Posts Tagged "business"

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Sale of Fisker Automotive Shows the Value of Patents

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Patent

Two Chinese companies have been locked in a bidding war to buy United States automaker Fisker Automotive Holdings, Inc.   The overall prospects of the company are bleak (it is in bankruptcy after all) but whoever purchases the company will own the eighteen patents it developed.  Outside of entry into US market, whoever buys Fisker will not have much else to work with. Fisker had received hundreds of millions in federal dollars to develop hybrid cars.  However, it has not produced a car since 2012.  It owns a factory formerly owned by General Motors but has let it fall into disrepair.  After the company failed to meet milestones established by the Energy Department the company stopped receiving payouts from the federal government.  Fisker then declared bankruptcy the bankruptcy judge set a February 12th date for an auction of Fisker’s assets. The company’s patent holdings are particularly valuable to anyone looking to enter the alternative-fuels market.  These patents include drivetrain technology for electric cars, cover grille designs, and a fender vent.  Fisker also has pending patents on aluminum subframing and solar technology in vehicles.  Whichever company obtains these patents will be able to avoid years of research and development and be able to implement these inventions in new car models.  Even...

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Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple 0

Patent Infringement Claims Brought Against Apple

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Patent

On April 10, 2014 OpenTV and Nagravision, two subsidiaries of The Kudelski Group, filed suit against Apple in the Northern District of California.  The lawsuit alleges Apple is infringing upon five of OpenTV’s patents relating to video technology.  OpenTV focuses on software for advanced program guides, video-on-demand, personal video recording, interactive and addressable advertising and a variety of enhanced television applications.  Nagravision provides security and multiscreen user experience solutions for the monetization of digital media.  The lawsuit states Apple’s iOS mobile devices, Apple TV, App Store, iTunes, iAd’s, Safari and OS X-based personal computers infringe these patents. This is not the first time OpenTV has sued a company for patent infringement.  It also sued Netflix in 2012 and 2013.  In that suit, OpenTV alleged seven of its patents were infringed which covered aspects of over-the-top TV technology. Cisco Systems was also sued by OpenTV under similar circumstances.  Cisco decided to settle, but the settlement amount was not disclosed. OpenTV owns about 800 patents at this point.  The company obviously has not lost its zeal for defending its patent rights.  Anyone who operates in similar technologies certainly is on notice that OpenTV is watching.  However, OpenTV did offer to negotiate licenses with the companies it sued.  Apple, Netflix, and Cisco...

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Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not? 0

Dumb Starbucks: A Parody or Not?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Copyright

Earlier this month a new coffee shop opened in Los Angeles called Dumb Starbucks.  The outer appearance of the shop is an exact replica of a Starbucks coffee shop except the word “Dumb” appears in front of Starbucks.  Inside, everything is also an exact replica of a Starbucks with the word “dumb” inserted in front.  The cups have the Dumb Starbucks logo and the menu items are dumb as well.  Canadian comic Nathan Felder is the owner of the shop and announced plans to open a second location in New York.  Naturally, Starbucks is not amused and has pledged to protect its trademark. They have stated that they are “evaluating next steps” and have made it clear that “they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Dumb Starbucks has potentially infringed multiple forms of trademark protection.  Starbucks is a protected word mark and using Dumb Starbucks in commerce can confuse consumers or dilute the Starbucks brand.  Similarly, the logo for Starbucks is also protected but Dumb Starbucks copied it and inserted the word “dumb.”  Since Dumb Starbucks also copied the colors of a Starbucks shop it may have infringed upon trade dress protection, the outside appearance of the coffee shops which help consumers identify they are Starbucks....

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Candy Crush Embarks on a Trademark “Saga” 0

Candy Crush Embarks on a Trademark “Saga”

Posted by on Jan 24, 2014 in Trademark

If you have not played Candy Crush Saga, you probably know someone who has.  In light of the enormous popularity of the game, the developer of the game, King, sought to protect the name of the game through trademark law.  Specifically, King has sought to protect both the words “Candy” and “Saga.”  Some people believe these terms are too generic for trademark protection and King has received a fair amount of criticism over its trademark filings.  The situation merits a closer look to see what would motivate a company like King to seek trademark protection the way it did. King filed for a mark for the word “Candy” in the European Union.  The application was approved on January 15 of 2014 and other parties have 30 days to oppose the trademark.  The mark was listed in many categories such as games, game accessories, merchandise, and paper hats.  In the United States, this application may have been rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but you can never truly predict what the office examiners will do. King also filed a trademark application for the word “Saga” in the United States back in 2011.  Meanwhile, another game company named Stoic Studio filed a trademark application for the name of...

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New Jersey Minimum Wage Increase

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Business

In the fall election of 2013, New Jersey voters approved a one dollar increase in the state’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.  Minimum wages are governed by both federal and state law; the federal government enforces a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour which states must follow unless they establish a higher wage.  Up until the election, New Jersey had followed the federal minimum wage but starting in 2014 will be one of 21 states with higher minimum wages than the federal standard. There are a couple exceptions to the federal minimum wage rule.  Tipped labor, such as waiters or hairdressers, can be paid as low as $2.13 an hour as long as their hourly wage plus tips equals at least the minimum wage.  Also, people under the age of 20 may be paid $4.25 an hour minimum for the first 90 days of employment.  Just like the standard federal minimum wage, these two minimums can be raised by a state if it wishes.  New Jersey has not amended it standards for tipped workers or for those under 20 years old. New Jersey was wage standards for other employment situations as well.  If a company employs a worker for over 40 hours a week, those overtime hours must...

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