Bloomberg News

DuPont, Apple, Reynolds, Facebook: Intellectual Property (1)

July 10, 2013

DuPont Co. (DD:US)’s DuPont Microcircuit Materials unit has responded to a statement from its litigation opponent in a patent suit related to photovoltaic paste products.

In a July 8 statement, DuPont said that Hanau, Germany-based Heraeus Holding GmbH’s Heraeus Materials Technology unit tried to end the lawsuit early “but the court agreed with DuPont.”

Darren Haar, global business director for the DuPont unit, said the company “will continue to enforce our intellectual property where we find infringement.”

He was responding to a July 9 German-language statement from Heraeus in which the company said that DuPont’s case is now based on a weaker theory.

Wilmington, Delaware-based DuPont filed suit in federal court in Portland, Oregon, in June 2012, accusing Heraeus of infringing patent 8,158,504, which covers conductive compositions and processes for use in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices.

On June 7, Magistrate Judge Dennis J. Hubel partially denied and partially granted DuPont’s motion to dismiss some of Heraeus’s counterclaims. On that same day, he also rejected Heraeus’s motion to dismiss the case.

The court set a deadline of July 15 for DuPont to make any filing amending its complaint.

The case is E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Heraeus Materials Technology LLC, 3:12-cv-01104-HU, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Portland).

Myriad Genetics Sues Ambry to Halt Rival Breast Cancer Test

Myriad Genetics Inc., (MYGN:US) a provider of tests for breast cancer risk, filed a lawsuit yesterday to shut a competitor that set up shop last month after a mixed U.S. Supreme Court ruling on patents for genetic material.

Ambry Genetics, a closely held company in Aliso Viejo, California, announced June 13 it would offer the breast cancer tests hours after a high court ruling that invalidated some of Myriad’s patent claims on genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

Myriad said the Ambry tests infringe 10 other patents it owns or licenses on the testing process that weren’t part of that Supreme Court case. The other owners of the patents, comprising the University of Utah and University of Pennsylvania, Ontario’s Hospital for Sick Children and Endorecherche Inc., also joined in the suit against Ambry.

The patent owners “have been damaged and have suffered irreparable injury due to the defendant’s acts of infringement, and will continue to suffer irreparable injury” unless stopped by the court, they said in the complaint.

Myriad said in the complaint that it has invested more than $500 million to create a diagnostic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer cases related to the genes it discovered, which are known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. The efforts “have revolutionized patient care and provided medical diagnosis and treatment options never thought possible,” Myriad said in the complaint.

Ambry’s rival test will cause a loss of revenue from its tests, which in turn will mean lower royalty payments for the patent owners, according to the complaint. They are seeking compensation and an order that Ambry provide to the patent owners, including Myriad, all products that infringe the patents so they can be destroyed.

Myriad owns five of the patents and is exclusive licensee of the other five.

The case is University of Utah Research Foundation v. Ambry Genetics, 13-640, U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Apple, Amazon Dismiss Claims Over ‘App Store’ Trademark

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) dismissed claims against each other in a two-year-old trademark lawsuit over the use of “app store.”

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, yesterday approved a request for dismissal of the case by both companies after Apple issued to Amazon “a covenant not to sue” on June 28 that renders Amazon’s counterclaims moot. The companies’ request for dismissal doesn’t provide details.

Two rounds of settlement talks had failed to resolve the dispute, according to court filings.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, sued in 2011 seeking a court order to block Amazon from using the term Appstore in its service to sell software for devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Apple alleged the online retailer infringed its trademark and violated unfair competition laws.

“This was a decision by Apple to unilaterally dismiss its claims, leaving Amazon free to use the term Appstore,” Marty Glick, an attorney for Amazon, said by phone yesterday.

Apple started its App Store in 2008. Seattle-based Amazon, which started its service in March 2011, said the term is generic and that Apple didn’t have exclusive rights to it.

“With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps,” Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, said today in an e-mail. “We no longer see a need to pursue our case against Amazon.”

The case is Apple Inc. v. Amazon.com Inc., 11-cv-01327, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

Reynolds, E-Cigarette Seller Settle Trademark Infringement Suit

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and a New Jersey seller of electronic cigarettes have settled a trademark suit, according to a court filing.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds sued John Thompson of Browns Mills, New Jersey, for trademark infringement in April. The tobacco company objected to Thompson’s use of the Camel, Kamel Red, Cool and Salem marks on his PreferredVapor.com website.

Thompson used these marks for liquid nicotine products he sold, Reynolds said in its pleadings. All of these marks belong to Reynolds and “are widely recognized by the general public as a designation of the source of Reynolds’ goods,” according to the final judgment of a federal court in North Carolina.

Under terms of the judgment, Thompson is barred from any use of Reynolds trademarks including Barclay, Belair, Capri, Carlton, Doral, Eclipse, GPC, Lucky Strike, Misty, Monarch, More, Now, Pall Mall, Tareyton, Vantage, Viceroy, Vuse and Winston, in addition to the other marks previously mentioned.

The parties agreed to a consent judgment that can’t be appealed. In addition to the bar on the use of Reynolds marks, Thompson is also required to pay the tobacco company an undisclosed amount of money.

Reynolds, the tobacco company second in size in the U.S. only to Altria Group Inc. (MO:US), is getting into the electronic cigarette market itself, rolling out its Vuse e-cigarettes this summer.

The case is Reynolds Innovations Inc. v. John Thompson, 1:13-cv-00286-NCT-JEP, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Facebook, Ad Agency File Response to ‘Under the Influence’ Suit

Facebook Inc. (FB:US) and an Oregon-based advertising agency have responded to a copyright infringement suit brought by the music publisher for the performer Eminem.

Eight Mile Style filed the suit in federal court in Detroit May 20, claiming that music used in an advertisement for a new feature of Facebook’s social media site used music “substantially similar” to Eminem’s “Under the Influence” song.

According to court papers, Eminem’s publisher claimed that Facebook Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has been a longtime fan of Eminem, and that the ad agency incorporated the disputed music into the commercial “in an effort to curry favor with Facebook by catering to Zuckerberg’s personal likes and interests” or to “invoke the same irreverent theme” contained in the composition.

The complaint noted that the ad agency -- Wieden & Kennedy Inc. of Portland, Oregon -- conceded in an April 29 letter to Eight Mile’s counsel that the music in the ad contained “clearly some similarities.”

In the response filed with the court June 28, Menlo Park, California-based Facebook and the ad agency denied all the allegations in Eight Mile’s complaint, and said that the music contained in the commercial “is not substantially similar to protectable expression” contained in the song.

The defendants also said that their damages, if any, should be limited by the doctrines of innocent infringement and innocent intent, and that any infringement that occurred was minimal.

A scheduling conference in the case is set for Aug. 5.

The case is Eight Mile Style LLC v. Wieden & Kennedy Inc., 2:13-cv-12268-GAD-MAR, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Gas Emission Reporting Could Reveal Secrets, Industry Warns

President Barack Obama’s proposal on reporting information on greenhouse gas emissions is receiving an industry response that such requirements could put a company’s trade secrets at risk, The Hill reported.

Such data could be reverse-engineered and reverse-calculated to reveal trade secrets, Lorraine Gershman, director of the environmental, regulatory and technical affairs office of the American Chemistry Council said, and The Hill reported.

Gershman was speaking a meeting in late June between the Environmental Protection Agency and representatives from the chemical and energy industries, according to the publication.

The Federal Trade Commission took a position in 2010, sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency in which it said that releasing such information could potentially lead to collusion that would harm consumers through higher prices, decreased innovation and decreased quality, according to The Hill.

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

  • DD
    (EI du Pont de Nemours & Co)
    • $63.98 USD
    • -0.33
    • -0.52%
  • MYGN
    (Myriad Genetics Inc)
    • $36.57 USD
    • 0.47
    • 1.29%
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