More Trouble for DraftKings and FanDuel in the Form of a Patent Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on December 3, 2015

Los Angeles – Yet another lawsuit has been filed against DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fox Sports. This time the legal battle is over technology that Virtual Gaming Technologies, LLC claims these organizations use in violation of the patents it holds.

Virtual Gaming Technologies, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fox Sports all operate fantasy sports games. These virtual games allow individuals to create teams made up of current athletes and receive points based on these athletes’ performances in weekly games. These organizations are a part of the $15 billion a year fantasy sports industry.

The first Virtual Gaming Technologies patent, issued in 1999, is United States Patent Number 5,860,862 titled “Interactive systems allowing real time participation.” The patent centers on the ability for players to interact in the virtual game, such as trading players, while the sport event is occurring in real time.

The second patent, issued in 2001, is United States Patent Number 6,193,610 titled “Interactive television system and methodology.” The patent focuses on the ability of players to compete in the virtual game while the sporting event is aired on television.

The lawsuit states, “Virtual Gaming depends on patent protection to effectively license its innovative technologies and build its business.” The claim of the lawsuit is that the companies use the patented technology without attribution or compensation. Virtual Gaming Technologies seeks an award of damages in the form of royalties in accordance with 35 5 U.S.C. § 284.

Virtual Gaming Technology is trying to get jurisdiction in the Eastern District of Texas federal court based on Fox Sports’ use of the Texas federal courts previously and the partnership of DraftKings with the National Football League which has a team there, namely the Dallas Cowboys. In the past, the East Texas courts have favored plaintiffs in patent infringement cases, making it a desirable location for Virtual Gaming Technology.

This lawsuit is one of many filed against these fantasy sports companies in recent years. A class action lawsuit was filed against DraftKings and FanDuel alleging employees improperly used insider i... Read the rest

Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against GoPro

By Joseph Mandour on November 11, 2015

GoProOrange County – C&A Marketing brought a lawsuit against GoPro for infringing its patent for cube-shaped cameras. C&A Marketing claims that GoPro’s camera, known as the Hero4 Session, violates the patent it received for camera called the Polaroid Cube.

C&A Marketing, not Polaroid, brought forth the case because it created and manufactures the product. Polaroid is involved because C&A Marketing and Polaroid have exclusive manufacturing and marketing deals together.

The patent that C&A holds is broad, stating it applies to “the ornamental design for a cubic action camera, as shown and described” with reference to seven illustrations. C&A applied for the design patent a day before GoPro did for its camera, and C&A was awarded the patent in May of 2015.
C&A filed the case in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, and requested that the court stop sales of the Hero4 Session and that GoPro be forced to turn over all profits from the camera in addition to paying attorney’s fees.

GoPro argus that they began work on the camera long before C&A filed for its patent. GoPro also argues that it holds the design patent in the EU, which give GoPro further rights. GoPro applied for the U.S. patent only one day after C&A filed its patent.

The Hero4 holds significance to GoPro beyond this case. The camera is the first departure from the iconic GoPro camera design, and was an attempt to convince skeptical investors it can successfully expand its product line and offerings at an even higher price level. The ability to persuade investors is becoming increasingly important for GoPro, given its shares decreased more than 60% since the beginning of 2015. After the lawsuit was announced, GoPro shares decreased another 2%.

The lawsuit may create precedent that could affect other companies that sell cube shaped products. Companies such as Fuhu, Inc., also sell cube-shaped cameras, while Canon is also planning to release a cube-shaped camera in December of this year. If the court sides with C&A marketing based on these claims, these other camera companies could be the target for future lawsuits.

... Read the rest

Segway Files Patent Lawsuit Over Hands-Free Scooter

By Joseph Mandour on September 25, 2015

segwayOrange County – The creator of the first self-balancing, zero-emission personal transporter, Segway, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Inventist. Segway alleges that Inventist infringed five patents to build its personal transporter products. The transporters for both companies resemble the one used in the Back to the Future 2 movie, resulting in many calling this lawsuit a battle for the hoverboard. This lawsuit is the latest in a number of lawsuits attempting to stop copycats that are making hoverboard-like products.

The products involved are Inventist’s Solowheel (described by the company as a “gyro-stabilized electric unicycle”) and Hovertrax (described as “the world’s first portable, double wheeled, self-balancing device”). Both products are increasing in popularity, especially among celebrities. Chris Brown rode the Hovertrax to the Cannes Film Festival, an annual film festival held in Cannes, France. Inventist was originally funded through Kickstarter.

Segway is alleging that Inventist violated the patents it holds on a personal transporter with a balance monitor, focusing on the patents the organization holds on its unique method of transportation. The primary focus is on US Patent No. 6302230 ‘Personal Mobility Vehicles and Methods,’ which deals with Segway’s method of transportation. The other patents cited in the lawsuit are U.S. Patent No. 6,651,763 ‘Transporter Oscillating Alarm’, U.S. Patent No. 7,023,330 ‘Transporter Oscillating Alarm’, U.S. Patent No. 7,275,607 ‘Control of a Personal Transporter Based on User Position’, and U.S. Patent No. 7,479,872 ‘Transporter Oscillating Alarm.’

Inventist also holds a patent itself, namely US Patent No. 20130238231 for a “two-wheel, self-balancing vehicle with independently movable foot placement sections.” Inventist has filed lawsuits in the past based on its patent. In fact, one of the lawsuits was against a company in China affiliated with Segway, a company Inventist claims is known for creating knock-off products. Mark Cuban, a business partner for Inventist, has claimed there may be more lawsuits coming as well.

In the Segway vs Inventist laws... Read the rest

TiVo Files DVR Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung

By Joseph Mandour on September 17, 2015

tv_remote_controlSan Diego – In its quarterly earnings report, TiVo announced it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. TiVo, known for the creation of its digital video recorder, claims Samsung violated four of its patents. The patents relate to functions such as the ability to view a show while recording another and the ability to play a video smoothly at a faster speed.

The patents TiVo references for the lawsuit are, U.S. Patent No. 6233389 entitled “Multimedia Time Warping System” issued on May 15, 2001; U.S. Patent No. 6729195 entitled “Method and Apparatus Implementing Random Access and Time-Based Functions on a Continuous Stream of Formatted Digital Data” issued on September 14, 2004; U.S. Patent No. 7558472 entitled “Multimedia Signal Processing System” issued on July 9, 2009; and U.S. Patent No. 8457476 entitled “Multimedia Signal Processing System” issued on June 4, 2013.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
This lawsuit is one of many that TiVo has filed against other organizations in the past years, including lawsuits against Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, and Google. Each lawsuit resulted in either a win or a settlement in TiVo’s favor.

As DVR sales decline, the licensing fees that TiVo receives from various companies, including Google, Verizon, and AT&T, actually generate the majority of the company’s revenue. To date, TiVo has received around $1.6 billion from settlements related to its patents.

The patent that helped TiVo win past lawsuits, the ‘389 Time Warp patent’, is set to expire in 2018. Given the amount of revenue from licensing fees, and the use of the Time Warp patent to obtain these licensing fees, investors may view the expiration of the patent as a reason for concern as to future revenue. As such, the lawsuit, combined with the fact that it was announced in the quarterly earnings report, is viewed by some as a move to reassure investors of the company’s future profitability.

Regarding the lawsuit against Samsung, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement, “Today’s action should help address o... Read the rest

Ralph Lauren Gets Hit with Patent Infringement Claims Over Handbag

By Joseph Mandour on August 31, 2015

purseLos Angeles – American fashion icon and designer Ralph Lauren has come under fire of allegations that it has infringed the patent of an individual inventor. Jimmy Bryan has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the brand in Texas, claiming that one of its high end handbags infringes his own patent for a bag that comes equipped with a light and phone charging capability.

The Ralph Lauren bag at issue is the “Ricky”, which comes in several color variations and which has been a popular seller for the brand for years. The wearable technology version rolled out this past winter and is still available for purchase on the designer’s website for $5,000. According to the brand, the “iconic accessory takes up to 12 hours to construct and features rose-gold-plated-brass hardware engraved with our logo and a contrasting Purple calfskin lining that adds a rich pop of color”. Loaded with a USB charger and LED light, the bag automatically lights up when opened and allows for the charging of mobile devices while on the go, eliminating the need to stop and plug in at an electrical outlet.

Bryan’s ten page complaint lays out his claim that Ralph Lauren “has infringed and continues to infringe the patent by making, using, offering to sell, selling, distributing, and/or importing into the United States its Ricky Bag With Light, which is a receptacle with the precise electric accessory system at issue with the Patents-in-Suit.” Though Mr. Bryan has not manufactured any technology enabled bags of his own, he is seeking that Ralph Lauren be ordered to cease production of the items based on a finding of patent infringement.

The illuminated Ricky Bag is one of several products in production by Ralph Lauren that are part of its wearable technology line. The company also makes the “Polotech” shirt, which takes the brand’s iconic polo shirt and adds biometric tracking features that can keep track of the wearer’s heart rate, steps taken and calories burned. Ralph Lauren is just one of several brands adding smart clothing and accessories to its product lines. Many other popular retailers have followed suit, including Rebecca Minkoff with its Bluetooth en... Read the rest

Apple Suffers Patent Invalidation in Samsung Case

By Joseph Mandour on August 21, 2015

iphoneLos Angeles – In what could serve as a turning point in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung patent saga, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) handed down a decision that questions the validity of one of Apple’s design patents for its mobile phones. The ruling came down after a request for reexamination was made anonymously, however all signs point to the request coming from rival tech giant Samsung, which has been engaged in a years’ long bout with Apple over its patented phone features.

The non-final action in the reexamination was handed down on August 5, 2015 and concerns a feature of the iPhone contained in U.S. Design Patent No. 618,677, the text of which claims “the ornamental design of an electronic device”. Apple filed the original D‘677 patent application back in the summer of 2010 and given the recent invalidation action, the chances that Apple will be successful in keeping this patent are becoming more and more grim. Several commentators have echoed this sentiment, finding that since it took almost two years for the USPTO to make a ruling on the reexamination request, it likely will not reverse its conclusion.

As for the reasoning behind the invalidity finding, in its decision the USPTO pointed out that the very same claim had been previously denied patentability on two separate occasions on the grounds of obviousness.

The decision could have widespread impact on the Cupertino based company because the D‘677 patent was implicated as far back as the original lawsuit between the two tech giants, in which Samsung was found to have infringed on several of the iPhone’s design features, with models such as the Galaxy S 4G, the Epic 4G Touch, Mesmerize, Infuse 4G and Vibrant.

Given the implications of an invalid D‘677 patent, Samsung could be better positioned in the ongoing appeals proceedings stemming from the original patent trial. While no money has actually been paid by Samsung as of yet, any strike against Apple could have big money effects on both parties. Already the original damages ruling has been reduced to $548 million, down from the original $1.05 billion judgment.

... Read the rest

Kickstarter Prevails After Crowdfunding Patent Threat

By Joseph Mandour on July 8, 2015

KickstarterOrange County – Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has funded $1.8 Billion dollars for businesses and other creative projects. Kickstarter utilizes a peer to peer crowdfunding model in which persons buy in early on a project. In addition to helping a budding business or artist, persons funding the project are the first to receive the products or services at issue.

Beginning in 2011, a battle began between Kickstarter and a rival called ArtistShare. ArtistShare claimed a crowdfunding patent for a “Method and Apparatuses for Financing and Marketing a Creative Work.” Both Kickstarter and ArtistShare are known for online crowdfunding websites, a platform where money is raised by donations from people from all over the world. Funding has been provided for projects such as virtual-gaming headsets, hover boards, and up-and-coming new artists.

Kickstarter sued ArtistShare due to ArtistShare’s threats that Kickstarter had infringed upon ArtistShare’s crowdfunding patent. A spokesperson for Kickstarter claimed that Brian Camelio of ArtistShare had requested payment from Kickstarter for using ideas protected by the ArtistShare patent. Reportedly ArtistShare also wanted compensation for a licensing agreement.

Kickstarter originally offered to buy the patent to avoid a costly and lengthy litigation battle. However, ArtistShare was not willing to hand over the patent. Instead of paying a license fee to ArtistShare, Kickstarter decided to take ArtistShare to court to get the paten invalidated as being too abstract. ArtistShare responded that the patent did not only include abstract ideas, but also new ways of managing and financing funding for projects.

Recently, U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla ruled that ArtistShare’s patent was invalid as not being capable of patent protection. Failla stated that the patent was too abstract ruling: “Nothing about the ‘887 Patent transforms the concept of crowd-funding into patent-eligible subject matter.”

Crowdfunding has become increasingly popular thanks to the simplicity and accessibility of the internet. ArtistShare and Kickstarter along with Indiegogo, Crowdfun... Read the rest

Denon Faces Lawsuit over Allegation of Speaker Patent Infringement

By Joseph Mandour on October 31, 2014

sound-speakerOrange County – Sonos, a developer of wireless home music systems, is suing Denon for patent infringement alleging that its newly-released Heos speakers are remarkably similar to Sonos’s speakers. According to details outlined in Sonos’s complaint, Denon’s Heos speakers have many of the same elements found in Sonos products.

The lawsuit alleges that Denon made no effort to distinguishfeatures or functionality and that the Heos speakers infringe at least four Sonos patents. Sonos’s 258-page court filing goes into significant detail explaining how Denon’s products are merely imitations of Sonos’s products.

Sonos is considered a pioneer in the wireless home hi-fi market and continues to dominate that arena. Many other companies such as Bose, LG and Samsung have attempted to bring in new products to compete with Sonos. Still, none of their products bear much similarity to Sonos’s creations.

Sonos points out that Denon did not even make an attempt to be creative with its marketing. While Sonos’s tagline for its campaign is “Fillyour home with music,” Denon’s is strikingly similar: “Fill every room with music.”

Sonos officials say they would prefer not to have an extended court battle but are happy to sit down with Denon, explain their views and give them the time and opportunity to modify their products. Sonos officials say they are not looking for monetary gain. They don’t want a royalty or license fee. They just want Denon to build products that are not copying Sonos’s products.

But it appears that Denon is ready for a fight. Denon has issued a press release saying that it will defend itself against Sonos’s allegations. Denon claims that its engineers and designers have worked for more than a decade to develop the Heos wireless speakers. The Heos line of wireless speakers debuted in June 2014 and includes three wireless multi-zone music players.

... Read the rest

Homer Simpson Hologram at Comic-Con Spurs Patent Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on August 22, 2014

Comic ConSan Diego – Three companies have filed a patent lawsuit against 20th Century Fox claiming that a hologram of Homer Simpson from The Simpsons used during the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con infringed its patented system that projects 3D images. The plaintiffs in the case are Alki David’s Hologram USA, Musion Das Hologram and Uwe Maass. This is not the first time Hologram USA has sued. Previously, Hologram USA targeted a Michael Jackson hologram that was projected at the Billboard Music Awards.

Hologram USA is also at war with Pulse Entertainment for the same infringement. Hologram USA claims to own rights to its own version of a magician’s trick from the 19th century called “Pepper’s Ghost.” This was a trick that was used to give the illusion that the late Tupac Shakur performed at the Coachella Music Festival two years ago. In Coachella’s case, the festival got permission to use the technology. However, in the case of Comic-Con and the Billboard Music Awards, they did not get permission.

Last month at Comic-Con, The Simpsons team was there to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary and promote a new app called Simpson’s World, which would allow viewers to watch all episodes of the show. The bit at Comic-Con featured the show’s creator Matt Groening and others, where Groening invited Homer Simpson on stage.

Onstage, Homer joked about registering at Comic-Con, to which Groening replied that he doesn’t care because he got his free ticket from Tupac Shakur’s hologram. The lawsuit alleges that the Homer Simpson hologram was created with the same patented technology that was used to create the Tupac Shakur hologram.

The lawsuit contends that 20th Century Fox did not have a valid license to use that technology and such a license could be provided only by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit stated that in spite of knowing that fact, the defendants decided to move forward with the performance using the patented technology. The plaintiffs are seeking damages for willful infringement. Fox spokespersons have said that the lawsuit is without merit and is just a way for Hologram USA to seek attention.

... Read the rest

Recent Patent Ruling Likely Won’t Phase Apple or Samsung

By Joseph Mandour on May 12, 2014

iphoneSan Diego – The latest round in what has amounted to a legal boxing match between two of the world’s leaders in smartphone technology has concluded, though many are speculating that the result will do little to cool the dispute. The ruling by a federal jury in California turned up no clear winner, as it found that Samsung copied two of Apples patents and that Apple, in turn, had infringed one of Samsung’s. To further even the score, the jury of four women and four men found that Samsung did not violate two other patents held by Apple.

As a result of the findings, Apple was awarded a fraction of its original demand, with the jury finding it entitled to just under $120 million, a far cry from the $2.2 billion it sought. For its infringement of one of its Korean counterpart’s patents, Apple was ordered to pay Samsung $158,400. Though the damages awarded to Apple likely rivaled the costs the company spent to litigate the matter, the Cupertino giant categorized the outcome as a win, with its spokesperson commenting, “Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products. We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers.”

The month long trial was finally decided after two days of jury deliberations. On Apple’s side, its allegedly infringed patents included those having to do with its slide to unlock feature, autocorrect, and program synching functions, among others. Samsung focused its accusations against Apple on technology for video features in its smartphones.

Throughout much of the trial, Samsung argued that Apple’s real problem was with Google, which manufactures the Android operating system that the vast majority of all smartphones, not just Samsung’s, run on. Indeed, Samsung’s lawyers even introduced into evidence an email from Steve Jobs, which declared a “holy war” against Google for making Android look and feel so similar to Apple’s iOS. Apple’s team countered that Google had nothing to do with the infringement matters and insisted to the jurors that Sa... Read the rest

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