DuPont, Jarden, Armani, SAP: Intellectual Property

DuPont Co., the 208-year-old U.S. chemical company, received a patent for peptides that bond with carbon nanotubes.

Patent 7,829,504, issued Nov. 9, covers the peptides, or short polymers of amino acids. They can be used for the “manipulation of carbon based nanostructures in the fabrication of nano-devices,” according to the patent.

The invention is also useful for the purification and separation of nanotubes from a population of mixed kinds of nanotubes. Researchers at the University of California at Riverside are researching the use of such nanotubes as scaffolding to repair broken bones, Wire reported.

DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, applied for the patent in February 2006. No counsel is listed on the patent.

Jarden Accused of Infringing Freezer Storage-Container Patent

Jarden Corp., the maker of Mr. Coffee, Coleman and Health o Meter products, was sued for infringement by a California patent holder.

Kathleen Adams of San Diego accused Rye, New York-based Jarden of making and selling plastic freezer jars that infringe her patent 5,692,617. Codefendant with Jarden is Willis Stein & Partners’ Roundy’s Supermarkets unit, which is accused of selling the allegedly infringing product.

The inventor, who received her patent in December 1997, claimed that she is harmed by the defendants’ actions. She seeks awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees and, alleging the infringement is deliberate, requested that the damages be tripled.

She also seeks a court order barring further infringement of her patent.

Amy Leman, a Jarden spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Adams is represented by Keith M. Sorge of Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala PA of Minneapolis.

The case is Kathleen Adams v. Hearthmark LLC, 10-cv-00712, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Armani Wins U.K. Ruling on ‘AX’ Mark for Women’s Clothing

Giorgio Armani SpA, the Italian fashion company that operates A/X Armani Exchange stores, won a U.K. court ruling to protect its international “AX” trademark for women’s apparel in Britain.

The U.K. Intellectual Property Office erred in May when it said the mark couldn’t be registered for any category of clothing, even though a successful challenge by closely held Sunrich Clothing Ltd. only targeted the use of “AX” for men’s and boy’s apparel, Judge George Mann ruled yesterday in London.

Sunrich challenged Milan-based Armani’s extension of the Swiss-registered trademark to the U.K. over claims that it would be confused with Sunrich’s earlier “AXE” men’s clothing brand.

The IPO “erred in failing to give proper effect to the fact that the opposition in this case was limited only, and erred in ruling against” all types of clothing in the application, Mann wrote in the decision.

The ruling didn’t reverse the agency’s decision blocking the Armani trademark for men’s and boy’s clothing. Armani has several related trademarks registered in the U.K. that aren’t involved in the case.

A call to Newcastle upon Tyne, England-based Sunrich wasn’t immediately answered after business hours. Howard Walker, a spokesman for the company’s law firm, Ward Hadaway, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

A message left at Armani’s press office wasn’t immediately returned.

One of the disputes in the case involved whether customers would view “AX” as the word “Ax” or as an acronym, according to the judgment. Mann said the IPO was correct to determine it would be viewed as a word.

The case is Giorgio Armani SpA v. Sunrich Clothing Ltd., CH 2010 APP0326, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (London).

Meth Lab Cleanup Sues Rival for Trademark Infringement

An Idaho company that specializes in the decontamination of illicit drug labs sued a Florida competitor for trademark infringement.

Meth Lab Cleanup LLC of Athol, Idaho, sued Spaulding Decon LLC and Laura Spaulding of Land O’ Lakes, Florida, alleging they infringed the company’s marks and made unauthorized use of its copyrighted material.

After Spaulding attended one of Meth Lab Cleanup’s training sessions in 2006, she and her company began offering similar services, according to the lawsuit. Meth Lab Cleanup said it initially regarded her as a member of its network of independent contractors, and engaged her company to perform drug-assessment services “under the goodwill and notoriety of the Meth Lab Cleanup marks.”

The Idaho company objected to a domain name -- www.meth- labcleanup.com -- used by the defendants, and to the use of their trademarks without authorization on the www.spauldingDecon.com website.

The public is confused and the Idaho company says it’s suffered “irreparable harm” from these actions, as well as the use of its training materials without permission on the Florida company’s websites. Meth Lab Cleanup also complained of the unauthorized use of its marks in Spaulding Decon’s promotional materials.

Spaulding didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Meth Lab Cleanup asked the court for orders barring unauthorized use of its marks and copyrighted material, and seeks awards of attorney fees, litigation costs, profits derived from the alleged infringement and money damages.

Claiming the infringement is deliberate, Meth Lab Cleanup asked that the damages be tripled.

Meth Lab Cleanup is represented by Stephen D. Milbrath, Robert H. Thurnburg and Ryan T. Santurri of Orlando, Florida- based Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist PA.

The case is Meth Lab Cleanup LLC v. Spaulding Decon LLC, 8:10-cv-02550, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Tampa).

Newspaper Says Repeat Counterfeiters Deserve Life Sentences

A Tanzanian newspaper called for life sentences for sellers of fake goods.

In an editorial published Nov. 11, the Citizen newspaper said the importation of fake products is such a serious problem that new laws with harsh penalties, “such as life sentences” for repeat offenders, are needed.

The sale of fake, substandard merchandise sabotages the economy, “denying the government the tax revenue it needs to provide public services,” the newspaper said in its unsigned editorial.

It also recommended that anti-counterfeiting laws be rewritten to contain a provision for the confiscation of property acquired through illegal trade. Presently, the law allows only seizure and destruction of offending goods.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

SAP Owes Oracle $40.6 Million, Damages Expert Says

SAP AG, on trial because a now-defunct subsidiary downloaded Oracle Corp. software without authorization, owes at most $40.6 million for royalties it should have paid, SAP’s expert told a federal court jury.

Stephen Clarke, a damages expert hired by SAP to analyze how much the company may owe for infringing Oracle’s software, said damages should be based on the 358 customers the unit actually garnered, not the 3,000 customers that SAP had estimated might have left Oracle to become SAP customers.

“What happened as a result of that infringement is what matters,” Clarke said yesterday at a trial in Oakland, California. “The only way to do that is focus on one customer at a time.”

Oracle, the second-largest maker of business application software behind Walldorf, Germany-based SAP, sued its competitor in 2007, claiming the TomorrowNow software maintenance unit made hundreds of thousands of downloads and several thousand copies of Oracle’s software to avoid paying licensing fees and to steal customers.

SAP has agreed that the infringement occurred. The downloads enabled TomorrowNow to fix bugs and provide updates to software customers who otherwise would have had to pay Oracle for maintenance or do the work themselves.

The trial, which began Nov. 1, will determine how much in damages SAP should pay.

Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison testified Nov. 8 that the value of the license fees that SAP should have paid was about $4 billion. Oracle’s damages expert, Paul Meyer, said SAP should pay about $1.7 billion.

Other Oracle executives have told the jury that the Redwood City, California-based company’s $11 billion investment in the acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc. and its software was compromised by the infringement. They point to an SAP document showing that SAP hoped to use TomorrowNow’s discounted services to lure thousands of PeopleSoft customers away from Oracle.

Clarke said the price paid for PeopleSoft has no bearing on damages. Customers who remained at Oracle or who left it for reasons unrelated to TomorrowNow’s infringement shouldn’t be counted, he said.

“The $11 billion is just, it’s like a magician, look at the $11 billion. But that’s not where you should be looking,” Clarke said. “You should be looking at the value of what was infringed and the way TomorrowNow used it.”

The trial is expected to last another week.

The case is Oracle Corp. v. SAP AG, 07-01658, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

IP Moves

RPX Hires Head of Cisco’s Worldwide IP Operations

RPX Corp. hired Mallun Yen, Cisco Systems Inc.’s vice president for worldwide intellectual property, to be executive vice president, the San Francisco-based patent-licensing company said yesterday.

The company Yen is joining was founded in 2008 by Geoffrey T. Barker and John A. Amster, both formerly with Bellevue, Washington’s Intellectual Ventures, and Eran Zur, who previously was part of the licensing operations for the Lemelson Foundation of Portland, Oregon.

RPX has more than 1,500 patents and patent rights, which it acquires from individual investors and academic institutions, company spokeswoman Lilly Loh said. Among the companies that have taken licenses to RPX’s patents are Microsoft Corp., EBay Inc., Hewett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp.

Yen also has worked as chief counsel at Calient Networks and as an IP litigator at New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. After she graduated from law school, she served as a judicial clerk to U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte.

Yen has an undergraduate degree from California Polytechnic State University and a law degree from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

For more copyright news, click here.

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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