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YOGA LAWYERS ATTAIN ENLIGHTENMENT The lawyers who got all twisted up over ownership rights to a series of yoga positions can relax: They have a settlement, avoiding an expensive trial. Open Source Yoga Unity, a nonprofit collective of yoga teachers, had sued well-known practitioner Bikram Choudhury after Choudhury sent cease-and-desist letters to yoga studios that he believes were ripping off his intellectual property. Choudhury is the most recognizable proponent of so-called “hot” yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. He has registered a copyright for a sequence of 26 asanas, or poses, to be performed in a heated room. (Most yoga is unheated.) Choudhury says other teachers have stolen his techniques and wants them to stop using his name and his sequence unless he gives permission. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero led settlement talks Tuesday. The details are confidential, according to Michael Page of Keker & Van Nest, who represented Open Source. “We have reached a mutually satisfactory resolution and we look forward to working together in the future to continue bringing the benefits of yoga to the world,” Page said. Susan Hollander, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips who represents Choudhury, said she was pleased with the settlement. The case appeared headed for trial last month, when U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled on summary judgment motions. Although it was a mixed ruling, Hamilton leaned in favor of Choudhury, saying Open Source had not provided persuasive authority that a compilation of yoga asanas cannot be protected under the copyright laws in the same manner as other compilations. The case is Open Source Yoga Unity v. Bikram Choudhury, 03-3182. — Jeff Chorney

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