Bloomberg News

Mylan, Facebook, Museum of Fakes: Intellectual Property (1)

July 17, 2013

Mylan Inc. (MYL:US) and Sandoz AG won the dismissal of lawsuits by Teva (TEVA:US) Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. that claimed the pharmaceutical companies infringed its patents for a drug used to treat multiple sclerosis.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan, granting the drug companies’ motions to dismiss the cases in their entirety, said they are using technology different from what’s in Teva’s patents, according to a filing yesterday.

“Any case or controversy that may have existed at the outset of these cases when filed has been mooted,” Forrest said in her opinion.

Sandoz, based in Basel, Switzerland, and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan were sued by Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva after they filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval of generic drugs to compete with Teva’s Copaxone, which is prescribed to reduce the frequency of relapses in MS patients.

The cases are Teva Pharmaceuticals USA v. Sandoz, 09-10112, and Teva Pharmaceuticals v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, 10-7246, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Toyota, Qantas in Talks Over Trademarks for Shape of Jumps

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Qantas Airways Corp. (QAN)’s Jetstar Unit have entered into negotiations over who owns trademark rights in Australia to a movement known as a “star jump,” the Brisbane Times reported.

Toyota, which has used the performance of a straight-legged star jump in its “Oh What a Feeling” ads for 30 years, has registered 18 versions of star jumps as Australian trademarks in the past year, according to the newspaper.

Jetstar has opposed 12 of those trademarks because they are images of the jump with extended arms performed with straight legs used in its ads, the Times reported.

Jetstar told the Times that it didn’t oppose other six versions because they were performed with bent knees, and “we are not concerned about the bent-knee star jumps.”

Facebook Objects to ‘Facelook’ Hair Salon in Abu Dhabi

Facebook Inc. (FB:US), operator of the world’s most used social media site, is considering infringement actions against a hair salon in Dubai, the National newspaper reported.

The owner of the Facelook salon told the Abu Dhabi-based National that he had registered the name under the laws of the United Arab Emirates and hadn’t run into any problems.

Hair salons often use names containing puns, such as Sherlock Combs and Grateful Head, according to the newspaper.

A spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook said the company is careful to protect its brand and is investigating the case, according to the National.

Specialty Spice Company Wins $3.2 Million Trademark Damages

Purepecha Enterprises Inc., an Illinois-based company that produces spice mixtures for the Mexican food market, was awarded $3.2 million and attorney fees in a trademark dispute.

The company sued El Matador Spices & Dry Chiles in federal court in Chicago in April 2011, accusing it of using Purepecha’s trademarks without authorization to sell its own spice mixtures.

Earlier the court found that Montclair, California-based El Matador had infringed the marks and entered a default judgment in Purepecha’s favor. According to the court’s July 8 order, the defendants failed on multiple occasions to secure counsel and appear at status hearings during the past 10 months.

The defendants also failed to meet deadlines for various procedural stages in the case, U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve said in her ruling.

The court relied on damages analysis performed by Benjamin Wilner of Grant Thornton LLP’s Forensic, Investigative and Dispute Service. Wilner looked at profits the defendants derived from their infringement and to Purepecha’s lost profits. He came up with the $3.2 million damages recommendation, which the court accepted without modification.

St. Eve rejected Purepecha’s request that the damages be tripled, saying that because El Matador was in the process of challenging the Illinois company’s trademark, the court couldn’t conclude that it knowingly used a counterfeit mark.

The case is Purepecha Enterprises Inc. v. El Matador Spices & Dry Chiles, 1:11-cv-02569, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Hachette Filipacchi Says EllaHairStraightener.com Infringes

Hachette Filipacchi Presse SA, the closely held French publisher of Elle magazine, sued a distributor of hair-straightening devices for trademark infringement.

The publisher objects to the company’s use of “Ella” for a website and product name, claiming they infringe the trademarks for its publication.

Ricardo Orduz of North Miami Beach, Florida, who does business as EllaHairStraightener.com, is using “Ella” to trade off the fame of Hachette’s Elle marks, according to a complaint filed July 16 in Manhattan federal court.

Hachette said in a filing that it has registered “Elle” for use with a wide range of hair products and accessories, and that Ella products also fall into this category. The company said Ella products are relatively inexpensive, so potential consumers are unlikely to exercise a great deal of care in making their purchases, thus increasing the chance they would assume a connection between the magazine and the Ella items.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already refused to register “Ella” as a trademark for an electric hair-straightening iron as a result of opposition from Hachette, according to the complaint.

Orduz didn’t respond immediately to an e-mail to EllaHairStraightener.com requesting comment on the suit.

Hachette asked the court to bar further infringement of the Elle marks, and to order the cancellation of Orduz’s Internet domain name. Additionally, the publisher is seeking money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is Hachette Filipacchi Presse v. Orduz, 13-cv-04936, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

China Museum Shut Down After Exhibits Found to Be Forgeries

Chinese authorities forced the closing of a museum curated by a local Communist Party boss in northern China after determining that almost all of the items in its 50 million-yuan ($8.1 million) collection were fake.

Forgeries at the museum in Hebei province included an item billed as a five-color porcelain vase from the Tang Dynasty, even though the artistic technique wasn’t invented until hundreds of years later, the Shanghai Daily said in a story yesterday. Another item was purportedly signed in simplified Chinese by an emperor said to have lived more than 3,000 years before the writing system was invented.

Residents in nearby village of Erpu had long argued that the party boss who oversaw the collection bought fake items with money raised for the museum, the Global Times newspaper said yesterday. The museum, called Jibaozhai, was shut after photos of its exhibits appeared online with a story questioning their authenticity, the newspaper said.

“Jibaozhai has no qualification to be a museum as its collections are fake and it hasn’t reported to my department for approval,” said an official from the Hebei cultural heritage bureau, according to the Global Times.

Counterfeiters in China have faked everything from medicine to Kweichow Moutai’s high-end liquor to Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) stores. At strategic talks with the U.S. this month, Chinese government officials promised to do more to protect intellectual property.

The official Xinhua News agency reported that the museum was founded with a 50 million-yuan investment. A story on Sina.com included photographs of figurines on display with the caption “fake collections.”

The Shanghai Daily quoted museum deputy curator Shao Baoming as saying that “at least half” of the exhibits on display were authentic.

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

  • MYL
    (Mylan Inc/PA)
    • $52.05 USD
    • 1.74
    • 3.33%
  • TEVA
    (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd)
    • $53.26 USD
    • 1.57
    • 2.95%
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