Other Barks & Bites for Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

By Steve Brachmann
February 15, 2017

Barks & BitesOn the menu this week for Other Barks & Bites… Video game systems developed by Nintendo and Sony are targeted in a patent infringement suit filed in Delaware federal court. The infamous scan-to-email patent giving rise to the patent troll debate has finally been invalidated at the Federal Circuit. A multi-billion dollar copyright suits between two American tech giants gets new life from Oracle. California’s state legislature moves to create trademark protections for marijuana products at the state level, circumventing federal restrictions on such trademarks. And Zillow gets hit with a copyright infringement verdict.

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  • Sony, Nintendo Video Game Consoles and Devices are Targeted in D. Del. Patent Suit – On Thursday, February 8th, Genuine Enabling Technology LLC of Downington, PA, filed a pair of patent infringement suits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (D. Del.) against Japanese consumer electronics firms Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE) and Nintendo Co. (TYO:7974). In both suits, Genuine is asserting a single patent issued in 2001 and covering a user input apparatus which can create an input user stream and encode that into combined data stream transferrable by a communication means. Genuine has identified Nintendo’s Wii console and controller devices and Sony’s PlayStation consoles and DualShock controllers.) (Link to Genuine Enabling Technology v. Sony Corporation) (Link to Genuine Enabling Technology v. Nintendo Co.) (Link to U.S. Patent No. 6219730, titled Method and Apparatus for Producing a Combined Data Stream and Recovering Therefrom the Respective User Input Stream and at Least One Additional Input Signal)
  • Recent Trademark Filing Indicate Sixth Super Bowl Victory for New England Patriots – Whether you like them or you despise the very sight of them, the New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions for a fifth time under the tenure of a single football coach who has shown an unusual affinity for the NFL’s rulebook during his tenure. On Monday, February 13th, the Patriots filed a pair of trademark applications with the USPTO to protect the standard character mark “BLITZ FOR SIX”, a likely reference to the franchise’s efforts to secure another championship. One application would cover the use of the mark on clothing, the other covering the use on entertainment services including expert commentary on sports which is provided over the Internet. While a sixth Patriots championship might be distasteful to fans of other NFL teams, they might take some solace in the fact that the team tried to trademark “PERFECT SEASON” and “19-0” just before spoiling their opportunity for perfection by losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII; perhaps their hubris here will meet a similar fate of glory unfulfilled. (U.S. Trademark Serial Nos. 87327572 and 87327577 are both available for viewing through the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System [TESS])
  • Oracle Revives $8.8 Billion Copyright Case Against Google at Fed. Cir. – On Friday, February 10th, Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) subsidiary Oracle America, Inc., revived an appeal filed in a fair use copyright case against Google by filing an opening brief and addendum in Fed. Cir. Oracle is challenging a previous verdict in its copyright case, arguing that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on fair use as well as a new trial because it was prevented from presenting its full case on two aspects of fair use law. Oracle wants Fed. Cir. to either reverse the judgment entered at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.) or order a new trial. (Link to opening brief and addendum for Oracle America filed with Fed. Cir.)
  • Chicago-Based Photography Firm Wins $8.3M Copyright Suit against Zillow Real Estate Website – On Thursday, February 9th, a jury verdict form entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (W.D. Wash.) declared real estate app provider Zillow guilty of the direct copyright infringement of 28,125 photos and awarded $8.2 million in total statutory damages to Rosemont, IL-based VHT, Inc., a professional real estate photography firm. VHT filed suit against Zillow back in July 2015, alleging that Zillow infringed VHT’s copyright interest in those photos by using them in the Zillow Digs section of the website, which seeks to connect homeowners to home improvement and design vendors, without a license from VHT. (Link to original complaint filed in VHT, Inc. v. Zillow Group, Inc.) (Link to PlainSite docket including jury verdict in case)
  • USPTO Grants Apple Patent on Fingerprint Sensor Using IR Diodes – On Tuesday, February 14th, the USPTO granted a patent to Apple covering a technology which utilizes infrared (IR) diodes for light-emitting diode (LED) displays which would enable fingerprint detection without the use of a dedicated fingerprint sensor. According to coverage of the patent from AppleInsider, the technology could enable fingerprint detection for device security without bulky active matrix hardware and could be available as a feature on the upcoming iPhone 8. This patent was originally filed by LuxVue Technology, a company Apple acquired in May 2014. (Link to U.S. Patent No. 9570002, titled Interactive Display Panel with IR Diodes)

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The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a writer located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He has become a regular contributor to IPWatchdog.com, writing about technology, innovation and is the primary author of the Companies We Follow series. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 2 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. New Yourk bubba February 15, 2017 10:41 am

    So, Is Michelle Lee still calling the shots at the PTO?

  2. Gene Quinn February 15, 2017 11:00 am

    NY bubba-

    Apparently earlier this week Congressman Issa said that Lee is still in charge, but he remains the only one who has said anything about Lee definitively. USPTO continues to decline comment, although they did finally acknowledge the obvious, that her signature continues to be on issued patents.

    Issa also apparently said that Lee may not stay at USPTO and may be in line for another administration position.

    -Gene

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