Bloomberg News

Apotex, Samsung, Fujifilm, Lady Gaga: Intellectual Property

October 17, 2011

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

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Apotex Inc. agreed to delay selling a generic version of the osteoporosis drug Boniva until a judge rules on the validity of a Roche Holding AG patent on the medicine that expires in March 2012.

Apotex, based in Toronto, is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell a copy of Boniva. In 2007, Roche sued in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, claiming its patent is valid and enforceable, and that Apotex infringed it.

Boniva, which is administered once a month, is the anti- bone loss drug endorsed by actress Sally Field. An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that the agency call for clarification on the appropriate length of time patients should take this class of drug. Some patients who have taken the drug have experienced atypical fractures of the thigh bones, the FDA has said in a safety announcement.

Under an accord filed in court Oct. 11, Apotex agreed it wouldn’t sell its copy until U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler rules on the validity and enforcement questions or the patent expires, whichever comes first. Roche agreed to post a $1 million bond.

The case is Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 2:07-cv- 04417, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

Samsung’s Dutch Patent Lawsuit Against Apple Rejected by Court

A Dutch court rejected Samsung Electronics Co.’s claims that Apple Inc. infringed patents, preventing the South Korean manufacturer from blocking the sale of some of its U.S. rival’s products in the Netherlands.

Samsung, as holder of a standard-essential patent, is obliged to provide third parties with a license for production under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, the Hague District Court said in a decision that denied all four of the South Korean company’s claims.

Samsung, the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, filed four lawsuits against Apple in the country, claiming the Cupertino, California-based manufacturer’s iPhone and iPad devices that use 3G technology infringe Samsung patents. The court said patent terms require Apple to apply for a so-called FRAND license, and Samsung to make an appropriate offer in response.

“If parties cannot reach an agreement, Samsung can still file a claim,” the court said.

The two companies have been locked in a global legal battle since Apple claimed in an April lawsuit that Samsung’s Galaxy devices copied the iPad and iPhone. Samsung has tweaked a photo- browsing feature on Galaxy models for sale in the Netherlands to bypass a Dutch injunction won by Apple in August.

The manufacturers are competing for dominance of the fastest-growing segment of the $207 billion mobile-phone market, where the iPhone is competing with devices powered by Google Inc.’s Android system.

Samsung filed motions this month seeking bans on Apple’s iPhone 4S in France and Italy, claiming the U.S. company infringed its patents related to mobile technology.

Fujifilm Sues Eastman Kodak Over Digital Camera Patents

Fujifilm Corp. sued Eastman Kodak Co., alleging that it infringed patents for digital cameras.

Fujifilm, based in Tokyo, sued Eastman Kodak over four digital-camera patents after talks between the companies were unsuccessful, according to a complaint filed Oct. 14 in federal court in Manhattan.

Kodak manufactured and sold products in the U.S., including the EasyShare C340 and EasyShare M530 digital cameras, that violated the patents, Fujifilm alleged in the complaint. It seeks damages and a jury trial.

Christopher Veronda, a spokesman for Rochester, New York- based Kodak, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment on the suit.

The case is Fujifilm Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., 1:11-cv- 07247, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

United, Delta, Alaska Air Sued Over Mobile Check-In Patents

United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group Inc. were sued by a patent holder over wireless transaction technology for mobile check-in and boarding passes.

Aeritas LLC, a Dallas-based wireless software maker, contends the air carriers are using its inventions protected by patents awarded in 2007 and 2011, according to four complaints filed yesterday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Aeritas has suffered monetary damages in an amount adequate to compensate for defendants’ infringement, but in no event less than a reasonable royalty,” wrote the patent holder, which is also seeking a jury trial and a halt to the airlines’ use of the inventions.

Continental and United are units of United Continental Holdings Inc., based in Chicago. Delta is based in Atlanta, and Alaska Air is based in Seattle.

“We haven’t been served and are still assessing the claims of the lawsuit,” Bobbie Egan, an Alaska Airlines spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

Trebor Banstetter, a Delta spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit. Representatives of United Continental weren’t immediately available for comment.

In dispute are patents 7,209,903, issued in April 2007; and 7,933,589, issued April 26.

According to a statement on the Aeritas website, Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Lufthansa began using a check-in and boarding process in 2001 that was based on the company’s technology.

The cases are Aeritas v. United Airlines Inc., 1:11-cv- 00970; Aeritas v. Continental Airlines Inc.; Aeritas v. Delta Air Lines Inc.; and Aeritas v. Alaska Air Group Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Intel Sues Intelspec, Claims Company Name Infringes Trademarks

Intel Corp., the world’s largest chipmaker, sued a Utah engineering company for trademark infringement.

The Santa Clara, California-based company objects to the company name and website of Intelspec International Inc. of Salt Lake City. According to the company website, Intelspec works mainly in the Middle East, East Asia, and Oceania on projects in the $1 million to $10 million range, “that are too small to attract the attention of the giant multinational firms.”

The chip company claims that given the “overwhelming and distinctive association the public makes between the term ‘Intel’ and Intel Corp., a likelihood of confusion exists.

Intel is known for its zealous defense of its intellectual property rights, and has filed at least 20 trademark infringement cases since 2002, according to Bloomberg data.

In the complaint, filed Oct. 12 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, the chip company lists the wide range of categories for which it holds registered trademarks involving the “Intel” name. Among them are clocks, piggy banks, playing cards, fanny packs, infant rompers, Christmas tree ornaments, gold ball markers and towels, in addition to computer chips, software and semiconductor processing cartridges.

One of the reasons Intel says it is harmed by Intelspec’s actions is that the engineering company’s website mentions “communications infrastructure for public and private entities.”

The company said that “given Intel’s involvement in communications, the vast use of Intel’s products and services by the military and in other engineering applications and the similarity of the marks, there is a likelihood that those customers will attribute the quality and content of the defendants’ offerings to Intel.” This potentially risks damaging the chipmaker’s reputation, according to the complaint.

Intel asked the court to order the engineering company to stop using the Intelspec name or any other name that is confusingly similar to its trademarks. It also seeks a court order for the destruction of all allegedly infringing promotional materials and requested it be transferred the intelspec.com domain name.

Additionally, the chipmaker asked for awards of money damages, Intelspec’s profits, attorney fees and litigation costs. The company also requested that the damages be tripled and that extra damages be added to punish the Utah company for its actions.

Intelspec “disagrees with Intel’s claims and, if necessary, will defend the case brought by Intel,” company spokesman Shawn Teigen said in an e-mail. “Intelspec does not compete with Intel in any space and does not believe that its trade name causes consumer confusion anywhere in the world, nor does Intelspec’s use of its trade name weaken the Intel Trademark.”

Intel is represented by Bobby A. Ghajar and Neil Vohra of San Francisco’s Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and Jack B. Blumenfeld and Paul Saindon of Wilmington’s Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP.

The case is Intel Corp. v. Intelspec International, 1:11- cv-00962-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Lady Gaga Gets Court to Order Bye Bye to Lady Goo Goo

Lady Gaga, the pop singer known for her outrageous clothing, won a court order barring a parody character from performing a number called “The Moshi Dance” in Mind Candy Ltd.’s Moshi Monsters social-networking online game for kids, the U.K.’s Guardian reported.

A U.K. court barred Mind Candy from promoting of selling to the public any music work or video that purports to be performed by a character named Lady Goo Goo, according to the Guardian.

Mind Candy Founder and Chief Executive Michael Acton Smith told the Guardian he was disappointed in the court ruling and said it was “pretty obvious” that kids would tell the different between Lady Gaga and the parody character.

The parody “was all done in the name of dun and we thought Lady Gaga could have seen the humor behind this parody,” Smith said and the Guardian reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Australia Seeking Comments on Streamlined Copyright Enforcement

Australia’s government is seeking comments on whether judges or magistrate could issue orders authorizing Internet service providers to give a content owner information about a specific subscriber, the Australian reported.

Presently, under that country’s Privacy Act and Telecommunications Act, ISPs are barred from disclosing customer information unless it is required to do so by law enforcement or required under law, according to the newspaper.

Australia’s Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland, speaking at a symposium on copyright issues, said the government is considering expanding its definition of Internet service providers to include companies that operate online services, such as Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc., the Australian reported.

The present system under which copyright holders must apply for the details of an ISP’s individual customer is cumbersome and expensive, and needs to be streamlined, McClelland said at the conference, and the Australian reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Oblon Spivak Hires Marybeth Peters, Former Copyright Register

Oblon Spivak McClelland Maier & Neustadt LLP hired Marybeth Peters for its trademark and copyright group, the Alexandria, Virginia-based IP specialty firm said in an e-mailed statement.

Peters was the U.S. Register of Copyrights for 16 years. Before that, she served as policy planning adviser to the Register, as acting general counsel of the Copyright Office, and chief of both the examining and reference divisions.

She has an undergraduate degree from Rhode Island College and a law degree from George Washington University.

IIPI Names Former Head of Mexico’s Patent Office Vice Chairman

The International Intellectual Property Institute, a Washington-based organization focused on international IP issues, hired the former head of Mexico’s patent office.

Jorge H. Amigo Castaneda will serve as vice chairman and member of the board of directors, according to an IIPI statement.

Amigo was appointed the first head director of Mexico’s Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial in 1994 by then- President Ernesto Zedillo. He led this office for 17 years.

He served as Mexico’s lead delegate for intellectual property during free-trade agreement negotiations and for the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement completed in 2010.

--With assistance from David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey; Susan Decker in Washington; Molly Peterson in Adelphi, Maryland; Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam; Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware; and Don Jeffrey in New York. Editors: Mary Romano, Glenn Holdcraft.

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.


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