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Barnes & Noble, Pfizer, KV: Intellectual Property

Barnes & Noble Inc., which makes the Nook electronic reader and sells books from its website, sued Xerox Corp. and Alcatel-Lucent SA over demands the bookseller pay royalties for patents.

The U.S. subsidiary of Alcatel says the Nook violates seven of its patents, New York-based Barnes & Noble said in a lawsuit filed July 29. Xerox says that violates four of its patents, the bookseller said in a separate court filing the same day. Neither claim is valid, Barnes & Noble said in its lawsuit. It asked the court to rule in its favor by issuing a so-called declaratory judgment, or statement that the company isn’t infringing any valid patents of Xerox and Alcatel-Lucent.

Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating declined to comment further on pending litigation other than to confirm the filing of the suit. Mary Ward, a spokeswoman for Alcatel-Lucent, declined to comment in an e-mail. A Xerox spokeswoman didn’t respond to an e-mail asking for comment.

The cases are LLC v. Xerox Corp., 1:10- cv-05758, and Barnes & Noble Inc. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., 1:10-cv-05759, both in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

To see the Xerox patents: 5,513,126; 5,689,642; 6,236,994; and 6,999,962.

Panel Doesn’t Vote on Pfizer’s Revatio Study in Kids

Pfizer Inc. didn’t get a U.S. panel’s decision for changes to a pediatric lung study that, if accepted by regulators, would give the erection pill Viagra an extra six months on the market without generic competition.

Outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration were scheduled to vote July 29 on whether a test measuring blood flow inside the arteries is sufficient to determine if a form of the drug, sold as Revatio for adults with pulmonary hypertension, works for children with the rare lung disorder.

The panel declined to vote because “the data aren’t as perfect as people would like,” said Robert Temple, director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Evaluation, in an interview. The agency now must decide, without a vote by advisers, whether the blood- flow test can be used to determine if Revatio works in children, Temple said.

The FDA asked Pfizer in 2001 to study sildenafil in children with pulmonary hypertension. If the New York-based company meets FDA requirements for testing the treatment in children, it will get a six-month patent extension for the drug, which had 2009 sales of $1.89 billion as Viagra and $450 million as Revatio. The patents are expected to expire in 2012.

KV Pharmaceutical Sues Perrigo Over Gynazole Patent

KV Pharmaceutical Co. sued generic-drug maker Perrigo Co., alleging patent infringement with plans to make low-cost copies of the drug Gynazole used to treat female yeast infections.

KV asked a federal judge in Delaware July 29 to rule that Perrigo’s sale of its version of the medicinal cream would violate U.S. patent laws, and to issue an injunction to stop Perrigo from marketing the drug until the patent expires in 2017. The suit also seeks attorney fees.

KV reported a $313.6 million net loss on $312.3 million in sales for the fiscal year ended in March 2009. The company said in March it cut more than 200 jobs after manufacturing problems. Company stock has fallen about 70 percent this year.

Perrigo, which also makes store-brand drugs, reported $2 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended in June 2009. Its shares have risen about 40 percent this year.

Daniel Willard, a Perrigo spokesman, didn’t immediately return voice and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is KV Pharmaceutical Co. v. Perrigo Israel Pharmaceuticals Ltd., 10CV641, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent: 5,993,856.

Sony, McAfee Sued by Uniloc Over Anti-Piracy Software Patent

Sony Corp., McAfee Inc. and other technology companies were sued by Uniloc USA Inc. over claims they infringe a patent it holds for anti-piracy software.

Uniloc claims Sony’s SecuROM system uses its technology, as does McAfee’s Total Protection product. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tyler, Texas, seeks an order barring the infringement and unspecified damages.

Uniloc persuaded a federal court jury last year to award $388 million in damages in a patent-infringement claim against Microsoft Corp. The award against Microsoft was later thrown out by the trial judge and is on appeal.

Activision Blizzard Inc., Quark Inc. and Micro Focus US Inc.’s Borland Software were also sued.

A spokeswoman for Santa Monica, California-based Activision didn’t immediately return a voice-mail and e-mail asking for comment, and neither did a spokeswoman at Quark.

Tracy Ross, a spokeswoman for Santa Clara, California-based McAfee, declined to comment. A voice-mail left in the legal department of Sony’s office in New York wasn’t immediately returned.

The case is Uniloc USA Inc. and Uniloc Singapore Private Limited v. Sony Corp. of America, 10cv373, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

For other patent news from last week, click here.


Disney to Sell Miramax to Filmyard for $660 Million

Walt Disney Co. agreed to sell Miramax to investors including Ronald Tutor and private-equity firm Colony Capital LLC for more than $660 million, ending a six-month search to find a buyer for the art-house moviemaker. Rights to titles are part of the deal.

The sale to Filmyard Holding LLC, backed by partners including construction executive Tutor and Colony, is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Burbank, California- based Disney said July 30 in a statement. Disney, the world’s largest media company, began winding down Miramax, founded by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein, in October.

Miramax, with rights to more than 700 titles including Academy Award winners such as “Chicago” and “Shakespeare in Love,” was one of several film assets on the block. Liberty Media Corp. agreed to sell its Overture unit to Relativity Media LLC last month. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is seeking buyers after falling behind on $3.7 billion of debt.

Walt Disney Studios is focusing on film development “under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands,” President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said in the statement.

The Weinsteins sold Miramax to Disney in 1993. The two, who left in 2005, control rights to some films. Disney had been seeking $600 million to $700 million for Miramax.

For more, click here.

For other copyright news, click here.


Diageo Wins Vodka Protection, ICB Can Still Sell Vodkat Drink

Diageo Plc, maker of Smirnoff, the best-selling vodka brand in the U.K., won a ruling in London that Intercontinental Brands Ltd.’s Vodkat drink misrepresented its contents.

ICB can only continue to use the name for Vodkat, a mixture of vodka and neutral fermented alcohol with a citrus base, if it is “clearly distinguished” from vodka, the court of appeal ruled July 30.

Vodkat is less than half vodka and costs about a third of the price, according to the judgment. Vodka must contain at least 37.5 percent alcohol under regulations governing the drink. The court ruled that ICB should be able to market a “vodka-type product” in such a way that consumers are clear about what they’re getting.

Simon Litherland, managing director of Diageo GB, said in a statement that continued use of the Vodkat name will cause “substantial numbers of consumers” to be misled.

ICB Director Paul Burton said the company is “extremely pleased” it can continue to sell Vodkat and was always “convinced about the merits” of its case. The judgment “encourages” ICB that it “may ultimately win the case,” if it gets permission to appeal, Burton said.

The case is Diageo North America Inc. v. Intercontinental Brands Ltd., case nos. A3/2010/0411 and A3/2010/0408, Court of Appeal (Civil Division)).

For other trademark news from last week, click here.

IP Moves

Sparks Joins McCarter & English as Partner, Firm Says

Jonathan Sparks joined McCarter & English LLP as a partner in the firm’s intellectual property and information technology group, the law firm said in a statement. He will work in the firm’s Boston office.

Sparks, who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from Texas A&M University, counsels clients on general intellectual property matters, including patent prosecution, domestic and foreign patent strategy, and due diligence and patent lifecycle management, the firm said.

He also helps clients prepare patentability, infringement, validity and freedom-to-operate opinions, according to the firm.

IP Funds

Acacia Seeks $250 Million for IP Investment Fund

Acacia Research Corp., a publicly traded firm that invests in and licenses patents, is raising as much as $250 million for a private fund to expand its business with big technology companies.

The company, which shares licensing revenue with inventors and patent owners, is asking institutions such as endowments and pension managers to invest in the Acacia Intellectual Property Fund LP, according to a regulatory filing.

Acacia Intellectual Property is asking each investor to commit a minimum of $10 million, according to a private- placement notice filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on July 19. Ryan said the partnership will require a 10-year commitment from investors, equivalent to a private- equity fund’s lock-up period.

The fund will allow the company to invest in more patent agreements without selling additional stock and diluting its value for existing shareholders. The company will earn an estimated $44.4 million in management fees for overseeing Acacia Intellectual Property during its lifespan, assuming the fund raises $250 million, according to the SEC filing. That figure doesn’t include performance fees.

For more, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Carla Main in Jersey City, New Jersey, at

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