A&E TV, Philip Morris, LucasFilm: Intellectual Property
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA)’s patent on the company’s biggest selling drug, the Copaxone multiple-sclerosis treatment, was upheld by a U.K. court.
The U.K. decision comes almost three weeks after a U.S. federal district judge ruled in Teva’s favor, saying Copaxone’s patents are valid and enforceable. Teva is trying to stave off competition for Copaxone, which generated 21 percent of its revenue last year.
“It helps to get another court victory on their major drug,” Jonathan Kreizman, an analyst at Clal Finance Brokerage, said by phone from Tel Aviv. “Still, the decision was in line with market expectations.”
New treatments such as Novartis AG’s Gilenya and the possible introduction of generics before Copaxone’s U.S. patents expire in 2014 and 2015 threaten to erode Teva’s market share.
Mylan Inc. had filed suit in the U.K. to try to invalidate a Copaxone patent and allow a generic copy, Teva said. The court declared Teva’s patents expiring May 2015 valid.
Bank of America Gets Patent to Make Customers Feel Connected
Bank of America Corp. has received a patent for a technology aimed at making large banks’ customers feel more connected to their local communities.
Patent 8,219,499, issued July 10, covers a review platform for online banking through which the bank’s customers can rate and review the bank’s business customers.
The system provides a forum through which the bank’s customers can “interact with each other to exchange information related to activities, local events, offers, business knowledge, business contacts, business reviews, and/or the like,” according to the patent.
According to the patent, the increased emphasis on computerized services offered by large banks have “significantly changed the customer experience of banking with a local community bank.” As a result, banks are “less likely” to be places where customers and the bank’s business customers can interact with each other and the bank employees on a regular basis.
According to the patent, when large banks participate in community events or charities, they aren’t often recognized by their customers unless the customers themselves are involved with a particular charity or event.
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TV Networks Fight Over History Repeating in U.K. Trademark Trial
A&E Television Networks LLC, which airs the History channel, said viewers were fooled into watching a similarly- named channel run by a Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA) unit.
A&E claims Discovery infringed its History channel trademark when it renamed one of its channels “Discovery History” in 2010 and is seeking a London court order blocking the Silver Spring, Maryland-based company’s use of “History.”
“People are watching their channels thinking they are watching ours,” A&E’s lawyer, James Mellor, said at the start of a five-day trial. That’s “going to have some impact on viewing figures and will have some impact on revenues.”
History, formerly known as The History Channel, is the second most-watched of the fact-based pay-TV stations in the U.K., according to A&E court documents. Both Discovery History and History are known for “documentaries about tanks trundling across the Russian steppe,” said Judge Peter Smith, who said he watched them regularly.
A&E will present viewers as witnesses during the trial who told the New York-based broadcaster they’d been deceived by the Discovery History name, to show “what real people think,” Mellor said.
The channels’ names are similar “as a matter of simple English,” Discovery said in court papers. A&E wants “a monopoly in the word history.”
A&E is trying to stop other broadcasters from using the word only “in a particular context,” Mellor said in response to a question by Smith. Discovery’s use is deceptive, he said.
Discovery, which also broadcasts the Animal Planet and TLC channels, has 1.7 billion subscribers in 209 countries, according to its website.
Jeremy Dickerson, Discovery’s lawyer, and Debra Johnson, an A&E spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails requesting comment.
Philip Morris Won’t Appeal Russian ‘Zolotaya Optima’ Ruling
Philip Morris International Inc. (PM)’s appeal of the rejection of a Russian trademark registration has come to naught, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported.
The company had sought to register “Optima Zolotaya,” which the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks said was confusingly similar to a trademark registered by the BAT Russia-Java, according to the news service.
The court dismissed the suit and affirmed the IP regulators’ refusal to register the mark, and Philip Morris said it won’t make further efforts to overcome the court’s objections, according to the news service.
The agency had said that the word “Zolotaya” in the Philip Morris application could be viewed as a separate element and this would potentially confuse consumers, the news service reported.
Chrysler Seeks ‘Ecodiesel 3.0L’ Trademark for Car Engines
Chrysler Group LLC, which is majority owned by Turin-based Fiat SpA (F), has applied to register “Ecodiesel 3.0L” as a trademark.
According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Chrysler applied for the mark June 25 and plans to use it for automotive engines.
In 1992, Volkswagen AG (VOW) registered “Ecodiesel” as a U.S. trademark, to be used with cars and their structural parts. That registration was later canceled for procedural reasons, according to the patent office database.
In May 2012 a Canadian company filed an application to register “Ecodiesel System,” and plans to use it for an anti- pollution device for engines and motors. That company is Technocarb Equipment (2004) Ltd. of Abbotsford, British Columbia.
LucasFilm Loses ‘Brandroid’ Trademark Challenge in Sweden
LucasFilm Ltd., director George Lucas’s film production company, has lost its challenge to a Swedish company’s attempt to register “Brandroid” as a Swedish trademark, The Limited English-language newspaper reported.
Ocean Observations, a Stockholm-based branding company, applied to register the term in 2011, saying the word was a combination of “brand” and “Android,” and receiving a cease- and-desist notice from LucasFilm, the Limited reported.
The Nicasio, California-based company had claimed the name was too close to a series of trademarks it had containing “droid” that were related to the intelligent robots it had used in its “Star Wars” movies, according to The Limited.
The Swedish Patent office rejected LucasFilm’s claim, determining that there would be little possibility of confusion, because “Brandroid” is an invented word with no connection to the meaning of “droid,” The Limited reported.
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EU Seeks to Ease Licensing Rules That Block Online Music Stores
The European Union proposed changes to ease licensing rules that prevent Internet music stores, including Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes, from selling digital music across the 27-nation bloc.
Royalty-collection societies could be forced under the draft rules to transfer their revenue-gathering activities to rivals if they lack the technical capacity to license music to Internet services in multiple countries.
Music copyright licenses are granted on a national basis in the EU so consumers can only download music from an iTunes store in their home country. The EU has sought to promote pan-European licensing for years, and the commission issued an antitrust decision in 2008 against national agencies that collect royalties on behalf of artists.
Under current rules, European consumers “have less access to innovative services,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said. “It’s not surprising that young consumers look elsewhere than the legal” online music stores.
Collection societies also face more oversight and must report quickly to musicians on the royalties they’ve collected under the draft rules, which need the support of EU governments and lawmakers before becoming law.
Apple rolled out iTunes stores in Poland, Hungary and 10 other European countries last year, seven years since arriving in Germany, the U.K. and France. Obtaining licensing rights from publishers and royalty-collecting societies was an obstacle to opening stores in all EU nations, it said in 2009.
Most royalty revenue comes from music played on radio and television, according to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers. Digital music accounts for 1.7 percent of the 7.5 billion euros ($9.2 billion) the French group, known as CISAC, collected in 2010 and doesn’t offset the royalties lost as recorded-music sales fall, according to its statement this year.
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