Santarus, Par, Apple, Google: Intellectual Property

Santarus Inc. (SNTS) won a U.S. appeals court ruling that lets it pursue efforts to block Par Pharmaceuticals Cos. (PRX) from selling generic versions of the heartburn medicine Zegerid until 2016.

The court reversed a lower court’s findings that aspects of two patents on the drug are invalid, and sent the case back for further proceedings. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also ruled yesterday that three other Zegerid patents are invalid. The decision was posted on the court’s website.

Zegerid, which combines the compound omeprazole with antacids, generated $43.2 million in sales last year, more than a third of the $118.8 million in revenue for San Diego-based Santarus, said Martha Hough, a company spokeswoman. The company said it would seek an order halting further sales of Par’s generic product plus cash compensation for any lost sales.

“We believe Par has no meritorious basis to further dispute infringement or validity,” Santarus Chief Executive Officer Gerald Proehl said in a statement. “We plan to aggressively pursue all remedies available to us.”

The case’s two remaining patents, which expire in 2016, cover ways that the medicine, known as a proton pump inhibitor, can be absorbed into the bloodstream without being broken down by stomach acid. The formula allows the drug to be administered to patients who have difficulty swallowing capsules or tablets.

Par, based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, didn’t appeal the finding that it infringed the patents, according to the opinion. It focused its arguments on claims the patents were invalid and unenforceable.

Santarus stopped promoting Zegerid after losing the lower- court ruling in April 2010 and began selling an unbranded version of the medicine, according to its annual report. Zegerid also is sold over the counter in a lower-dosage form under a licensing agreement with Merck & Co.

The patents, including one of the two revived yesterday, also are the subject of a case Santarus filed against Cadila Healthcare Ltd. (CDH)’s Zydus unit that was put on hold pending the outcome of the Par appeal. There is also a suit filed against Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. last month.

The case is Santarus Inc. v. Par Pharmaceutical Inc., 2010-1360 and 2010-1380, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Santarus Inc. v. Par Pharmaceutical Inc., 07-cv-551, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Oracle Must Pay Some of Google’s Expenses for Android Trial

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) must reimburse Google Inc. (GOOG) about $1 million for expenses the search engine company incurred during a patent trial over its Android software, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco approved Google’s request to recover its costs for experts because it was the winning party at the trial. He rejected reimbursement of almost $3 million from Oracle for electronic searches connected to the trial.

A jury found May 7 that Mountain View, California-based Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine, infringed Oracle’s copyrights when it developed Android software for mobile devices yet deadlocked on whether the copying was “fair use.” That blocked Oracle, the largest maker of database software, from being able to seek as much as $1 billion in damages from Google. The jury found May 23 that Google didn’t infringe two Oracle patents.

Alsup also said in an order yesterday that he wasn’t influenced by any written commentary about the case in his trial rulings unless he cited a specific article in a decision. He had ordered Oracle and Google to disclose any financial ties to individuals who wrote about the trial, saying commentary that appears to be independent may influence courts.

He denied Google’s request to set aside the jury’s copyright verdict or order a new trial.

Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Redwood City, California-based Oracle, and Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, declined to comment on Alsup’s rulings.

The case is Oracle v. Google, 10-3561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Google Rival Foundem Seeks Disclosures to Users in EU Deal

An Internet company that filed a European Union antitrust complaint against Google Inc. said the company should tell users when it inserts its own products into search results as part of any settlement with antitrust regulators.

Foundem, a U.K. shopping comparison website that asked the EU to investigate after its ranking fell in Google search results, also said in a document outlining its proposals that the search engine should refrain from highlighting its own services or penalizing rivals’ rankings. Foundem also said an oversight panel should adjudicate disputes over the rankings.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, is negotiating with EU regulators over a possible settlement of the antitrust probe. It is under growing pressure from global regulators probing whether the company is thwarting competition in the market for Web searches. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and antitrust agencies in Argentina and South Korea are also scrutinizing the company.

Under Foundem’s proposals, the oversight panel would be the final port of call for any complaints that Google artificially moves some websites down in the search rankings. Foundem suggests that sites that are bumped down should be informed why and given the chance to appeal against Google’s decision, it said.

Al Verney, a spokesman for Google in Brussels, said the company was working with the European Commission and has made a proposal to address the potential concerns of regulators.

Foundem was one of several companies, including Microsoft (MSFT) Corp. that complained to the EU about Google, prompting the antitrust probe.

While Microsoft and partner Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) have about a quarter of the U.S. Web-search market, Google has almost 95 percent of the traffic in Europe, Microsoft said in a blog post last year, citing data from regulators.

China to Double Trademark Infringement Fines, Official Says

Chinese legislators are considering establishing heavier penalties for trademark infringement, Xinhua News reported.

Fines for trademark infringement are set to be doubled, as high as 1 million yuan ($157,500), the news service reported.

Those who commit repeated violations will be hit with more severe penalties, Zhang Jinhua, of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council said at a conference Sept. 3, according to Xinhua News.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Hackers Threaten Retaliation for Pirate Bay Founder’s Expulsion

A group of anonymous hackers said it has shut down key Cambodian websites in retaliation for the planned expulsion of Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, the Associated Press reported.

Warg, who was given a prison sentence and ordered to pay a fine in a Swedish criminal copyright infringement case related to alleged illegal downloading done through the Pirate Bay site, had been living in Phnom Penh, according to AP.

The wire service reported that Warg had failed to appear at a 2010 appeal hearing in Sweden.

Among the websites the hacker group said it shut down are those belonging to the Cambodian Public Works Ministry, Institute of Standards, and the army, according to AP.

Bit-Torrent Downloaders Are Being Watched, U.K. Study Finds

Those who use the Bit Torrent file-sharing protocol to download newly released film or music are monitored within three hours by third-party organizations, a study from the U.K.’s Birmingham University has found, according to a report by the BBC.

The survey found that monitoring groups are copyright- enforcement groups, security companies and research labs, according to the BBC.

The monitoring doesn’t distinguish between those who consistently illegally download large amounts of content and those who unload a single film, the BBC reported.

The study also found that much of the downloading was taking place through sites that weren’t on lists of identified sources of purloined content, which indicates that blocking of such sites isn’t working, according to the BBC.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Samsung Says High-Tech TVs Disappear En Route to Trade Show

The disappearance of two of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s television sets that were being sent to a consumer electronics fair in Germany has raised fears of industrial espionage, the U.K.’s Telegraph reported.

Loss of the sets, which use the organic-light-emitting diode technology, could potentially represent billions of dollars of losses of advanced television technology, according to the Telegraph.

The technology, which is a successor to liquid crystal displays, is used in some Samsung smartphones, the newspaper reported.

Although Samsung filed a complaint with police in Germany, the Korean company said it didn’t know at which point the two sets disappeared en route to the show, according to the Telegraph.

IP Moves

Seyfarth Firm Expands IP Practice, Hires Apotex’s Upadhye

Seyfarth Shaw LLP hired Shashank Upadhye for its IP practice, the Chicago-based firm said in a statement yesterday.

Upadhye joins from Toronto-based Apotex Inc., where he was vice president and global head of intellectual property. He has also served as head of intellectual property at the U.S. unit of Sandoz International GmbH.

His areas of specialization are IP issues related to medical devices and pharmaceuticals, including generic drugs.

Upadhye has undergraduate degrees in business and biochemistry from Brock University, a law degree from New England School of Law and a master’s degree in intellectual property law from John Marshall Law School.

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: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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