Sufi religious leader sues Roberto Cavalli for trademark infringement

Intellectual Property Management

Roberto Cavalli SpA, an Italian luxury fashion house, has recently been sued by Nader Angha, a leader of the School of Islamic Sufism, for trademark infringement, according to Bloomberg. Angha uses what he calls "the sacred emblem" to identify religious services on and items like books and coins. He registered the mark in May 1987. According to the School of Islamic Sufism's website, the sacred emblem encompasses many meanings, including the name of the first disciple of Islam, the first verse of the Surah Al-Baqara, the name of God and the secret of breath.

Angha alleges a Cavalli logo that appears on perfume bottles, watches, shirts and other garments infringes his trademark for the sacred emblem. The Cavalli logo looks like an upper-case "H" with the legs curving inward on top and bottom, according to Bloomberg, as does the sacred emblem. Angha says Cavalli's use of the logo on unclothed models tarnishes the sacred emblem for which he holds trademark rights.

The suit Angha filed asks the court to bar Cavalli from using the logo and award profit attributable to infringement as well as monetary damages. Angha also wants the court to cancel Cavalli's U.S. registration of the logo in question as a trademark.

Enforcing World Cup IP through Facebook most successful

Intellectual Property Management

Most World Cup viewers accessed coverage through licensed broadcasters, but many took to unauthorized sources to follow the sporting event, according to intellectual property news site TorrentFreak. Pirate streams come through many sites, and FIFA contacted many of these sites before the World Cup even began, asking them to ensure unauthorized coverage was removed or prevented as soon as possible.

Content production firm Viaccess-Orca monitors these broadcasts and sends takedown notices when necessary. Up to June 27, the company sent 2,000 takedown notices to various outlets related to unauthorized World Cup streams.

"The success rate varies per content platform but overall we manage to get 35 percent of the streaming links disabled before the game ends," David Leporini, Viaccess-Orca executive vice president of marketing, products and security, told TorrentFreak. "I think this is a great success rate, especially compared to direct download sites."

The success rate at getting streaming links taken down was greatest at Facebook, where about 51 percent of takedown notices led to streams ending before the game did. Viaccess-Orca's efforts have been impressive, according to the company and others, but unauthorized viewers still numbered in the hundreds of thousands for each World Cup game.

US Supreme Court rules on software patents

Intellectual Property Management

The U.S. Supreme Court made its first decision in decades on software-related intellectual property, according to Bloomberg. The court ruled software developers cannot get a patent for implementing an abstract idea on a computer.

During the case in question, Alice v. CLS Bank International, the justices rejected a patent claim for a computerized system that limits the risk of a participant in a financial transaction evading its obligations. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court that the patent was too broad, covering a "fundamental economic practice."

Justice Thomas also explained the court was not changing any rules, but applying existing law to the patent claim in question, according to Businessweek. Regardless of the fact that rules have not changed, this decision clarifies how intellectual property applies to software patents.

"Merely requiring generic computer implementation fails to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention," Justice Thomas also commented in the ruling.

Many commentators see this decision as a blow against patent assertion entities and their ability to seek licensing fees or legal rulings against other companies on the basis of certain technology and software patents.

FTC investigating drugmaker generics deals

Intellectual Property Management

The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating pharmaceutical deals that delay the sale of generic drugs, according to Bloomberg. In these transactions, brand-name drugmakers compensate generics companies to delay sales of medications. The FTC calls these arrangements pay-for-delay settlements, and they have historically been considered legal. However, in June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled antitrust rules may prohibit these agreements.

The FTC estimates this practice costs consumers $3.5 billion annually, and exists as a means to secure market exclusivity through a means beyond intellectual property protections. Drugmakers say these arrangements actually get drugs to consumers on average 60 months sooner than waiting for patents to expire because drugmakers agree on a shorter delay with generic producers than the law requires, according to Bloomberg.

"They seem hell-bent on having patent settlements with considerations be presumptively illegal," Ralph Neas, president and chief executive officer of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, told Bloomberg. "Just because manufacturers reach settlements, including settlements with consideration, that could be the best that can be achieved under a particular set of circumstances."

The FTC continues to investigate these agreements and may sue companies for disgorgement of revenues as a result, according to Markus Meier, head of the FTC's health care division.

Nintendo loses patent lawsuit against Philips in UK

Intellectual Property Management

Nintendo lost a lawsuit in the United Kingdom on June 20 against Koninklijke Philips, according to Polygon. The court found Nintendo infringed two of the Dutch tech company's patents for motion technology in its construction of the Wii and the Wii U. Philips sued Nintendo for infringing upon a patent for motion control and one for wireless devices remotely controlled by a second device, according to court documents filed in the U.S. in May.

"The common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing," Judge Colin Birss stated in his decision from the U.K. High Court.

Philips is suing Nintendo over these same patents in other countries as well, including the U.S., Germany and France.

"Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others," the company asserted in a press release. "Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business."