Lilly, Facebook, Baidu, Collins: Intellectual Property

Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)’s patent- infringement claim over Hospira Inc.’s generic version of the cancer treatment Gemzar will be investigated by a U.S. trade agency with the power to block imports of the copycat drug.

The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington said yesterday it will probe the complaint Lilly filed Jan. 20. Indianapolis-based Lilly claims Hospira’s gemcitabine, Gemzar’s active ingredient, infringes a patent expiring in February 2014.

Global sales of Gemzar, used to treat lung, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancer, dropped 22 percent to $243.6 million in the fourth quarter, Lilly reported Jan. 27. Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira began selling gemcitabine in November after Lilly lost an appeals court ruling that said a separate patent expiring in May 2013 was invalid.

The method covered by patent 5,606,048 is “the most commercially viable process available for manufacturing gemcitabine” and “involves less steps, higher yields and lower costs,” Lilly said in its complaint.

Hospira sued Lilly in September, seeking a court ruling that its process wouldn’t infringe the patent. That case is pending in federal court in Chicago.

The Lilly ITC complaint also names Hospira suppliers Jiangsu Hansoh Pharmaceutical Co. of China, Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. of India and ChemWerth Inc. of Woodbridge, Connecticut. According to Lilly, Hansoh makes the active ingredient, ships it to India where it’s formulated into the drug before being sent to ChemWerth for sale by Hospira.

The case is In the Matter of Gemcitabine and Products Containing Same, 337-788, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The federal court case is Hospira Inc. (HSP), v. Eli Lilly & Co, 1:10-cv-06275, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Facebook Gets U.S. Patent on Method of Ranking Search Results

Facebook Inc., the Palo Alto, California-based social media company that operates the most visited U.S. website, received a patent for an Internet search function.

The technology, covered by patent 7,890,501, ranks the relevance of search results based on the degree of separation a person who clicks the link has from the social network member who submitted the original query. The frequency of clicks is factored into the ranking system.

Facebook, which has 500 million active users, applied for the patent in March 2010 with assistance from Houston’s Baker Botts LLP. The patent was issued Feb. 15.

Mosaid Sues Technology Companies for Infringing Wi-Fi Patents

Mosaid Technologies Inc. (MSD), a semiconductor designer based in Ottawa, Ontario, sued more than 30 technology companies for patent infringement.

According to the complaint filed March 16 in federal court in Marshall, Texas, the companies infringed six patents related to Wi-Fi technology. In dispute are patents 5,131,006, 5,151,902, 5,422,887, 5,706,428, 6,563,786 and 6,992,972.

The company asked the court to bar further infringement, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Claiming the infringement is deliberate, Mosaid requested extra damages to punish the defendants.

If the court doesn’t order an immediate halt to the alleged infringement, Mosaid wants to be paid an ongoing royalty. The company is represented by Theodore Stevenson III, David Sochia, John M. Shumaker and Samuel F. Baxter of Dallas-based McCool Smith PC.

The case is Mosaid Technologies Inc., v. Dell Inc., 2:11- cv-00179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

For more patent news, click here.

Copyright

Baidu Hit with Infringement Complaint by Chinese Authors

Baidu Inc., the owner of China’s most popular search engine, was accused of stealing works by Chinese writers, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a letter posted on the China Written Works Copyright Society, a government agency, the writers said Baidu has provided their works for free downloading without permission, AFP reported.

The alleged infringement occurred in Baidu’s Baidu Wenku book-sharing site, according to AFP.

Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo told AFP the company deletes infringing content within 48 hours of receiving a complaint.

Adult Film Company Sues Limited Number of Doe Defendants

Patrick Collins Inc., a maker of adult-themed films, filed nine copyright-infringement cases in federal court in Miami on March 16.

The suits are against unnamed defendants accused of using the Bit Torrent protocol to infringe the films’ copyrights.

According to the complaints, the studio used International IPTracker software to search for infringing transactions, and retained IPP Ltd. of Bangkok to identify the Internet protocol addresses of alleged infringers.

Collins sued no more than 12 defendants in any of the cases. Each defendant’s Internet protocol address can be traced to a physical address within the court’s jurisdiction, Collins said in the complaint.

According to a database kept by San Francisco’s Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights group, earlier infringement cases involving Patrick Collins films targeted as many as 2,000 unnamed defendants in a single complaint.

The database indicated that in these cases, all or all but one of the defendants were dismissed.

In the new cases, the studio asked for an order for the removal of its film from each computer in the defendants’ control, money damages of $150,000 per defendant, and awards of litigation costs and attorney fees.

The studio is represented by M. Keith Lipscomb and Jose S. Talavera of Lipscomb Eisenberg PL of Miami.

The cases are Patrick Collins v. John Does, 1:2011-cv- 20905, 2:2011-cv-14103, 0:2011-cv-60568, 2:2011-cv-14104, 1:2011-cv-20909, 0:2011-cv-60570, 0:2011-cv-60571, 1:2011-cv- 20912 and 1:2011-cv-20914, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trademark

Sacramento Kings Filed ‘Anaheim Royals’ Trademark Applications

Owners of the National Basketball Association team the Sacramento Kings filed trademark applications pointing to a relocation of the team to Southern California, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Applications were filed for “Anaheim Royals,” “Anaheim Royals of Southern California,” “Orange County Royals” and “Los Angeles Royals,” according to the Bee.

The team was previously known as the Rochester Royals, the Cincinnati Royals and the Kansas City Kings before its move to Sacramento in 1985, according to the Bee.

The Kings have until April 18 to file an application to move the franchise, the Bee reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Tekmira Sues Alnylam Over Trade Secrets, Seeks $1 Billion

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (TKMR), a Canadian biotechnology company, sued a former collaborator for trade secret theft and claims damages in the case may exceed $1 billion.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALNY), of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is accused of using information covered by non-disclosure agreements to file patent applications. The company also passed that information on to “at least one third party without Tekmira’s consent in connection with a business deal,” according to the complaint filed March 16 in Massachusetts state court.

The trade secrets relate to the use of a molecule known as small interfering ribonucleic acid to combat diseases and turn off the production of proteins associated with disease or viruses. Tekmira said in a March 16 statement that Alnylam has made public disclosures claiming the Canadian company’s technology as its own.

In addition to attorney fees, litigation costs, money damages and all profits derived from the alleged theft of trade secrets, Burnaby, British Columbia-based Tekmira asked for an award of “reasonable royalties” for the use of its technology. The company also seeks court orders barring Alnylam from using Tekmira trade secrets and from claiming to own them.

Tekmira also asked for the placement of a constructive trust over all “information, patent applications, patents, technology, products and other materials” in Alnylam’s possession that relates to the Tekmira trade secrets.

According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alnylam has 65 published and pending patent applications and 49 issued patents.

In a March 17 statement, Alnylam said Tekmira’s allegations are “without merit or foundation.” Alnylam said it has provided more than $45 million in funding to Tekmira and another $6 million in “manufacturing-related funding” in 2010.

Alnylam said that in exchange for its investment, it had a “broad license” to Tekmira’s intellectual property. The Massachusetts company said it received no prior notification of the dispute.

Barry Green, Alnylam’s president and chief operating officer, called the litigation “unexpected” and said it was “surprising and extremely unfortunate” that Tekmira chose filing a case over “constructive business dialogue.”

Tekmira is represented by Michael R. Gottfried and Patricia R. Rich of Philadelphia’s Duane Morris LLP, and Elizabeth A. Howard, Michael C. Spillner and Derek F. Knerr of San Francisco’s Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The case is Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. (TKM) v. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., SUCV2011-01010, Massachusetts Superior Court, Suffolk County.

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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