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Case of the Day: In re King.com

Candy Crush Saga logl

The case of the day is In re King.com Ltd. (N.D. Cal. 2016). King, a Maltese company, is the developer of the Candy Crush video game. It owned the European Candy Crush trademark and related marks. It sued Storm8 Studios LLC and TeamLava LLC in the Civil Court of Malta, alleging that their Candy Blast Mania game infringed the Candy Crush mark. The Maltese court stayed the action pending EU Intellectual Property Office review of a challenge to the validity of the marks. King brought an application under § 1782 seeking leave to depose Perry Tam, Chak Ming Li, and William Siu, Storm8 and TeamLava executives, for use in the Maltese action (after the stay is lifted). At the ex parte stage, King argued that the Maltese action would necessarily continue whatever the outcome of the validity proceedings, because several of the marks at issue in the infringement lawsuit were not at issue in the validity proceeding; that the validity proceedings might take a decade to complete; and that discovery now was important because Malta imposes no obligation to preserve evidence and “Respondents had a history of changing corporate forms.” The court granted the application.

After the court granted the application, the Maltese court entered an order requiring preservation of documentary evidence but denying King’s request for discovery. The respondents then moved to quash the US subpoena.
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Case of the Day: Knaggs v. Yahoo!

Bank robbery surveillance footage
Wearing the Juice.

The case of the day is Knaggs v. Yahoo! Inc. (N.D. Cal. 2016).

Do you remember McArthur Wheeler, the bank robber who robbed a bank in broad daylight with no disguise? He was caught immediately after the police broadcast the security footage showing him holding up the bank. When they arrived to arrest him, he was incredulous that they had caught him. “But I was wearing the juice!” he said, as they took him off to jail.

Wheeler told police he rubbed lemon juice on his face to make it invisible to security cameras. Detectives concluded he was not delusional, not on drugs — just incredibly mistaken.

Wheeler knew that lemon juice is used as an invisible ink. Logically, then, lemon juice would make his face invisible to cameras. He tested this out before the heists, putting juice on his face and snapping a selfie with a Polaroid camera. There was no face in the photo! (Police never figured that out. Most likely Wheeler was no more competent as a photographer than he was as a bank robber.) Wheeler reported one problem with his scheme. The lemon juice stung his eyes so badly that he could barely see.

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Case of the Day: SEC v. Kumar

The case of the day is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Kumar (N.D. Cal. 2015). The complaint alleged that Vinay Kumar Nevatia, who lived in Palo Alto between 2004 and 2013, solicited investments in shares of CSS Corp. Technologies (Mauritius) Ltd., even though he was not registered with the SEC. Kumar formed a company called VRSBS Investment, LLC, to hold the shares of CSS that he and his investors purchased. Each investor received a stock certificate, presumably registered to VRSBS Investment, if I understand the situation correctly, for his or her portion of the total investment. However, according to the SEC, Kumar later made an agreement to sell half VRSBS’s CSS shares to a venture capital firm. The proceeds of the sale were deposited in his personal bank account rather than in VRSBS’s account. When the venture capitalists requested stock certificates, according to the SEC, Kumar “falsely claimed that new certificates needed to be issued because all his CSS shares were held on a single certificate, which covered a greater number of shares then the [VCs] had purchased.” Kumar tried to get certificates, but CSS’s transfer agent told him he needed to return the original certificates for cancelation. Kumar, again according to the SEC, “falsely told the transfer agent … that all of the original stock certificates issued to VRSBS had been lost,” when in fact the investors were holding the certificates. After Kumar agreed to indemnify the transfer agent, the transfer agent issued the new certificates. Kumar, according to the SEC, never told his original investors about the sale or the proceeds of the sale. Yikes!
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