Bloomberg News

Tivo, Apple, Yahoo, Coca-Cola: Intellectual Property

June 06, 2012

TiVo Inc. (TIVO:US) filed a lawsuit claiming that television set-top boxes made by Cisco Systems Inc. infringe patents related to digital-video recording services.

Cisco supplies equipment to companies including Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ:US) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC:US) The boxes, which have DVR functions, infringe TiVo’s patents, according to the complaint filed June 4 in federal court in Marshall, Texas.

Cisco filed a preemptive suit against TiVo May 30 in federal court in its hometown of San Jose, California, seeking a ruling that it doesn’t infringe four TiVo patents.

TiVo, which pioneered the DVR market before rivals grabbed more customers, has waged more than seven years of litigation to get compensation for its inventions. The company provides DVR services to Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR:US) Legal costs are projected to create a wider loss this quarter than analysts expected, the company said May 31.

Cisco knew of the patents and the infringement because it has been subpoenaed in TiVo’s patent suits against Verizon and AT&T Inc., TiVo said in the complaint. Dallas-based AT&T agreed to pay at least $215 million to settle its case, and Alviso, California-based TiVo got more than $500 million from Dish Network Corp. (DISH:US) in a suit first filed in 2004.

The dueling suits set up a battle as to where the dispute will be heard. Trial in the case against Verizon could be held in October in Marshall, based on a joint schedule proposal submitted by the two sides yesterday.

The new case is TiVo Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO:US), 12cv311, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall). Cisco’s case is Cisco v. TiVo, 12cv2766, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).

Apple Denied Ban on Samsung Galaxy Tab During U.S. Patent Trial

Apple Inc. was denied its renewed request for a ban on U.S. sales of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer while the case is still before a federal court of appeals.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, said June 4 that she doesn’t have jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington hasn’t issued a mandate yet. The judge said Apple can renew its request once the court in Washington issues its ruling.

Koh in December rejected Apple’s initial request, which is part of a broader patent dispute over smartphones and tablets. Apple’s renewed request was based on the Federal Circuit’s finding that it will probably win its patent infringement claim relating to the Tab 10.1 tablet.

The appeals court said May 14 that Apple can pursue its efforts to halt sales of the Samsung tablet while the infringement case is awaiting trial. The appeals court disagreed with Koh’s finding that Apple failed to show it was likely to win its case on the merits, according to court filings.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, said last month that Apple’s renewed request for the injunction is “premature” because Samsung would request a rehearing of the appeals court decision.

Representatives of Cupertino, California-based Apple didn’t respond to an e-mail after regular business hours seeking comment on the June 4 ruling.

The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) v. Samsung Electronics Co., 11- 01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Yahoo Said to Be in Talks to Resolve Facebook Patent Litigation

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US) is in negotiations to resolve a legal dispute with Facebook Inc. (FB:US), which it accused of infringing patents, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Yahoo has undergone board and management change since it filed the lawsuit in March and is engaged in the talks to help improve ties with Facebook, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the matter is private.

Under former Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson, Yahoo alleged that social-networking provider Facebook infringes patents covering such functions as Internet privacy, advertising and information sharing. Facebook countersued in April, accusing Yahoo of infringing 10 of its patents. Thompson resigned the following month, amid pressure from investors, after failing to correct misstatements in his academic record.

Caryn Marooney, a spokeswoman for Menlo Park, California- based Facebook, declined to comment June 4, as did Dana Lengkeek, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo.

Facebook bulked up on intellectual property in the wake of the Yahoo lawsuit. It said in April that it’s paying $550 million for some of the patents that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) agreed to buy from AOL Inc. Facebook also acquired patents from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM:US), a person with knowledge of the matter said in March.

Yahoo, in the lawsuit filed March 12 in federal court in San Jose, California, sought an order barring Facebook from infringing the 10 patents. It also sought triple damages. Facebook later accused Yahoo of infringing 10 patents through its home page and the Flickr-photo sharing service.

The settlement talks were reported earlier this week in the AllThingsD blog.

The case is Yahoo! Inc. v. Facebook, 12-cv-01212, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Merck Sues Sandoz, Intas Over Proposed Generic Copy of Emend

Merck & Co. (MRK:US) sued the Sandoz unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (NOVN) and Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (INTAS) to block them from selling generic forms of Emend, which prevents nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

Sandoz, the generic-drug maker, and Intas’s Accord Healthcare unit seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell intravenous forms of Emend, according to the lawsuits, filed in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey.

Merck, the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, said the Sandoz and Accord drugs would infringe two patents and seeks a court order to prevent sales until they expire in February 2015 and March 2019. Emend in all forms generated $419 million in sales last year, an 11 percent increase from 2010, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck said in its annual report.

The Sandoz case was filed May 31, and the Accord complaint was filed June 1. A spokeswoman for Sandoz had no immediate comment on the litigation. Samir Mehta, the president of Durham, North Carolina-based Accord, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The cases are Merck v. Accord Healthcare, 12-cv-3324 and Merck v. Sandoz Inc., 12-cv-3289, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Trenton).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Coca-Cola Loses German Trademark Bid Against PepsiCo on Bottle

Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US) lost a German court bid it filed against PepsiCo Inc. (PEP:US) over the form of bottles used to sell beverages. PepsiCo’s “Carolina” bottle doesn’t illicitly resemble a form Coca-Cola had registered as a European trademark, the Hamburg Regional Court said in an e-mailed statement.

The case is: LG Hamburg, 315 O 310/11.

SABMiller Unit in Trademark Dispute Over Old Aussie Beer Brands

SABMiller Plc (SAB), brewer of Peroni, Foster’s, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft, is involved in a dispute over defunct beer brands with an Australian craft brewer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Thunder Road Brewing Co. is challenging SABMiller’s Foster’s unit’s use of the brand names under a provision of Australian trademark law specifying that a trademark must be used or risk being lost, according to the newspaper.

Philip Withers, Thunder Road’s chief executive officer, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the historic brands are important to the revival of Australia’s brewing industry.

Foster’s told the newspaper it would defend the marks and they continue to be part of its business.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Medvedev’s Uploads Removed From Social Network Over Copyright

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had four of the videos he uploaded to the Vkontakte social network site removed over copyright issues, the Russian News Service reported.

The disputed videos were excerpts from an interview with Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner that originally aired on state-owned Channel One on June 4, according to the news service.

A Vkontakte spokesman said a moderator from Channel One scanned the social-network site in search of unauthorized content and didn’t realize what he had banned, the news service reported.

Medvedev obtained the videos legally from Channel One, the Vkontakte spokesman said, and the Russian News Service reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Quinn Emanuel Hires Patent Litigator from Latham & Watkins

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP hired Yury Kapgan for its intellectual-property practice, the Los Angeles-based firm said in an e-mailed statement.

Kapgan, a litigator, joins from Latham & Watkins LLP, also of Los Angeles. He has represented clients in patent and other IP-related disputes involving computer software and hardware, automotive technology, digital-rights management and industry standards.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

Fish & Richardson Hires Former ITC Attorney Fusco

Fish & Richardson PC hired Thomas S. “Monty” Fusco, the Boston-based IP specialty firm said in an e-mailed statement.

Fusco was formerly a supervisory attorney at the U.S. International Trade Commission, a Washington-based governmental body with the power to bar entry to items that infringe U.S. patents.

He has 23 years of experience with the trade commission, which has increasingly become the forum of choice for technology companies’ patent disputes.

Fusco has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in African-American studies from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a law degree from American University.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

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


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Companies Mentioned

  • TIVO
    (TiVo Inc)
    • $12.79 USD
    • -0.04
    • -0.31%
  • VZ
    (Verizon Communications Inc)
    • $48.77 USD
    • 0.55
    • 1.13%
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