Illumina, StemCells, U.S. Patents, AT&T, Eircom: Intellectual Property

Patent-owner Cornell University and Life Technologies Corp., a provider of gene-analysis tools for medical research, sued Illumina Inc. claiming the company is infringing eight patents for DNA research products.

Illumina should pay damages for use of the inventions and be prohibited from using the technology, Cornell, of Ithaca, New York, and Life Technologies, based in Carlsbad, California, said in a complaint filed May 24 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Illumina, based in San Diego, “is making, using, selling, and offering to sell instruments, reagents, kits and services for genetic analysis” that use the protected inventions, the plaintiffs claimed, asking for a jury trial.

In January, Illumina said it expected annual revenue to rise by 20 percent after selling genetic-code analysis equipment to China. The company reported $666.3 million in sales last fiscal year.

Wilson Grabill, an Illumina spokesman, said the company declined to comment on the suit.

The case is Cornell University v. Illumina Inc., 1:10-cv- 00433, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

StemCells Accused of Making Patent Claims Halting Research

Patent claims by Palo Alto, California-based StemCells Inc. are halting research into children’s brain tumors, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Researcher Philip H. Schwartz of Children’s Hospital of Orange County told the newspaper he received a cease-and-desist letter warning him the method he used to extract cells for his Neural Stem Cell Repository infringed StemCell’s intellectual- property rights.

Irvin Weissman, the Stanford University scientist who co- founded StemCell, said his company has been “prompt and diligent in discussing the issues” with the hospital and would comment no further, according to the newspaper.

Dan Ravicher, who heads the New York-based Public Patent Foundation advocacy group, said StemCells’ behavior “is repulsive and unacceptable, and the leadership of the company should be called to task,” the Mercury News reported.

USPTO Goes for Social Media, Establishes Page on Facebook Site

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has embraced social media and now has a page on Facebook Inc.’s social networking Web site.

The page contains a mixture of news releases, patent trivia and information about how to contact the office. A posting made May 21 noted that day as the 137th anniversary of the issuance of a patent assigned to Levi Strauss & Co. for fastening pocket openings on jeans.

According to the Facebook page, the office won’t permit postings of comments about patent cases, actions or administrative proceedings or patent office employees. It also bars the postings of solicitations and advertisements.

The page also provides a link to the blog written by David Kappos, the undersecretary of commerce for IP and director of the patent office.

Kirk Says U.S. Businesses ‘Plead’ for China to Protect Patents

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he is hearing pleas from American businesses that he get China to honor their patents and copyrights and provide them the ability to compete for business in its economy.

Kirk, who participated in the Security and Economic Dialogue in Beijing on May 24-25, said there will be “very severe” challenges as China’s economy develops and shakes off decades of state planning.

“China’s trading partners have to feel that they have an equal opportunity to compete,” Kirk said in an interview in Beijing. “There is a growing sentiment in the United States that China is not playing by the rules.”

Kirk said he raised concerns about China’s so-called indigenous innovation policy, and urged the government to hold off on implementing those new regulations.

The two governments are holding discussions on topics ranging from health care to clean energy to interest-rate policies in Beijing as part of the summit.


Charlie Crist, Senate Campaign Sued for Copyright Infringement

David Byrne of the musical group Talking Heads sued Florida Governor Charlie Crist and his senatorial campaign for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, on May 24, related to what Byrne says is Crist’s unauthorized use of his 1985 song “Road to Nowhere” in a commercial attacking an opponent in the Republican senatorial primary election.

The commercial was posted on the campaign website and on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site, according to the complaint. The music was used without permission or license, Byrne said in his pleadings.

Crist, an attorney who was previously elected to the post of Florida’s attorney general on a “law and order” platform “has more than a general understanding of the law” and should be aware a license is required to use the music, Byrne said in court papers. The governor used the ad to secure monetary donations nationally, according to the complaint.

The musician said he received “a number of inquiries” as to why he permitted the song’s use as soon as the commercial was posted. Its use created “an apparent association” that was false, Byrne said, claiming it has caused him “irreparable harm that cannot be fully compensated by money.”

He asked the court for an order barring use of his composition, and an award of litigation costs and attorney fees. Byrne also requested unspecified money damages.

Byrne is represented by Bryan L. Loeffler, Edward Michael Livingston and Eric Livingston Loeffler of the Livingston Firm PA of Naples, Florida, and Gregory S. Gabriel and Lawrence Y. Iser of Santa Monica, California-based Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP.

The case is Byrne v. Crist, 8:10-cv-01187-RAL-MAP, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Tampa).

AT&T Adds Christo, Jeanne-Claude Disclaimer to Fabric Ad

AT&T Inc.’s television ad featuring the draping of buildings and beaches in long swaths of orange fabric now bears a disclaimer that “The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with AT&T.”

The ad, part of the telecommunications company’s “Rethink possible” campaign, has drawn fire from those who see a connection to “The Gates,” Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 2005 art project in which New York’s Central Park was filled with large gates of orange fabric.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who specialize in large-scale environmental installations, are known for such projects as the forest of umbrellas that were installed in California and Japan, the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin, the surrounded islands in Florida’s Biscayne Bay, and the “Running Fence” of fabric installed in California’s Sonoma and Marin Counties. Jeanne- Claude died in November and her memorial was held in New York in April.

In addition to the Christo and Jeanne-Claude project, the AT&T commercial bears a resemblance to an ad for Eronet, a Bosnian telecom company. In that commercial, telecom workers in orange track suits cover the landscape with orange fabric and shelter individual people with orange umbrellas.

A Greek-language commercial for Vodaphone Ltd. also features the use of large swathes of orange and red cloth covering the landscape.

Eircom to Begin Cutting Off Internet Access to Alleged Pirates

Eircom Holdings Ltd.’s Irish telecommunications unit has begun sending warning letters to customers it identified as illegal file-sharers, the BBC reported yesterday.

Addresses of those customers are being supplied by the Irish Music Association, according to the BBC.

The music group is working with the Dtecnet piracy tracking service to identify possible illegal downloaders, the BBC reported.

Those who receive warning letters will have their service cut off a week for a third infringement and a year for a fourth infringement, according to the BBC.

‘Hope’ Artist Shepard Farey’s Murals Painted Over in Ohio

A mural by artist Shepard Fairey was painted over in Madisonville, Ohio, with no explanation given, the news Web site reported.

Fairey, whose “Hope” poster of President Barack Obama became the subject of a copyright-infringement battle, had installed new murals in Cincinnati in conjunction with a show at the city’s Contemporary Arts Center, according to the website.

A second Fairey mural in the area was painted over May 20 after neighbors objected to the image of a child solder holding a gun, according to

The Fairey murals were placed at pre-approved sites and are pasted up temporarily rather than permanent installations, the website reported.


Parker Waichman’s Trademark Suit Can Go Ahead, Judge Says

A federal judge refused to dismiss a trademark-infringement case brought by Parker Waichman Alonso LLP against a competing Georgia-based plaintiffs law firm.

Parker Waichman, of Great Neck, New York, sued The Orlando Firm PC in August after the Decatur, Georgia, firm registered as a domain name. The New York firm uses as a domain name, and has registered both its domain name and yourlawyer with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In his May 14 order, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon noted that Parker Waichman had used as a domain name since 1999 and “spends millions of dollars each year promoting and marketing its Web site and the services offered” under the mark.

Parker Waichman contacted the Orlando Firm in early 2009, seeking transfer of the domain name, and claimed in court filings that although the Georgia firm said it would comply, it failed to do so.

McMahon said in her ruling that even though the Orlando firm contended its clients were mainly local Georgia residents, it had sufficient business in New York for the court to have jurisdiction.

Parker Waichman is represented by Brad David Rose, William Laurence Charron, Colleen Elizabeth Parker, Maryaneh Mona Simonian and Nicole E. Kaplan of New York’s Pryor Cashman LLP.

The Orlando Firm is represented by David Stein of Samuel & Stein of New York.

The case is Parker Waichman Alonso LLP v. The Orlando Firm PC, 1:09-cv-07401-CM- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York(Manhattan).

IP Moves

Chadbourne & Parke Hires IP Specialists from Disney, GE

Chadbourne & Parke LLP hired two intellectual-property specialists from industry, the New York-based firm said in a statement.

The new hires are Stephen Manetta, who headed the IP department at General Electric Co.’s oil and gas division, and Rajappan Balagopal, who previously worked at Walt Disney Co., where he was vice president, technology intellectual property management.

Manetta, who worked as a senior systems engineer before he was a lawyer, practiced at the now-defunct Morgan & Finnegan LLP before joining GE. He has done patent-acquisition work and managed IP litigation in computer and software technologies, electronics, optics, physics, semiconductors, electro- mechanical, mechanical and medical devices.

He has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Manhattan College and a law degree from Villanova University.

Balagopal has worked at Intel Corp., where he was director of patent and technology transactions, and at BTG Plc, a technology transfer company. He has done engineering research at the University of California at Los Angeles and International Business Machines Corp.

At Disney, he expanded the entertainment company’s IP orientation beyond copyright and trademarks to include patents. Today, the company has almost 300 issued U.S. patents and 236 pending published patent applications, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Balagopal has an undergraduate chemical engineering from Bombay-based Indian Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from the University of South Florida. He is a registered patent agent.

Barnes & Thornburg Hires Patent Lawyer from Dorsey & Whitney

Barnes & Thornburg LLP hired Adriana S. Luedke for its intellectual-property practice, the Indianapolis-based firm said in a statement.

Luedke has previously practiced at Minneapolis-based Dorsey & Whitney LLP and Washington’s Covington & Burling LLP. She has also worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

She has litigated patent cases and done patent application work for clients in the areas of electrical, computer and mechanical arts, including insurance and information networks, software and data processing methodologies, medical and dental devices, various mechanical devices and telecommunication systems.

She has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Dartmouth College and a law degree from George Washington University.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at

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