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Approved patent law application could charge up smartphones

How many Texas residents have found their smartphones running out of battery life with no way to charge them? Well, that could change now that Sony's patent law application was approved. The tech giant patented a way for one smartphone to draw battery power from another.

The technology is based on the concept of near-field communication, which allows devices to share data and for the use of mobile payment apps that do not require contact to work. Using this technology to transfer data was also included in the patent. Sony obtained its new patent just as the demand for wireless charging of devices such as smartphones is gaining ground.

Costco Teeing Up A Patent Lawsuit Against One Of Golf's Heavy Hitters

The end of March is always an exciting time for golfers. Spring time is on the horizon, daylight savings has provided us with more sunshine at the end of the day, and the Masters is right around the corner. This year is shaping up nicely - most of the world's top players are playing well early in the season, and Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Rickie Fowler have each already won this year. But a few weeks before the Masters, a surprising name is making a splash in the golf industry. On Monday, multiple sources reported that Costco Wholesale Corporation has filed suit in the Western District of Washington seeking a declaratory judgment that it does not infringe on eleven patents for golf balls held by Acushnet, the parent company of industry leader Titleist.

FigureFun Building a Patent Infringement Case Against Lego

On Monday, World IP Review reported that a U.S. based business called FigureFun filed suit against Lego Systems in the Eastern District of Texas on March 8. The suit focuses on Lego's alleged infringement of two patents, Patent. No. 7,001,276 for "Gaming machine and server therefor" and Patent No. 7,338,377 for "Token with built-in IC chip." An IC chip is an integrated circuit chip, which is set of electronic circuits on a single chip. The advantages of integrated circuits are two-fold: they are both cheaper and perform better than a traditional electronic circuit. FigureFun alleges Lego is infringing upon its '276 patent by the development of Lego Dimensions, a video game for PlayStation, XBOX, and Nintendo Wii. FigureFun alleges Lego is infringing upon its '377 patent because characters in Lego Dimensions include "a token for a gaming machine on which a player plays a game by controlling the character."

Does patent law need to be reinvented?

Many Texas residents might feel as though they blink and the technology they use every day changes. Companies in the technology industry always seem to be tweaking and changing existing technology to do more. Just as many people have issues keeping up with the changes, some would say that outdated patent law is having the same problem.

For example, IBM was recently awarded a patent for what many would call "outdated" technology. Texas residents who work in offices might be familiar with the "out of office" option for their email. At this point, a reader might be scratching his or her head. How could IBM get a patent for technology that already exists? Others are asking that same question.

Adidas In Another Trademark Dispute - This Time With Forever 21

On February 7, I wrote about Adidas and their opposition to Tesla's trademark application for the Model 3 logo. You can read that article here: http://www.dfwpatentlaw.com/blog/2017/02/adidas-opposing-teslas-3-stripe-trademark-registration.shtml. I was not sold that Adidas would be able to prove customer confusion, but filing an opposition to Tesla's application was consistent with their history of aggressively protecting their three stripe trademark. Now, Adidas's actions may be coming back to bite them. On Monday, Law360 reported that Forever 21, Inc. filed suit against Adidas late last week in a California federal court for taking the enforcement of its three stripe trademark too far.

Apple Back in Court Over Eight Patents

On Monday, Law360 reported that Inventergy, Inc. has sued Apple, Inc., maker of our beloved iPhones, for allegedly infringing eight patents relating to communication equipment, base station equipment, and mobile phone's communication methods. Apple has been on notice of these claims since Inventergy approached them in January of 2015 and offered a nonexclusive license on "fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms." Apple refused to enter such an agreement.

Patent law and your intellectual property rights

As a Texas inventor, you might think that coming up with the idea was the easy part by the time you address all of the initial legal issues surrounding your invention. While either your patent is pending or you receive your patent, it would be nice to believe that you are done with the legalities. However, patent law outlines additional steps that need to be taken in order to safeguard your intellectual property rights.

For instance, like most Texas inventors, you might not have the capital necessary to manufacture your product. You will need to collaborate with a company that has the resources and capability of doing so for you. If you want to protect your patent, you should strongly consider negotiating and entering into a manufacturing agreement that outlines each of your rights and responsibilities. If you do not yet have your patent in hand, you are within your rights to request a nondisclosure agreement with the manufacturer as well in order to help prevent the manufacturer from violating your rights.

NCAA Opposes Trademark Filed by the Big Ten Conference

The National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") has had a lot of legal press in the last few years. From the controversies over whether student athletes should be paid, to the likenesses of student athletes no longer being used in video games such as the now-defunct NCAA Football series, the NCAA is no stranger to legal proceedings. One of the NCAA's most notable trademarks is "March Madness," referring to the annual Division 1 basketball tournament culminating in the crowning of a national champion.

Head to Head - Patent Dispute Between Helmet Manufacturers

It has been a week and a half since the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, but that does not mean that football will be leaving the news anytime soon. The offseason always brings a renewed discussion of policy issues in football, and in recent years this has meant a focus on head trauma and concussions. While the potential damage to players (understandably) is the focus of the discussion, one area that fails to get the same headlines is the technology driving the equipment used by the players.

Patent law issues are taking the fun out of making toys

Many Texas families purchase some sort of ride-on vehicle for their children. If Dynacraft BSC, Inc., manufactured one of those vehicles, it might be the subject of a current lawsuit filed by Fisher-Price and Mattel, Inc., which is the toy manufacturer's parent company. Fisher-Price is asserting its patent law rights by alleging that Dynacraft infringed on four of its patents.

The series of patents involve the technologies used for speed control in battery operated ride-on toy vehicles. Fisher-Price acquired two of the four patents from Innovation First and claims that Dynacraft infringed on the technology in the making and manufacturing of its 24V Princess Disney Carriage. The other two patents are for the wheels and shifters on both companies' products.

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