Bloomberg News

Verizon, Teva, Motorola, Kardashian: Intellectual Property

July 22, 2011

(This is a daily report on global news about patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property topics. Updates with Zynga item in top section.)

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. trade agency said it will let stand a judge’s finding that Cablevision Systems Corp. infringed a patent owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and said it will considering banning imports of Cablevision set-top boxes.

Verizon filed the patent-infringement complaint last year at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, seeking an order that would block imports of set-top boxes by Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision. The ITC’s decision was posted on its website yesterday.

Teva Settles Litigation With Novartis Over Generic Lotrel

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. settled patent litigation related to its generic versions of Novartis AG’s Lotrel blood-pressure drug.

Financial terms of the settlement are confidential, Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva said yesterday in a regulatory filing. U.S. District Judge Garrett E. Brown Jr. in Newark, New Jersey, approved the dismissal of the litigation in an order signed yesterday, according to a court filing.

“Novartis strongly believes in defending the intellectual property rights and patents of all our products and will continue to vigorously defend the validity of our patents,” the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in an e-mailed statement. “Under the agreement, Teva admits to the validity of the Novartis patents and that they have been infringed and has agreed to all claims for patent infringement and damages.”

Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, sued Teva in September 2004 to stop the world’s largest maker of generic drugs from selling a copycat version of Lotrel, which Novartis said was covered by a patent until December 2017.

Teva, which denied its product infringed the patent, was cleared to resume selling its version of Lotrel in June 2007 after U.S. District Judge Harold Ackerman in Newark lifted a ban imposed the month before.

The cases are Novartis Corp. vs. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., 04-cv-4473 and 08-cv-0686, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

Icahn Urges Motorola Mobility to Explore Options for Patents

Billionaire Carl Icahn urged Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. to explore alternatives for its patents after Nortel Networks Corp. sold a portfolio of wireless patents for $4.5 billion.

Motorola Mobility’s “patent portfolio, which is substantially larger than Nortel Networks’ and includes numerous patents concerning 4G technologies, has significant value,” Icahn said in a securities filing yesterday. “There may be multiple ways to realize such value given the current heightened market demand for intellectual property in the mobile telecommunications industry.”

Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009, said on June 30 it would sell more than 6,000 patents to Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Research In Motion Ltd. and three other companies. The bid was five times the $900 million offered before an auction by Google Inc., which makes the Android software used by Motorola and other mobile-phone makers.

Google and Apple are also among companies weighing possible bids for InterDigital Inc., a mobile-phone technology designer, a person with knowledge of the situation said this week.

Vostu Fires Back at Zynga in Computer-Games Copyright Suit

Vostu USA Inc. responded to a copyright lawsuit brought by Zynga Inc. by alleging that the San Francisco-based game company is the actual infringer.

Zynga sued Vostu in federal court in San Jose, California, on June 16, accusing the company of infringing its Café World, PetVille, Zynga Poker and FarmVille games. That complaint contained color images of many elements in Vostu’s games that Zynga claims infringed its copyrights.

In its July 20 response to the complaint, New York-based Vostu said Zynga’s allegations “are at their foundation a vicious effort to malign Vostu for competing.” Vostu’s games are popular in Latin America, particularly Brazil, where the company released a soccer-oriented social game in 2009.

Vostu claims Zynga’s suit was motivated by the San Francisco company’s entry into Brazil; Vostu’s arrival on Facebook Inc.’s social media site, “which Zynga claims as its exclusive turf;” and Zynga’s initial public offering. Zynga filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission July 1, seeking to raise as much as $1 billion in its initial public offering.

Zynga’s infringement claims against Vostu “are not just deeply cynical. They also mask a fatal flaw in Zynga’s case: Zynga cannot claim copyright protection over material that Zynga did not originally create,” Vostu said in its pleadings.

Many of the elements Zynga claimed were infringed by Vostu were in fact present in other companies’ games, Vostu said in court papers.

Vostu asked the court to declare it doesn’t infringe Zynga’s copyrights, and for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

The company is represented by Andrew P. Bridges and Jennifer A. Golinveaux of Chicago’s Winston & Strawn LLP.

The case is Zynga Inc., v. Vostu USA Inc., 5:11-cv-02959- EJD, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Blogger Who Discovered Fake Apple Stores Seeks Photos

The expatriate American blogger who discovered fake Apple Inc. stores in China invited readers to submit photos of other such stores they consider counterfeits.

In a July 21 posting, the blogger -- who uses “BirdAbroad” as her online name -- said she will post submitted photos on her blog. She cautioned readers to check the Cupertino, California-based company’s website first to make sure the store in question isn’t on Apple’s list of authorized resellers.

She found and photographed what initially appeared to be an Apple store in Kumming, China. She said she then walked around a few blocks and discovered two more faux Apple outlets. The blogger wrote that, “Apple’s own website will tell you that they only have a few stores in Beijing and Shanghai, opened only recently; Apple famously opens new stores painstakingly, presumably to assure impeccable standards and lots of customer demand.”

A few tell-tale signs alerted her that something wasn’t quite right with the store, she said. The signs said, “Apple Store,” something Apple doesn’t do. And she noted that the employees’ nametags said “staff,” instead of giving the employee’s name.

She “ struck up some conversation with these salespeople who, hand to God, all genuinely think they work for Apple.” The Wall Street Journal reported that one employee acknowledged it wasn’t an authorized outlet.

According to her website, the blogger is a 27-year-old who works in Kumming for an international public health organization.

Kim Kardashian Sues Gap Over Lookalike Used in Commercial

Kim Kardashian, daughter of the late Robert Kardashian, sued Gap Inc. for infringing her intellectual-property rights.

She is one of three daughters of the lawyer, who was a member of O.J. Simpson’s legal team when the ex-football star was tried for the murder of his wife in 1995. Kim Kardashian won fame, together with her siblings and mother, for their participation in the “Keeping up With the Kardashians” reality television program.

In her complaint filed July 20 in federal court in Los Angeles, Kardashian accused the San Francisco-based clothing company’s Old Navy unit of infringing her rights by using a celebrity lookalike in a commercial. After the Old Navy commercial aired, the public was confused about whether she was associated with the chain, she said.

Kardashian said she was never contacted by Gap about its use of her image and claims she was damaged by the misappropriation of her name and likeness.

She asked the court to bar further infringement, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Kardashian also requested that Gap be assessed extra damages to punish the company for its actions.

Kardashian is represented by Gary A. Hecker and James M. Slominski of The Hecker Law Group of Los Angeles.

Gap didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Kim Kardashian v. The Gap, 2:11-cv-05960, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

For more trademark news, click here.

For copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Latham Adds Paul Hastings Patent Specialist to IP Practice

Latham & Watkins LLP hired Mark Koehn for its intellectual- property practice, the Los Angeles-based firm said in an e- mailed statement.

Koehn, who does patent litigation work, has worked for clients whose technologies included medical devices, pharmaceuticals, software and electronics. He has represented clients in federal courts and before the U.S. International Trade Commission.

He previously practiced at Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP of Los Angeles and at San Francisco’s Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLC, according to Bloomberg data.

Before he was a lawyer, Koehn was an information technology consultant to a predecessor to Accenture Plc.

Koehn has an undergraduate degree in operations research and industrial engineering from Cornell University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

--With assistance from Chris Dolmetsch and Peter Elstrom in New York, Brad Stone and Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco and Susan Decker in Washington. Editor: Stephen Farr

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


We Almost Lost the Nasdaq
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus