Tesla Motors Offers Access to Patents Free of Charge

Tesla Motors builds the most popular electric cars in the world. Their models have a longer battery life than any other electric car on the market, traveling over 260 miles on a single charge. The Nissan Leaf, America’s most popular electric car model, only travels 84 miles.

Tesla currently holds more than 200 patents, with an additional 280 pending worldwide. In a move that surprised everyone, Tesla Motors has announced plans to provide access to their patents free of charge.

Why would Tesla offer free access to its patents?

According to Tesla’s CEO, the car manufacturer’s primary goal is to create “a system of sustainable transport.” By allowing others to use their technology, the brand encourages other businesses to build and promote electric cars.

Other companies have pointed out that without patent restrictions, Tesla will never need to track down or prosecute infringers. This could save the company millions in legal fees.

Can anyone use Tesla’s technology?

The company has pledged to allow fellow manufacturers to use their technology in “good faith” without the threat of a lawsuit, but it is still up to them. Rival car companies may never use the patents, but now everyone has the option.

Can someone else patent Tesla’s Design?

Tesla is not making its designs public; it is offering a free license to use its patented technology. Tesla still owns exclusive rights to the designs; the company is just permitting others to use them free of charge.

In a perfect world, Tesla’s efforts will prompt the auto industry to create more affordable technology for typical car owners.

For example, electric cars require charging stations to accommodate the battery’s limited range. Other car companies could be motivated to start building stations if they had similar technology in their own cars. Their contribution would help Tesla promote electric cars as a viable transportation option.

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Pom Wonderful Sues Coca Cola Over Deceptive Marketing

In a trademark infringement case, a plaintiff does not have to prove profit loss to win his case. If he can prove customer confusion and damage to his brand, he is still eligible to collect damages.

In 2008, Pom Wonderful accused Coca Cola of unfairly marketing their pomegranate juices. Coca-Cola’s pomegranate-blueberry drink was mostly apple and grape juice. In fact, the drinks contained .03% pomegranate juice and only trace amounts of blueberry juice.

Coca Cola defended the product’s marketing and packaging, stating that all five fruits in the drink were pictured in the label, and the list of ingredients was accurate. Food industry laws prevent companies from being sued as long as they correctly publish the drink’s ingredients.

In the lawsuit, Pom Wonderful claims Coca Cola falsely marketed the product to capture pomegranate sales after they achieved success with their own product. The suit is alleging false advertising, unfair competition, and trademark infringement.

Federal trademark laws allow businesses to sue their rivals if they can prove that the other party’s false marketing is hurting their commercial interests. Pom Wonderful does not have to prove profit loss if they can prove that Coca Cola intentionally caused confusion among consumers, or that Coca Cola’s inferior product damaged their brand.

Two years ago, a federal judge in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Pom Wonderful’s lawsuit, citing the food industry food labeling laws. On June 12, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision and allowed the case to move to trial.

 

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Technology Giants in Battle Over Patents

Apple is currently suing Samsung for patent infringement over features in several Samsung phones. Apple is seeking two billion dollars in damages over technological innovations like slide-to-unlock, word correction and contextual links. Samsung is countering with claims that the features mentioned in the suit were not Apple innovations at all, rather that they were developed independently of Apple so Samsung has done nothing wrong.

Google has come to Samsung’s defense and offered to testify in the suit about two of the innovations in question: background sync and universal search. They are willing to claim responsibility for the innovations and back up Samsung’s claim that they were not developed by Apple.

Technically, Apple could have named Google in the original patent infringement suit, but since they freely distributed Android, Apple would not have made much money off the case. Samsung on the other hand sold and distributed millions of phones, so a lawsuit against them would be much more lucrative.

No word yet on whether or not Google will assume any financial responsibility for the suit, but the details should be available soon.

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Samsung’s Expert Witnesses Testify Against Apple

In the ongoing patent infringement suit between Apple and Samsung, the latter has just changed the balance considerably through its expert witness testimonies. Most of their witnesses were computer science academics who claimed that the allegedly infringing technologies were, in fact, developed independently of Apple before their patent registration. “In my opinion, they do not infringe,” said a professor.

Furthermore, Samsung was perplexed as to why they were the target of the lawsuit when Google developed most of the allegedly infringing technologies as components of its Android operating system. However, Android is open-source and was released for free, so Google has not directly profited from any of the allegedly infringing technologies.

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Where to Look for Trademark Infringement Evidence

A lot of valuable evidence hidden within a company’s website code can be used as evidence in a trademark infringement case. For example, FenF, LLC is currently suing Smartthingz, Inc. for trademark infringement. The former’s attorneys found infringing evidence in Smartthingz metadata, which is the information used by search engines to classify and rank a page. Moreover, Smartthingz purchased the phrase “Yoga Toes” as a Google AdWord, “meaning that Smartthingz’s website would be listed and advertised before FenF’s website when internet users searched for Yoga Toes through Google’s search engine,” according to court documents.

The take away in this example is the fact that some tech-savvy sleuthing is often necessary to find the vital pieces of evidence which can make or break a case. If you are in the throes of an intellectual property dispute, you might need to search in unlikely places for valuable evidence.

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Is Using Stock Photos Found On The Internet Copyright Infringement?

Getty Images has filed five lawsuits in the month of January alone for copyright infringement. This comes as a shock as Getty has previously been known for sending out settlement demand letters but never following up on them. According to a representative of Getty, the lawsuits function to “send the message that we will take legal action when someone uses our content and is not willing to pay a license fee.” Additionally, the lawsuits will protect “the creative process of artists and photographers” who supplied the photographs.

If another individual or organization is using your copyrighted material on the internet without your permission, our Los Angeles copyright infringement attorneys can help. Attorney Robert G. Klein has been defending the victims of copyright infringement and other intellectual property disputes in the Los Angeles area since 1987. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact our firm today at (323) 653-3900, ext. 110.

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When Does Parody Become Trademark Infringement?

According to The International Business Times, Starbucks is suing comedian Nathan Fielder for trademark infringement. Fielder created what he claims is a parody of Starbucks called Dumb Starbucks, which features all of the trademarked Starbucks symbols with the word Dumb before them. “Although we are a fully-functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art,” said a representative of Dumb Starbucks. “So, in the eyes of the law, our ‘coffee shop’ is actually an art gallery and the ‘coffee’ you’re buying is actually the art.”

The line between parody and trademark infringement is very ambiguous. If you have a parody-related concern, you should consult an experienced intellectual property attorney to guide you through the process. The law offices of Robert G. Klein have over 25 years of intellectual property litigation experience. Our Los Angeles trademark infringement attorneys will fight on your behalf to recover any lost profits incurred by either the parody or the infringement case. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our Los Angeles trademark infringement attorneys, call us today at (323) 653-3900, ext. 110.

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Can minors apply for trademark registration?

A minor’s eligibility to file for trademark registration depends upon the corresponding state law. If the person validly enters into binding legal obligations in their state, that person may sign a trademark application. Otherwise, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application, clearly setting forth their status as a parent or as legal guardian of the applicant.

Can information on the internet be copied?

Normally, information from the internet can be copied, but it is subject to certain difficulties. So long as the copy is for personal use, and the person using it does not further distribute the material, and makes no “for-profit” use of the material, there is no liability under federal copyright law. However, Congress has recently passed a law which makes duplicating sound and visual recordings in this manner illegal.

Can a non-resident person own a trademark in the United States?

In the matter of non-residency, applicants not living in the United States must designate in writing the name and address of a person residing in the United States. The United States Patent and Trademark Office will send his/her domestic representative all notices and communications regarding the mark, unless the person is represented by an attorney in the United States.