Marathon Patent, Novo Nordisk: Intellectual Property

Marathon Patent Group Inc. (MARA)’s Relay IP unit said it filed 10 patent infringement cases in federal court in Delaware June 14. All the cases alleged infringement of patent 5,331,637.

The patent, which was issued in July 1994, covers transmitting information organized into packets between nodes of a communications network. According to the patent, the covered technology “provides a novel, low-overhead method for constructing and storing one multi-destination delivery route.”

Among the companies Marathon said Relay IP sued are Direct Edge ECN LLC, Active Tick LLC, and Lek Securities Corp.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s database of what are known as patent assignments, this patent has changed hands several times. Initially, it was assigned to Bell Communications Research Inc. of Livingston, New Jersey. Then it was transferred to Telecore Technologies Inc., of Morristown, New Jersey.

In April 2011, the patent went to Mosaid Technologies Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario. Relay Technologies acquired the patent from Mosaid on June 5 of this year.

Two days earlier, the Alexandria, Virginia-based patent-licensing company said in a statement that it had secured $6 million in financing it would use to fund patent acquisitions and operations.

Novo Nordisk Patent Claim on Prandin Invalid, U.S. Court Says

Novo Nordisk A/S (NOVOB), the Danish pharmaceutical company with a focus on diabetes treatment, lost a U.S. appeals court bid to revive a patent claim on its drug Prandin.

The patent claim asserted against Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Paddock Laboratories Inc. is invalid, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in separate decisions posted on its website.

The Washington-based court, which hears appeals of patent disputes, overturned a finding that the entire patent was unenforceable. The court said information Novo Nordisk failed to provide to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office didn’t affect the outcome of the agency review of the application.

The disputed patent -- 6,677,358 -- was issued in January 2004, and covers an oral medicine for non-insulin dependent diabetes.

The cases are Novo Nordisk A/S v. Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd., 2011-1223 and Novo Nordisk, Inc. v. Paddock Laboratories Inc., 2012-1031, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Fifth & Pacific’s Kate Spade Doesn’t Infringe Mark, Court Says

Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc. (FNP), the New York company formerly known as Liz Claiborne, and its Kate Spade unit prevailed in a trademark dispute with a New York-based menswear retailer.

A federal court in Manhattan said in a June 17 ruling that there wasn’t a likelihood of confusion between Saturdays Surf LLC’s and the Kate Spade’s Saturday trademarks.

The court said that the word shared by both marks -- Saturday -- is relatively weak, and there is “significant difference” between the men’s and women’s products. Kate Spade is known for its accessories and apparel for women.

Kate Spade filed the suit in December 2012, seeking a court declaration it didn’t infringe.

The court said the aesthetics of the two companies’ brands were different, with the Kate Spade Saturday featuring bright colors and patterns to create a playful image, while Saturdays Surf NYC used a more neutral palate and minimalist design, with some surf-inspired items.

The case is Kate Spade LLC V. Saturdays Surf LLC, 1:12-cv-09360, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Accenture Sues Deloitte Over ‘High Performance’ Trademark

Accenture LLP (ACN) sued rival consulting company Deloitte LLC for infringing the trademarked “High performance. Delivered” slogan Accenture uses in marketing.

Accenture has used the slogan in its advertising since 2003 and spends more than $50 million a year on marketing that uses it, the Chicago-based company said in a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court. It claims Deloitte recently began an advertising campaign built around the phrase “High performance. Amplified.”

“Defendant was not content to just use a confusingly similar trademark,” Accenture said in its complaint. “Defendant copied the overall structure as well as the look and feel of Accenture’s well-known trademark.”

Jonathan Gandal, a spokesman for New York-based Deloitte, didn’t respond to messages seeking comment on the suit.

A second plaintiff is Accenture Global Services Ltd., which owns the trademark and licenses it to Accenture LLP.

The case is Accenture Global Services Ltd. v. Deloitte LLP, 13-4188, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Levi’s Challenge to Abercrombie Trademark to Get Second Look

Levi Strauss & Co., the 110-year-old San Francisco-based maker of blue jeans, persuaded a federal appeals court to rule that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should reconsider its challenge to a trademark used by a competitor.

The disputed mark is a stitching design used on clothing by New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) that the blue jeans company claims infringes the famed Arcuate stitching design it places on its rear pants pockets.

The Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered the patent office to take another look at the Abercrombie & Fitch application for its stitch-design trademark.

The court said that the loss of a civil trial relating to infringement wasn’t enough reason to bar a second look to see if the mark would weaken the strength of Levi’s Arcuate mark.

In its June 18 opinion, the court said that policies that would ordinarily bar a second look at the mark don’t justify “inviting a two-strategy strategy by a rival hoping to dilute a famous mark -- start with a use that is hardest to provide dilutive, defeat the famous-mark owners challenge to that use, and then introduce more obviously dilutive used of the very same mark with an impunity given by claim preclusion.”

The case is Levi Strauss & Co. v. Abercrombie & Fitch Trading Co., 2012-1495,1496, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

EA Spars With Early Madden Designer Seeking Millions at Trial

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), whose Madden NFL videogame sales have exceeded $4 billion, sent its last royalty check to programmer Robin Antonick in 1992 for computer code he wrote for the earliest version of the game.

A lawyer for Antonick told a federal jury in San Francisco that, unbeknown to his client, EA continued to use his code to develop later versions of Madden NFL, and never paid him.

EA, the second-largest video game publisher, denies using the code and says other company programmers developed later Madden NFL games independent of Antonick’s work. The company also alleges Antonick’s allegation didn’t realize his code had been used until 2009 is untrue, and he waited too long to claim he’s owed money.

This phase of the trial focuses on whether the statute of limitations, or the deadline for filing the lawsuit, has passed, and if not, whether Antonick is owed anything for Madden games sold before 1996. He is seeking compensatory damages of about $16 million and almost $200 million from EA’s pre-1996 game profits, said Stuart Paynter, one of Antonick’s attorneys.

Damages for games sold after 1996 will be considered in the second phase of the trial if the jury agrees with Antonick that the statute of limitations hasn’t expired, Paynter said. Antonick is seeking a 7 percent royalty rate for prior and future game sales as well as disgorgement of EA’s profit, which could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Antonick sued Redwood City, California-based EA in 2011, claiming he designed a prototype that ultimately became the Madden game, which has sold more than 85 million copies of the software for more than $4 billion in sales.

Both sides agree that Antonick had a contract with EA in 1986 to develop a Madden game for Apple II, Commodore 64 and IBM personal computers. EA promised in 1991 to keep his source code confidential and not use it for games developed to run on other computers, Antonick’s lawyers said in court papers.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Antonick began to realize the hugely popular Madden game was based on his code, Paynter said by phone.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who will preside over the trial, refused to throw out Antonick’s fraud allegation in April.

The case is Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc., 11-01543, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more copyright news, click here.

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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