Bloomberg News

Samsung, Lupin, JetBlue, MLS, AP: Intellectual Property

March 01, 2013

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s bid to block sales of Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) iPads and iPhones in Japan was rejected by a Tokyo judge in the continuing global patent fight between the two biggest smartphone makers.

Tokyo District Court Judge Ichiro Otaka turned down the request because Samsung hadn’t negotiated “sincerely” with Apple over licensing data-sending patents, according to a ruling issued yesterday. The court also said that Samsung doesn’t have the right to seek damages from Apple.

Samsung is disappointed with the decision, Nam Ki-yung, a spokesman for the company, said by e-mail.

“We will take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights,” he said.

Takashi Takebayashi, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Apple, declined to comment on the ruling.

The two phone-makers are suing each other in dozens of cases (AAPL:US) worldwide, each using patent litigation to try to force the other into changing products or ceasing sale of some models. At stake is the competitors’ share of a mobile-device market that researcher Yankee Group expects to double to $847 billion by 2016.

In August, the Tokyo District Court separately ruled that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung’s smartphones and a tablet computer didn’t infringe on an Apple invention for synchronizing music and video data with servers.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, claimed that the Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S II infringed the patent on synchronization, and sought 100 million yen ($1.1 million) in damages, according to court documents.

Lupin Loses Appeals Court Bid to Stop Mylan’s Antara Copy

Lupin Ltd. (LPC) lost its appeals court bid to prevent Mylan Inc. (MYL:US) from selling a generic version of the drug Antara, used to treat high cholesterol levels.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that Mylan didn’t infringe two patents to the medicine, known by its active ingredient fenofibrate. The court, which didn’t issue a formal opinion, heard arguments Feb. 22 and posted notice of the decision on its website yesterday.

Mylan announced Feb. 25 it had begun selling its version of the medicine. Lupin, which lost the lower court ruling in December, received a temporary order to block Mylan sales that was lifted by the Federal Circuit the same day a three-judge panel heard arguments on the appeal.

Fenofibrate capsules in the 43-milligram and 130-milligram dosage forms had $60 million in sales in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, Mylan said Feb. 25, citing researcher IMS Health.

Nina Devlin, a Mylan spokeswoman, said the company had no comment on yesterday’s decision. Officials with Lupin’s U.S. office in Baltimore didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Mylan’s entry into the market with generic Antara prompted Bhagwan Chaudhary, an analyst with India Nivesh Ltd., to cut his rating on Mumbai-based Lupin to “hold” from “buy” and his target price to 635 rupees from 667.

Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan said earlier yesterday it had agreed to buy the injectable medicine unit of India’s Strides Arcolab Ltd. (STR) for $1.6 billion.

The appeals court case is Lupin Atlantis Holdings v. Mylan Inc., 13-1141, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The lower court case is In Re: Fenofibrate Patent Litigation, 11md2241, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Kraft Sues Meat Packer Over Lunch-Meat Packaging Patent

Kraft Foods Group Inc., maker of Cracker Barrel cheese, Grey Poupon mustard and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, sued an Illinois meat packer for patent infringement.

Land O’Frost Inc., of Lansing, Illinois, is accused of infringing patent 7,172,779, which covers packaging for sliced food products having a “fluffed” appearance.

According to the complaint filed Feb. 27 in federal court in Madison, Wisconsin, Land O’Frost products, including those sold by Kroger Co., infringe the patent. Northfield, Illinois- based Kraft claims it has been “irreparably harmed” by Land O’Frost’s actions, and asked the court for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

The company also seeks an order barring further infringement of the patent.

Land O’Frost didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit. Kroger isn’t a party to the suit.

The case is Kraft Foods Group Inc. (KRFT:US), v. Land O’Frost Inc., 13-cv-00148, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

JetBlue Suit Against Helferich Patent Licensing Moved to Chicago

JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU:US)’s lawsuit against a patent holder will be transferred to Chicago from Brooklyn, New York, according to a Dec. 27 court order.

The New York-based airline sued in federal court Nov. 27, seeking a declaration it didn’t infringe patents belonging to Helferich Patent Licensing LLC of Chicago.

The Brooklyn court noted that Helferich is involved in multiple suits in Chicago in which the same patents are at issue, and said that the “interrelatedness” of those suits and the one filed by JetBlue weighed in favor of a transfer.

The court did lift a sealing order with respect to some of Helferich’s business records, saying that the information Helferich wanted sealed “should not be kept from the public.”

In the initial complaint, JetBlue said that Helferich had claimed the airline infringed seven U.S. patents and claims related to four published patent applications. JetBlue said the infringement claims arose over Helferich’s objections to mobile telephone use and apps developed by the airline.

JetBlue had asked the court to declare the patents invalid and uninfringed and said that any claims of infringement are already addressed by licenses Helferich has with “at least 28 mobile phone manufacturers.”

Among the companies Helferich has sued since 2010 are Asustek Computer Inc. (2357), Panasonic Corp. (6752), Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), Hewlett- Packard Co., J.C. Penney Co. (JCP:US) and Nissan Motor Co. (7201), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While most of the cases were filed in Chicago, others were filed in Arizona. The company’s website lists 17 patents available for licensing, falling into what Helferich says is “multimedia delivery technology.”

The case is JetBlue Airways Corp v. Helferich Patent Licensing LLC, 12-cv-05847, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Soccer Commissioner Says ‘Cascadia Cup’ Dispute Solvable

The commissioner of Major League Soccer said the league erred in the way it went about filing an application to register the “Cascadia Cup” trademark, the Seattle Times reported.

Fan groups from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia, who own the Cascadia Cup trophy were upset with the league’s decision to register the mark, according to the Times.

Commissioner Dan Garber said that the league should have initially called up the caretakers of the trophy to reach a mutually agreeable decision, the newspaper reported.

He said negotiations with the soccer supporters and their lawyers are continuing, the Times reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Gannett, Other Newspapers Seek Permission to Join AP’s Suit

Gannett Co. (GCI:US), four other newspaper companies and a newspaper trade group are seeking permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a closely watched copyright case brought by the Associated Press.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan in February 2012, AP accused Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc. of infringing copyrights by copying its news articles and delivering electronically to paying customers “substantial infringing excerpts” from AP and other publishers’ work.

By doing so, Meltwater is providing its customers with a product that directly competes with AP, and can undercut the news service with lower subscription rates because it isn’t bearing the cost of generating the news coverage, according to court papers.

In a Feb. 25 filing, the newspapers that are asking to come into the case said in their proposed brief that it takes no court filing “for the court to know that the rise of the Internet has been highly disruptive to the nation’s news organizations.”

They said they will be unable to protect their revenue streams if they can’t protect the content they generate “from wholesale copying and redistribution by free-riders like Meltwater.”

Kimling Lam, a spokeswoman for Meltwater, said her company couldn’t comment on the case.

San Francisco’s Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital- rights organization, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in January on behalf of Meltwater. In that filing, EFF said AP was asking the court to accept “a woefully cramped view of fair use.”

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, a Washington-based trade group of technology companies, filed a friend-of-the court brief in January favoring neither party.

The CCIA said in its court papers that its interest was related to “the potential consequences that this case may have on the fundamental nature of the Internet as a tool for research and knowledge.”

The case is the Associated Press v. Meltwater U.S. Holdings Inc., 12-cv-01087, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Virgin Media With BT Must Block File-Sharing Sites in U.K.

Virgin Media Inc. (VMED:US), British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY), BT Group Plc (BT/A) and other U.K. Internet service providers must block access to three music file-sharing sites, a court ruled.

Users and operators of KAT, H33T and Fenopy infringed 10 music companies’ copyrights “on an industrial scale,” Judge Richard Arnold said in a written ruling handed down yesterday. The record labels included Sony Corp. (6758)’s British unit.

The U.K. music industry has had some success pressing providers to block or restrict access to so-called BitTorrent sites to protect dwindling revenues. Last year, a U.K. court ruled The Pirate Bay, based in Sweden, was used to infringe copyrights and ordered four ISPs to block it.

“The growth of digital music in the U.K. is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music online without permission,” Geoff Taylor, chief executive officer of the British Recorded Music Industry group BPI, said in an e- mailed statement. “Blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow.”

An e-mail sent to the press room of KAT, the full name of which contains an expletive, didn’t receive an immediate response.

Virgin Media “supports the clear, legal framework put in place to protect against copyright infringement and we continue to comply with court orders specifically addressed to the company,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

BT said in an e-mailed statement it has consistently stated copyright infringement is wrong and copyright holders should use the courts to enforce their legal rights. It will comply with the ruling.

The case is EMI Records Limited v. British Sky Broadcasting Limited, U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC12F04958.

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

  • AAPL
    (Apple Inc)
    • $100.96 USD
    • -0.83
    • -0.82%
  • MYL
    (Mylan Inc/PA)
    • $47.36 USD
    • -1.07
    • -2.26%
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