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Posts Tagged ‘California’

The Copyright Battle Over Custom-Built Batmobiles

January 3rd, 2013 01:07 admin View Comments

Transportation

Hugh Pickens writes writes “Eriq Gardner writes that Warner Brothers is suing California resident Mark Towle, a specialist in customizing replicas of automobiles featured in films and TV shows, for selling replicas of automobiles from the 1960s ABC series Batman by arguing that copyright protection extends to the overall look and feel of the Batmobile. The case hinges on what exactly is a Batmobile — an automobile or a piece of intellectual property? Warner attorney J. Andrew Coombs argues in legal papers that the Batmobile incorporates trademarks with distinctive secondary meaning and that by selling an unauthorized replica, Towle is likely to confuse consumers about whether the cars are DC products are not. Towle’s attorney Larry Zerner, argues that automobiles aren’t copyrightable. ‘It is black letter law that useful articles, such as automobiles, do not qualify as “sculptural works” and are thus not eligible for copyright protection,’ writes Zerner adding that a decision to affirm copyright elements of automotive design features could be exploited by automobile manufacturers. ‘The implications of a ruling upholding this standard are easy to imagine. Ford, Toyota, Ferrari and Honda would start publishing comic books, so that they could protect what, up until now, was unprotectable.’”

Source: The Copyright Battle Over Custom-Built Batmobiles

A Subscription-Based Movie Theater

January 1st, 2013 01:01 admin View Comments

Movies

When the local movie theater in Oakhurst, California went out of business, residents were stuck without a way to watch films on the big screen without driving for at least an hour beforehand. Now, three men are trying to resurrect the theater with one major change: instead of relying solely on ticket sales, their business model revolves around subscriptions. From the article: ‘They ran models of Nelson’s subscription-based theater idea, showing that to break even they would need 3,000 people, or 15% of the mountain communities, to sign up. For $19.95 per month, a member would be able to see each movie one time and buy individual tickets for friends. Non-members could buy a $16 day pass. While researching the theater business, Nelson learned that studios are transitioning to digital distribution. Thousands of independent theaters that couldn’t afford equipment upgrades have closed over the last 10 years, according to industry experts. Hundreds of others — which, like the Met, still show print films — remain on the brink. The subscription business model could pay for the new equipment.’

Source: A Subscription-Based Movie Theater

2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

January 1st, 2013 01:50 admin View Comments

Transportation

An anonymous reader writes “According to data from the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was higher in 2012 than in any year before it. Nationwide, gas averaged $3.60/gallon, up from $3.51/gallon in 2011. ‘The states with the most expensive annual averages for 2012 included Hawaii ($4.31), Alaska ($4.09), California ($4.03), New York ($3.90) and Connecticut ($3.90). The states with the least-expensive annual averages included South Carolina ($3.35), Missouri ($3.38), Mississippi ($3.39), Tennessee ($3.40) and Oklahoma ($3.41). The highest daily statewide average of the year was $4.67 in Calif. on Oct. 9, while the lowest daily statewide average was $2.91 a gallon in South Carolina on July 3.’ Bloomberg reports that fuel consumption is down 3.6% compared to last year, while U.S. oil production reached almost 7 million barrels a day recently, a level that hasn’t been reached since 1993. AAA predicts gas prices will be cheaper in 2013.”

Source: 2012 Set Record For Most Expensive Gas In US

Judge Grants Defendant’s Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law

December 29th, 2012 12:22 admin View Comments

Crime

An anonymous reader writes “Prenda Law — one of the most notorious copyright trolls — has sued hundreds of thousands of John Doe defendants, often receiving settlements of thousands of dollars from each. Prenda Law principal John Steele has reportedly made a few million dollars suing BitTorrent file-sharers. Prenda Law has been accused in federal court of creating sham offshore corporations using the identity of his gardener. In other words, it is alleged that the law firm and their client are the same entity, and that Prenda law has committed identity theft and fraud. Now, a judge in California has granted a John Doe defendant’s motion to further explore the connection between the offshore entity and the law firm.”

Source: Judge Grants Defendant’s Motion To Explore Alleged Fraud By Prenda Law

Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040

December 22nd, 2012 12:30 admin View Comments

Earth

dryriver writes with a report from CNN that the asteroid known as 2011 AG5 will not hit Earth in 2040 as early calculations had led some to fear when it was first spotted last year. “To narrow down the asteroid’s future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October. ‘An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,’ NASA declared Friday.”

Source: Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040

Reexamination Request Filed Against Another Apple Patent

December 22nd, 2012 12:32 admin View Comments

Cellphones

An anonymous reader writes “After the rubber-banding, ‘Steve Jobs’ heuristics and pinch-to-zoom patents, another Apple patent in use against Samsung comes under pressure. An anonymous filer, most likely Samsung, has filed a reexamination request against Apple’s RE41,922 patent on a ‘method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display.’ It’s not among the patents a California jury evaluated this summer, but one of four patents an ITC judge preliminarily found Samsung to infringe. The reexamination request features five new pieces of prior art (three U.S. patents from the early 1990s and two Japanese patents), all of which dealt with translucent images. The patent office will decide next year whether to grant or deny the request for reexamination. Expect more such petitions targeting Apple patents.”

Source: Reexamination Request Filed Against Another Apple Patent

Judge Refuses Apple Request For Samsung Ban, But Denies New Trial, Too

December 18th, 2012 12:13 admin View Comments

Patents

SternisheFan writes with this news from the Register: “Apple has failed in its attempt to obtain a permanent ban on several Samsung products in the US, but Samsung’s accusations of jury misconduct have also been rejected. As she has so many times before, Judge Lucy Koh kept things even between Apple and Samsung by rejecting most of their requests. After Apple won $1bn in its patent infringement case against the Korean firm, it set about pursuing another win in the form of permanent injunctions on the products in the case. The fruity firm wanted a California court to stop sales of the Sammy mobes and tablets in the US, but the judge said the company hadn’t done enough to legally support such a ban.” More details at Groklaw.

Source: Judge Refuses Apple Request For Samsung Ban, But Denies New Trial, Too

California Sues Delta Air Lines Over Mobile Privacy

December 15th, 2012 12:24 admin View Comments

Android

New submitter mrheckman writes “California is suing Delta Air Lines for violation of California’s on-line privacy law. Delta failed to “conspicuously post a privacy policy within their mobile app that informs users of what personally identifiable information is being collected and what will be done with it” after a 30-day notice. Delta’s app collects “substantial personally identifiable information such as a user’s full name, telephone number, email address, frequent flyer account number and pin code, photographs, and geo-location”. Why is it we still can’t control what permissions an app has on our phones? It’s absurd and disturbing that an app for checking flights and baggage demands all of those permissions.”

Source: California Sues Delta Air Lines Over Mobile Privacy

Laser Fusion Put On a Slow Burn By US Government

December 11th, 2012 12:14 admin View Comments

Power

gbrumfiel writes “Those hoping to laser their way out of the energy crisis will have to wait a little longer. The U.S. government has unveiled its new plan for laser fusion, and it’s not going to happen anytime soon. It all comes down to problems at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world’s most powerful laser at Lawrence Livermore Lab in California. For the past six years researchers at NIF have been trying to use the laser to spark a fusion reaction in a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel. Like all fusion, it’s tougher than it looks, and their campaign came up short. That left Congress a little bit miffed, so they asked for a new plan. The new plan calls for a more methodical study of fusion, along with a broader approach to achieving it with the NIF. In three years or so, they should know whether the NIF will ever work.”

Source: Laser Fusion Put On a Slow Burn By US Government

HP Sues Over LCD Price Fixing

December 4th, 2012 12:21 admin View Comments

HP

angry tapir writes “Hewlett-Packard has filed a complaint against display manufacturers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Tatung Company of America, seeking to recover damages it claims it suffered as a result of their involvement in a price fixing scheme. In November 2008, Chunghwa pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy together with other display manufacturers, including LG Display and Sharp, to set the prices of Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels to predetermined levels. The company agreed to pay a US$65 million criminal fine at the time. A jury found AU Optronics, another display manufacturer, guilty of participating in the same conspiracy and was fined US$500 million in September by a judge of the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California. In October last year, 10 LCD makers, including Chunghwa Picture Tubes, were fined $176 million in South Korea for allegedly holding secret meetings to keep the prices for flat screen displays artificially high.”

Source: HP Sues Over LCD Price Fixing