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Netflix involved in intellectual property dispute with Rovi

California residents may be interested to learn about the ongoing intellectual property dispute between Netflix, Inc. and Rovi Corporation. According to a statement from Rovi, the company will continue to pursue its claims against Netflix until it is able to obtain the necessary licenses. The litigation involves five patents that are related to various aspects of Netflix's over-the-top video service.

A judge issued a ruling in favor of Netflix on July 15. In her ruling, the judge granted Netflix its motion for summary judgment on the five patents in question. The judge found that the five patents were not valid because they did not cover subject matter that is patentable, according to the 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. Part of the judge's decision also included a claim construction ruling that was in favor of Rovi.

Amazon facing lawsuit over search results

A California court will hear a trademark infringement lawsuit that was filed against Amazon by a watch manufacturer that does not sell its products through the online shopping website. Multi Time Machine, a company that produces military-style timepieces, takes issue with the way that Amazon displays search results when consumers search for MTM products on Amazon.

The trademark infringement lawsuit involves the way that Amazon allegedly confuses customers who are looking for MTM products on its website. MTM says that when consumers search for MTM watches on Amazon, they are provided with a list of competitor's watches rather than a message informing them that Amazon does not carry MTM watches. According to MTM, these search results could cause customers to purchase watches from other manufacturers rather than continue to look for MTM watches.

Trump and NBC agree to arbitration over Miss USA dispute

California residents will likely be aware that remarks made by Donald Trump considered incendiary by many have led to several companies severing ties with the polarizing candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. Disparaging comments about Mexican illegal immigrants led NBC to terminate its relationship with Trump on June 29, and the Spanish television channel Univision announced that it was cancelling its coverage of the Miss USA beauty pageant. Trump owns the pageant jointly with NBCUniversal.

Trump reacted angrily to the news, and his attorneys filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision on June 30. However, an arbitration clause in his contract with NBC has prevented him from taking legal action against that network. Attorneys representing Trump said that the network had violated the terms of its contract with the real estate developer, but they added that both parties had agreed to arbitration. Arbitration clauses avoid the publicity of business litigation by requiring parties to allow an independent arbitrator to settle disputes privately.

An overview of intellectual property protection and rights

Entrepreneurs, artists, and others in California may understand the frustration of having one's creative work copied, especially if the individual or entity doing the copying then uses that material to generate a profit. It is important to know the types of protections available so that violations are clearly understood. In some cases, legal action may be necessary to put an end to illicit use of one's materials, but this may be contingent on correctly protecting those materials in the first place.

There are various types of intellectual property to consider. For example, when one's literary or artistic work is created in a fixed form like a computer file or in print, it can be considered as copyrighted. Computer software falls into this category. An individual may use the copyright symbol with such work, and they can expect the protection to last for a certain number of years after their death. In some cases, a longer period of coverage might be allowed based on the country in which the creator resides.

Sony unsuccessful in effort to have data breach lawsuit dismissed

A federal judge in California has rejected the request of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. to have a suit filed by soem of its former employees dismissed. The legal action relates to the November 2014 data breach that occurred as the company prepared to release a controversial movie "The Interview". It is believed that the responsibility for data theft lies with North Korea, prompted by the nature of the film which was based on the fictional death of that nation's leader.

The primary allegation in this business litigation is that the company failed to protect the personal information of employees. Sony informed employees by letter of the potential theft of identification information from passports, Social Security details and driver's licenses. It is also possible that financial and health information was compromised during the breach. The allegation of negligence was not tossed out, but the judge has dismissed some other claims, including alleged breach of contract on the part of Sony. Employees have indicated that the company failed to strengthen the security system due to the costs in spite of prior hacking actions. However, the judge indicated that proof of this claim wasn't necessary for the suit to continue forward.

American Well sues competitor for patent infringement

Many California business owners know that intellectual property is a valuable asset for any company. A telehealth company is now suing a competitor to protect its intellectual property rights that constitute the core processes through which it conducts its business.

In 2009, Massachusetts-based health care company American Well was granted a patent on a process for matching patients with health care providers and facilitating delivery of those health care services over the Internet. A competitor, Teladoc, engages in a similar type of service. In a filing with the SEC prior to an initial public offering, Teladoc claims that it is not dependent on any existing intellectual property to operate. However, American Well claims that it was recently contacted by Teladoc in a request to license its existing patent. Teladoc has also attempted to invalidate several of American Well's patent claims.

Ford sued for intellectual property theft

California motorists who own Ford vehicles may have heard that the auto manufacturer is being sued for intellectual property theft. On May 7, Versata, a software company, filed a complaint against Ford for using its software without permission. Then on June 3, the Texas software company asked a judge to issue an injunction against Ford.

The intellectual property dispute has its genesis in a contract signed in 1998 pursuant to which Ford agreed to pay Versata $8.45 million per year to use the company's software. The software, called Automotive Configuration Manager, was used in Ford's vehicle development process to identify incompatible vehicle parts. Ford used Versata's software until 2014 when the vehicle manufacturer purportedly developed its own software.

Judge progresses infringement case against Sirius

Songs recorded before February 15, 1972 are not protected by U.S. federal copyright laws. Some artists, however, have been granted copyright protection by individual state laws. A judge in California recently permitted a class action lawsuit to progress against Sirius XM Holdings Inc, a New York company.

Flo & Eddie Inc., a company founded by members of the popular singing group the Turtles, initiated the suit. The group is most famous for their song 'Happy Together" that was recorded in the 1960s.

Lawsuit claims Uber founders stole trade secrets

On May 14, a man filed a lawsuit in California against Uber Technologies Inc. in which he claimed that he was the original inventor of the transportation network. Since it was founded in San Francisco in 2009, Uber has become a popular cellphone-based shared ride service that operates in 57 countries.

According to the allegations in the trade secrets lawsuit, the true inventor of Uber's 'idea, concept, coding design, appearance, application and prototype" was never compensated for his invention. The plaintiff claims that he began developing plans for the transportation network in 2002 and founded his company, Celluride Wireless Inc., in 2003. In 2006, the plaintiff says that he spoke to the future founder and chief executive officer of Uber about his ideas on a confidential basis.

Protecting business ideas from others

Entrepreneurs in California may benefit from learning more about the different strategies someone can employ to protect an original and unique business idea from being used by another party. In order to sustain profitability long-term, new entrepreneurs may need to understand more about how to protect their brand. People starting new businesses also need to avoid infringing on the trademarks owned by other parties. Trademark disputes often arise when two companies share a close similarity in their brands, designs or services.

Entrepreneurs are advised to put the time, effort and capital into researching the brand as well as the means to protect the brand from infringement. Business owners who decline to exercise legal options for safeguarding intellectual property may be forced into a settlement or changing the brand as their only recourse for protecting future earnings. A sudden change in a name or logo can be catastrophic to a budding enterprise.

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