Marines had been to the USPTO 68 times in the past year to get trade marks on products including Guadalcanal sweatshirts, the Tip of the Spear newsletter, and “Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body” water bottles.

In comparison, the Marines registered only one trade mark in 2003 and four in 2008. This began to pick up in 2010 and the first half of 2011 when the Marines registered nine trade marks.

After the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, Disney tried to get a trade mark on the “SEAL Team Six” name. This prompted the Navy to hit back and get trade marks on the phrases “SEAL team” and “Navy SEALS”.

The article noted that many servicemen and women had returned from action and set up small businesses, causing a big spike in people using military branding to sell goods and services in 2012 and 2013.

“Because we’ve been in two wars in 10 years, we’ve had a lot of patriotism,” the New York Times quoted Philip Greene, the Marines’ trade mark counsel, as saying. “A lot of people are getting out of the service, saying, ‘I want to go into business.’ ” He said the “unpleasant part of my job” is saying no to someone wanting to show their patriotism in branding.

The article added that the marines had collected $5.4 million in trade mark licensing fees since 2009.

Disney thaws on copyright?

Disney has begun to worry less about copyright infringement, according to an article on this week – “or at least a little bit”, the article said.

The firm’s Frozen film has become a phenomenon among girls – especially for the song Let It Go – and has also sparked many parodies online. The article said there is anecdotal evidence that Disney has realized that the same people who buy soundtracks, DVDs and merchandise are the same people who make and share potentially infringing YouTube videos.

“Although Disney once viewed YouTube with alarm, the company now seems to realise that fan-created content — even in cases where that content is generating revenue that is not captured by Disney — is cross-promotional marketing that money can’t buy,” the article said.

Managing IP published the following stories this week, available to subscribers and trialists:

USPTO to open Denver satellite office on June 30

UK reveals orphan works plan

Mayer Brown adds 11-lawyer team from Steptoe & Johnson

Tay & Partners adds new IP Partner

Hong Kong IPD appoints new director

From the blog:

The bottom line benefits of gender diversity

Learn to optimise your IP supply chain

Looking forward to the International IP Enforcement Summit, London, June 11-12

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