Nokia, Actavis, TopShop, Microsoft: Intellectual Property

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) sued rival mobile-phone maker HTC Corp. for selling products in the U.S., including the HTC One handset, that allegedly infringe three of its patents.

The patents pertain to “terminal, method and computer program product for interacting with a signaling tag,” according to the complaint Nokia filed May 23 in federal court in San Diego. The Espoo, Finland-based company seeks a court order halting the alleged infringement and unspecified damages.

Nokia, which lost its 14-year title as world’s biggest seller of mobile phones to Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. in 2011, is trying to expand revenue from its patent portfolio. The company last year sued Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC in the U.S. and in Germany over alleged patent infringement.

“Upon receiving the official document, HTC is to consider all legal options to protect our rights,” the Taiwanese company said in an e-mailed statement May 23.

In dispute are patents 7,775,432, 8,306,065, and 8,366,000.

The case is Nokia Oyj v. HTC Corp. (2498), 13-1231, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

Actavis Sale of Generic Pulmicort Blocked by Appeals Court

Actavis Inc. (ACT)’s sales of a generic form of AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)’s Pulmicort pediatric asthma treatment were cut short after a May 24 order from a federal appeals court.

Sales were to have begun April 1, following a trial court ruling that Parsippany, New Jersey-based Actavis didn’t infringe AstraZeneca’s patent 7,524,834, and that a second patent at issue -- 6,598,603 -- wasn’t valid.

The trial court issued a temporary ban on sale of the generic version of the drug on April 2, to give AstraZeneca a chance to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a Washington-based court that hears appeals of patent cases.

The appeals court issued its temporary order May 24, saying that London-based AstraZeneca had established it was entitled to that protection during the course of the appeal. AstraZeneca is required to post a $72 million bond within 7 days of the ruling, according to the order.

Additionally, the appeals court granted a request from Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. to file a friend of the court brief.

The case is AstraZeneca LP v. Breath Ltd., 2013-1312-1352, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The lower court case is AstraZeneca LP v. Breath Ltd., 1:08-cv-01512-RMB-AMD, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Camden).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Pop Singer Rihanna Goes After TopShop, Says T-Shirt Unauthorized

TopShop Ltd., the London-based clothing retailer, was sued by pop singer Rihanna, who claims the chain sold T-shirts without authorization that bear her image, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

She had been in negotiations with the chain for more than a year over the shirts, according to the Telegraph.

The newspaper reported that Rihanna is seeking $5 million in damages.

Although TopShop has some U.S. outlets, the allegedly infringing product wasn’t sold there, according to the Telegraph.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Microsoft Copyright Infringement Claim Rejected by Russian Court

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s copyright infringement complaint against the joint German-Russian venture Autobahn was rejected by the Moscow Region Commercial Court, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, claimed unauthorized copies of its software were found on Autobahn computers during an inspection by Russian law enforcement officials, according to RAPSI.

The court found fault with the protocol under which the inspection was conducted and said that Microsoft didn’t provide adequate evidence to defeat Autobahn’s claims that the inspection didn’t take place at the address specified in court documents, RAPSI reported.

Autobahn, founded in 1995, is a joint venture between a group of Russian road construction companies and Windhagen, Germany’s Wirtgen GmbH, according to the news agency.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Chinese Researches at NYU Arrested, Charged in Espionage Case

Three Chinese researchers at New York University were charged with falsification of records and commercial bribery in an industrial espionage case.

The scientists are accused of providing information to a Chinese medical-imaging company that flows from their research at the university funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to the complaint filed May 19 in federal court in Manhattan.

The government alleged in court papers that Yudong Zhu, an associate professor in radiology at NYU, provided false statements regarding his affiliation with a Chinese government-sponsored research institution, a Chinese medical-imaging company, and about his application for and ownership of a patent related to NIH-funded research.

Zhu’s patent 8,319,495 B1 was issued in November 2012, and, according to the complaint, the university became aware of it only in connection with its own investigation.

Additional allegations are related to photographs taken of lab equipment, and e-mails to the Chinese company.

Zhu is represented by Robert M. Baum of Federal Defenders of New York Inc., who didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is U.S. A v. ZHU, 11:13-mj-01309-UA, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

IP Moves

Sheppard Mullin Expands China IP Practice, Hires Scott J. Palmer

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP hired Scott J. Palmer for its IP practice group, the Los Angeles-based firm said in a statement.

Palmer, who joins from Baker & McKenzie LLP, will be based in Beijing. He does IP portfolio-management work as well as trademark and copyright registration and enforcement, and has handled anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy efforts in China for multinational clients.

Palmer has an undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University and a law degree from Indiana 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: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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