Bloomberg News

Apple, Geron, Louboutin, Samsung: Intellectual Property

July 19, 2012

Apple Inc., the maker of the iPad and iPhone, received a patent on the graphic user interface it uses in its portable devices.

The patent is one that “smartphone copycats should fear,” according to Wired magazine. The Android Authority website, which covers telephones using Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Android operating system, said the patent is a major “potential weapon against Android.”

Patent 8,223,134, which was issued July 17, covers the “portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.”

Apple says in the patent that as portable electronic devices became capable of more and more functions, it becomes increasingly difficult for users to keep track of the key sequences and menu hierarchies used to access, store and manipulate data.

The patented technology makes use of graphic interfaces that can be manipulated through a touch screen. The interfaces are aimed at increasing “the effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction with portable multifunction devices,” according to the patent.

Cupertino, California-based Apple applied for the patent in March 2012, with the assistance of Philadelphia’s Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Geron Says Patent Office Rejected Challenge to ViaCyte Patent

Geron Corp. (GERN:US), the biotech company that last year abandoned its stem-cell clinical trials, said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office turned away its challenge to a stem cell- related patent held by ViaCyte Inc., a San Diego-based competitor.

According to a Geron regulatory filing, the patent office’s Board of Patent appeals and Interferences rejected arguments against claims in ViaCyte’s patent 7,510,876. The board also said that some of the claims in a Geron patent application were unpatentable.

The technology covered by the disputed application is part of its stem cell intellectual property portfolio the Menlo Park, California-based company is seeking to divest, Geron said.

In November 2011 Geron said in a statement that it would discontinue its clinical trials of its stem cell-related therapies to focus on oncology drugs.

Geron is the company that funded the University of Wisconsin research that first isolated stem cells from human embryos in 1998.

In July 2011 the company said it had won clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to test a therapy derived from those cells. Geron ended those trials because of research costs and regulatory complexities.

Rovi Says Patent Licensing Delays Prompt Lower Annual Forecast

Rovi Corp. (ROVI:US), a provider of digital entertainment guides, said it missed out on key patent licenses.

“In order to ensure the long-term protection of our key intellectual property, we did not sign certain new patent licensing agreements during the second quarter, as some expected licensees would not agree to acceptable terms,” Tom Carson, chief executive officer of the Santa Clara, California-based company, said in a statement July 17. “In addition, certain other deals with first time licensees are simply taking longer to close than anticipated.”

Rovi sued three television makers in May, claiming infringement of patents for its technology and parental-control chips that block television content. That month the company also filed two other patent cases against Hulu LLC, the online video service, and Roku Inc., a developer of home entertainment electronics.

The patent cases against the television manufacturers are presently on hold pending the outcome of a complaint Rovi filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission. The Washington- based commission has the power to bar importation of products that infringe U.S. patents.

Novartis Sues Sun Pharma Over Patent for Bone-Strengthening Drug

Novartis AG (NOVN) filed a patent suit in federal court in New Jersey following Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Inc. (SUNP)’s application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell a generic form of the bone-strengthening drug Zometa. Such suits are frequently filed whenever an application is made to sell a generic form of a patented drug.

Sun, based in Mumbai, is accused of infringing patent 7,932,241, which was issued in April 2011. Novartis seeks a court order barring Sun from making, importing or selling a product that infringed the patent.

Zometa, a bisphosphonate drug, is used to treat osteoporosis and bone diseases in cancer patients. In May 2011 a jury in Brooklyn ruled that Zometa didn’t cause bone death in the jaw of a man who received injections of the drug.

That case was Hogan v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., 06- cv-260, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

The new patent case is Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Inc., 2:12-cv-04393-SDW-MCA, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

British Shoe Fans Creating Faux Louboutins With Red Paint

British fashionistas with yearnings bigger than their pocketbooks aren’t letting the trademark battle between Christian Louboutin and Yves St. Laurent SAS/France get in the way of their desire for chic shoes, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

Pricey Louboutin shoes are known for their distinctive red soles, which are also the subject of the trademark dispute with Yves St. Laurent, according to the Telegraph.

Women who can’t afford the shoes are buying small sample bottles of red paint and using it to transform their less- expensive shoes into faux red-soled Louboutins, the Telegraph reported.

U.K.-based Home Retail Group (HOME)’s Homebase unit told the Telegraph that sales of sample size paint in several bright red colors have risen 40 percent in the past year, with many customers saying they intend to use in on their shoe soles.

Apple Must Publish Notice Samsung Didn’t Copy IPad in U.K.

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) was ordered by a judge to publish a notice on its U.K. website and in British newspapers alerting people to a ruling that Samsung Electronics Co. didn’t copy designs for the iPad.

The notice should outline the July 9 London court decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s registered designs, Judge Colin Birss said yesterday. It should be posted on Apple’s U.K. home page for six months and published in several newspapers and magazines to correct any impression the South Korea-based company was copying Apple’s product, Birss said.

The order means Apple will have to publish “an advertisement” for Samsung, Richard Hacon, a lawyer for Cupertino, California-based Apple, told the court. “No company likes to refer to a rival on its website.”

Apple is fighting patent lawsuits around the globe against competitors including Google Inc., HTC Corp. (2498) and Samsung as it competes for dominance of the smartphone and tablet computer markets. The firms have accused each other of copying designs and technology in their mobile devices. Legal battles about the similarity of Samsung and Apple tablets are being fought in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Birss said in his July 9 ruling that Samsung’s tablets were unlikely to be confused with the iPad because they are “not as cool.” He declined yesterday to grant Samsung’s bid for an injunction blocking Apple from making public statements that the Galaxy infringed its design rights.

“They are entitled to their opinion,” he said.

Apple spokesman Alan Hely didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment on the judge’s order.

“Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited,” Samsung said in a statement after the hearing.

“The war between these two companies seems to be

Comments made by Apple after that ruling unfairly implied that Samsung had copied designs, Samsung’s lawyer Kathryn Pickard said at the hearing. That “caused real commercial harm.”

As well as Apple’s website, the company must pay for notices in the Financial Times, the Daily Mail, Guardian Mobile magazine, and T3, according to a draft copy of the order provided by Samsung’s lawyers.

Apple’s lawyer said the company would appeal the July 9 decision and Judge Birss granted the company permission to take its case to the court of appeal.

The case is Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd. & Anr v. Apple Inc., High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC11C03050.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Judge Calls U.S. the ‘Enemy,’ Steps Down from Megaupload Case

The New Zealand judge hearing the Megaupload extradition case has recused himself after describing the U.S. as the “enemy,” the BBC reported.

Judge David Harvey was presiding a case in which the U.S. government has asked that Megaupload founded Kim Dotcom be turned over to face prosecution for copyright infringement and fraud, according to the BBC.

He made his remark at the NetHui Internet conference in Auckland July 12, as part of a discussion on the proposed Trans- Pacific Partnership treaty, an IP rights accord, the BBC reported.

The chief judge of the district court in New Zealand said Judge Harvey decided to recuse himself because his remarks “could reflect on his impartiality, according to the BBC.

For more copyright news, click here.

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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Companies Mentioned

  • GOOG
    (Google Inc)
    • $587.37 USD
    • -8.71
    • -1.48%
  • GERN
    (Geron Corp)
    • $2.15 USD
    • -0.10
    • -4.65%
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