Bloomberg News

Ranbaxy, Samsung, Zillow, Scotch Whisky: Intellectual Property

April 16, 2014

A gap in U.S. patent law has kept cheap copies of Novartis AG’s (NOVN) heart drug Diovan off the market for 18 months, costing U.S. consumers and insurers as much as $900 million in potential savings.

While the Diovan patent expired in September 2012, the only company allowed to sell copies, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. (RBXY), hasn’t been able to manufacture and market them after four factories it runs in India failed U.S. inspections.

AstraZeneca Plc’s (AZN) Nexium acid-reflux pill and Roche Holding AG’s (ROG) Valcyte antiviral, both of which Ranbaxy has the rights to, face the same situation in a month.

The conflict undermines the goal of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, known as the Hatch-Waxman Act after its key congressional sponsors, passed in 1984, to get low-cost treatments to market as quickly as possible.

Samsung Calls One of Its Own at $2 Billion Apple Patent Trial

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), fighting a $2 billion patent claim by Apple Inc., called a senior executive to testify to prevent the iPhone-maker from highlighting the absence of such witnesses as it did in their previous trial.

The testimony yesterday of Dale Sohn, who until last year served as chief executive officer at Samsung Telecommunications America, is intended to differentiate the Galaxy maker from its rival by explaining its different business model, and thereby distance itself from Apple’s claims of patent infringement.

Sohn told jurors in federal court in San Jose, California, how Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung developed its phones using a marketing strategy that was different from Apple’s. Samsung also called engineers from Google Inc. as witnesses to defend against claims that features in Galaxy devices infringe Apple’s patents.

The case is Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Move Inc. (MOVE:US) Doesn’t Convince Court Trade Secrets Will Be Disclosed

A state court rejected Move Inc.’s argument that its former chief strategy officer will inevitably disclose the real estate website network’s trade secrets in his new job with Zillow Inc. (Z:US)

The court also said that Move failed to prove the information at issue constitutes protectable trade secrets.

The case is Move Inc. v. Zillow Inc., Superior Court, State of Washington, King County (Seattle).


Scotch Whisky Association to Go After Fakes in Australia

The Scotch Whisky Association registered “Scotch whisky” as a trademark in Australia, the Scotsman newspaper reported.

According to the association, more than 2 million bottles of fake Scotch whisky have been sold in that country since 2005, the newspaper said.

Now that the trademark has been registered, the association says it will begin pursuing infringement actions against makers of the fake products, the newspaper reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


Appeals Court Says Halt ‘Banana Lady’ From Filing New Lawsuits

A federal appeals court told a lower court it should stop a Wisconsin performer who wears a banana costume from filing lawsuits until she pays the litigation debts accumulated in previous unsuccessful copyright cases.

Catherine Conrad, who performs as “Banana Lady,” has filed at least eight cases in federal court and nine in state court since 2011 related to her performances and copyrights, according to the appeals court opinion. She hasn’t won a judgment in any suit.

The case is Conrad v. AM Community Credit Union, 12-2899, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

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