Bloomberg News

Google, Zimbabwe, Tattoo Art: Intellectual Property

December 19, 2012

Merz Pharmaceuticals LLC, a maker of neurological drugs, sued Par Pharmaceutical Inc. for patent infringement, claiming the generic-drug company is copying a medicine that treats severe drooling in cerebral palsy patients.

Par, an affiliate of private-equity company TPG Capital, violated the patent for the drug Cuvposa by applying for the right to make a generic version before Merz’s patent expired, Merz said in court papers filed Dec. 17 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Merz will be substantially and irreparably damaged and harmed,” if Par goes forward with its plan, Merz said in its complaint.

Before a generic-drug maker can begin producing a patented medicine, it must get permission from federal regulators. As part of its application, Par claimed that its plan either didn’t violate a current patent, or that the patent related to Cuvposa is invalid, according to the Merz complaint.

Stephen Mock, a spokesman for Par, declined to comment on the filing.

Cuvposa is classified by federal regulators as a so-called orphan drug because it treats a rare disorder with limited medical options, according to a Merz statement. In August, Merz announced that it had bought the rights to the drug.

Merz, an affiliate of German drugmaker Merz Pharma GmbH, asked the court to halt Par’s effort to produce the drug. Cuvposa is the brand name for glycopyrrolate oral solution.

The case is Merz Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Par Pharmaceutical Inc., 12-cv-01723, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Fujitsu Loses Claims in Interface-Card Patent-Infringement Case

Fujitsu Ltd. (6702), the Japanese semiconductor and computer company, lost every claim it made in a patent case against three makers of wireless equipment.

Fujitsu, based in Tokyo, sued in federal court in San Jose, California, in September 2010, accusing Belkin International Inc. of Playa Vista, California; Taipei-based D-Link Corp. (2332) and San Jose’s Netgear Inc. (NTGR:US) of infringing two patents.

In dispute were patents 5,357,091 and RE36,769, which cover technology related to interface cards.

In a Dec. 17 verdict following a two-week trial, jurors found no infringement of any of the patents by any of the defendants. The jurors also found that the patent claims made in the case were all invalid.

In January 2011, Netgear persuaded U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to disqualify Baker Botts LLP from representing Fujitsu in the dispute on the grounds that the Texas firm previously represented Netgear in a different matter.

According to Koh’s order, Baker Botts had asked for a waiver, which wasn’t granted by Netgear. In addition to disqualifying Baker Botts, she ordered the firm to return all confidential information it obtained from Netgear and to destroy any work product related to that information.

The case is Fujitsu Ltd. v. Belkin International Inc., 5:10-cv-03972, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Google May Make EU Antitrust Offer After Schmidt Meets Almunia

Google Inc. (GOOG:US) should send an offer to European Union regulators next month to settle its investigation, the EU’s antitrust chief said after meeting Google Chairman Eric Schmidt yesterday.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he expects “Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January” that would allow the Brussels-based authority to end the probe into allegations that the world’s largest search engine operator discriminates against rivals.

“I have decided to continue with the process towards reaching an agreement” to settle the investigation, Almunia said in an e-mailed statement.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, is under growing pressure from global regulators probing whether the company is thwarting competition in the market for Web searches. Google is poised to offer voluntary concessions to U.S. authorities that would end a 20-month antitrust probe of its business practices without any enforcement action being taken, two people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

Google’s offer would be sent to rivals and customers for comments before the EU could move to drop its two-year-old probe without imposing a fine or declaring that the company violated antitrust rules.

Google will “continue to work cooperatively with the commission,” Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Brussels, said in a telephone interview.

Almunia said the EU was concerned about the way Google’s specialist search-services are promoted above those of rivals, how it uses and displays other content on search services, its exclusive agreements with websites that show search ads and restrictions that reduce advertisers’ ability to shift ad campaigns from Google’s AdWords platform.

Google in July outlined a proposal to end the EU antitrust investigation. Almunia has previously said that he would send Google a formal antitrust complaint if the company’s proposal was unsatisfactory. He warned that settlements couldn’t go on indefinitely.

In 2010, the EU began investigating claims Google discriminated against other services in its search results and stopped some websites from accepting competitors’ ads. While Microsoft and partner Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US) have about a quarter of the U.S. Web-search market, Google has almost 95 percent of the traffic in Europe, Microsoft said in a blog post last year, citing data from regulators.

Zimbabwe Publishers Seek ‘Parade’ Trademark Ruling From Court

Despite receiving a court order not to use the trademark, Zimbabwe Publishing House began selling a “Parade” magazine on the streets of Harare Dec. 13, NewsDay Zimbabwe reported.

Harare Ka Nako Media, the holder of the registered trademark, went to Zimbabwe’s High Court in efforts to halt the unauthorized use of its mark, according to NewsDay Zimbabwe.

High Court Justice Ben Hlatshwayo issued an order Dec. 7 barring both parties from using the mark before the matter was decided by Zimbabwe’s Registrar of Trademarks, according to the newspaper.

The dispute is to be heard by High Court Justice Hlekani Mwayera, the newspaper reported.

Delhi Public School Society Mark Infringed, High Court Rules

The Delhi High Court has ordered a trust to stop infringing a trademark belonging to an organization that runs a chain of schools, India’s Business Standard newspaper reported.

Delhi Public School Society, which runs 11 schools directly and another 118 under a franchise agreement, had complained, saying that the DPS Trust was infringing and using its logo deceptively, according to the newspaper.

The court also fined the trust, saying its use of the society’s mark was “dishonest, actuated with greed,” the Business Standard reported.

The trust, which was operating a school under the name of “Delhi Public School,” didn’t make any court appearances to contest the suit, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

AMSC Says Supreme People’s Court to Hear Part of Sinovel Case

American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC:US) said in a statement that China’s Supreme People’s Court is expected to hold an additional hearing in its software copyright-infringement case against Sinovel Wind Group Co. (601558)

The dispute centers around software used to control wind turbines. AMSC has accused Beijing-based Sinovel of copying and making unauthorized use of the software for the Chinese company’s 1.5-megawatt wind turbines and PM2000 power converters.

AMSC, based in Devens, Massachusetts, has asked the court for a cease-and-desist order and $6 million in damages.

The ruling from the Supreme People’s Court is expected to cover jurisdictional issues, AMSC said in its Dec. 17 statement. Sinovel has sought to have the dispute removed from court and brought to the Beijing Arbitration Commission.

The case is one of four that AMSC has brought against Sinovel since late 2011, all related to breach of contract and unauthorized use of intellectual property, according to the AMSC statement.

Tattoo Art’s Infringement Award Upheld by Appeals Court

Tattoo Art Inc. of Virginia Beach, Virginia’s $480,000 award in a copyright-infringement case was upheld by a federal appeals court.

After TAT International LLC’s license to use some of Tattoo Art’s designs for stencils for temporary tattoos expired, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company continued to use them, changing only the color of the images on its website, according to court papers.

The Virginia company sued in July 2010, claiming the copyrights to its designs were infringed by a former licensee.

In September, a court in Norfolk, Virginia, found that the designs’ copyright had been infringed and awarded the damages. TAT then appealed, saying it wasn’t liable, and that the award was grossly disproportional to the damages Tattoo Art could have recovered under the previous royalty agreement or unpaid royalties.

In its Dec. 10 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said that there was “no abuse of discretion of constitutional error” in the amount of the award.

The case is Tattoo Art Inc. v. TAT International LLC 11-2014, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The lower court case is Tattoo Art v. TAT International LLC, 2:10- cv-00323, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk).

U.K. to Advance Battle Against Online Copyright Infringement

The City of London police will establish an intellectual property crime unit next year in response to illegal downloading, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

Vince Cable, business secretary in the Cameron government, said the government would also set up a national campaign focused on illegal downloading and counterfeiting, according to the Guardian.

Speaking at a Dec. 17 copyright conference at London’s Big Innovation Center, Cable said the measures were part of a campaign to “create the environment in which creative innovative businesses of all shapes and sizes flourish,” the Guardian reported.

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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