Another Costly International Trademark Battle for Apple.

After fighting to secure its iPad trademark in China, Apple appears poised to engage in another costly trademark battle overseas. Brazil’s copyright authority recently ruled that the iPhone trademark rights belong to a local company, Gradiente Eletronica SA.

As with many international trademark systems, Brazil awards trademark registration to the first party to file, without taking into account who used the trademark first, or which party is more closely associated with the brand. In this case, Gradiente first applied for a trademark in 2000, six years prior to Apple’s subsequent trademark application and launch of the popular iPhone product.

Gradient was awarded the iPhone trademark in January 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under Brazil’s trademark law, in order to gain exclusive rights, it was required to sell a product making use of the mark within five years.

Gradiente iPhone

In December 2012, the company announced an Android-based smartphone called the “IPHONE Neo One.”

According to Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Apple is now contesting whether Gradient used the brand within the required time frame.

However, in February, the INPI ruled against Apple.  Accordingly, Apple filed suit and is also trying to work out a financial settlement (reports indicate that the two entities are close to a settlement). Either way, it appears that Apple has another costly legal battle on its hands.

How Can I Help?

It can be more difficult to protect trademarks and other IP rights overseas. Therefore, it is imperative to consult with an attorney experienced in foreign intellectual property concerns.

I have developed long-standing, close relationships with firms and experts worldwide to enable me to offer my clients in-depth experience in foreign law.

If you, or someone you know, need help with any Intellectual Property issue, foreign or domestic, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Jailbreaking Is Still Legal In The U.S.

Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office reconsiders exclusions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) provisions prohibiting the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.

The Copyright Office states that “the purpose of this proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make non-infringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access controls.”

Since the passage of the DMCA, the Copyright Office has granted numerous exceptions. One of the major exceptions was granted in 2010, the Office decided that cell phone “jailbreaking” — the popular term for removing built-in restrictions on the use of a device — should be

In recent hearings, the Copyright Office heard arguments in favor of expanding the exemption as well as arguments in favor of eliminating it altogether.

Jesse Feder, director of international trade and intellectual property for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), spoke out against jailbreaking, arguing that the practice enables piracy.

“Jailbreaking is a precondition for installing pirated software,” he said. “Technological protection measures are central to a distribution system that benefits consumers, independent app developers and third-party content creators, as well as developers of mobile operating systems.”

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called for expanded protections for jailbreaking.

“The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement. But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property,” EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said in a statement last year after the EFF filed comments with the Copyright Office. “Hobbyists and tinkerers who want to modify their phones or video game consoles to run software programs of their choice deserve protection under the law.”

The Copyright Office upheld the controversial practice this past year.  However, tablet computers have not been granted the same broad exemption.  The Federal Register says that since the category of tablets is difficult to define it would be dangerous to issue a blanket exemption.  With the ever-increasing size of phones (I personally own a Galaxy Note II) it seems arbitrary to make the distinction based on whether a device has a radio and earpiece or not.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need help to figure out if your copyright is being infringed, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Are Emoticons Patentable?

There is an ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Samsung Electronics, even after the latest verdict. The lawsuits span the globe and cover a number of cell phone and tablet technologies.

The subject of the latest dispute made us smile—and by that we mean :-). Yes, you guessed it. The smartphone rivals are reportedly now locked in a patent dispute over emoticons. }:-(.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Samsung owns a patent on smartphone use of emoticons. In fact, a patent for an “emoticon input method for mobile terminals” was granted in Europe way back in 2000.

In the latest lawsuit, Samsung is challenging the way in which iPhones enter emoticons on the handset’s screen. As detailed by the LA Times, Samsung specifically alleges that the iPhone’s Japanese emoticon keyboard infringes on its patent. When users activate the Japanese keyboard, they also activate an emoticon menu and, with one touch, can add multiple complex emoticons.

While the subject of the latest patent lawsuit is amusing :o, it will likely have serious consequences in this growing patent war, and that makes us a bit sad 😦

If you need help to protect your ideas 😉 , or know someone that can use my help ()-(), please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

End of the App Lock-In?

As I was perusing my favorite technology blogs regarding, various smartphones, I was interested in the new Windows Phone 7 (WP7) Nokia Lumia 900 reviews.  I noticed that every article mentioned how fast it was on a single core device.  The constant reference to the single core brought out the attorney in me, so I did a little investigating.  It seems that there is no multitasking for applications in WP7.  Not a terrible limitation by any means.  However, I personally have looked at the Nokia and other WP7 phones along with Windows 8 and have no desire to have a Duplo/Lego phone that does more to annoy me than accomplish my work.  Your mileage and preferences may vary so don’t hate me because I don’t like your phone.

That being said, it dawned on me that if the new processors in phone and tablets were powerful enough, there is the opportunity to provide virtualization.  Virtualization on a phone or tablet would allow you to run multiple operating systems.  With the right set of hardware and software, a smartphone or tablet could run all the different segregated Apps.  This would mean a user would be able to run iOS , Android, Blackberry, WP7 apps on a single platform.

Just think one OS to rule all them all.

Is this the wave of the future, buy one, run all?  Or is this just a pipe dream.  Cast your vote in my poll.

If you have any software, hardware or Internet questions, please contact me for a free consultation.