The online world has its say on the announcement that a third car maker will join the V8 Supercars series.
The news that Nissan will re-enter motorsport in Australia after its decades-long absence has already prompted a stream of ribbing – and the odd compliment – from people surprised by today’s announcement.
One of the first to respond this morning was fellow Holden stalwart and Holden Racing Team driver Garth Tander. His target was Kelly Racing driver – and a now big part of Nissan’s V8 Supercars team from next year – Rick Kelly.
‘‘So Rick Kelly, do you get a (Nissan) Pulsar as a new company car? Or do you get rid of your (BMW) X5 and get a (Nissan) Patrol?’’ he asked in a surgically scything tweet delivered this morning, three hours ahead the official announcement.
Former Top Gear Australia television show host and part-time Porsche Australia driving instructor Steve Pizzati was equally scathing about the announcement.
‘‘Nissan to join V8 Supercars, eh?’’ he tweeted, again before the announcement was made official. ‘‘Which body, though? In Aus[tralia], Falcons and Commodores are taxis; in Japan, [it’s] the Nissan Cedric!’’ he said in reference to the decades-old design of the sedan that dominates the taxi fleet in Japan.
Ford Performance Racing driver Will Davison was more complementary. ‘‘Great work … bringing Nissan into V8 Supercars,’’ he said. ‘‘Can’t wait to take on Nissans in 2013. It’s great for the sport.’’
He adds: ‘‘People get nervous with change but it can only be exciting. It won’t change Holden versus Ford, it just means we now have another brand to beat.’’
TeamVodafone driver Jamie Whincup was also anticipating big things from the announcement.
‘‘Nissan racing with us next year, great news, well done Kelly Racing for getting the deal done,’’ he said after hearing the news.
Meanwhile, Holden Racing was miles off the pace. ‘‘Kelly Racing welcomes Karl Reindler and Fair Dinkum Sheds to the gang,’’ it tweeted only an hour before the Nissan announcement, reflecting an announcement made the previous day.
However, it quickly updated its status to say: ‘‘Holden welcomes third manufacturer — bring it on!’’
One commentator, though, was less complementary. ‘‘Shh … don’t tell anyone, but on behalf of the Kellys I can confirm that they will be racing in a Nissan Tiida,’’ George Psihomanis said in his observation of the announcement on Twitter.
Paul Chambers, the Twitter joker turned misdemeanour conviction martyr, returned to court on Wednesday to launch a second appeal against a conviction over a “threatening message” to blow Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport “sky high”.
Chambers, 27, posted the notorious micro-blogging message in early January 2010 while the Yorkshire airport was closed during a cold snap and shortly before he was due to fly to Belfast to meet an online acquaintance, who since became his girlfriend. The trainee accountant ranted via his @pauljchambers account, which had around 600 followers at the time.
Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!
The message was spotted during an unrelated search and reported by an off-duty member of staff at the airport to police. Even though the message was never taken as a threat, and no extra precautions were taken at Doncaster airport, charges were still brought against Chambers.
Chambers was subsequently convicted for sending a threatening message – which is an offence against the Communications Act of 2003 – fined £385 and ordered to pay £600 costs as well as getting himself lumbered with a criminal record.
The Twitter joke trial cost the unfortunate Chambers his original job as a trainee accountant as well as losing him a second job in the flurry of publicity just before his Crown court appeal last September. This appeal failed after Judge Jacqueline Davies decided that Chambers’ original Twitter update was “obviously menacing”, contrary to testimony from the defence that the message was “facetious”.
The failed appeal left Chambers with an extra £2,000 in prosecution costs in addition to the original £1,000 fine and costs. Fortunately he wasn’t left to bear that cost himself thanks to ordinary Twitter users and celebrities who donated to help fund a further appeal.
Chambers’ supporters include Graham Linehan, writer of Father Ted, and comic Al Murray, who took part in a benefit gig on behalf of the Twitter martyr, as well as attending the High court in London to hear Chambers’ appeal. Other supporters include lawyer David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) and Stephen Fry.
Ben Emmerson QC, appearing for Chambers, said the Crown Court’s decision to uphold the original conviction was both legally incorrect, contrary to common sense and unworkable.
Around 4,000 re-tweeted Chambers’ original message in an “I am Sparticus” show of solidarity but no action was taken against any of them
He told Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Irwin that the question before them was “whether this prosecution-conviction-sentence was a steam roller to crack a very small nut and whether it was a disproportionate response”, the BBC reports.
The two senior judges retired to consider their ruling on the case which, when it comes, will become the definitive statement in English law on how to treat cases of this type in future. Judgments in the Court of Appeal on points of law set a binding precedent on lower courts, all Crown courts and magistrates’ courts in England and Wales. ®
February 9, 2012 8:00 pm
David Choe, the 35-year-old muralist who made an estimated $200 million in the Facebook IPO, is bothered by the hype surrounding his newfound money.
Watch the full story on Barbara Walters’ interview with Choe on “Nightline” tonight at 11:35 p.m./10:35 CT
“You can’t buy your privacy back,” Choe told Barbara Walters. “Because I was already doing OK, and to have this abstract amount of money now, I cannot buy my privacy back. I was like: What the hell’s happening? Every news– Al Jazeera, every news organization in the world is beating down the door, trying to get a, you know, interview. And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’”
Although he considers himself homeless, living in casinos and hotels, Choe is a very well-known artist whose works are featured in private collections and museums.
“It’s gonna sound horrible for me to say money is meaningless,” he said. “But everyone’s like: What are you gonna do now, now that you have all this money and freedom? I did everything I wanted to when I had nothing. Everyone’s like: Well, what are you gonna do now? I’m like, I’m still gonna do whatever I want except more people are just gonna bother me now.”
In 2005, Facebook, a start-up social networking site Choe once called “ridiculous,” approached him with a proposition. Sean Parker, president of Facebook at the time, asked Choe to paint his famous murals on the office walls for $60,000 or company stock.
Choe chose the stock, and when Facebook, started by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room, announced its IPO this month, or initial public offerings of stock, to raise $5 billion, Choe made an estimated $200 million.
The murals are still in the Facebook offices today.
“They carved the walls out and they shipped them to every single Facebook office in the world — so they’re everywhere now,” Choe said.
The work was not initially well-received by Parker, who called it “schizophrenicly distracting.” In Choe’s Dirty Hands Movie, Parker asked him flatly, “There’s nothing more for you to add to it?”
The murals were varied, with different kinds of objects, Choe told Walters.
“There was lots of women, cityscapes, just abstract forms,” he said. “I paint very quickly. And it just, it almost comes out of me like it’s almost my therapy.”
In 2003, before being commissioned by Facebook, Choe led a difficult life, doing jail time for cashing forged checks, stealing, and hitting a security guard.
However, he still managed to paint with whatever he could find.
“I would use the soy sauce,” he said. “And I don’t want to be gross, but I would use urine and blood and all these things, and anything that would create any kind of pigment. … It was the only thing that let me keep my sanity.”
Although Choe sold some of the stock a while ago, he said, “I just sold a couple … to just secure that I would have something out of this in case anything changed.”
Choe still has an estimated couple hundred million dollars after the exchange.
“Don’t feel sorry for me,” he told Walters. “This is like a godlike amount of money, where I could actually change the world and do things to help humanity and do good things.
“As an artist, I often wonder what my purpose is or why I do what I do,” he said. “So those things will hopefully come into more clarity, or maybe not. I don’t know.”
For more information on David Choe’s work and movie, go to http://dirtyhandsmovie.com/
ABC News’ Katie Kindelan and Ned Potter contributed to this report.
Watch the full story on Barbara Walters’ interview with Choe on “Nightline” tonight at 11:35 p.m./10:35 CT
WILMINGTON — In the wake of Tim Thomas [stats]’ Facebook posting yesterday in support of the Catholic church’s battle against the Obama administration over contraceptives, the goalie faced a new round of reporters today who wanted him to expound on his thoughts.
Not surprisingly, the goalie, who was able to deny his own team’s repeated requests to attend the White House function with the rest of his teammates a couple of weeks ago, dug his heels in and kept to the same robotic mantra that he used when asked about it after last night’s game in Buffalo.
“It’s my personal life that has absolutely nothing to do with the Bruins [team stats] or hockey and I’m going to use my right to remain silent,” said Thomas.
After giving several variations of that theme when he was repeatedly asked about it, he was reminded that Facebook is a public forum.
“You have the right to ask the questions but I have the right to not answer them,” said Thomas, who doesn’t believe that because he’s a public figure he must explain himself further.
“I don’t think that when you become an athlete that you sign away your right to be an individual and have your own views and post them on Facebook if you’d like.”
After the unproductive line of questioning continued, Thomas became irritated.
“We can do this every day, but from now on, the first question I’m asked about it, I’m done interviewing for that day,” said Thomas.
When asked if he regretted the posting, Thomas said, “I’m out. Peace.” And with that, he walked away from reporters.
Later, coach Claude Julien, whose team is 5-6-1 in their last 12 games, reiterated Thomas’ political views are not a distraction in the room.
“I don’t think I’ve heard anyone, starting from our owner to management to coaches and players, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone support his opinions. But I’ve heard everybody say we support him as a player and we do,” said Julien.
“We’ve got good team chemistry in that dressing room and, I’ve said it before, we don’t mix politics with our hockey team and that continues to happen. It’s probably something people would like to think because of how poorly we’ve played lately, but I assure you there’s no issues in the dressing room and there never will be. We’ve got a real good group of players in that room that don’t let those kinds of things bog them down. If it had, I’m telling you right now, I’d feel it. There’s absolutely nothing going on. Guys are just going about their business. It’s certainly not a distraction and it wouldn’t be used as an excuse because it isn’t one.”
New documents filed with the SEC on Wednesday have revealed fresh details on the compensation package he and the other Facebookers will receive.
According to a story at the Wall Street Journal, 27-year-old CEO Zuckerberg and 42-year-old COO Sheryl Sandberg are in line for annual target bonuses of 45 percent of their salary plus other base wages. Zuckerberg could pull in roughly $225,000 this year, based on his annual salary of $500,000. Sandberg could take home an extra $135,000 based on her annual base salary of $300,000.
The majority of the social networkers’ fortunes will clearly come from the stocks, however, following what is expected to be one of the largest IPOs in stock market history.
According to IPO paperwork Facebook filed at the end of January, Zuckerberg owns 28.2 percent of the soon-to-be-public company, and is its single largest shareholder. The eight-year-old social-networking company claims to have more than 845 million users around the world.
Zuckerberg has agreed to a $1 salary starting in 2013, according to the initial company paperwork. Will his 2013 bonus be 45 cents?
Miami Heat star LeBron James said Wednesday he will not apologize to Kendrick Perkins over a tweet praising Clippers star Blake Griffin’s monster dunk over the Oklahoma City big man.
Thousands took to Twitter to comment on the slam last Monday, which saw Griffin rise up and on top of Perkins before powerfully throwing down, with many declaring it one of the greatest of all time.
This dunk was nasty, but Blake Griffin had an even sicker finish on Kendrick Perkins. See it at Yardbarker.
But Perkins seemed to take issue only with James’ post.
“Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I’m No. 2 now. Move over #6,” James wrote, referring to his own spectacular alley-oop dunk from a day earlier over the Bulls’ John Lucas III.
“You don’t see Kobe (Bryant) tweeting,” Perkins told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. “You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting.
“If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play.
“They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel (James) is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him.”
Asked about Perkins’ comments Wednesday, James said no apology was forthcoming, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
“From day one, that’s why I got to Twitter, to connect to my fans. I would never apologize for anything like that when I’m connecting with my fans,” James said.
“I can see why he may have felt embarrassed,” he added. “(But) I don’t think I was the only one that reacted to that unbelievable play by Blake, and that’s what it was all about, me acknowledging how great of a play it was.
“If Kendrick Perkins had dunked on somebody else on the other end, I would have done the same thing.”
Griffin’s dunk drew comparisons with his similar effort over the Knicks’ Timofey Mozgov last season, and within minutes “Blake Griffin,” “Kendrick Perkins,” “#dunkoftheyear” and “Mozgov” were all trending nationally on Twitter.
Even NBA.com’s Twitter account got in on the act, tweeting, “WOW!!!!!!!!! Perkins just got Mozgov’d by Blake Griffin.”
The beauty of Twitter is that, like Soylent Green, it’s made of people. The best tweeters have personalities, providing more than just a bland regurgitation of the latest headlines. A good journalist on Twitter adds value to the news.
Sky’s key restrictions include a ban on retweeting “information posted by other journalists or people on Twitter”, and its journalists have been told to “stick to your own beat” and “always pass breaking news lines to the news desk before posting”. The BBC says although their systems sometimes allow reporters to file and tweet simultaneously “our first priority remains ensuring that important information reaches BBC colleagues … and certainly not after it reaches Twitter”.
The broadcasters are understandably worried about their brands, about accuracy, about competition and perhaps about the law. But in trying to make sure their journalists stay “on message”, they are in danger of making their message so boring that no one wants to read it.
In recent months, Sky News‘s employees have been particularly impressive at using Twitter. Their high-profile reporters and producers, such as Martin Brunt (@SkyMartinBrunt) and Mark Stone (@Stone_SkyNews), have tens of thousands of followers and heavily influence other reporters and commentators. Other Sky journalists use Twitter to poll opinion on subjects, retweeting a range of responses.
The BBC’s Robert Peston (@Peston), meanwhile, often breaks stories on Twitter before he publishes them on his blog – and both can appear long before a major BBC news bulletin. Thanks to social media, the BBC “owns” Peston’s stories even if they get everywhere before News at Ten rolls around.
What kind of competitive advantage are the BBC and Sky in danger of giving up? Here’s an example from this week: when Fabio Capello resigned as England manager, Martyn Ziegler (@MartynZiegler), the Press Association’s chief sports reporter, broke the story on Twitter just a few seconds before the FA tweeted it. If a Sky News or BBC journalist had that story first they might have been busy letting their news desk know about it – while everyone else was reading it on Twitter.
The microblogging service has made breaking news more democratic – the wire service Reuters now breaks stories on its Twitter account before they “drop” on the feed to which most news organisations subscribe.
Meanwhile, here at the Guardian, we engage with our readers every day and ask for their feedback through the #opennews hashtag and our Newsdesk Live blog. We say which reporters are working on which stories, and give their Twitter handles so people can get in touch with them, or indeed any of us on the desk. This shapes our coverage – we believe for the better.
Our reporters also tweet live from events. We use those messages in our coverage, and we’ve written stories from them before – it can be quicker and more practical to assemble a story from a reporter’s tweets than for them to break off and file a write-through piece. Our Twitter audience can see the bare bones of our coverage as it’s being put together, if they want to and why not?
For good reasons, not all news should break on Twitter. Some stories are the result of a reporter’s hard digging, for example – and with exclusives, there isn’t the same race to be first. Other stories have legal restrictions, or embargoes agreed by convention.
But journalists, particularly those working for big organisations such as the BBC and Sky, are grown-ups. They should be aware of the broadcasting code, libel laws and so on – and when (rare) corrections or clarifications are needed, these can be done transparently through Twitter too.
Part of the role of journalists in the internet age is to aggregate the overwhelming volume of news for those who don’t have the time or inclination to look at everything. On our site we have Brian Whitaker’s best of blogs from around the web alongside our Middle East live blog and Andrew Sparrow does a daily reading list of other politics stories. It should be the same on Twitter as on our site.
When I tweet a brilliant Telegraph splash, for example, I feel I’m giving my followers something they want. To only tweet Guardian content does them a disservice. The more interesting my twitter feed is, the more I’m engaging with the Guardian’s audience and drawing them into the conversation we want to have about the news.
However well meaning, these new guidelines by Sky News and the BBC risk turning their reporters and producers into glorified RSS feeds. This is in danger of isolating both organisations, and diminishing them. And Twitter too will be all the poorer for it.
The broadcasters need to learn what plenty of their producers and reporters already know: it’s good to share.
• Earlier I asked people on Twitter what they though about this issue. I’m going to Storify some of the answers later. If you want to contribute tweet me @jonathanhaynes
On a typical football Sunday, you would probably find me parked in front of my living room television watching the New York Giants while posting and following tweets about the game along the way.
Twitter is a great venue for sports fans to brag on their favorite teams and mock their opponents. Sometimes it’s playful and fun. Other times, as with the recent death threats directed against San Francisco 49ers player Kyle Williams, it can go too far.
Last Sunday, while I was celebrating the Giants at a Super Bowl party, CNN’s Roland Martin was stirring up some controversy online. During the game, Martin tweeted: “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s HM underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”
When I first read Martin’s tweet, it raised two important issues: one about violence and the other about homophobia. First, to the violence. To “smack” someone without their consent is clearly a violent act. However, as someone who has followed Martin’s daily — and sometimes annoying — Twitter banter, it seems inconceivable that he was literally encouraging his followers to smack male Beckham fans in their midst. Instead, the violence he encouraged was clearly a joke. But that’s exactly the problem.
Gays and lesbians have served as the butt of insensitive and offensive jokes for generations. To suggest smacking a “dude” simply because of his attraction to or appreciation for a male sports star is clearly homophobic, which is the second important issue raised by Martin’s tweet. Even if the violence he encouraged wasn’t to be taken seriously, the homophobia at its root seemed to be.
I’ve known Roland Martin since 1995, and when I spoke to him Wednesday night by telephone he insisted his controversial tweets were not meant to be homophobic and expressed his willingness to meet with officials from GLAAD. Martin said he was merely singling out Beckham because he plays soccer, a sport he says he has repeatedly ridiculed on Twitter in the past.
As you might expect from any medium that limits your posts to 140 characters, Twitter is not the best place for subtlety and nuance. Most Twitter followers don’t research your history of previous posts before they respond to your remarks. Thus, I did not find Martin’s soccer explanation plausible when I first read it online, but he seemed to hold onto it sincerely when we spoke on the phone.
I have no way of knowing what Martin was really thinking when he posted his tweet about Beckham and another one about a Super Bowl fan in a pink suit, but the effect of his remarks was real to many people. Even if we take Martin at his word that he posted completely innocent tweets, it’s easy to understand how the gay community could interpret them differently and be offended by them, especially given his own past statements.
It was Martin, after all, who seemed to defend comedian Tracy Morgan last year after the NBC 30 Rock star was criticized for a homophobic comedy routine performed in Tennessee. And it was Martin who defended Miss California, Carrie Prejean, after she expressed her disapproval of same sex marriage during the 2009 Miss USA pageant.
And as far back as 2006, Martin posted a comment on his web site suggesting that homosexuality was a choice that gays could simply resist. “My wife, an ordained Baptist minister for 20 years, has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle,” he wrote. In the same article, he compared gays and lesbians to “a woman who is an alcoholic, the child who continues to be disobedient to his parents [or] the young lady who is hell-bent on stealing.” Martin ended his piece with a final statement of purpose: “That isn’t being homophobic. It’s being a Christian. And no one should have to apologize for that.”
Martin is entitled to his opinion, and I don’t think he should be fired from his job simply because of what he believes. But given those beliefs, why wouldn’t gays and lesbians assume Martin’s tweet about smacking a male fan of a shirtless David Beckham was meant to be an insult to gay men?
No doubt the black LGBT community’s sensitivity was also heightened this week by the release of a gay bashing video showing 20-year-old Brandon White, a black gay man in Atlanta whose attackers literally “smacked the ‘ish’ out of him” while calling him a “faggot.” If politicians, pastors, and pundits are engaged in public homophobia, why should we be surprised when teenagers carry out those same ideas with their fists and feet?
Some have accused the gay community of being “hypersensitive” or “overreacting” to Martin’s tweets, but that’s exactly the language used by conservatives to dismiss complaints from African Americans when we object to coded racial rhetoric about “food stamps” and “blah people” from the lips of Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. We can’t expect others to understand our sensitivities if we don’t understand theirs.
At this point, it’s counterproductive to continue the fruitless exercise of determining what Roland Martin really meant or what was in his heart. This is an issue that’s bigger than Martin’s temporarily suspended career at CNN. It’s about the way we communicate with one other and where we go from here.
While conservatives seek to divide us, we have to figure out ways to stop attacking one another and start listening to each other and working together against our real adversaries. The gay community is not the enemy of black America and the black community is not the enemy of gay America.
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February 09, 2012, 7:23 AM EST
By Victoria Slind-Flor
(This is a daily report on global news about patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property topics. Updates with pornography item in Copyright section.)
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp., the largest software maker, said it would be “fair and reasonable” in licensing its industry-standard technology, pledging to negotiate with competitors instead of trying to block sales of their products.
Microsoft also will make its industry-essential patents available without requiring companies to cross-license their own non-essential technology, according to a posting yesterday on the company’s website. The pledge comes as Google Inc. prepares a similar promise to appease regulators scrutinizing its acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
Motorola Mobility has sued Microsoft and Apple Inc. for infringing patents that are covered partly by standards in which companies agree to share technology that is common across their industry. Google, which has drawn scrutiny over the acquisition, plans to send the letter to standards organizations reassuring them it will license Motorola Mobility patents on fair terms, according to two people with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public.
Microsoft’s statement didn’t name any companies, and a spokesman for the software maker, Kevin Kutz, declined to comment. Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility, and Kristin Huguet of Apple also wouldn’t comment. Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Google in Mountain View, California, didn’t immediately respond to an e- mail.
Motorola Mobility has sought sales bans in Germany on Apple products using standard-essential patents, and is seeking to halt U.S. imports of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system.
Microsoft’s policy announced today doesn’t bar the company from seeking bans on the use of patented technology that isn’t part of an industry standard or from suing to demand compensation for the use of the essential patents.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, sent a letter in November to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute saying the “industry suffers from a lack of consistent adherence” to policies that require companies to license standard-essential patents on “fair, reasonable and non- discriminatory” terms.
In that letter, reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, Apple said companies that pledge to license their patents on fair terms can’t seek to prevent use of the inventions without being in violation of their commitment.
Facebook CEO Won’t Have to Answer Questions in Patent Case
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg won’t have to give pretrial testimony in a patent-infringement lawsuit filed by a mobile networking company.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan yesterday denied a request by Wireless Ink Corp. to depose Facebook co- founder Zuckerberg.
“If the CEO of Facebook has relevant knowledge not readily available from other sources, Wireless Ink ought to be able to establish this from documents produced in discovery or the testimony of other employees of Facebook,” Castel said in his order.
Wireless Ink, which operates the Winksite social networking service, said in a complaint filed in 2010 that Facebook Mobile and Google Inc.’s Google Buzz infringed a patent related to ways of offering content on mobile devices.
Facebook’s lawyers said in a letter to the judge that Wireless Ink “has not identified any relevant knowledge that Mr. Zuckerberg uniquely possesses that cannot be obtained from other witnesses.”
Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, is planning an initial public offering of stock.
The case is Wireless Ink Corp. v. Facebook Inc., 10-01841, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
USPTO’s ‘Patents for Humanity’ Prize to Speed Up Office Process
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has set up a project that will move some patent owners to the head of the line for proceedings within the office if their patented technology has been used for neglected humanitarian issues.
The “Patent for Humanity” project, which will run for 12 months, is aimed at public health or quality-of-life issues affected the poor, the patent office said in a statement yesterday.
Judges, drawn from academia in medicine, law science, engineering, public policy or a related field, will consider applications in four categories: medical, food and nutrition, clean technology and information technology.
Winners will receive an “acceleration certificate” which can move several different kinds of patent-office procedures to the head of the line, including patent appeals and re- examinations. The certificate can be used for one item in the winner’s portfolio, regardless of whether it is related to the humanitarian program.
The submission period for applications runs from March 1 through Aug. 31.
Lenovo, Computer Makers Settle Case Over Green Dam Software
Lenovo Group Ltd. and other computer makers settled a lawsuit brought by a California software maker who had claimed the Green Dam software installed on personal computers in China infringes its copyright.
“The parties have reached a settlement resolving the entire case,” Cybersitter LLC, the software maker, said Feb. 7 in a filing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in the filing.
Closely held Cybersitter sued China, seven computer makers and two Chinese software makers in 2010, seeking $2.2 billion in damages over allegations the Green Dam program illegally copies more than 3,000 lines of code from Cybersitter’s Internet content-filtering program. The Chinese government made Green Dam mandatory on personal computers sold there in 2009.
Researchers in China have reported that Green Dam contains more than 6,500 political keyword filters, including words related to China’s control of Tibet, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the government-banned Falun Gong religious group, Cybersitter said in its complaint.
Researchers at the University of Michigan said in a 2009 report that Green Dam could impair computer performance by making machines more prone to security breaches.
A report that same year from the OpenNet Initiative, which includes researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and University of Toronto, called Green Dam, a “substandard product” developed by companies with little experience in such software.
Robert Schwartz, a lawyer for Lenovo in Los Angeles, and Elliot Gipson, a lawyer for Santa Barbara, California-based Cybersitter, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment on the settlement.
Gipson said in a telephone interview last month that China hadn’t responded to the complaint and that U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton Tucker last year granted a motion for entry of default against the country.
The case is Cybersitter v. the People’s Republic of China, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).
Pornography Not Copyrightable, Infringement Defendant Argues
A resident of California’s Solano County has presented a novel defense to allegations of copyright infringement made by lawyers for an adult film company.
Liuxia Wong, who filed a complaint seeking a court declaration she hasn’t infringed a copyright belonging to Hard Drive Productions Inc., says the work in question isn’t entitled to copyright protection.
In her complaint filed Jan. 30 in federal court in San Francisco, she argues that the U.S. Constitution’s Copyright Clause protects only works “which promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” The film she is accused of infringing — “Amateur Allure Jen” — fails to meet the constitutional requirements for protection, she said in her pleadings.
The film depicts “obscene material,” “does not promote the useful arts” and “does not promote the progress of science,” Wong claims.
She also argued that Hard Drive demanded $3,400 from her so she could avoid being named a defendant in an infringement action.
Included in her case filing is a demand letter from Steele Hansmeier LLC, a Chicago law firm. The letter tells her that she can “work out a settlement with us” and avoid “the costs of attorney fees and the uncertainty associated with jury verdicts” by mailing the firm a check for $3,400. The firm said if she settled she would remain anonymous.
Wong called the firm’s actions intimidation, claiming she didn’t download the movie or authorize anyone else using her computer to download it.
She asked the court to declare she wasn’t liable for infringement and that the film wasn’t copyrightable. Additionally, she sought an order barring Hard Drive from demanding settlements “not supported by facts and law” and for awards of litigation costs and attorney fees.
Wong is represented by Aaron K. McClellan and Steven W. Yuen of Murphy Pearson Bradley Feeney of San Francisco.
The case is Liuxia Wong v. Hard Drive Productions Inc., 5:12-00469-HRL, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
For copyright news, click here.
Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Ericsson Sued by Airvana in New York for $330 Million
Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks, was sued for more than $330 million by Airvana Network Solutions Inc., which says Ericsson misappropriated intellectual property.
Ericsson secretly developed a product based on Airvana trade secrets to operate wireless network equipment in order to avoid paying software licensing fees, Airvana said in a complaint filed yesterday in New York state court.
“Ericsson has now undertaken a blatant ploy to evade its contractual obligations, by developing a secret ‘in-house’ project designed to misappropriate critical Airvana intellectual property,” the company said.
Ericsson, which depended on Airvana’s technology to service customers, “constantly badgered” Airvana to reduce the price of the software and began development of its own product in 2010, according to the complaint.
Airvana, based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, said it has suffered damages of more than $330 million and will face “an immediate and precipitous decline” in revenue if Ericsson is able to displace the company with its own product.
A spokesman for Stockholm’s Ericsson couldn’t be reached for comment.
The case is Airvana Network Solutions Inc. v. Ericsson Inc., 650360-2012, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).
Ex-Motorola Worker Guilty of Trade Secret Theft, Judge Rules
Hanjuan Jin, a former Motorola Inc. software engineer charged with stealing trade secrets from the company, was found guilty and acquitted of economic espionage to benefit a foreign government.
Jin was tried in Chicago before U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo in November after being indicted on three counts of stealing trade secrets and three more counts of economic espionage. She waived her right to a jury.
Yesterday Castillo found her guilty of stealing trade secrets and acquitted her on the three counts of economic espionage.
“I conclude that Ms. Jin criminally betrayed Motorola by stealing its trade secrets,” the judge said.
Castillo allowed Jin to remain in home confinement and scheduled sentencing for April 18.
Jin, 41, faces as long as 10 years in prison on the trade secrets conviction. She faced as long as 15 years in prison on each of the economic espionage counts.
She was indicted in 2008, a year after she returned to Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola following a yearlong medical leave of absence and immediately stepped down.
U.S. Customs agents stopped her as she was about to board a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Feb. 28, 2007. In her possession were more than 1,000 Motorola documents, $30,000 in cash and a one-way ticket to China.
She was accused of simultaneously working for Motorola and for a Beijing-based company, Kai Sun News (Beijing) Technology Co., also known as SunKaisens, which was affiliated with China’s military.
The case is U.S. v. Jin, 08-cr-192, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
EKA-AZS Challenges Trademark Infringement Award to Rosneft
EKA-AZS, the operator of a chain of gas stations in the Moscow region, is challenging the award the Moscow Commercial Court made to Rosneft Oil Co. in a trademark-infringement suit, the Russian Legal Information Agency said in a statement.
In 2005 the two companies entered into a franchise agreement for EKA-AZS to use the trademark on 40 gasoline filling stations for five years.
The suit involved the use of the Rosneft trademark for five months after a contract between the two companies for the use of the mark expired in 2010.
In December the court reduced the judgment against EKA-AZS from 5 million rubles ($168,000) to 3 million.
For more trademark news, click here.
–With assistance from David McLaughlin, Bob Van Voris and Don Jeffrey in New York; Andrew Harris in Chicago; Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles; and Susan Decker in Washington. Editors: Mary Romano, Glenn Holdcraft.
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