Bloomberg News

Viagra, Apple, KBC Groep, Huawei, Chevron: Intellectual Property

December 18, 2013

Generic Viagra will hit the market more than two years earlier than expected under a settlement reached by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA:US) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE:US), the maker of the impotence drug.

Teva can enter the market on Dec. 11, 2017, and will pay patent royalties through the expiration of the Viagra patent in April 2020, New York-based Pfizer said in a statement. Other terms weren’t disclosed.

Viagra, whose chemical name is sildenafil citrate, is one of Pfizer’s best-known medicines. The drug generated sales of $2.05 billion in 2012, its best year ever. Pfizer earlier this year began selling the blue pill through a company-sponsored website to combat counterfeit versions sold online.

The medicine came from a group of compounds considered during research to treat high blood pressure and angina. The assistance with erectile dysfunction was a side effect discovered during testing, and patent 6,469,012, issued in 2002, is for use of the compound to treat impotence.

Some aspects of the patent were earlier rejected in 2010 because it was similar to a Chinese herb known as Horny Goat Weed. Teva, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, lost its bid to invalidate the rest of the patent at trial and was appealing the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeals yesterday.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Apple Fails to Prevent ‘DriPhone’ Registration in New Zealand

Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), maker of the iPhone and the iPod, lost a New Zealand trademark fight with a maker of waterproof cases for mobile phones, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The Cupertino, California-based company opposed an application by DriPhone, of Hamilton, New Zealand, to register its company name as a trademark, according to the newspaper.

Apple claimed that the public would be confused and assume, falsely, that the California company was the source of products with the DriPhone name, according to the Herald.

Hayden Crowther, director of DriPhone, argued successfully that the trademark is readily distinguishable from Apple’s iPhone mark, and was awarded NZ$2,950 ($2,437), the Herald reported.

KBC Wins Authorization to Use ‘Kinnitty Castle’ Irish Trademark

KBC Groep NV (KBC), the biggest bank in Belgium, will be able to use the Kinnitty Castle trademark for a hotel in Ireland’s County Offaly, Ireland’s High Court ruled, according to the Irish Times.

Cornelius Ryan, the hotel’s owner, claimed that he owned the mark and originated the identity of the castle hotel, which is being operated by a bank-appointed received, the newspaper reported.

KBC appointed a receiver in 2008 and claims that Ryan owes 5 million euros ($6.89 million) on the property, according to the Times.

The court rejected Ryan’s request for an order barring the receiver and KBC from continuing to call the hotel property Kinnitty Castle, the Times reported.

Huawei Seeks to Register ‘PhoPad’ as Trademark for Mobile Phones

Huawei Technologies Co., China’s largest maker of phone network equipment, applied to register “PhoPad” as a trademark, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

The company, which is waging a patent fight with Interdigital Inc. over mobile-phone technology, said it will use the mark with mobile phones, tablet computers and protective cases for phones and tablets.

The Shenzen, China-based company filed its application Dec. 2.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyrights

Chevron Accuses Ecuador of Misusing Copyright as Censorship

Chevron Corp. (CVX:US), the oil company being sued by Ecuadorean farmers over alleged environmental damage near oil wells in the Amazon rain forest, said the government of Ecuador is misusing copyright law to censor the company’s videos on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing website.

In a posting on Chevron’s Amazon Post blog, the company said that its videos are presently down following copyright claims made by Ares Rights of Spain.

Chevron claims that Ares Rights is working on behalf of the government of Ecuador to censor negative messages and video content.

“When material placed on the Internet is perceived to be anti-government, Ares sends a letter to sites like YouTube, Google Scribd and Vimeo claiming it affects copyrights of one of its clients in an attempt to get the material removed by the hosting site,” Chevron said on the blog.

The San Ramon, California-based oil company said copyrights for the content that is allegedly infringed by its videos doesn’t belong to the clients on whose behalf Ares Rights is making the claim.

El Comercio and El Universo -- news outlets in Ecuador -- have raised questions about Ares Rights’ possible role in censoring Internet content, according to the posting.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled yesterday that the 47 villagers have the right to pursue Chevron’s Canada assets. It reverses a ruling made on May 1 that stated the company didn’t have any assets in Canada.

A court in Ecuador in 2011 found the company liable for about three decades of soil and water pollution near oil wells that ruined the health and livelihoods of Amazon rain forest dwellers. Since then, Ecuadorean farmers and fishermen have been trying to collect $19 billion in environmental damages from Chevron.

The Canadian judges said in the ruling that a Chevron spokesman had said: “We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over. And then we’ll fight it out on the ice.”

Chevron’s wish is granted, the judges said.

“After all these years, the Ecuadorean plaintiffs deserve to have recognition and enforcement of the Ecuadorean judgment heard on the merits in an appropriate jurisdiction. At this juncture, Ontario is that jurisdiction,” according to the ruling.

Chevron has said it will appeal the decision.

The case is Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corp., C57019, Court of Appeal for Ontario (Toronto)

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

VIA Says It Filed Trade-Secrets Suit in Taiwan Against Asustek

VIA Technologies Inc. (2388), a Taiwanese maker of chipsets for computer motherboards, said it filed a lawsuit in Taipei District Court seeking more than $138 million in damages from Taipei-based Asustek Computer Inc. (2357)

The suit followed a decision by the Taiwan prosecutor to file criminal trade secret charges against Asustek’s Asmedia Technology unit and four of its employees, according to a company statement.

A former VIA employee left in 2007 to join Asmedia, taking VIA employees and intellectual property related to USB technology, according to the complaint.

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

  • TEVA
    (Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd)
    • $54.46 USD
    • 0.46
    • 0.84%
  • PFE
    (Pfizer Inc)
    • $30.07 USD
    • 0.07
    • 0.23%
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