Archive for the ‘#patents’ Tag

Louboutin v YSL: Lay off my red-soled shoes | The Economist   Leave a comment

Seeing red over color is no small wallet matter: “In the 20 years since Christian Louboutin made his first pair of ladies’ shoes with shiny red-lacquered soles, his vertiginously heeled, sexy, colourful and nearly unwearable creations have become an object of desire for celebrities like Ms Lopez, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, who even lets her daughter Lourdes wear a metal-studded number. Today the puckish Frenchman is the biggest star in high-fashion shoe design, selling about 240,000 pairs a year in America at prices ranging from $395 for espadrilles to as much as $6,000 for a “super-platform” pump covered in crystals. The revenue of his company, Louboutin, is forecast at $135m this year.

Yet all this could be at risk, says Louboutin’s lawyer, if Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), another fashion firm, continues to gain the upper hand in a legal dispute between the two companies. …….”The judge has made up his mind that no fashion designer should be allowed a monopoly on colour because as artists they all need to be able to use the full palette. To make this point, he imagined Picasso taking Monet to court over the use of blue in his painting of water lilies, because it was the same or close to the distinctive shade of indigo, the “colour of melancholy” he used in his Blue Period. Moreover, unlike patent law, trademarks are never about granting monopolies, argues David Bernstein, a lawyer for YSL at Debevoise and Plimpton. Trademarks are merely the right to indicate the origin of a product or service.Susan Scafidi of Fordham University School of Law in New York says that the judge sidestepped the important question by boiling the argument down to aesthetic functionality. The true challenge of the case, says Ms Scafidi, is to determine when the use of colour on a portion of apparel is a design element and when it is a trademark. It will now be the job of an appeal court to rule on the matter. And if Louboutin loses again, the company says it will take its case all the way to the Supreme Court.”

via Louboutin v YSL: Lay off my red-soled shoes | The Economist.

Posted August 21, 2011 by arnoneumann in Fashion

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Myhrvold: Tech Giants Discover Value of Patents – Bloomberg   Leave a comment

Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft and the founder of Intellectual Ventures puts a back-spin on the auction and aquisition of the Nortel intellectual property and patents.

“Instead, the stalking-horse offer set in motion unprecedented scheming and counterscheming among strange bedfellows. Companies that normally fight one another, such as game-console rivals Microsoft and Sony and smart-phone rivals Apple and Research in Motion Ltd., pondered whether they hated the prospect of a patent-powerful Google even more. Investment companies like mine, which had been interested in Nortel’s portfolio for its potential financial return, decided the bidding was too rich for our blood, and dropped out. As the auction neared, rumors flew about who was teaming up with whom and how high the bids would soar.

Then, as the auction began, Google unveiled one more surprise. Its bids were numbers like $1,902,160,540. That’s a billion times Brun’s constant, which appears in the mathematics of prime numbers. And its successive bids were other mathematical constants, including one for pi billion dollars ($3,141,592,653).

Math geekiness, it turns out, doesn’t guarantee victory. A consortium of six other companies — Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and EMC Corp/Massachusetts — won with an astounding $4.5 billion bid.

Google’s Strategy

The result effectively retains the status quo. Google still has no strategic weapon to compensate for the patent liability inherent in Android, so the lawsuits will continue. Some in the industry think Google acted brilliantly; the company is no worse off than it was before, and it cost its competitors $4.5 billion. Others argue that Google was somehow snookered by Lazard into a disastrous strategy that has left its competitors better armed for the fight — and more than a little angry. You don’t pay $4.5 billion for assets and then let them sit on the shelf.

More importantly, this sale validates the notion that patents will be a fundamental tool in the tech industry. They had been moving toward that position for years, but the magnitude of Nortel’s sale shows that they have arrived. Patents virtually define the pharmaceutical and biotech markets, and in the future they could play the same role for tech.

What’s next? The history of mergers and acquisitions suggests one possibility. Once upon a time in the clubby atmosphere of corporate America, hostile takeovers were rare; gentlemen just didn’t do such things. Then, in the 1960s, the hostile takeovers came to be accepted as a legitimate business tool. Similarly, the strategic use of patents now appears to be accepted in the technology industry. If that’s true, then Nortel is just the beginning.”

via Myhrvold: Tech Giants Discover Value of Patents – Bloomberg.

Posted July 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Technology

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