Manuel Noriega? You Can’t Be Serious!

Submitted by patentadmin on Fri, 07/25/2014 - 02:49

What we cannot believe is that he found an attorney to represent him and file this lawsuit!

The dethroned former dictator of Panama – who is in federal lockup for drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering – is suing Activision Entertainment for the “blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain” of Noriega’s image in its “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” videogame! 

Add Rockstar to the Patent Troll Club

Submitted by patentadmin on Fri, 07/25/2014 - 02:47

In a previous diatribe, we pointed out how Microsoft, by enforcing patents it purchased from Rockstar Consortium (patents it did not develop and does not practice), has become one of the patent trolls it so vigorously lambastes. But since Rockstar Consortium has now filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Google and several cellphone manufacturers, that makes Rockstar a patent troll, too!

Lessons from Alice in Patent-Land

Submitted by patentadmin on Sun, 06/22/2014 - 18:27

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. V. CLS Bank International et. al.. What are the takeaways of this decision?

Here, in a summary form, are five lessons we can learn from Alice:

  1. Financial methods, even if computerized, are not patentable when well-known methods are merely implemented on a generic computer.

Tesla Tosses its Patents: Do­-Good or Do­-Well Strategy?

Submitted by patentadmin on Mon, 06/16/2014 - 13:34

If you want to join the Open Source movement, hop aboard an electric car for a ride. Or so says Tesla. Yesterday they opened their patents to all. Their press release begins with a dramatic statement, “Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement.”

What Would Atticus Do?

Submitted by patentadmin on Thu, 05/22/2014 - 21:59

Last year, Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Monroe County Heritage Museum in Monroeville, Alabama. The suit claimed unauthorized use of Lee’s name on souvenirs sold by the museum. 

Timing is Everything

Submitted by patentadmin on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 21:53

As the litigation drags on between Apple and Samsung and each side accuses the other of various acts of infringement, every once in a while an interesting bit of information comes to light. This month, Apple explained that it is entitled to $2.2 billion in damages because of...timing.

Beastie Boys Prevail in Copyright Dispute with GoldieBlox

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 19:17

Remember the toymakers who used a Beastie Boys song without permission and then filed suit against the band when they were asked to stop using the song? (see "GoldieBlox and the Three Beasties").

GoldieBlox had argued that their usage of the Beastie Boys' song "Girls" was fair use because it was a "parody" - actually, that they intended it to transform the song into "a powerful anthem for girls" (with an accompanying video that, conveniently, features little girls playing with GoldieBlox products).

GoldieBlox and the Three Beasties

Submitted by patentadmin on Sun, 12/08/2013 - 18:23

One of this holiday season's most anticipated gifts is an engineering toy set marketed to girls. The GoldieBlox building sets got a lot of attention from a promotional video that the company released on the Internet and that went viral.

And then the GoldieBlox folks got even more attention because they had used a Beastie Boys song in their video without getting permission from the two surviving members of the band.

Top Secret!

Submitted by patentadmin on Thu, 10/31/2013 - 21:48

An inventor who approached the U.S. Army with an idea for a "mysterious acoustic wave propagation machine" has been barred by the Army from even talking about the invention, much less filing a patent application on it. And that inventor, Bruce Horton, has now filed a lawsuit against the Army in a California federal court - accusing the Army of having his patent application "illegally frozen and not reviewed nor allowed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office."

Computer Mouse Inventor Was Ahead of His Time - WAY Ahead

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 07/03/2013 - 22:02

Sometimes it's possible to be a little too ahead of your time. Case in point: The patent on the first computer mouse expired in 1987 - shortly before the device became ubiquitous among computer users. Because it was patented before there was a need for it, the mouse's inventor inadvertently missed out on making a mint from his mouse. (The mouse only became commercially available in 1984, with the introduction of Apple's Macintosh PC.)

To Sue a Scoundrel

Submitted by patentadmin on Sun, 06/09/2013 - 21:32

Reclusive author Harper Lee, who penned To Kill a Mockingbird - her only novel - back in 1960, is in the news for the first time in years. The reason: She is suing her literary agent for copyright infringement.

More specifically, the 87-year-old Lee is suing Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of her longtime agent Eugene Winick, for tricking her into signing over the copyright to her famous novel back in 2007.

A Murky Slate

Submitted by patentadmin on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 12:33

Does a product have to exist in real life in order to infringe a trademark in real life? According to a U.S. District judge in Indiana, the answer is "Yes."

Warner Bros. Entertainment prevailed in a unique trademark infringement lawsuit in which a software company sued Warner Bros. over the use of a fictional software program featured in the blockbuster movie "The Dark Knight Rises."

New "Patent Troll Insurance" Costly, May Invite Lawsuits

Submitted by patentadmin on Tue, 04/23/2013 - 13:46

You can buy insurance for many different types of business liabilities, so why not insurance to protect your company from lawsuits brought by so-called "patent trolls" or non-practicing entities (NPEs)? That kind of coverage is now available for members of a group that represents digital agencies and production companies. At first glance the insurance may look like a fine idea, but some attorneys say the coverage has its drawbacks.