Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Venture Dollars Find RI in Second Quarter 2011

The good news:  venture capital investments in New England hit a 10 year high in the second quarter this year, with $1.1 billion invested in 119 companies, according to the MoneyTree Report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 

The bad news:  only two of those companies are in Rhode Island, netting a total of $1,151,000.

So while investments in New England companies are back to where they were a decade ago before the "Internet crash," the money still is not flowing to Rhode Island.  Ten years ago, venture capital investments in Rhode Island companies totalled $19.6 million in the first quarter of 2001, and $26 million in the second quarter of 2001.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $7.5 billion in 966 deals in the second quarter, representing a 19% increase over the first quarter, when $6.3 billion was invested in 814 deals.  The Life Sciences sector (including biotechnology and medical device companies) accounted for much of the growth, improving 37% in dollars and 12% in deals over the first quarter.  Investments in Internet companies also rose to the highest quarterly level since 2001.

Locally, the two companies to receive investments are VCharge, Inc., of Cranston, and GreenBytes, Inc., of Ashaway.  VCharge, a company that offers scalable, rapid-response energy storage for the electric grid, received $150,000 in seed funding from the State's Slater Technology Fund.  GreenBytes, a more established company, received $1,001,000 from Battery Ventures, an existing investor.  GreenBytes makes hardware and software that IT operations teams use to store and protect huge amounts of data, and to control how much energy they must use to do so.

Let's hope these investment dollars start finding their way to Rhode Island.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Trademark Infringement Case Filed in DRI --- FM Global Seeks to Protect its FM and Diamond Certification Mark

FM Approvals, LLC v. Fullco Industries, Inc., No. 11-cv-00327-L (D.R.I. filed July 28, 2011).

A new trademark complaint was filed in the District of Rhode Island on July 28th. In its Complaint, FM Approvals LLC, a subsidiary of FM Global, claims federal and state trademark rights in a four-sided diamond containing the letters "FM." for its third party testing and product certification services.  FM's mark is a certification mark, like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  FM Approvals tests and certifies numerous products, including roofing and building material products, classroom materials, and electrical and fire protection equipment.    According to the Complaint, FM Approvals's certification process assures customers that a product has been tested by an objective third party and conforms to rigorous standards. 

FM Approvals claims that Fullco is selling industrial products such as bushings and bearings, fasteners and screws that are of the type used in building assemblies certified by FM Approvals, and has been casting a design consisting of an "F" inside a four sided diamond onto its products. Fullco's mark also has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

FM Approvals seeks damages on counts of federal trademark infringement and federal and state law unfair competition, and seeks cancellation of Fullco's federal trademark registration for its "F" and four sided diamond mark.. The case has been assigned to Judge Lisi.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

July 2011 IP Cases Filed in US District Court of Rhode Island

There was one new intellectual property (patent, trademark and copyright) case filing in July 2011 at the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island. This leaves the total at 10 new IP case filings (3 patent and 7 trademark) for the year to date, which is a 23% decrease over the same period in 2010.

The new case in July consists of a trademark infringement case. So far there have been no new copyright cases filed in 2011 in Rhode Island.

These numbers only include cases that have been designated in the court's database as a patent, trademark or copyright case. There are other cases pending where the complaint may include trademark or other intellectual property claims. But unless the case is designated as such, we are not counting it here.