SHFL, Vivid, Sony, Nigeria: Intellectual Property

SHFL Entertainment Inc. (SHFL), a Las Vegas-based supplier of casino equipment, said in a statement that a court in Macau has found it didn’t infringe a patent related to terminal betting on live baccarat.

The company’s Rapid Baccarat electronic table configuration — now known as SHFL Fusion Hybrid — was accused of infringing a patent belonging to Hong Kong Resident Jay Chun.

The Macau First Instance Court found no violation of the patent, SHFL said in its statement.


Adult-Film Producer Vivid Sues Florida Cabaret Over ‘Vivid’ Mark

Vivid Entertainment Inc., one of the makers of adult films who are challenging a Los Angeles ordinance requiring actors in pornographic films to use condoms, sued a Florida nightclub for trademark infringement.

According to the complaint filed July 15 in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida, J&B PB LLC and its owner Jose Baserva of Fort Myers are accused of using Vivid’s marks without authorization.

Vivid, which claims in court papers it has “established wide recognition and goodwill with the general consuming public as one of the world’s largest producers of high quality erotic and adult entertainment,” said it had a previous dispute with Baserva over the Vivid marks.

In May, Vivid said, Baserva’s business agreed to quit using the Vivid marks for its Vivid Cabaret Nightclub. It also said it would quit using an Internet domain name to which Vivid objected,

Vivid accused Baserva of filing an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office April 23 to register “Vivid Cabaret” for adult-entertainment nightclubs. Baserva is planning to open other nightclubs beyond the Ft. Myers site, also using the “Vivid Cabaret” name, Vivid claimed in its pleadings.

The Los Angeles-based film company asked the court to bar any use of its marks by the defendant, and for an award of money damages, attorney fees, litigation costs and profits the defendants derived from their alleged infringement.

Vivid, which is known for its marketing of the Kim Kardashian and Tila Tequila sex tapes, also requested that it be transferred the domain name to which it objects, and that the court order the destruction of all infringing promotional material.

Baserva didn’t respond immediately to a message seeking comment sent through Vivid Cabaret’s page on Facebook Inc. (FB)’s social media site.

The case is Vivid Entertainment LLC v. J&B PB LLC, 2:13-cv-00524-JES-DNF, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Fort Myers).


Sony Gets Dismissal of Suit by Faulkner Copyright Holder

Sony Pictures Classics Inc. has persuaded a federal judge in Mississippi to dismiss a copyright suit brought by the holders of the copyrights to the works of Mississippian William Faulkner.

Nobel laureate Faulkner, a novelist who wrote about his native Mississippi, died in 1962. He was also the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.

Faulkner Literary Rights LLC filed the suit in October 2012, claiming lines from Faulkner’s “Requiem for a Nun” were used incorrectly and without authorization in “Midnight in Paris,” a 2011 Sony film directed by Woody Allen.

According to court papers, a character played by Owen Wilson is transported from the present to the 1920s, where he has conversations with Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In describing his experiences, the character says “The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner.”

The correct quote, the Faulkner rights holder said, is “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

According to the complaint, Sony didn’t seek or receive permission to use the lines in the film. Faulkner Literary Rights LLC, which is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, said it was harmed by Sony’s actions, and that the use of the quote was likely to cause the public to assume falsely that a connection exists between Faulkner and Sony.

U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills was not convinced and issued an order July 18 dismissing the case. He said the amount of text that was used in the film is minimal and was sufficiently transformed as to fall into copyright law’s “fair use” exception.

He also rejected any argument that the Faulkner literary estate’s future market was harmed by the use of the phrase in the movie. He said he was “highly doubtful that any relevant markets have been harmed” by the film. “How Hollywood’s flattering and artful use of literary allusion is a point of litigation not celebration is beyond this court’s comprehension,” Judge Mills wrote.

He said that he was more likely to believe that the film helped the estate and that the market value of “Requiem for a Nun” was enhanced by the movie.

The estate’s argument that the film would cause viewers to believe falsely that an affiliation existed with Faulkner and his works is “without merit,” he said, noting that the literary allusion to Faulkner “is not synonymous with affiliation, nor with appropriation.”

Judge Mills’ opinion started with his literary allusion to another of Faulkner’s works and a present-day pop culture phenomenon. He said he had viewed Allen’s movie and read “Requiem for a Nun” and was “thankful that the parties did not ask the court to compare ‘The Sound and the Fury’ with ‘Sharknado.’”

The case is Faulkner Literary Rights LLC v. Sony Pictures Classics Inc., 3:12-cv-00100-MPM-SSA, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi.

Faulkner Literary Rights had filed a second copyright suit at the same time. It sued Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and the Washington Post Co. over the use of a Faulkner quote in an advertisement that ran in the newspaper July 4, 2011.

That quote, “We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it,” is taken from a 1956 Faulkner essay, “On Fear: The South in Labor,” according to court papers. The Faulkner rights holder claims that quote is also used without permission.

That case settled in December. No terms were disclosed and all parties had to bear their own costs, according to court papers.

That case was Faulkner Literary Rights LLC v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 12-cv-00732, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi (Jackson).

Nigeria Joins Copyright Treaty to Improve Access for the Blind

Nigeria has signed on to a treaty aimed at improving access to published works by the visually impaired, the news website reported.

The treaty will benefit approximately 300 million people, 90 percent of whom live in developing nations, with 27 million in Africa, according to

The treaty was signed at a conference convened in Marrakesh, Morocco, by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations Agency, reported.

Yandex Gets Rid of Some of Perfect 10’s Infringement Claims

Yandex NV, the Dutch operator of a Russian Internet search engine, persuaded a federal court in California to dismiss elements of a copyright infringement suit brought by a publisher of adult-content photos.

In his July 12 order, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said that claims Perfect 10 Inc. made against Yandex with respect to direct copyright infringement aren’t supported by evidence.

Perfect 10, which has also sued Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG) for copyright infringement, said that Yandex hosts copies of user-uploaded images belonging to the publisher without authorization. The company argued that even though the allegedly infringing content is hosted on servers located in Russia, Yandex still infringed under U.S. copyright law because residents of this country could potentially download them.

Judge Alsup said he rejected this theory of liability. He said that in previous rulings, nowhere “did our court of appeals endorse the idea that display of a copyrighted image anywhere in the world creates direct copyright liability in the United States merely because the image could be downloaded from a server abroad by someone in the United States.”

If this theory were to be allowed to go forward, Judge Alsup said, this would “destroy the concept of territoriality inherent in the Copyright Act for works on the Internet.”

Although the judge dismissed the claims of direct infringement, he let stand Perfect 10’s claims that Yandex contributed to others’ infringement and was vicariously liable.

The case is Perfect 10 Inc. v. Yandex NV (YNDX), 3:12-cv-01521-WHA, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).


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