Bushnell, Depomed, Tribune: Intellectual Property

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. (OCESO), the marketing co-op that produces Ocean Spray fruit juices, was sued for patent infringement by a company based in Thermal, California.

Trivitis Inc. claims Ocean Spray’s Cranergy energy juice drink infringes patent 6,562,864.

This patent, which was issued in May 2003, is for the use of a class of plant-related antioxidants known as “catechin multimers” as therapeutic drug-delivery agents.

Ocean Spray of Lakeville, Massachusetts, introduced its Cranergy energy drinks in March 2008. Cranergy contains green tea extract, according to a company statement. Catechin, the subject of the disputed patent, is found in green tea, according to the patent.

In its complaint filed Feb. 9 in federal court in San Diego, Trivitis asked the court to find that Ocean Spray deliberately infringed the patent, and for an order barring future infringement.

The company also asked for money damages “in no event less than a reasonable royalty,” and asked that damages be tripled because of Ocean Spray’s alleged “willful and deliberate” infringement.

Trivitis is represented by Shaun M. Murphy and David L. Baron of Slovak Varon & Empey LLP of Palm Springs, California.

The case is Trivitis Inc. v. Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., 3:10-cv-00316-JM-POR, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

Bushnell Sues Leupold & Stevens Over Rangefinder Patents

Bushnell Inc., a maker of binoculars, trail cameras and rifle scopes, sued an Oregon company for patent infringement.

Leupold & Stevens Inc., a closely held maker of telescopic sites, is accused of infringing two patents for hand-held laser rangefinders. One of the patents -- 7,658,031 -- was issued Feb. 9, the same day the case was filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kansas.

The other disputed patent -- 5,926,259 -- was issued in July 1999.

Bushnell, based in Overland Park, Kansas, claims Leupold & Stevens’ RX-100 TBR and RX-IV rangefinders infringe the patents. It claims it will be “irreparably harmed” by the alleged infringement.

The Kansas company asked the court to bar future infringement of the two patents by Leupold & Stevens, and for an award of litigation costs, attorney fees and money damages. Claiming the infringement is deliberate, Bushnell requested the damages be tripled.

Bushnell is represented by Scott R. Brown, Jennifer C. Bailey and Matthew B. Walters of Hovey Williams LLP of Overland Park.

The case is Bushnell v. Leupold & Stevens Inc., 2:10-cv- 02091-CM-JPO, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).

Depomed, Biovail Sue Apotex Over Glumetza Patent Infringement

Depomed Inc. (DEPO) and Biovail Corp. sued Apotex Inc., claiming patent infringement after Apotex moved forward with plans to market a generic version of the Glumetza diabetes treatment.

Apotex won clearance from Canadian officials to proceed with a 500-mg version of the drug, prompting the Feb. 8 lawsuit, Depomed said in a regulatory filing.

Depomed, based in Menlo Park, California, licensed the 500- mg formulation of the drug in Canada to Mississauga, Ontario- based Biovail, the company said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In November, Depomed sued India’s Lupin Ltd. (LPC) seeking to stop a generic of the Glumetza drug.

The suit is related to Depomed’s Canadian patent 2,290,624. The drug covered by the patent is used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes.

Steve Giuli, a spokesman for Toronto-based Apotex, declined to comment on the litigation.

Seaside Therapeutics Gets Patent on Autism Treatment Method

Seaside Therapeutics LLC received a U.S. patent for a method of treating autism, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drug-development company said in a statement yesterday.

Patent 7,648,993, was issued to Brown University and Emory University and licensed to Seaside. It covers methods of treating a wide range of disorders with a class of drugs known as “group 1 antagonists of the metabotropic glutamate receptor.” Glutamate is a neurotransmitter.

The patent specifies that this method can be used to prevent and treat autism, mental retardation, epilepsy, Down’s syndrome, schizophrenia, and an intellectually disabling disorder known as “Fragile X Syndrome.” Research indicates the prevalence of autism-spectrum disorders is slightly less than 1 in 100 for boys and 1 in 400 for girls.

The application for this patent was filed in December 2004, with the assistance of Hamilton, Brook, Smith Reynolds PC of Concord, Massachusetts.

Copyright

Tribune Co.’s Hartford Courant Sued for Infringement by Rival

The Tribune Co.’s Hartford Courant newspaper was sued for copyright infringement by the publisher of Manchester, Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer.

The Hartford Courant is accused of plagiarizing local stories published by the JI and misattributing them as the Courant’s and its reporters’ own work, according to the complaint filed Feb. 5 in New Haven, Connecticut.

The Hartford paper “admitted wrongdoing in an open letter from its publisher,” according to court papers. The JI claims the letter “failed to draw readers’ attention to the full extent of the improprieties committed.”

The alleged plagiarism is “part of a pattern of improper competition,” the JI alleges. In addition to the publication of allegedly infringing stories in its newspaper, the Courant is also accused of providing some of them in electronic form on its Web site.

The Courant has been “unjustly enriched” by these actions in that it was able to reduce its overhead for reporters, the JI said in its pleadings. It accused the Courant of reducing its news reporting as a means of cost-reduction, and “pirating” the JI’s local news stories and the newsgathering efforts of its reporters.

These actions are offensive to public policy, “immoral, oppressive, unethical and unscrupulous,” according to court papers.

The JI asked the court for money damages of $150,000 per infringement, plus $5 million, and attorney fees.

The newspaper is represented by Richard P. Weinstein of Weinstein & Wisser PC of West Hartford, Connecticut.

The case is Journal Publishing Co. v. Hartford Courant Co., 3:10-cv-00187-RNC, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut (New Haven).

Trademark

Plenty of Pot-Related Trademarks Registered, Sought

At least 72 registered marks or pending applications turn up in a search for the term “marijuana” in the trademark database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Among the issued trademarks are “etoke,” “marihemp,” “stoner trivia,” “Dr. Canabis,” and “Planet of the Baked.”

Pending applications include requests to register “Beerijuana,” “God bless marijuana,” “Hi Priest,” “Dr. Ganja,” “marijuana cola,” “Let it weed,” and “the drunken prophet.” One of the applications, “I pot,” may draw the ire of Apple Inc.’s trademark lawyers.

One of the already-issued trademarks that makes reference to the medical use of marijuana -- legal under California law -- features the image of a serpent-and-staff caduceus superimposed upon a white silhouette of a marijuana leaf.

A pending application, filed by the Bay Area Green Cross Dispensary Inc. of San Francisco, is for a logo consisting of a dark green cross with all arms of equal length, centered by a marijuana leaf.

A German applicant, Sboby GmbH of Tuttlingen, seeks to register the symbol of a snake twined through a marijuana leaf as a trademark.

Although many of the applications appear to be related to the medical or recreational use of marijuana, a few are for drug-testing services.

The “e-Toke” mark, which was registered in August 2007, is for the San Diego State University Research Foundation for an educational program of marijuana use assessment, for marijuana use awareness and prevention.

New EU ‘Organic’ Logo to Be Mandatory Within Member Countries

The European Commission has selected a new logo that will be mandatory on all pre-packaged organic products produced within the member countries, the executive body of the European Union said in a statement.

Use of the symbol will be mandatory after July 1.

The symbol, created by an art student from Germany, features the European Union’s stars arranged in the shape of a leaf on a green background.

Use of the symbol is optional for imported organic products, according to the statement.

Private, regional or national logos may be used on packaging in addition to the organic symbol.

Organic-farming regulations in the European Union will be amended to introduce the new label into the requirements.

University Technology Transfer

Emission & Power Control Takes License to U of Alabama Tech

Emission & Power Solutions Plc has taken a license to a vapor-emissions system developed at the University of Alabama, the London-based company said in a statement.

The university and the technology company will collaborate in order to commercialize the product, according to the statement. The technology is an emissions-reduction device aimed at all liquid-fueled passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks.

Professor Marcus Ashford of the university’s College of Engineering developed the technology. He is a former powertrain product-development engineer at Ford Motor Co., and has also worked as a mechanical-contact engineer for Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Exxon Chemical Americas unit.

His invention can reduce startup emissions by 80 percent and total vehicle emissions by 50 to 75 percent, according to the statement.

No financial terms of the collaboration were disclosed.

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: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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