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A decade on, IP boutique Ampersand realigns core practice

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Almost ten years after it was founded, Munich boutique Ampersand is undergoing a reshuffle. The shift includes the hire of trademark lawyer Patrick Baronikians (52), who joins the firm in July. Previously, Baronikians spent 15 years at Hofstetter, Schurack & Partner in Munich. Susanne Schmidt (42) is also joining the firm.

With these additions, Ampersand is significantly expanding its soft IP practice. The firm wants to set it up as a counterweight to the patent practice, which has grown strongly in recent years. Since Ampersand’s founding, a decade ago, partner Alexandra Heÿn built up the trademark and competition practice. She also advises on copyright and publishing law.

Ampersand welcomes collaboration

Baronikians began his career at Klaka, Zirngibl and SKW Schwarz, where he began working with IT lawyer Daniel Kaboth. In 2015, Kaboth moved to Ampersand. The collaboration has since continued on several projects. IP is one of the interfaces that both lawyers now want to expand at the practice.

Ampersand

Patrick Baronikians

Also a trademark lawyer, Susanne Schmidt joins Ampersand from Hofstetter, Schurack & Partner, where she began her career. Baronikians and Schmidt regularly work for Constantin Film and its subsidiaries, for example.

They also advise the technology company VDE, most recently on warranty marks.

The patent practice around renowned litigator Hosea Haag grew at the start of 2018 with the addition of second partner Philipp Neels, who joined from competitor Wallinger Ricker Schlotter Tostmann.

The patent practice developed particularly dynamically. On the one hand, it attracted attention with litigation for NPEs such as Unwired Planet, Invte, Onebutton, Uniloc and Wsou Investments. On the other hand, it represents a growing number of Mittelstand clients in technically complex patent litigation and background advice, such as Accord Healthcare and Schülke & Mayr.

Susanne Schmidt

Susanne Schmidt

As a result of the strong client development, the team also gradually began training associates together with the trademark practice.

Other parts of the firm, however, remain true to the pure partner approach.

Merx Pütz Rechtsanwälte founded

Ampersand is adopting a more focused approach to IP law.

As such, pharma lawyer Morten Merx (51) is leaving Ampersand to join forces with lawyers from law firm Gerstenberg to found boutique Merx Pütz Rechtsanwälte, alongside Marc Pütz-Poulalion.

It will advise clients from the food, pharma and medical technology sectors on pharma, medical devices and trademark law.

The lawyers’ common interface lies in pharmaceutical law. Marc Pütz-Poulalion specialises in trademark law and regularly represents clients in drugs advertising law. In addition to the two partners, the firm will include two associates.

Morten Merx

IT lawyer Thomas Schafft (50) also left Ampersand and joined Munich boutique SSH. Like Schafft, the firm specialises in IT and data protection and complements these with media, trademark, copyright, domain and employment law.

Thomas Schafft was a partner at Ampersand for nine and a half years. Like Morten Merx, he began his career at what was is now Hogan Lovells in Munich. SSH currently has two partners and two associates.

Following the changes, Ampersand has two partners in patent law and three partners in trademark, competition and copyright law, as well as one partner in IT and e-commerce.

In addition, five associates work in the team. Ampersand was founded almost ten years ago with four partners, all of whom came from large law firms.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/people-and-business/a-decade-on-ip-boutique-ampersand-realigns-core-practice/

Patents

Apple and its gimmick, what is AirTag?

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Remember when all people talked about was the key-finder? As if they were the only thing people frequently lost. Apple has turned this common problem into the idea for its latest product, AirTag, an intelligent detector for the objects we always fear losing.

The device is about the size of a coin, about 32mm in diameter and weighing 11g, it is sold individually or in sets of four, working of course with an iOS app. AirTag has an elegant yet simple design and can also be used as a key ring. 

Once the AirTag has been removed from its packaging, all we have to do is pull away the protective plastic tab to enable the battery, and then all we have to do is bring it close to the iPhone or iPad and it will be immediately recognised and we can register AirTag on our Apple account.

So if you’re tired of searching for hours and hours for an object, once you’ve bought AirTag, just clip it on your keys and bag and go out in a carefree manner.

HOW IT WORKS

If you think you’ve lost your wallet, pick up your smartphone, open the new Where’s app and play the AirTag’s built-in speaker. Or you can ask Siri like this: “Hey Siri, find my wallet”. If it’s nearby, like under the sofa or in the next room, just follow the sound to find it. In addition to the easily recognisable sound, AirTag also provides a map of the lost item via the ‘Precise location’ function.  If the AirTag is nearby, the “Precise Location” function on your iPhone can guide you to its exact location. Thanks to Ultra Wideband technology, you will see the direction to follow and the exact distance. This feature is especially compatible with the following iPhone models: 
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

image source: apple.com

At this point it is clear that AirTag is nothing more than a Bluetooth tracker. When you need to find something, the AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be picked up by nearby devices in the Where’s network. These devices send AirTag’s location to iCloud. When you open the Where’s app, you’ll see it on the map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy.

image source: apple.com

Apple has thought of everything. If another person’s AirTag accidentally ends up in your stuff, your iPhone notices it’s moving with you and alerts you.  Or if you’re in a place where other people have an AirTag, the alerts are only triggered when the AirTag moves away from the person it belongs to.

You can find all the information you need to purchase here

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.thepatent.news/2021/07/28/apple-gimmick-airtag/

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Patents

Apple and its gimmick, what is AirTag?

Published

on

Remember when all people talked about was the key-finder? As if they were the only thing people frequently lost. Apple has turned this common problem into the idea for its latest product, AirTag, an intelligent detector for the objects we always fear losing.

The device is about the size of a coin, about 32mm in diameter and weighing 11g, it is sold individually or in sets of four, working of course with an iOS app. AirTag has an elegant yet simple design and can also be used as a key ring. 

Once the AirTag has been removed from its packaging, all we have to do is pull away the protective plastic tab to enable the battery, and then all we have to do is bring it close to the iPhone or iPad and it will be immediately recognised and we can register AirTag on our Apple account.

So if you’re tired of searching for hours and hours for an object, once you’ve bought AirTag, just clip it on your keys and bag and go out in a carefree manner.

HOW IT WORKS

If you think you’ve lost your wallet, pick up your smartphone, open the new Where’s app and play the AirTag’s built-in speaker. Or you can ask Siri like this: “Hey Siri, find my wallet”. If it’s nearby, like under the sofa or in the next room, just follow the sound to find it. In addition to the easily recognisable sound, AirTag also provides a map of the lost item via the ‘Precise location’ function.  If the AirTag is nearby, the “Precise Location” function on your iPhone can guide you to its exact location. Thanks to Ultra Wideband technology, you will see the direction to follow and the exact distance. This feature is especially compatible with the following iPhone models: 
iPhone 11
iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

image source: apple.com

At this point it is clear that AirTag is nothing more than a Bluetooth tracker. When you need to find something, the AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be picked up by nearby devices in the Where’s network. These devices send AirTag’s location to iCloud. When you open the Where’s app, you’ll see it on the map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy.

image source: apple.com

Apple has thought of everything. If another person’s AirTag accidentally ends up in your stuff, your iPhone notices it’s moving with you and alerts you.  Or if you’re in a place where other people have an AirTag, the alerts are only triggered when the AirTag moves away from the person it belongs to.

You can find all the information you need to purchase here

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.thepatent.news/2021/07/28/apple-gimmick-airtag/

Continue Reading

Patents

Sisvel vs. Haier: Düsseldorf court follows case law in Via Licensing and TCL dispute

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In urgent preliminary proceedings, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf has upheld two injunctions against TCL, handed down by the city’s first-instance Regional Court (case numbers: 4b O 83/19, 4b O 23/20, and 4b 49/20). The Higher Regional Court rejected two objections by the European and German distributors of Chinese company TCL against the judgment, as well as its FRAND defence, after Via Licensing members claimed infringement by the company.

TCL disputed the validity of the first judgment. However, the Higher Regional Court corroborates the first instance decision of TCL being what the court deems an unwilling licensee (case ID: I-15 U 39/21 and I-15 U 40/21).

Sisvel vs. Haier sets standard

Previously, the Düsseldorf court had a relatively low threshold regarding the alleged infringer’s willingness to take a licence. However, in upholding the two latest judgments, the Higher Regional Court shadows the Federal Court of Justice’s recently-developed approach to licence holders. The Karlsruhe court recently heightened its standard for implementers in the case between Sisvel vs. Haier.

At the end of October 2019, Dolby and Philips filed three cases against TCL in Düsseldorf, heard by the Regional Court in March 2021 and April 2021 respectively. The standard essential patents subject to the most recent order are EP 1 410 687 and EP 1 342 230. Dolby owns both patents; both cover the standard MPEG-4 AAC (advanced audio coding). Another Dolby patent has since expired.

A third decision, regarding Via Licensing pool member Philips, is also pending before judge Thomas Kühnen (court ID: I-2 U 13/21).

The current judgments pertain to TCL’s distribution of mobile phones and tablets containing the AAC technology. However, the preliminary proceedings are just the beginning of the main appeal proceedings between Dolby, Philips and TCL. It will likely be a year before the main proceedings take place.

Leading to a licence

Via Licensing distributes licences on behalf of its members’ SEPs. In 2005, TCL had taken a licence for Dolby and Philips’ SEPs through Via Licensing. The pool terminated the licences in 2007; subsequent years of unsuccessful negotiating licensing agreements then followed.

In May 2021, the first instance Düsseldorf court decreed that the two Dolby and one Philips patents are all SEPs. It then issued an injunction against TCL in all three cases. A week before the hearing, the Chinese electronics company had submitted a FRAND licensing counter-offer, but the court found TCL an unwilling licensee. It also rejected the FRAND defence.

TCL then filed an appeal, requesting a stay of enforcement of the judgments for the appeal term. However, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf rejected the offer in a preliminary hearing. In doing so, the court has followed the approach of the Federal Court of Justice in Sisvel vs. Haier – namely, that implementers must demonstrate willingness to actively seek a licence.

According to the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf, it is no longer enough to simply submit a licence offer when it may have already by-passed several previous opportunities to do so. This broadly follows the reasoning from Karlsruhe, whose judges noted that it is insufficient for a party to express the will to conclude a licence with the SEP holder only once. Implementers, say the court, must act in a way that avoids the so-called ‘patent hold-out’.

Sisvel vs. Haier on stage

In 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled that Haier had infringed two Sisvel SEPs: EP 08 52 885 and EP 12 64 504. Furthermore, the court decided that the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer did not make sufficient efforts to obtain a FRAND licence (case ID: K ZR 35/17).

While the court ruled that Haier infringed both patents, antitrust senate judges also ruled that Haier was an unwilling licensee. This is because the company did not submit FRAND offers quickly and concretely enough.

In handing down its decisions, the judges gave implementers more obligations than many experts expected. Thus, implementers must not only actively seek a licence; according to the Federal Court judges, they must also react in good time. The patent user must also examine the patent portfolio at relatively short notice.

According to the judges, implementers must act in a way that avoids the so-called ‘patent hold-out’, in other words using a delaying tactic to avoid paying a licence fee for as long as possible. For example, the implementers can do this by declaring their interest in a licence. However, the party might then not work towards the conclusion of a licence.

German courts align

Interestingly, while the senate of Ulrike Voß followed the Sisvel vs. Haier reasoning in the two Dolby judgments, the Philips judgment remains pending at the senate of Thomas Kühnen. The latter judge is notoriously outspoken against the Karlsruhe court’s approach to FRAND licensing.

Via Licensing

Tilman Müller

In the Sisvel vs. Haier case, trial observers saw the ruling as a strong contrast to case law from the Düsseldorf patent courts, and more in line with the Mannheim and Munich patent courts. Now the Düsseldorf courts are more aligned with Munich. Observers suggest that this ruling is another step along the path of appealing to patentees to file cases in Germany.

Furthermore, proceedings at the Mannheim Regional Court between Fraunhofer and TCL have now concluded, with one case pending in the first instance and stayed. In the other case, the judges rendered a negative first instance decision. Klaka, on behalf of TCL, have filed an appeal before the Karlsruhe court.

Two further cases are pending in Düsseldorf at the first instance. One is another Dolby patent against TCL, with the other filed by Japanese IT corporation NEC against TCL.

Who’s who in patent

In the three cases against Philips, Dolby and Fraunhofer, TCL has different German legal representation. Vossius, led by partner Andreas Kramer, represents TCL in the cases against Dolby. Patent attorney Christian Sandweg also worked on the nullity aspects of the case.

For the Philips case, the Düsseldorf office of CMS Hasche Sigle represented TCL. Although the team has frequently changed for TCL against Fraunhofer, the latest firm to lead proceedings for TCL is Klaka. The IP boutique represented the company in both Mannheim and Karlsruhe, taking over the two cases in 2018 for its first instruction for the company.

Via Licensing

Andreas Kramer

The Hamburg-based mixed IP firm Eisenführ Speiser is representing both Dolby and Philips. The firm has worked with Philips since around 2010, with its relationship to Via Licensing and other members such as Dolby going back to 2014.

The firm also represents Fraunhofer in the now-concluded Mannheim proceedings.

For Philips/Dolby
Eisenführ Speiser (Hamburg): Tilman Müller, Volkmar Henke (partners); Stefan Wiethoff (partner, patent attorney)

For TCL against Dolby
Vossius & Partner (Munich): Andreas Kramer (partner, lead); associates: Hannes Obex, Philipp Widera; Christian Sandweg (partner, patent attorney)

For TCL against Philips
CMS Hasche Sigle (Düsseldorf): Markus Deck; associate: Sven Krause

For TCL against Fraunhofer
Klaka (Düsseldorf): Olaf Giebe, Wolfgang Götz (partners)
Gulde & Partner (Berlin): Nicolas Haße

Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
Ulrike Voß

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/cases/sisvel-vs-haier-dusseldorf-court-follows-case-law-in-via-licensing-and-tcl-dispute/

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Patents

Sisvel vs. Haier: Düsseldorf court follows case law in Via Licensing and TCL dispute

Published

on

In urgent preliminary proceedings, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf has upheld two injunctions against TCL, handed down by the city’s first-instance Regional Court (case numbers: 4b O 83/19, 4b O 23/20, and 4b 49/20). The Higher Regional Court rejected two objections by the European and German distributors of Chinese company TCL against the judgment, as well as its FRAND defence, after Via Licensing members claimed infringement by the company.

TCL disputed the validity of the first judgment. However, the Higher Regional Court corroborates the first instance decision of TCL being what the court deems an unwilling licensee (case ID: I-15 U 39/21 and I-15 U 40/21).

Sisvel vs. Haier sets standard

Previously, the Düsseldorf court had a relatively low threshold regarding the alleged infringer’s willingness to take a licence. However, in upholding the two latest judgments, the Higher Regional Court shadows the Federal Court of Justice’s recently-developed approach to licence holders. The Karlsruhe court recently heightened its standard for implementers in the case between Sisvel vs. Haier.

At the end of October 2019, Dolby and Philips filed three cases against TCL in Düsseldorf, heard by the Regional Court in March 2021 and April 2021 respectively. The standard essential patents subject to the most recent order are EP 1 410 687 and EP 1 342 230. Dolby owns both patents; both cover the standard MPEG-4 AAC (advanced audio coding). Another Dolby patent has since expired.

A third decision, regarding Via Licensing pool member Philips, is also pending before judge Thomas Kühnen (court ID: I-2 U 13/21).

The current judgments pertain to TCL’s distribution of mobile phones and tablets containing the AAC technology. However, the preliminary proceedings are just the beginning of the main appeal proceedings between Dolby, Philips and TCL. It will likely be a year before the main proceedings take place.

Leading to a licence

Via Licensing distributes licences on behalf of its members’ SEPs. In 2005, TCL had taken a licence for Dolby and Philips’ SEPs through Via Licensing. The pool terminated the licences in 2007; subsequent years of unsuccessful negotiating licensing agreements then followed.

In May 2021, the first instance Düsseldorf court decreed that the two Dolby and one Philips patents are all SEPs. It then issued an injunction against TCL in all three cases. A week before the hearing, the Chinese electronics company had submitted a FRAND licensing counter-offer, but the court found TCL an unwilling licensee. It also rejected the FRAND defence.

TCL then filed an appeal, requesting a stay of enforcement of the judgments for the appeal term. However, the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf rejected the offer in a preliminary hearing. In doing so, the court has followed the approach of the Federal Court of Justice in Sisvel vs. Haier – namely, that implementers must demonstrate willingness to actively seek a licence.

According to the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf, it is no longer enough to simply submit a licence offer when it may have already by-passed several previous opportunities to do so. This broadly follows the reasoning from Karlsruhe, whose judges noted that it is insufficient for a party to express the will to conclude a licence with the SEP holder only once. Implementers, say the court, must act in a way that avoids the so-called ‘patent hold-out’.

Sisvel vs. Haier on stage

In 2020, the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled that Haier had infringed two Sisvel SEPs: EP 08 52 885 and EP 12 64 504. Furthermore, the court decided that the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer did not make sufficient efforts to obtain a FRAND licence (case ID: K ZR 35/17).

While the court ruled that Haier infringed both patents, antitrust senate judges also ruled that Haier was an unwilling licensee. This is because the company did not submit FRAND offers quickly and concretely enough.

In handing down its decisions, the judges gave implementers more obligations than many experts expected. Thus, implementers must not only actively seek a licence; according to the Federal Court judges, they must also react in good time. The patent user must also examine the patent portfolio at relatively short notice.

According to the judges, implementers must act in a way that avoids the so-called ‘patent hold-out’, in other words using a delaying tactic to avoid paying a licence fee for as long as possible. For example, the implementers can do this by declaring their interest in a licence. However, the party might then not work towards the conclusion of a licence.

German courts align

Interestingly, while the senate of Ulrike Voß followed the Sisvel vs. Haier reasoning in the two Dolby judgments, the Philips judgment remains pending at the senate of Thomas Kühnen. The latter judge is notoriously outspoken against the Karlsruhe court’s approach to FRAND licensing.

Via Licensing

Tilman Müller

In the Sisvel vs. Haier case, trial observers saw the ruling as a strong contrast to case law from the Düsseldorf patent courts, and more in line with the Mannheim and Munich patent courts. Now the Düsseldorf courts are more aligned with Munich. Observers suggest that this ruling is another step along the path of appealing to patentees to file cases in Germany.

Furthermore, proceedings at the Mannheim Regional Court between Fraunhofer and TCL have now concluded, with one case pending in the first instance and stayed. In the other case, the judges rendered a negative first instance decision. Klaka, on behalf of TCL, have filed an appeal before the Karlsruhe court.

Two further cases are pending in Düsseldorf at the first instance. One is another Dolby patent against TCL, with the other filed by Japanese IT corporation NEC against TCL.

Who’s who in patent

In the three cases against Philips, Dolby and Fraunhofer, TCL has different German legal representation. Vossius, led by partner Andreas Kramer, represents TCL in the cases against Dolby. Patent attorney Christian Sandweg also worked on the nullity aspects of the case.

For the Philips case, the Düsseldorf office of CMS Hasche Sigle represented TCL. Although the team has frequently changed for TCL against Fraunhofer, the latest firm to lead proceedings for TCL is Klaka. The IP boutique represented the company in both Mannheim and Karlsruhe, taking over the two cases in 2018 for its first instruction for the company.

Via Licensing

Andreas Kramer

The Hamburg-based mixed IP firm Eisenführ Speiser is representing both Dolby and Philips. The firm has worked with Philips since around 2010, with its relationship to Via Licensing and other members such as Dolby going back to 2014.

The firm also represents Fraunhofer in the now-concluded Mannheim proceedings.

For Philips/Dolby
Eisenführ Speiser (Hamburg): Tilman Müller, Volkmar Henke (partners); Stefan Wiethoff (partner, patent attorney)

For TCL against Dolby
Vossius & Partner (Munich): Andreas Kramer (partner, lead); associates: Hannes Obex, Philipp Widera; Christian Sandweg (partner, patent attorney)

For TCL against Philips
CMS Hasche Sigle (Düsseldorf): Markus Deck; associate: Sven Krause

For TCL against Fraunhofer
Klaka (Düsseldorf): Olaf Giebe, Wolfgang Götz (partners)
Gulde & Partner (Berlin): Nicolas Haße

Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
Ulrike Voß

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/cases/sisvel-vs-haier-dusseldorf-court-follows-case-law-in-via-licensing-and-tcl-dispute/

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