Bloomberg News

Bristol-Myers, McDonald’s, Budweiser: Intellectual Property (1)

December 13, 2013

The Medicines Patent Pool and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY:US) signed an agreement that will increase access to Atazanavir, a drug to treat AIDS, in 110 developing nations.

The Medicines Patent Pool, an organization backed by the United Nations and created to increase access to AIDS drugs in poorer countries, said in a statement the agreement is the first of its kind covering a second-line therapy preferred by the World Health Organization. According to WHO figures, more than 1 million people will be on second-line treatment by 2016, with many more needing access to this class of drugs.

A technology transfer package will be provided to sub licensees to facilitate the manufacture of the drug, with any royalties that are collected under the agreement to be reinvested in local HIV/AIDS groups in those countries.

Gore Appeals Bard Patent Infringement Judgment on Standing

W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., the maker of Gore-Tex fabric, argued on appeal that Bard Peripheral Vascular Inc.’s patent infringement victory in federal court in Arizona should be overturned because Bard had no standing to bring the case.

The Newark, Delaware-based company also seeks the return of any money Bard received from that judgment, according to its opening brief with the appeals court in Washington.

The case began in 2003 and involves a dispute dating back to 1974. At issue is a tube that helps retain the shape of non-coronary blood vessels using a substance similar to DuPont Co.’s Teflon, and covered by patent 6,436,135.

In its Dec. 11 brief, Gore argues that Tempe, Arizona’s Bard lacked the standing to file the original suit because at that time the relevant patent rights were owned by a different corporation, C.R. Bard Inc.

The case is Bard Peripheral Vascular v. W.L. Gore & Associates, 14-1114, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

The lower court case is Bard Peripheral Vascular v. W.L. Gore and Associates, 2:03-cv-00597, U.S. District Court,

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

McDonald’s Applies for ‘McD’ Mark to Be Used for Mobile App

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD:US) is testing a mobile application in 1,000 stores as it tries to lure younger diners at a time when U.S. sales are struggling.

Called the McD, the app sends customers offers they can redeem with their phones at participating stores, Lisa McComb, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. Diners can specify what kind of deals they want to receive, including “buy a breakfast sandwich get one free or $1 Hot ’n Spicy McChicken sandwich.” Users can’t order or pay with the McD app.

On Nov. 25, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company filed a trademark for McD to be used as “downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application in the field of restaurant services, food delivery services and restaurant locator,” according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

The world’s largest burger chain has been experimenting with various mobile programs as it seeks to compete with such chains as Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG:US), which both offer mobile ordering apps and attract a generally younger and higher-income crowd.

It remains to be seen whether a mobile app will help draw millennials, Sara Senatore, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said in an interview.

Companies with a “younger and potentially more affluent customer base” have more success with mobile apps, Senatore said. “The McDonald’s customer tends to be slightly older.”

In September, McDonald’s said some locations in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, were trying out a mobile payment app. In October, the Big Mac seller named Atif Rafiq to the newly created role of chief digital officer. Rafiq, who is leading efforts to roll out a mobile app nationally, previously ran Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN:US) Kindle Direct Publishing unit.

Budejovicky Budvar Wins ‘Budweiser’ Mark Fight in Portugal

Budejovicky Budvar NP, the Czech brewer, can continue to sell beer under the “Budweiser” name in Portugal, a trade court in that country ruled, and Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported.

The court barred Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) from using the Budweiser name in that country, according to the newspaper.

This court battle is part of a long-standing conflict between the Czech brewer and Leuven, Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, according to the Dispatch.

Budejovicky Budvar said the Portuguese court barred Anheuser-Busch’s use of the Budweiser trademark to prevent confusion with the Czech company’s marks already registered there, the Dispatch reported.

University of Arizona Complaint Triggers School Logo Change

A Texas high school is changing its team logo following complaints from the University of Arizona, the Dallas News reported.

The university had said Dallas’s Woodrow Wilson High School’s Wildcat too closely resembled the university’s, registered mark according to the newspaper.

In response the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation is holding a contest through Jan. 31 for the creation of a new logo, the Dallas News reported.

The foundation said the design should be simple and clear, not resembling the original, according to the News.

LibLime’s ‘Koha’ Application Rejected, Radio New Zealand Says

A rural New Zealand library told Radio New Zealand it successfully challenged a trademark registration sought by LibLime, Radio New Zealand reported.

LibLime of North Bethesda, Maryland, had filed to register “Koha” as a trademark for the Koha open-source software developed by Horowhenua Library Trust, according to Radio New Zealand.

The trust and Catalyst IT, a Wellington, New Zealand, software company, fought to halt the registration for fear that LibLime would potentially restrict use of the name, Radio New Zealand reported.

Copyrights

Phone Unlocking Deal Reached With Mobile Carriers, FCC Says

U.S. regulators have reached an agreement with mobile carriers to allow unlocking of smartphones, the head of the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday.

The “voluntary agreement” with the mobile industry will be presented to the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a congressional hearing. He didn’t supply details.

Unlocking phones alters software so the devices may be used on another carrier’s network. It was declared to be a copyright violation by the Library of Congress in a ruling that took effect last year after the wireless industry said locking phones was part of its business practices.

Amy Storey, a spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail today.

President Barack Obama’s administration joined critics of the Library of Congress’s decision after more than 114,000 people signed a petition. Consumers shouldn’t be at risk for criminal penalties when unlocking smartphones and tablet computers, if not bound by a service agreement, R. David Edelman, a White House senior adviser, said in a blog posting in March entitled, “It’s Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking.”

Wheeler, the Democratic FCC chairman, in November told carriers they need to agree to unlock phones or face U.S. regulations mandating the change. Wheeler proposed having a policy in place “before the December holiday season.”

Carriers had agreed to unlock phones after service contracts ended and didn’t agree to notify customers when they’d be eligible, Wheeler said in the Nov. 14 letter to Steve Largent, president of CTIA.

“Absent the consumer’s right to be informed about unlocking eligibility, any voluntary program would be a hollow shell,” Wheeler said in the letter.

CTIA includes the four largest U.S. carriers led by Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (T:US)

The Washington-based group argued that “locking cell phones is an essential part of the wireless industry’s predominant business model” involving handset subsidies in exchange for a commitment to use the carrier’s service, Librarian of Congress James Billington said in an October 2012 notice announcing the change.

Norway’s National Library to Digitize All Its Books For Free Use

The National Library of Norway plans to digitize its entire collection to make them available to Norwegians at no cost, the U.K.’s Independent newspaper reported.

The process will take as long as 20 years, and access to the free service will be limited to Norwegians, as determined by their Internet Protocol addresses, according to the Independent.

The digitization efforts are being compared to that country’s Svalbard Seed Vault in the Arctic island of Spitzbergen, which contains more than 10,000 seed samples, aimed at providing a safety net for future agriculture, the newspaper reported.

The National Library is required to hold a copy of all books published in that country, according to the Independent.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Express Scripts Wins Confidentiality Order in Ernst & Young Suit

Express Scripts Inc. (ESRX:US)’s Express Scripts Research & New Solutions unit obtained a Missouri state court order temporarily blocking the accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP from disclosing or destroying any data allegedly misappropriated by a now-former firm accountant.

This ruling stems from a suit the pharmacy benefits manager filed against the accounting firm, an ex-partner in February in Missouri state court.

The company said in a complaint filed in state court in Clayton, Missouri, that it learned last year that accounting firm partner Don Gravlin had been “sneaking” into its St. Louis headquarters and e-mailing documents to a private Google account via the account of an Ernst & Young consultant.

“E&Y and Gravlin were possessed with an evil motive,” the benefits manager said in its complaint filed Feb. 14. The company is seeking punitive damages to deter future similar conduct by Ernst & Young and other accounting firms.

The accountants allegedly took the equivalent of more than 20,000 pages of data, including pricing information, business strategy, projections and “performance metrics” documents.

The Dec. 5 court order bars the accounting firm from advertising it worked on any merger, integration or client-migration project for Express Scripts or Medco Health Solutions Inc, which it acquired last year.

Ernst & Young said in a statement that the order codifies steps it took last year and that it’s unaware of any data misuse.

The case is Express Scripts Inc. v. Ernst & Young LLP, 13SL-CC00537, St. Louis County, Missouri, Circuit Court, Division 20 (Clayton).

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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Companies Mentioned

  • BMY
    (Bristol-Myers Squibb Co)
    • $51.51 USD
    • 0.39
    • 0.76%
  • MCD
    (McDonald's Corp)
    • $94.36 USD
    • 0.88
    • 0.93%
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