Apple, Teva, Salesforce.com, Mars: Intellectual Property
Apple Inc. lost a bid to delay Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s request to lift a preliminary ban on U.S. sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 computer until after a judge considers Apple’s request to bar some products permanently.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, yesterday denied Apple’s request to reschedule the Dec. 6 hearing for a permanent ban on U.S. sales of eight Samsung mobile devices ahead of a Sept. 20 hearing on Samsung’s request to lift a preliminary sales ban on the Galaxy tablet. Apple argued in a court filing that its request is “more urgent” than Samsung’s.
Apple is seeking to bar U.S. sales of the eight smartphone models and the tablet after a jury found Aug. 24 that Samsung infringed six of seven patents at stake in the trial and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. Seven of the eight smartphones that Apple seeks to ban are part of Samsung’s Galaxy line.
In yesterday’s opinion, Koh said she previously disagreed with arguments Apple made in court filings, “and no change in facts or the law has changed the court’s opinion.”
Koh also cited Apple’s indication that it may seek to broaden the scope of Samsung products it wants banned in a permanent injunction as a reason not to change the hearing dates.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, won a ban on U.S. sales of the Tab 10.1 in June that the Suwon, South Korea-based company said wouldn’t significantly affect its business. Apple, seeking to make that prohibition permanent, said in an Aug. 27 court filing that Koh should also bar U.S. sales of a version of the tablet that runs on mobile networks, even though that product wasn’t covered by the Aug. 24 verdict.
Samsung sought to have the ban on the Tab 10.1 lifted on Aug. 26 after the jury found the device didn’t infringe the Apple design patent on which the June 26 court-ordered sales ban was based. The jury instead found that the Tab 10.1 infringed three of Apple’s software patents.
Colleen Patterson and Lauren Vroom, spokeswomen for Apple, didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment on yesterday’s ruling.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
Teva Sues Perrigo Over Patents for ProAir Asthma Inhaler
Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products R&D Inc. of Horsham, Pennsylvania, contends Allegan, Michigan-based Perrigo is planning to market its version of the albuterol sulfate aerosol inhaler before the patents expire in 2017 and 2023, according to federal court papers filed Sept. 5 in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Teva will be irreparably harmed” if a jury doesn’t stop Perrigo’s infringement, Teva’s lawyers said in the complaint. In dispute are patents 7,566,445 and 7,105,152.
Teva, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, reported $436 million in ProAir sales last year, 2.4 percent of its revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, almost 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma, and it is the most common chronic condition in children.
Teva and manufacturer Norton Ltd. of Waterford, Ireland, also named Somerset, New Jersey-based Catalent Pharma Solutions LLC as a defendant. Catalent plans to make the generic product for Perrigo to market, according to court papers.
The lawsuit “formally initiates the litigation process” that could lead to 180 days of generic exclusivity, Perrigo said in a statement through spokesman Arthur J. Shannon.
“Perrigo is committed to making quality health care more affordable for our customers,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph C. Papa said in the statement.
Kristian Klein, a Catalent spokesman, didn’t immediately reply to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the allegations.
The case is Teva v. Perrigo, 12-cv-1101, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
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Ben & Jerry’s Wins Temporary Order Against Porn Producers
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. won a court order against the producers of a series of adult-film DVDs with titles and packaging based on its ice cream flavors.
Ben & Jerry’s, a unit of London-based Unilever NV (UNA), sued in New York Sept. 5 to block Caballero Video from selling its “Ben & Cherry’s” series of 10 DVDs with titles that played on the names of some of the ice cream flavors such as Cherry Garcia and Peanut Butter Cup.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan yesterday ordered Caballero to stop selling and distributing the materials and said all infringing products, labels and advertising must be destroyed or removed from retail shelves immediately.
The judge also directed that the producers appear before him for a hearing on Sept. 12 to say why he shouldn’t issue a preliminary injunction against them.
The DVD packaging features images of naked men and women against backgrounds that copy the design of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream containers including grazing cows and fluffy white clouds, according to Ben & Jerry’s.
A woman who answered the telephone at Caballero’s offices and declined to give her name said the company didn’t have an immediate comment about the judge’s order.
The case is Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. v. Rodax Distributors Inc., 12-CV-6734, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
Salesforce.com Backs Down on ‘Social Enterprise’ Registration
Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM), a provider of on-demand sales- management software, abandoned its attempt to register “social enterprise” as a trademark.
The San Francisco-based company filed its application to register the trademark in December, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At that time, Salesfoce.com had said it would use the mark for software, business-management and educational services.
In a statement, SalesForce.com said that while it has been “evangelizing” the term “social enterprise” for almost two years, “members of the social sector expressed concern that it would cause confusion around the meaning of the term.”
This represents a recent change in direction for the company. On Aug. 16, Steve Garnett, who leads the company’s activities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in an Aug. 16 blog posting that the “social revolution” that has caused people to spend so much time online in social networks was the reason the company placed such an emphasis on the term.
At that time, Garnett said the company didn’t own or intend to own the trademark rights for the term “social enterprise” within the nonprofit sector, and that it wouldn’t try to restrict descriptive uses of the phrase by others in philanthropy, social responsibility, community involvement or mission-driven organizations.
In its Sept. 2 statement, Salesforce.com said it heard from both nonprofits and for-profit companies, and that it was never its intention to create confusion through its application.
Additionally, Salesforce.com said it would remove any references to “social enterprise” in its marketing materials in the future.
The trademark application may not have succeeded anyway. According to files at the patent office, in March, SalesForce.com was sent an initial refusal to register the mark.
Mars Says Deep-Fried Candy Bars Not Part of Lifestyle Promotion
Mars Inc., the closely held maker of Snickers, M&M’s and Milky Way candies, sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Scottish fish-and-chips shop that serves deep-fried Mars bars, the Scotsman newspaper reported.
The letter cautioned the Carron Fish Bar of Stonehaven, Scotland, to put a disclaimer on its menu that its use of the Mars trademark wasn’t authorized or endorsed by the candy company, according to the newspaper.
The company said in its letter that the deep-fried treat wasn’t in line with its marketing code “through which we promote a healthy active lifestyle to consumers,” the Scotsman reported.
Deep-frying counters the effects of Mars’s recent reduction of saturated fat in its candy bar recipe, the company said, according to the newspaper.
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Microsoft Plans to Increase Number of Employees in China by 22%
The company is making the move even though copyright infringement is still a major problem in China. That country’s illegal software market was worth almost $9 billion last year, compared with a legal market of less than $3 billion, according to the annual report of the Business Software Alliance, released in May.
During a visit to Beijing in May, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said intellectual property protection in China is “still weak,” making it difficult to sell legitimate software in the country.
The company is going ahead to add 1,000 employees in China, where it now has 4,500 workers, Ralph Haupter, Microsoft’s chief executive officer for the greater China region, said at a press conference in Beijing yesterday. It was his first meeting with media since he was named to the post in April.
“If you look at the industry and market dynamics, there’s no doubt that the opportunity in China is kind of incredible,” Haupter said. “The pure volume dynamic and scale is incredible here in China.” The new workers will fill positions in sales, marketing, services and research.
Research funding in China will increase 15 percent from $500 million previously, Zhang Yaqin, Microsoft vice president and chairman of Asia-Pacific research, said at the briefing.
China, the world’s largest market for personal computers and mobile phones, is crucial to Microsoft as it prepares to release Windows 8 next month. The update of the Redmond, Washington-based company’s flagship software will run on PCs and tablets, including its own machine, Surface. It’s designed to combat Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s lead in the tablet market and boost sales of the Surface device when it goes on sale later this year.
Hadopi’s Infringement Warning Letters Yield 14 Court Complaints
France’s High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights, that country’s antipiracy group known as Hadopi, has sent out more than 1 million warning letters to alleged infringers since Oct. 1, 2010, and only 14 of those cases have resulted in an infringement filing with a French court, PC World magazine reported.
More than 100,000 second-warning letters were sent, and of these, only 340 have been identified as the subject of continuing infringement claims, according to PC World.
Mireille Imbert-Quaretta, president of France’s Commission for Rights Protection that is part of Hadopi, said she’s satisfied with the results, because the primary role of the campaign is to educate and dissuade further infringement rather than prosecute infringers, the magazine reported.
She has said response to the warning letters and discussions with their recipients have indicated a high level of ignorance of copyright law among French Internet users, PC World reported.
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