On November 17, our deadline date for greenlighting the debut three days later, the CEO of our partner on the project, Chandra Rathakrishnan, sent me an email with the subject “no good news.” Yuck, I thought. Another delay, probably with the screen that had been giving us so much trouble – capacitive touch at 12 inches isn’t trivial. And sure enough, the email started off with “no good news to update. updated hardware is still on its way , so that’s a timing issue. friday will be a challenge now.”
But the email went on. Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project. Chandra said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.
Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.
Chandra also forwarded an internal email from one of his shareholders. My favorite part of the email: “We still acknowledge that Arrington and TechCrunch bring some value to your business endeavor…If he agrees to our terms, we would have Arrington assume the role of visionary/evangelist/marketing head and Fusion Garage would acquire the rights to use the Crunchpad brand and name. Personally, I don’t think the name is all that important but you seem to be somewhat attached to the name.”
And with that, the entire project self destructed.
How the "shareholders" mentioned in the above passages came to the decision to boot Arrington from the Crunchpad project remains to be seen, but surely there will be legal hell to pay as the dirty details come to the light of day. Read the rest of the story in Arrington's The End Of The CrunchPad.
PRNewswire: A new legal book takes the IP-interested reader inside the excitement of juried court cases involving patents and fraud. Here are some of the more pertinent bits from a recent news release on this topical tome entitled From Cross-Examination to Closing, Author Raymond P. Niro Shows Readers How to Win IP Trials:
There is a thrilling — some would say electrifying — moment that occurs at a pivotal point in a trial, when the cross examination of a witness uncovers the truth from the familiar trappings of litigation. This type of courtroom drama and excitement is not usually associated with intellectual property (IP) trials, but in his new book, "GO FOR IT!: Cross-Examination To Closing: How To Win An Intellectual Property Trial Before A Jury" (published by AuthorHouse), author and seasoned litigator Raymond P. Niro offers readers a glimpse into his own playbook with the review of 18 of his own captivating IP cases.
Going beyond pedantic discussions of intellectual property law and full court transcripts, "GO FOR IT!" takes readers into the heart of each trial to the critical moments that could make or break the case. Niro shows readers what others can't: how to conduct a seamless cross examination and then tie the pieces of a complex case together while drawing on emotion in the closing argument, achieving multi-million dollar verdicts not by chance but by deliberate strategy and skill.
Although the book might appear to be tightly aimed at IP litigation-types, GO FOR IT! should otherwise serve as a late-night soporific for the slightly less-enthusiastic amateur IP wonk. In any case, such works are few and far in-between so if you're at all interested in the subject matter, you should simply GO FOR IT!
The Wall Street Journal: Here's an excerpt from an upcoming WSJ book, The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook, that should get your IP appetite up if the previous book mentioned above didn't do it for you:
Trademarks. A word, symbol, logo or image that identifies a product or service can be trademarked, as can a scent, sound or color (such as Tiffany Blue). There are more than forty classes of goods and services, and you can register a trademark (for a fee) in more than one category. A pastry shop owner, for instance, could register a trademark in both the food class (in the goods category) and the restaurant class (in the services category). You can conduct a free search to see if a mark is already registered on the USPTO's Web site using the Trademark Electronic Search System. The filing fee is $375 if done by paper and $275 to $325 if done electronically.
See how simple and easy it is to understand the idea of a trademark when couched in layman's term that even the uninitiated business person can grasp? I recommend you click on through to scope out How to Protect Your Brilliant Idea for your very own self.
William Mitchell College of Law: A group of students are working to translate a number of children's books into traditional Native languages and are also learning to navigate the necessary intellectual property laws to use the text of the books for their efforts. From Mitchell Intellectual Property Clinic students working to preserve Native languages come more details of this excellent effort:
Students in William Mitchell’s Intellectual Property Clinic are working to preserve Native languages.
With support from Professor Jay Erstling, 4L Kodi Jean Church and 3L Bob Larson are helping the Alliance for Early Childhood Professionals secure permission to translate copyrighted children’s books into the Dakota and Ojibwe languages.
Margaret Boyer, executive director of the Alliance, contacted William Mitchell’s Intellectual Property Clinic for help in seeking permissions. The project started last year when Steve Foley ’09 secured permission to translate four books—Dandelion, Noisy Nora, Oonga Boonga, and The Carrot Seed. These books are currently being used in schools to teach Indian children to speak their native languages.
Professor Ertsling is quoted in the piece as saying "This project fits in with the mission and goals of William Mitchell’s Intellectual Property Clinic, which is to provide representation to people who may not otherwise be able to get representation and to examine issues of public policy and intellectual property." A good effort by the students and professor to help rescue dying American languages from extinction while at the same time enabling the students to learn more about intellectual property laws. Everyone wins!
CNNMoney.com: A corporation that makes a variety of entertainment products and services has won a Pyrrhic victory against Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Media. Here's meat of the matter: "The High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom has issued its judgment in Rovi's patent infringement litigation against Virgin Media. Rovi had sued Virgin Media for infringing three interactive program guide patents issued in the U.K. The Court found that Virgin had infringed each of the patents but also found them to be invalid. The High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom has issued its judgment in Rovi's patent infringement litigation against Virgin Media. Rovi had sued Virgin Media for infringing three interactive program guide patents issued in the U.K. The Court found that Virgin had infringed each of the patents but also found them to be invalid." Samir Armaly, SVP of Worldwide Patent Licensing for Rovi, comments on the decision: "While we are pleased that the court found all of the patents to be infringed by Virgin, we strongly disagree with the court's ruling on the validity issues, and intend to appeal the decision. We also intend to continue to pursue Virgin and other unlicensed companies for their infringement of our intellectual property…" Further info on this mixed bag of legal judgment-making is available in Ruling on Litigation With Virgin Media.