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Sanofi, Sandisk, Bushnell: Intellectual Property

Sanofi-Aventis SA failed persuade an Australian federal judge to block two generic drug manufacturers from selling a copy of the cancer drug Taxotere in the country.

Judge Jayne Jagot denied Sanofi’s request for an injunction Feb. 1, clearing the way for Hospira Inc. and Interpharma Ltd. to sell their copies as soon as a patent on Taxotere’s main ingredient docetaxel expires Feb. 6.

Taxotere accounts for 95 percent of Sanofi cancer drug sales in Australia, according to the judge, who wrote “the lost sales represent substantial sums of money.” Sanofi, based in Paris, can be compensated for the lost sales if it’s able to convince a judge at trial that its patent has been infringed, Jagot ruled.

Taxotere, used to treat prostate cancer, generated 2.18 billion euros ($3.02 billion) in global sales in 2009 for Sanofi.

Alan Brindell, a spokesman for Sanofi in Australia, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment.

Sanofi waited too long to object to the entry of the generics into the market to be granted a temporary bar on the sale of the copies, Jagot said.

“There has been undue and inadequately explained delay by the Aventis parties,” Jagot wrote in the ruling, released on the court’s website yesterday.

The case is Between Hospira Australia Ltd. and Aventis Pharma SA. NSD 1521/2010. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).

Sandisk in Cross-Patent License Pact, Settlement With Imation

Sandisk Corp. has settled a patent case it brought against Imation Corp. of Oakdale, Minnesota, Sandisk said in a statement yesterday.

Imation is one of the 50 entities Sandisk sued in federal court in federal court in Madison, Wisconsin, in October 2007. The suit involved patents for encryption technology for memory cards.

Milpitas, California-based Sandisk said that under the terms of the settlement Imation will pay royalties on flash memory products. Additionally, the Minnesota company acknowledged infringing SanDisk’s patent 7,137,011, and won’t challenge its validity.

Other terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

The case is SanDisk Corp. v. Phison Electronics Corp., 3:07-cv-00607-bbc, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

Indian Tribe Can’t Be Sued for Patent Infringement, Court Says

A patent owner’s suit against an Indian tribe over a slot machine card holder was rebuffed by a federal judge who found tribes can’t be sued for patent infringement.

Specialty House of Creation Inc., of Pittsgrove, New Jersey, a maker of casino products, sued the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma in June 2010 for patent infringement in federal court in Tulsa Oklahoma.

The company claimed in court papers that after the tribe ordered 14,000 slot machine card holders from Specialty House, it made multiple requests for quotes on orders for similar products from TGI Enterprises Inc. of Tulsa.

Each time TGI received a request for a quote, it contacted Specialty House, which provided the requested quote. Each quote contained a reference to the disputed patent, D486531.

Specialty House said this number was stamped on every slot machine card delivered to the tribe in the original order for 14,000.

The tribe then allegedly arranged for production of counterfeit versions of the card holder and began using them at the Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, Oklahoma, Specialty said it its court papers. Each card was falsely stamped with the patent number, according to the pleadings.

Specialty House asked the court for money damages, including $500 for each of the articles falsely marked with its patent number.

In a January 27 ruling, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell dismissed the case. He noted that other courts have found that because federal patent law contains “no express waiver of tribal sovereign immunity,” tribes can’t be sued for patent infringement.

Specialty was represented by Cornelius P. Dukelow of the Abington Intellectual Property Group PC of Tulsa. The tribe was represented by Daniel Eduardo Gomez and Stephen Richard Ward of Conner & Winters LLP, also of Tulsa.

The case is Specialty House of Creation Inc. v. Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, 4:10-cv-00371-GKF-TLW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma (Tulsa).

Bushnell, WildGame Innovations Accused of Infringing Patent

Bushnell Corp., maker of Bushnell field glasses and gun sights, was sued by a Minnesota inventor for patent infringement involving a camera.

In a second suit filed the same day, the inventor also accused WildGame Innovations LLC of Broussard, Louisiana, of infringing the same patent.

At issue is patent 7,880,793, for a camera with a mountain rail, which was issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Feb. 1, the same day the suits were filed in federal court in Minnesota.

Patent holder Larry Holmberg of Gully, Minnesota, claims Bushnell and WildGame both sell cameras that infringe the patent. He didn’t specify which products from each company infringe.

He said he’s harmed by the actions of the two companies and asked the court to order Bushnell and WildGame Innovations to quit infringing his patent. He also requested awards of money damages “not less than a reasonable royalty,” attorney fees and litigation costs.

Alleging the infringement is deliberate, Holmberg asked the court for triple the damages to punish the defendant companies.

Neither Bushnell nor WildGame responded immediately to e-mailed requests for comment.

Holmberg is represented by Larrin Bergman, David R. Fairbairn, and Carolyn H.B. Eckart of Kinney & Lange PA of Minneapolis.

The case against WildGame Innovations is Larry Holberg v. WildGame Innovations LLC, 0:11-cv-00247-JRT-LIB, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. The case against Bushnell is Larry Holberg v. Bushnell Corp., 0:11-cv-00245-DWG-LIB, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

For more patent news, click here.

For trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Ten Sports-Streaming Internet Sites Seized by U.S. Officials

U.S. law enforcement officials seized 10 websites the government claims illegally offered live streaming video of sporting events and pay-per-view telecasts.

The U.S. attorney for Manhattan and the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced yesterday in a statement that warrants were executed to seize Atdhe.net, Channelsurfing.net, Hq-Streams.com, Hq-Streams.net, Firstrow.net, Ilemi.com, Iilemi.com, Iilemii.com, Rojadirecta.org and Rojadirecta.com.

The websites gave users access to pirated telecasts of games played by the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to the statement.

The action follows the seizure in December of seven websites the government said illegally offered first-run movies, seeking forfeiture of their Internet domain names.

Operators of the websites couldn’t be located for comment.

The case is U.S. v. Hq-Streams.com, 11-mag-00262, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

U.K. Antitrust Regulator Starts Probe of E-Book Pricing Deals

Britain’s antitrust regulator is investigating whether book publishers’ agreements with retailers regarding the sale of electronic versions of their titles violate competition rules.

The Office of Fair Trading started the probe after receiving a “significant” number of complaints from companies concerned about competition, the London-based watchdog said in a statement posted Feb. 1 on its website.

“The investigation is at an early stage and it should not be assumed that the parties involved have breached competition law,” the regulator said. Kasia Reardon, an OFT spokeswoman, yesterday declined to name the companies involved or give any other details of the probe, citing agency policy.

The inquiry comes six months after then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has since been elected to the U.S. Senate, told Bloomberg News about his office’s investigation into e-book publishers’ deals with Amazon.com Inc., maker of the Kindle reader, and Apple Inc., maker of the iPad tablet. A similar probe began in Texas in June 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, is likely to have sold more than 8 million Kindle e-book readers last year, at least 60 percent more than analysts predicted, two people aware of the company’s sales projections told Bloomberg News.

Apple’s iPad, which has sold more than 14.8 million units worldwide since its introduction in April, can be used to read books, magazines and newspapers, as well as play videos and surf the web. Companies including Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. are seeking to gain market share with their own e-readers.

Archie Settles Copyright Suit With Indian Film Company

Archie Comic Publications Inc. settled an infringement suit against the makers of the upcoming “Boyss to Boyss Hain” film, Hindustan Times reported.

Vikramaditya Narayan, the film’s marketing director, said credit will be given to Mamaroneck, New York-based Archie, according to Hindustan Times.

The marketing director told the newspaper that the film “was dragged into controversy for no reason” and that there are great differences between the comic strip and the film.

He claimed that although some crew members had said elements in the film were similar to Archie, “Boyss to Boyss Hain” is set in “Delhi, not Riverdale” and that the characters “are not like Veronica and Betty” of the Archie comic, the newspaper reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Talk

Investors Must Watch China’s Innovation Drive, Barshefsky Says

Companies investing in China should be wary of the country’s policy aim to gain more control of technology and intellectual property, former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said.

China is still absorbing know-how from the rest of the world, and with 80 percent of its technology exports produced by foreign-invested enterprises, the country is seeking to “rebalance the levers” by doing more research and development at home, according to Barshefsky, who served in the Clinton administration.

“The opportunity is great, but if you wouldn’t do a deal 10 miles from where you are because your antennae go up, don’t think it gets better 10,000 miles away,” Barshefsky, now senior international partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, said at the Bloomberg China Investment Strategies conference in New York yesterday.

The U.S. and European Union have protested Chinese rules on so-called indigenous innovation, introduced in November 2009, giving preference in bids for government projects to products containing Chinese-developed technologies.

“China’s view is, rebalance the levers, indigenize everything that can be indigenized, including over time supplying the local market,” Barshefsky said. “For China and for the party, modernization and development are the ballast for stability.”

China needs to add 10 million to 13 million net jobs a year, including for 6 million college graduates who won’t accept factory work, she said.

“The bottom line is that China has to accelerate that modernization and development and it has to continually move up the value chain,” Barshefsky said. “It needs to become an actual innovator again, rather than a technology absorber.”

IP Moves

K&L Gates Expands California IP Group With Two from Manatt

K&L Gates LLP hired two lawyers from Manatt Phelps & Phillip LLP of Los Angeles for its Northern California IP practice, the Pittsburgh-based firm said in a statement.

The two new hires are Susan E. Hollander and Britt L. Anderson.

Hollander, a litigator, does trademark and copyright work, including trade dress, false advertising and unfair competition disputes. She has represented clients in federal courts and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

She has an undergraduate degree from Pitzer College and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Anderson, who is also a litigator, has represented technology and consumer-products companies in trademark and copyright disputes.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley, and a law degree from Santa Clara University.

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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