Jawbone and Fitbit, both billion-dollar leaders in the “wearable” technology category of fitness bands, are warming up for what may become a test of legal endurance. Jawbone recently filed three lawsuits in three different courts, accusing Fitbit of infringing patents, poaching employees, and stealing trade secrets. Although Fitbit has not yet hit back with its own suit, the two rivals seem poised to start a lengthy legal battle.
Video game developer Activision Blizzard, Inc. recently won a key victory in the ongoing battle over the right of publicity when a California state court judge dismissed former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s well-publicized lawsuit. Noriega had alleged that his image and likeness were improperly used in the blockbuster video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.” Determining that the First Amendment protected Blizzard, the court dismissed Noriega’s complaint with prejudice.
What’s the News?
On September 10, 2014, JPT Group, owner of the iconic American fashion brand Bernardo, filed suit in the Southern District of Texas alleging that Old Navy infringed two of Bernardo’s design patents for sandals.
Bernardo owns two design patents for the ornamental design of its sandals and alleged that Old Navy misappropriated and slavishly imitated its patented designs as shown in the following side-by-side comparison:
The French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A. (LVMH) recently settled its long-running court battle with eBay, Inc. over the online auction website’s alleged distribution of counterfeit luxury goods. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the two companies announced that they would collaborate in implementing measures aimed at protecting intellectual property rights and preventing the sale of counterfeit goods online. “Thanks to our joint efforts, consumers will enjoy a safer digital environment globally,” the companies said in a joint statement.
Washington, DC – On June 24, Arent Fox LLP filed suit on behalf of Italian clothing company Diesel S.p.A. against 83 websites that are cybersquatting and selling counterfeit products appearing to carry the internationally recognized label. By using the company’s trademark in the domain name, the websites are creating the false impression they are authorized to sell genuine Diesel goods. Already, the sites have sold thousands of counterfeit reproductions of Diesel’s high quality products.
Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled six registrations related to the Washington Redskins professional football team. The TTAB found the marks violated Section 2(a) of the Federal Lanham Act, which bars registration of trademarks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.
As part of a decade-long dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving US cotton subsidies, Brazil is again threatening significant trade retaliation against a wide variety of US goods and intellectual property rights. The proposed retaliation would substantially increase tariffs on US exports across various sectors and industries, and would suspend or restrict US intellectual property rights in Brazil. If enacted, the retaliatory measures could have a devastating impact on US businesses.
Over the past several years, many fashion and apparel retail companies have implemented RFID technology in their stores, as it provides a fast, cost-efficient, automated, and accurate method for tracking inventory both through the supply chain and within the retail environment. However, as previously discussed by Arent Fox, many of these companies have been contacted by a patent-licensing company called Round Rock Research LLC (Round Rock) regarding their use of RFID readers and tags in their stores. Round Rock, which operates as a non-practicing entity (NPE) and earns revenue solely by licensing and enforcing its patents, alleged that the retailers’ use of RFID products provided by vendors such as Motorola Solutions, Inc. and SMARTRAC N.V. infringed several of its patents encompassing RFID technology. After licensing negotiations stalled in late 2011, Round Rock filed patent infringement lawsuits against many of these companies, including Macy’s Inc., Gap Inc., Wal-mart Store Inc., American Apparel, and J.C. Penney Co.
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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.