Baxter, Hasbro, Mayo Clinic, Google, Coca-Cola-Ohio: Intellectual Property

Haemonetics Corp.’s patent- infringement victory against a former unit of Baxter International Inc. over disposable kits used for collecting blood was reversed yesterday by a U.S. appeals court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said a trial judge erred in his interpretation of the Haemonetics patent 6,705,983, and sent the case back for review.

Haemonetics, based in Braintree, Massachusetts, had won a $15.7 million verdict against Fenwal Inc., the former Baxter unit, and an order that halted sales of Fenwal’s ALYX kits.

Haemonetics’ case was argued by Thomas J. Parker of Atlanta’s Alston & Bird LLP. Gregory A. Castanias of Cleveland’s Jones Day argued on behalf of the Baxter unit.

The case is Haemonetics v. Baxter Healthcare, 09-01557, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Hasbro Sues Buzz Bee, Claims Three Toy Patents Infringed

Hasbro Inc., the toymaker second in size only to Mattel Inc., sued a competitor for patent infringement.

Buzz Bee Toys Inc. of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, is accused of infringing patents 5,471,967 and 5,611,322. These patents, which were issued in December 1995 and March 1997 respectively, cover a pistol-like device from which donut-shaped disks can be fired.

These two patents are the property of Toybox Corp. and licensed exclusively to Hasbro, according to the complaint filed June 2 in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts.

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts-based Hasbro claims Buzz Bee’s Air Zone Ring Accelerator infringed the patent. Buzz Bee “knowingly and willfully infringed” the patent, Hasbro said in its complaint.

Buzz Bee is also accused of infringing a third patent, RE 39,947, which covers a toy water gun. That patent, which was issued in December 2007, was issued to Johnson Research and Development Co. and is also exclusively licensed to Hasbro.

The Water Warrior Vanquisher and Water Warrior Vindicator products made by Buzz Bee infringe this patent, Hasbro said in its pleadings.

The Massachusetts company claims that Buzz Bee “will not cease committing the wrongful acts” without intervention by the court.

Hasbro, which claims it had been damaged by Buzz Bee’s “wrongful acts,” asked the court to bar further infringement of the three patents. The company also asked for attorney fees and money damages “not limited to a reasonable royalty and/or lost profits and price erosion,” and requested the damages be tripled to punish Buzz bee for its actions.

Representing Hasbro are Joshua C. Krumholz, Elizabeth R. Burkhard and Peter J. Kirk of New York’s Holland & Knight LLP.

The case is Hasbro Inc., v. Buzz Bee, 3:10-cv-10906-MAP, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Springfield).

Mayo Recalls Patent Applications After Researcher Is Fired

Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, has withdrawn patent applications and halted commercialization efforts relating to a cancer-fighting antibody molecule, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported.

The patent applications were called back after the clinic found a researcher’s results couldn’t be duplicated, accused the researcher of scientific fraud and fired him, according to the newspaper.

The fired researcher denied the charges, according to the Post-Bulletin.

In addition to the patent applications, Mayo is retracting between 15 and 17 scholarly articles in nine scientific journals relating to the researcher’s work, the newspaper reported.

Innovation Key to Economic Recovery, U.S. Patent Director Says

Protecting intellectual property, “the global currency of innovation,” is central to the ability of the U.S. to recover from the recession and create jobs, the nation’s top patent and trademark officer said.

“If we don’t wake up, fast-developing competitors will continue to appropriate American ideas, products, and services,” David Kappos, 49, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said in a speech to the Center for American Progress in Washington yesterday.

Kappos, taking a cue from President Barack Obama’s push to encourage American ingenuity as a way of reducing unemployment, said patents protect new ideas and enable companies to hire workers and invest in their businesses.

“We simply must do better to protect America’s competitive advantage in innovation before it is too late,” Kappos said.

Obama, since taking office in January 2009 amid the worst recession since the Great Depression, has repeatedly said the nation needs to invest more in education, innovation and energy development to improve the economy. The U.S. has shed about 8 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, with almost half those losses occurring after Obama took office.

Three-quarters of U.S. economic growth following World War II came from technological innovations, Kappos said, and two out of three American jobs are created from newly patented inventions. That history makes it important to implement changes that make the patent office more efficient, he said.

Kappos, a former assistant general counsel for International Business Machines Corp., took over the patent office in August. At his confirmation hearing in July, he pledged to tackle the agency’s budget shortfall because of a decrease in fees from patents and applications, and deal with a backlog of more than 700,000 applications awaiting review.

The agency has developed a program to cut 12 months off the application process for technology that promotes renewable energy and environmental improvements, and is considering expanding the program to other industries, Kappos said.

Copyright

Google Gets DMCA Takedown Letter from Porn Site Operator

Brazzers Entertainment, which bills itself as “the world’s best porn site,” sent a notice to Google Inc. demanding content located at 20 web pages be taken down.

The letter alleges its adult video series -- with titles that imply a focus on large breasts -- is infringed by a blog site that has distributed Brazzers’ passwords without authorization. The offending blog site has several pages headed “cracked porn passes, and “most wanted porn sites,” according to the letter.

The takedown request is made under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives providers immunity for users copyright infringement if they remove the material “expeditiously” when they get complaints. Under the law, persons whose information is removed can ask the provider to put it back if the users believe the complaint is in error.

The letter from counsel for Brazzers is posted on the Chilling Effects website, which is a joint project of seven law schools and the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group.

Trademark

Daddyo’s Tattoos Sues Daddy-O’s Tattoos for Infringing Mark

An Illinois-based tattoo salon and its proprietor sued a competitor for trademark infringement.

Christopher Quidgeon, who does business as Daddyo’s Tattoos and Piercings of Centralia, Illinois, has used “Daddyo’s Tattoo” since May 2003. He registered the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March 2009, according to court papers.

The company objects to John Olsen’s Daddy-O’s Tattoos Inc. of Pekin, Illinois-based, which does business as Body Art by Daddy-O. That company began using the name in June 2009, Daddyo’s said in the complaint filed June 1 in federal court in Peoria, Illinois.

Despite having been sent cease and desist letters in August 2009 and February 2010, the Daddy-O’s continues to use the name, which is “nearly identical and confusingly similar to” Daddyo’s, according to court papers.

In addition to confusing the public by its name, Daddy-O’s “faults and imperfections” in its tattooing and piercing services “reflect adversely” on Daddyo’s, the company said in its pleadings. The Centralia-based tattoo business claims the Pekin tattoo parlor is attempting to deceive potential customers into thinking that there is an association between the two companies.

Daddyo’s asked the court to bar the Pekin-based company’s use of names that are confusingly similar, and to order removal of all properties and goods from Daddy-O’s that contain infringing trademarks. The company also asked for money damages, and an award of litigation costs.

Alleging the infringement is deliberate, Daddyo’s asked that the damages award be tripled to punish Daddy-O’s for its actions.

Daddyo’s is represented by Christopher W. Byron of Byron Gerber Petri & Kalb LLC of Edwardsville, Illinois.

The case is Quidegeon v. Olsen, 1:10-cv-01168-JBM-BGC, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois (Peoria).

Facebook’s Muslim Rival Has Similar Features, Designs.

Facebook Inc.’s social networking site has a lookalike aimed at Muslims.

Based in Lahore, Pakistan, Millatfacebook used the same shade of blue and a similar font on its pages. It’s a new social networking aimed at the “more than 1.57 billion Muslims and sweet people from other religions,” according to the home page.

The home page bears a copyright notice.

The U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reports the Muslim site is the work of information technology experts who established MillatFacebook after the country’s courts banned the original Facebook for alleged blasphemy for hosting a contest seeking cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Despite Trade Secret Claims, Coca-Cola Contracted Released

The Coca-Cola Co.’s 2008 contract with Ohio State University was released with all the financial information intact after weeks of negotiations, the school’s Lantern student newspaper reported.

Earlier both the school and the soft drink company claimed the financial details were trade secrets, the Lantern reported.

The 2008 contract specified that Atlanta-based Coca-cola would pay $10 in upfront royalty fees, $13.7 million in annual royalty fees, and $8.5 million in guaranteed vending commissions in return for its exclusive contract with the school, according to the Lantern.

Other schools have also released contract details, including $38 million from Coca-cola for the University of Minnesota, and $15 million for the University of Arizona, the Lantern reported.

IP Moves

K&L Gates Adds NASCAR Licensing Expert to IP Practice Group

K&L Gates LLP added to its IP practice by hiring a lawyer from the NASCAR racing circuit, the Pittsburgh-based firm said in a statement.

Christian Chad Warpula joins the firm from Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates LLC where he was executive vice president and general counsel. He has also served as general counsel to the Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

He has served as lead legal adviser to more than a dozen NASCAR teams to develop an industry licensing trust that consolidated and restructured the licensing models for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, team, and driver IP rights.

In addition to the IP elements at his previous jobs, Warpula was also involved in corporate structuring and governance, litigation and dispute resolution and real estate.

He will practice from the firm’s Charlotte, North Carolina office. Although NASCAR is based in Daytona Beach, Florida, the association has offices in North Carolina, as are most of the teams that race on its circuit.

Warpula has an undergraduate degree from Harding University and a law degree from Wake Forest University.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

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