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New Wrinkle in Fight Over Hologram Patent

LAS VEGAS (CN) - The creator of patented hologram technology used at live music events cut out his business partners when the technology became profitable, a British man claims in Nevada Federal Court.

The March 13 lawsuit arises from the use of patented holographic technology used to create a Tupac Shakur hologram that performed during the 2012 Coachella Music Festival and a Michael Jackson hologram that performed during the May 2014 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

In the 172-page complaint, London resident Ian O'Connell says Uwe Maass created the technology in 1996, and O'Connell, Maass, and third-party James Rock created Musion Systems in 2002 to exploit the patented hologram technology.

In exchange for ownership interests in other intellectual property, O'Connell says Maass assigned ownership interests in the hologram technology to O'Connell, Rock, Musion Systems, and subsidiaries Eventworks and Musion Events in 2007.

Although they are co-owners of the patented hologram technology, once demand for it grew, O'Connell says Maass filed patent lawsuits against Cirque de Soleil and Pulse Evolution.

O'Connell is a co-defendant in the ongoing Pulse Evolution action, and says Maass assigned licensing rights to Pulse Evolution and Cirque du Soleil to settle his lawsuits against them.

In May 2014, Maass, Hologram USA and Musion accused Pulse Evolution, O'Connell and others of infringing on the patented technology to create a Michael Jackson hologram that performed during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

As a co-owner of the technology, O'Connell says Maass had no right to grant licensing rights to settle with Pulse Entertainment and Cirque du Soleil without his consent. Maass also did not share proceeds derived from the technology's use, O'Connell claims.

O'Connell says Maass claimed in 2012 he negated the agreement giving equal ownership of the patented technology to O'Connell, resulting in lost revenue and depleted values for O'Connell, Musion and Holicom Films.

O'Connell says he has not been able to grant licenses, make sales or install machinery or equipment since June 2013, despite a U.K. arbitration panel concluding in September 2014 that O'Connell has an irrevocable interest in the patented hologram technology.

O'Connell, Musion and Holicom seek special, general, treble and punitive damages for allegations of patent and trademark infringement, fraud, fiduciary duty, conversion, unjust enrichment, unfair competition, interference with prospective economic advantage, breach of contract and false advertising.

Named as defendants are Maass, Hologram USA and MDH Hologram. Beverly Hills-based Hologram USA did not return a phone call seeking comment.

James Fazio III of the San Diego IP Law Group, attorney for the plaintiffs, was not immediately available by telephone on Monday morning.

Hologram USA attorney Ryan Baker of Baker Marquart told Courthouse News, "The recently filed action by O'Connell is merely the set of claims previously severed from the hologram v. Pulse case. The court severed those claims and instructed O'Connell and his companies to file them as a separate action. The claims are meritless and have been filed as a diversionary tactic."

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