Week’s news headlines – dec. 26th 2014

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Netflix, Champagne, Mayo Clinic: Intellectual Property

Cheseaux, Switzerland-based Open TV sued in the Hague in October, claiming its patents were infringed and seeking a court order barring Los Gatos, California-based Netflix from further infringement in the Netherlands, according to Broadband TV news.

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Xiaomi Finds Patent Problem in Chase of Samsung, Apple

Xiaomi Corp. became the biggest smartphone seller in China without an extensive — or expensive — collection of patents. That low-cost approach is now backfiring as accusations of technology infringement stall its global push.

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A Software Patent History: SCOTUS Decides Bilski

In Bilski v. Kappos the questions presented to the Supreme Court for consideration were: (1) whether the Federal Circuit erred by creating the so-called “machine or transformation” test, which requires a process to be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform an article into a different state or thing, in order to be patentable subject matter; and (2) whether the machine or transformation test contradicts Congressional intent (pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 273) to allow for business methods to be patented.

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Chanel Won’t Let You Use Chanel (Even if it’s Your Name)

In September Chanel filed a complaint in the Northern District of Indiana against Chanel Jones for trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition. Jones is the owner of an Indiana hair and beauty salon called Chanel’s Salon. Jones’ decision to use the name Chanel is not ambiguous because it’s her own first name.

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Trademark Licensees May Be Protected in a Licensor’s Bankruptcy Even After a “Free and Clear” Sale

The Bankruptcy Code generally permits intellectual property licensees to continue using licensed property despite a licensor’s bankruptcy filing. However, because the “intellectual property” definition in the Bankruptcy Code does not include “trademarks,” courts have varied on whether trademark licensees receive similar protection. A New Jersey bankruptcy court recently grappled with this issue, concluding that trademark licensees may retain their trademark rights. The court further concluded that such protections remain intact despite a section 363 “free and clear” sale to a third party.

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Nintendo Invests in New Lobbying Firm to Tackle Piracy of Intellectual Property

Nintendo has had a long history with piracy, perhaps more than many other companies in the same situation. Back in the days of the Nintendo 64 the company decided to use the cartridge system rather than the easily-copied disc formats that Sony opted for with its PlayStation console. Even today the Wii U’s discs are proprietary rather than simply being Blu-Ray or another standard disc format, and of course the 3DS is one of the few systems still using cartridges. Piracy has evolved, of course, and with every new generation some individuals discover a way to make copies of software and even hardware in order to avoid paying for the games they desire; it seems Nintendo has had enough.

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