President Barack Obama has sent two
names to the U.S. Senate for confirmation for seats on the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Washington-based
court that hears appeals of patent cases, according to a
government statement.

One of the two nominees comes from the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office. Raymond T. Chen is presently the deputy
general counsel for intellectual property law and solicitor.
He’s had that post since 2008.

He is a familiar figure at the appeals court, where he
served as a technical assistant from 1996 to 1998. After he left
the court he moved to the patent office, where he was assistant
solicitor until his promotion to solicitor in 2008.

Before the patent office, he practiced at Irvine,
California’s Knobbe Martens Olson Bear LLP, an IP specialty

Chen has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering
from the University of California at Los Angeles and a law
degree from New York University.

The other nominee to the court comes from the U.S. Justice
Department. Rodd H. Hughes has served as deputy director of the
commercial litigation branch of the department’s Civil Division
since 2007.

Before he began the practice of law, he was a judicial
clerk for Judge Robert B. Krupansky of the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit. He joined the Justice Department’s
commercial litigation branch in 1994 as a trial attorney and
became assistant director for commercial litigation five years
later. He was named deputy director in 2007.

Hughes’s experience has been related to federal personnel
law, veterans benefits, international trade, government
contracts and jurisdictional issues regarding the U.S. Court of
Federal Claims. He has appeared regularly before the CAFC on
some of these issues.

He has an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a
joint legal degree and master’s degree in English from Duke

Software Patent Debate Divides Companies at U.S. Appeals Court

A U.S. appeals court specializing in patent law grappled
with questions about when computer programs should be eligible
for legal protection.

Ten judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal
Circuit in Washington heard arguments Feb. 8 about how to
distinguish software innovations from programs that computerize
unpatentable ideas.

Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and JPMorgan Chase Co. are
among companies that say patent standards for software are too
lax and lead to expensive litigation. Stricter rules about what
types of software can be patented could make it cheaper and
quicker to weed out lawsuits over patents that cover the use of
a computer to implement a concept.

The broad use of computer software in every industry has
generated interest and debate about the case, with Internet
retailers and financial institutions generally seeking tighter
standards. Technology companies are divided, depending on the
nature of their businesses.

The patents in the Federal Circuit case concern a
computerized method for using an intermediary to make sure
buyers and sellers meet their obligations in stock and currency
trading. CLS was accused of infringement in 2007 by patent owner
Alice Corp., a Melbourne-based company jointly owned by National
Australia Bank Ltd.
and Alice Ventures Pty.

A federal judge in Washington ruled in 2011 that the idea
of using a third party to settle trades isn’t eligible for a
patent, and computerizing the notion didn’t make it patentable.

In a 2-1 decision in July, the appeals court reversed that
decision, ruling Alice’s suit should proceed because the patents
cover “practical applications of the invention.” Friday’s
arguments were before all nine active judges plus Circuit Judge
Richard Linn, who wrote the original opinion and is now a senior

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said the court should
set up a flexible test that looks at whether the computer is
added to the description of an idea to obtain a patent.

Google, along with a group that includes British Airways,
Intuit Inc., Twitter Inc., Yelp Inc. and SAP AG, said the
court’s July ruling may keep judges from quickly resolving cases
about patents that shouldn’t have been issued under standards
set in recent Supreme Court cases.

International Business Machines Corp., which has received
the most U.S. patents for the past 20 years, and a lobbying
group whose members include Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., said
software needs legal protection because it contributes to the
nation’s economy.

The case is CLS Bank v. Alice Corporation, 11-1301, U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The
lower-court case is CLS Bank International v. Alice Corp.,
07cv974, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

For more patent news, click here.


ANA Asks Icann to Protect Trademarks in Domain Registration

The Association of National Advertisers, a New York-based
advertising-industry trade group, has asked the organization
that assigns Internet domain names to slow down the process of
creating new top-level domains.

According to a statement from the group, the ANA wants the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to set up a
defensive mechanism so trademark holders can prevent
registration of their exact trademarks across all the registries
for a single reasonable fee.

The advertisers group said it is joined by more than 60
companies and industry groups asking Icann to adopt what it
calls “Limited Preventative Registration” to help protect
trademarks from exploitation by unauthorized entities.

The organization said that no one has disputed its
contention that consumers could be harmed by increased fraud in
the new top-level domain names and that “billions of dollars”
in defensive registrations would be needed by the industry to
protect consumers.

Presently the Icann website lists 1930 domain names for
which applications have been filed.

China Will Consider Registration of Sounds as Trademarks

China’s State Council has approved a draft revision to that
nation’s trademark law that would enable the registration of
sonic trademarks, China Daily reported.

The proposed changes would permit the registration of
sounds, smells and moving objects, as well as words, colors and
graphics, according to China Daily.

Yang Yanchao, an IP specialist at the Chinese Academy of
Sciences, told China Daily that for a sound to qualify for
registration, it needs to be unique, memorable and flexible.

He said that the challenge in registering aural trademarks
is setting up clear regulations on registration, examination and
dispute resolution, and that these need to be more detailed than
for word trademarks, according to China Daily.

Pearson’s Trademark Battle with Bennett Coleman Co. Stayed

Trademark proceedings between India’s Bennett Coleman Co.
and the Financial Times unit of the U.K.’s Pearson Plc have been
stayed for four weeks, the Indian Express reported.

India’s Supreme Court is hearing a dispute between the two
companies over the “Financial Times (FT)” trademark, according
to Indian Express.

Pearson’s Financial Times Group is seeking clear title to
the trademark in line with its plans to publish the paper in
India, the newspaper reported.

The dispute between the two companies began in 1993 when
the Pearson unit filed a suit in Bangalore against the Indian
company that resulted in the cancellation of registration for
the mark for both companies, according to Indian Express.

For more trademark news, click here.


Activision Complaint Triggers North Korea Video Takedown

Following an objection lodged by Santa Monica, California-
based Activision Blizzard Inc., Google Inc.’s YouTube video-
sharing service has taken down a North Korea propaganda video
showing an American city reduced to flames, PC World reported.

Some of the footage was taken without authorization from
Activision’s “Call of Duty” video game, according to PC World.

The video had been posted to North Korea’s YouTube channel,
the website reported and can still be seen on the website of the
U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.

Soundtrack for the removed video was an instrumental
version of “We Are the World,” by Michael Jackson and Lionel
Ritchie, according to PC World.

Macmillan Settles U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit Over E-Book Pricing

The U.S. Justice Department said it reached a settlement
with Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH over its alleged
antitrust violations involving Macmillan e-books.

Macmillan, the last publisher left in a U.S. lawsuit
alleging an e-books price-fixing conspiracy with Apple Inc.,
reached a settlement with the U.S., agreeing to void deals with
retailers that restrict discounting.

The settlement also requires Macmillan to avoid entering
any new restrictive agreements on price or promotions until
December 2014. Macmillan, a unit of Stuttgart, Germany-based
Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, also agreed to a
compliance program that includes reporting to the government
communications with other publishers.

The agreement, filed in federal court in Manhattan, will
“immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumers pay
for Macmillan’s e-books,” Jamillia Ferris, an attorney in the
Justice Department’s antitrust division, said in a statement.

The settlement, if approved by a federal judge in
Manhattan, would mark the end of a lawsuit for publishers
alleging they conspired with Apple to undermine discounter Inc.’s dominance in the e-books market.

The ligation against Apple will continue, the department
said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment
on the continued litigation.

Separately, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan on
Feb. 8 gave final approval to a $69 million settlement between
49 states and three of the publishers also named in the Justice
Department complaint — CBS Corp.’s Simon Schuster, Lagardere
SCA’s Hachette Book Group and News Corp.’s HarperCollins.

John Sargent, president of Holtzbrinck’s U.S. group, said
in a statement that Macmillan settled “because the potential
penalties became too high to risk even the possibility of an
unfavorable outcome.”

The Justice Department claimed in the suit that consumers
were typically forced to pay as much as $14.99 or more for the
most sought after titles, up from what one of the publisher’s
chief executive officers described as the “wretched $9.99 price
point,” that prevailed before the conspiracy.

The plan was aimed in large part at thwarting
Inc., the largest U.S. seller of digital books, which had
triggered an e-book boom by introducing the Kindle e-reader in
2007 and pricing bestselling e-books at $9.99.

At Apple’s suggestion, the publishers agreed to raise
retail prices and give Cupertino, California-based Apple a 30
percent cut, according to the complaint. Amazon was eventually
forced to fall in line.

Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon, didn’t immediately
respond to a request for comment about the settlement.

The Justice Department case is U.S. v. Apple, 12-cv-02826,
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
The case brought by states is Texas v. Hachette Book Group Inc.,
1:12-cv-06625, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New
York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Michael Hytha at [email protected].