Bloomberg News

Impax, Infineon, Samsung, Algae Farm: Intellectual Property

October 21, 2011

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

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Impax Laboratories Inc. said it settled patent litigation with Abbott Laboratories and its Fournier Laboratories Ireland Ltd. unit, permitting Impax to sell a generic version of the cholesterol drug TriLipix as early as 2013.

Impax, based in Hayward, California, may sell delayed- release capsules of TriLipix starting July 15, 2013, “under certain circumstances in the settlement agreement” that weren’t spelled out in a regulatory filing made yesterday. Otherwise, Impax may offer generic versions in 45-milligram or 135- milligram doses on Jan. 1, 2014, the filing said.

TriLipix reduces cholesterol and fatty acids called triglycerides in the blood. The drug, whose chemical name is choline fenofibrate, is a delayed-release version of Abbott’s TriCor medicine. Sales of TriLipix and TriCor were $963 million in the U.S. in the first nine months of the year, Abbott said in an earnings statement Oct. 19.

The agreement “allows Abbott to obtain certainty for our product and avoid costly litigation around our patent,” said Scott Stoffel, a spokesman for Abbott Park, Illinois-based Abbott.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest generic-drugmaker, plans to begin selling a generic version of TriCor in July under an earlier lawsuit settlement with Abbott. The case is Abbott Laboratories v. Impax Laboratories, 10- cv-1322, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

Infineon Says Successful in CIF Patent-Infringement Lawsuit

Infineon Technologies AG and Lantiq Deutschland GmbH successfully defended themselves against patent-infringement allegations by CIF Licensing LLC, a member of the General Electric Group, Infineon said in a statement.

CIF filed an infringement case against Deutsche Telekom AG in October 2007. The allegations made in the suit were leveled against Infineon’s Wireline unit, known today as Lantiq.

Under the settlement agreement CIF withdrew its infringement suits and Infineon, Lantiq and other defendants will receive royalty-free licenses to the four patents at issue and their foreign counterparts, Infineon said.

Earlier, the German Federal Patent Court in Munich found reasons to nullify two of the four patents, according to the company statement.

Samsung May Adjust Products Depending on Lawsuits, Hong Says

Samsung Electronics Co., locked in a patent battle with Apple Inc. on four continents, said it may modify product designs because of such legal issues.

“We always have a bunch of different designs, not only hardware designs, but software designs, so if necessary we can immediately provide the solutions,” Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president at Samsung, said at the All Things D conference in Hong Kong yesterday.

Legal conflicts between the world’s two biggest makers of smartphones and tablet computers have spread globally since April when Apple claimed that Samsung’s Galaxy devices “slavishly” copied the iPad and iPhone. Last week, an Australian court blocked sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, while Samsung filed motions in France, Italy and Japan seeking to ban sales of Apple’s latest handset.

Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung lost a bid to sell its newest tablet computer in Australia until after a patent dispute with Apple is settled. Samsung had said it would scrap the release of the Galaxy 10.1 if the injunction was granted because missing the Christmas season would make the new tablet “dead” by the time it reached market.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Nexus smartphone Oct. 19, the first device running Google Inc.’s Ice Cream Sandwich software. The design of that product wasn’t affected by litigations with Apple, Hong said.

Ice Cream Sandwich is the first major rollout for Android since Google announced in August a $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. That led to speculation that Google might become a competitor to its own handset partners.

“We respect their decision,” Hong said. “We believe they are going to maintain their strategy to remain open.”

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Urban Outfitters Removes ‘Navajo’ Listings After Protest

Urban Outfitters Inc., the Philadelphia-based retail chain, removed the word “Navajo” from its online product listings following a complaint from the Navajo Nation, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The retailer had offered at least 20 products through its website with “Navajo” in the name, including a fabric-wrapped flask and women’s underpants, according to the newspaper.

Navajo Nation had sent Urban Outfitters a cease-and-desist letter, pointing out that it held registrations for the “Navajo” trademark, the Times reported.

The items previously labeled as “Navajo” are now described on the company’s website as “printed,” according to the Times.

Algae Farms Gets U.S. Trademark Registration for Company Name

Algae Farm Inc., a biofuels research company, completed the registration of its name as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, changed its name from Russell Industries Inc. in January. In addition to its research on the production of algae-based oil, the company is the majority owner of uranium-mining claims in Utah’s San Juan County.

According to the patent office database, Algae Farm will use the mark with chemical fuel-tank additives, chemicals for use in the biochemical and chemical industries, oil exploration and production, emollients used in toiletries and pharmaceuticals, fertilizers and manures, and chemical compounds prepared synthetically for use in the manufacture of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

RIM Accused of Infringing Trademark With New OS Name

Research In Motion Ltd., the Waterloo, Ontario-based maker of the Blackberry mobile device, was sent a cease-and-desist letter by a New Mexico software company.

Basis International Ltd. objected to the name of a new operating system RIM developed for the Blackberry. The use of “BBX” as a name for the system “is causing great confusion for the worldwide Basis community,” the Albuquerque-based company said in a statement.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Basis registered “BBX” as a trademark in July 2006. The registration covers the use of the mark with computer programs and associated documentation providing tools and programming language to enable software developers to create and prepare business, Internet and applications software.

Basis said its BBX system contains an “agnostic” language that can run on numerous operating systems, Java platforms and JavaScript-enabled browsers. The company said it is “fielding numerous customer inquiries voicing their confusion” about the RIM announcement.

The Canadian company said Oct. 18 that its new software would be called Blackberry BBX. The system is designed to help developers create applications for its PlayBook tablet computer and new smartphones.

Basis Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nico Sence said in an e-mail that RIM has until Oct. 31 to respond to the cease- and-desist request before his company files an infringement suit.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Police Deny Infringing Copyright to Forensic Software Product

The West Yorkshire Police Department denied allegations it infringed copyrights belonging to a company specializing in collecting data from mobile telephones, the Yorkshire Post reported.

The U.K.’s Forensic Telecommunications Service claims the police department developed its own software program to collect information from the phones by using the company’s data, according to the newspaper.

A lawyer representing the police said it was “mere coincidence” that the police department’s software program was similar to the FTS product, the newspaper reported.

Photographer’s Infringement Suit Against Rihanna Settled

A Los Angeles photographer’s copyright-infringement lawsuit against the singer known as Rihanna and her recording label has settled, according to a court filing.

David LaChapelle sued Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam unit, Black Dog Films Inc., and singer Robyn Rihanna Fenty for copyright infringement in federal court in Manhattan in Feb. 14. He claimed the music video for Rihanna’s performance of “S&M,” released in January, infringed the copyrights to a series of his photos.

In the complaint, he said the storyboards on which the video was based contained prints of his photos and were based on his work. He said the music photos copied the “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colors, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” of his photos.

Because of the video’s “blatant” reliance on his work, LaChapelle accused the defendants of deliberate infringement. He also alleged that his trade dress was infringed and that Rhianna and her label engaged in unfair competition.

In July, U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin rejected LaChapelle’s claims for trade-dress infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. She did find that the photographer’s copyrights were infringed.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in the court filing. The BBC reported Oct. 19 that LaChapelle, who had sought $1 million in damages, received an undisclosed sum in settlement of the dispute.

LaChapelle was represented by Debra Anne Mayer of Shatzkin & Mayer PC of New York. Rihanna’s lawyers were Brad David Rose, Tom J. Ferber and Jacob Boyd Radcliff of New York’s Pryor Cashman LLP. Island Def Jam was represented by Amanda Marie Leith and Robert Penchina of Washington’s Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP.

The case is LaChapelle v. Fenty, 1:11-cv-00945, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Wedbush Lawsuit Says Ex-Employees Took Secrets to Liquidnet

Wedbush Securities Inc. sued two former employees and trading platform Liquidnet Holdings Inc., accusing them of taking customer lists, documents and disclosures from the firm.

The suit accuses New York-based Liquidnet, used by institutional investors to buy and sell large blocks of shares, and the ex-employees, Louis Kerner and Michael Silverstein, of working together to take proprietary information from Wedbush in order to start the same business at Liquidnet.

Liquidnet said on Oct. 17 that it hired Kerner to run a new group focused on private companies, and that he would be joined by Silverstein. Wedbush filed the lawsuit yesterday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

“Kerner, Silverstein and Liquidnet engaged, and continue to engage, in the premeditated taking and misappropriation of certain of Wedbush’s most valuable trade secret and confidential and proprietary information,” Wedbush said in the complaint.

Liquidnet received the lawsuit and is reviewing it closely, Melissa Kanter, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e- mail. She declined to comment further on the complaint.

Wedbush is seeking unspecified compensatory damages. The firm also asked for injunctions preventing the defendants from using, disclosing or transmitting any records, documents or information related to its clients, business, marketing strategies, technical information or operations.

It also seeks to stop the defendants from using customer data to compete with Wedbush, soliciting similar services to current or former Wedbush clients and retaining any customer data.

The case is Wedbush Securities Inc. v. Liquidnet Inc., 652875/2011, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).

IP Moves

Venable Expands Los Angeles IP Practice, Hires Greg Sater

Venable LLP hired Greg Sater for its IP litigation group, the Baltimore-based firm said in a statement.

Sater joins from Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Inc. of Los Angeles. There he did work on behalf of direct-response television advertisers, online marketers and other direct-to- consumer marketers and retailers in connection with IP issues and compliance with state and federal advertising regulations. He has also represented entertainment companies.

Sater has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard University.

--With assistance from Chris Dolmetsch in New York, David Voreacos in Newark. New Jersey, Susan Decker in Washington and Mark Lee in Hong Kong. Editors: Mary Romano, 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.


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