Bloomberg News

EU Patent Court, Victoria’s Secret: Intellectual Property (1)

July 30, 2013

The European Commission proposed changes to rules on court jurisdiction to prepare the way for a specialized European patent court, according to a commission statement.

The court would have specialized jurisdiction in patent disputes, enabling parties to avoid having to litigate a case in as many as 28 different national courts.

In February, the court was established under an agreement, and now the EU wants to provide clarification about how the union’s jurisdictional rules will work within the context of the court.

The commission asked member states to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement as soon as possible, so that the court can become operational and that unitary patents can be issued.

In the U.S., the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was established by Congress in 1982 to provide consistency in appeals of patent disputes. Patent disputes are still tried in courts of general jurisdiction around the nation.

The EU’s Unified Patent Court will be a single specialized patent court, with local and regional presence around the European Union, according to the statement.

Teva Plan to Safeguard $4 Billion Drug Endangered by Ruling

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA)’s plan to switch patients to a longer-acting version of its Copaxone treatment suffered a setback as a U.S. court ruling gave the $4 billion drug less than a year of patent protection.

Teva wants to move as many as half of the multiple-sclerosis patients taking daily Copaxone injections to a three-times-weekly version of the medicine. A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to invalidate a 2015 patent may allow generic competitors such as Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MNTA:US) to lure away patients with cheaper copies as early as next year, said Marc Goodman, an analyst at UBS AG.

Teva, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, markets a 20-milligram Copaxone injection, which generates more than five times the revenue of its second-best-selling branded drug, Treanda. A longer-acting, 40-milligram dose of Copaxone was effective in lowering relapse rates in MS patients compared with a placebo in a late-stage trial last year.

Because Teva expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the long-acting version by early 2014, the extra year without generic competition would be key to moving its patients to the higher dosage.

In its July 26 ruling, the Federal Circuit ruled that the invalidated patents didn’t clearly outline what Teva claimed was invented. There are ambiguities that make it unclear what molecular weights were used to develop the product, the court ruled.

The case is Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., 2012-1567, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court cases are Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., 08-cv-7611 and 09-cv-8824, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Victoria’s Secret, Thomas Pink Sue Each Other Over Trademarks

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC)’s Thomas Pink unit and L Brands Inc. (LTD:US)’s Victoria’s Secret are at odds over Victoria’s Secret’s “pink” trademarks.

Victoria’s Secret is seeking a judicial declaration that it doesn’t infringe the Thomas Pink marks, according to a complaint filed July 24 in federal court in Columbus, Ohio. Victoria’s Secret, a retailer of lingerie, said it began using “Victoria’s Secret Pink” on a range of its products aimed at college-aged women.

The company said it also devotes a section of its website to “Pink Nation,” an online community to which it provides special offers and events. Additionally, Victoria’s Secret said more than 3 million fans have downloaded “Pink Nation” applications for their mobile phones.

Thomas Pink, a seller of luxury shirts and blouses sued Victoria’s Secret for trademark infringement in the U.K. in May. The lingerie company said in its pleadings in U.S. court that it brought its suit to “clarify the rights of the parties, allowing them to continue the peaceful coexistence that has been in place for many years.”

Victoria’s Secret, based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, said that the two companies began communicating about their respective trademarks in 2005. Although their stores in London are close to each other, Victoria’s Secret said that as far as it knows, Thomas Pink never experienced “even a single instance of consumer confusion” with respect to the two companies’ trademarks.

The lingerie company asked the court to declare that it isn’t infringing the Thomas Pink trademarks or competing unfairly with the shirt maker.

The case is Victoria’s Secret Stores Brand Management Inc. v. Thomas Pink Ltd., 2:13-cv-007333, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus).

The Gap Accuses India’s Green the Gap of Infringing Trademarks

The Gap Inc. (GPS:US), the San Francisco-based specialty clothing company, is in a trademark battle with an Indian recycling company, Agence France Presse reported.

Green the Gap received a demand letter from the Gap, accusing the recycling company of infringement and trying to hitch a ride on San Francisco company’s fame, according to AFP.

Vimlendu Jha, founder of Green the Gap, told AFP the company’s name was intended to promote the idea of upcycling trash and adding value to junk by creating new and useful products.

The Gap, which is reported to be planning to open stores in India in 2014, told AFP it wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

South African Agricultural Group Fears French ‘Rooibos’ Mark

The South African Rooibos Council, an agricultural advocacy group that promotes an herbal tea made from the Aspalathus linearis plant, has asked French authorities to clarify the effects of the registration of the “Rooibos” trademark in that country, the U.K.’s Guardian reported.

“Rooibos,” the common name for the plant, is grown exclusively in South Africa and generates 600 million South African rand ($613,000) in sales each year, according to the Guardian.

The agricultural group is concerned about a trademark application filed by a French company, Compagnie de Trucy, and is afraid that this move could threaten South African companies’ ability to sell Rooibos tea in France, the newspaper reported.

The Rooibos Council ultimately seeks a protected geographic name indicator akin to those enjoyed by Champagne, Darjeeling tea, Basmati rice and Columbian coffee, according to the Guardian.

‘The Game’ Abandons ‘Rolex Records’ Name After Rolex Protest

A rap performer known as “The Game” has backed down in his efforts to name his new record label “Rolex Records,” the HotNewHipHop.com website reported.

The performer said in a statement that after a six-month legal battle with the Rolex Group, “we lost and had to fully change the name of the label and its logo away from the likeness of Rolex’s crown” trademark, according to the website.

Instead, his label will be named “The Firm,” and “The Game” will be chief executive officer, he said in his statement.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Russian Pirate Group Protests New Law, Calls for Content Boycott

The head of Russia’s Pirate Party has called for a consumer boycott of all copyrighted content in the month of August as a protest against that country’s new anti-piracy law, Russia’s RT network reported.

The new law, which goes into effect Aug. 1, is focused on video content, and allows websites to be blocked within 72 hours of a report of copyright violations, according to RT.

Pavel Rassudov, chairman of the Pirates’ Party of Russia asked the public not to go to the movies or to buy movies online during the month of as a protest, RT reported.

Rassudov also said that at least 200 Russian websites will go dark on Aug. 1 to show their opposition to the new law, according to RT.

For more copyright news, click here.

----With the assistance of Susan Decker in Washington and David Wainer in Tel Aviv. Editors: Fred Strasser, Mary Romano

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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