BMW Dismisses Design Patent Lawsuit Against TurboSquid

TurboSquidTwo months ago, we reported on a lawsuit filed in New Jersey by BMW against digital media company, TurboSquid, Inc.  According to the complaint, TurboSquid was “marketing 3-D virtual models of vehicles that infringe the BMW trademarks, trade dress, and design patents.”  The case presented interesting legal questions with respect to IP and virtual reality.  For example, can selling a digital 3D model of a car, which exists only in virtual reality, infringe a design patent?

On August 10, BMW filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of the case — without prejudice — leaving open the possibility of BMW “rebooting” its lawsuit against TurboSquid in the future.  Thus, at least for now, it appears that the interesting legal questions are left to be resolved in a different or future dispute.  Interestingly, we note that TurboSquid no longer sells 3-D models of BMW or Mini Cooper vehicles on their website — although they do have models of other vehicle manufacturers, such as Tesla, Audi and Toyota.

Advertisements

GeoVector v. Samsung

On May 5, 2016, GeoVector Corporation (“GeoVector”) sued Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (“Samsung”) in federal district court in the Northern District of California.  GeoVector’s complaint asserts against Samsung numerous patent infringement claims, trade secret misappropriation claims (under California law), Lanham Act violations and RICO violations.

According to the complaint, GeoVector was founded in 1987 by John Ellenby, a former employee at Xerox-PARC.  In 1990, John Ellenby and his son, Thomas, conceptualized and invented “the first augmented reality device which utilized data as to the device’s position and orientation to display relevant information to the user.”

GeoVector is the owner and assignee of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,037,936 (“Computer vision system with a graphic user interface and remote camera control”), 7,301,536 (“Electro-optic vision systems”), 7,916,138 (“Electro-optic vision systems”).

FIG 17

GeoVector alleges that, in December 2002, Samsung and GeoVector had a meeting in which GeoVector produced a “confidential slide deck demonstrating the possibility of integrating GeoVector technology into Samsung handsets.”  GeoVector also alleges that it disclosed to Samsung, in confidence, “its entire unpublished patent portfolio, including its early applications for augmented reality patents.”  Despite negotiations that continued into 2008, the parties never consummated a licensing agreement.  Subsequently, GeoVector alleges that Samsung began incorporating GeoVector’s technology into its Galaxy devices.

GeoVector begain sending numerous notice letters to Samsung in April 2013, notifying them of infringement, including claim charts.  GeoVector also alleges that Samsung wrongfully patented GeoVector’s same augmented reality technology.

GeoVector’s complaint is fairly detailed and also takes a few shots at Samsung’s past IP litigations (“Because Samsung regularly refuses to license technology without being sued, victims are forced to sue Samsung”), and includes a list of former “victims.”