Hospira, MoveOn.org, Dotcom, LG: Intellectual Property

Hospira Inc. (HSP)’s U.K. unit won a court ruling overturning two patents for Roche (ROG) Holding AG’s top-selling breast-cancer drug Herceptin, paving the way for the generic drug-maker to sell a cheaper competitor in the country.

The primary patent on Herceptin expires on July 28 in Europe. Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira was seeking to invalidate two additional protections that relate to the dosages and composition of the drug.

In a ruling yesterday in London, Justice Colin Birss said both patents, owned by Roche’s Genentech unit, were invalid.

The decision erodes Roche’s exclusivity for the treatment in the U.K. and opens the door for Hospira to begin selling its own version.

The case is Hospira U.K. Ltd. v Genentech Inc., U.K. High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC12C03487.

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Trademark

Louisiana Rejected on Claim MoveOn.Org Billboard Infringed

A federal judge in Louisiana refused to order the removal of a billboard critical of Governor Bobby Jindal’s opposition to Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The state sought the billboard’s removal on the grounds that it infringed the “Louisiana. Pick your Passion” trademark used to promote tourism. The offending billboard, sponsored by MoveOn.org, a California-based public-policy advocacy organization, said, in part,“Pick your Passion! But hope you don’t love your health.”

U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick said in an April 7 order that the state failed to demonstrate it would prevail on its claims that the billboard confused viewers, or that a compelling reason existed to curtail MovOn.org’s political speech.

The case is Dardenne v. MoveOn.org, 14-cv-00150, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana (Baton Rouge).

Walgreen Unit Sued by Heigl Over Use of Photo in Tweet

Walgreen Co. (WAG)’s Duane Reade unit was sued by actress Katherine Heigl for allegedly violating U.S. trademark law through unauthorized use of her image in advertising.

The pharmacy chain used Twitter Inc. (TWTR)’s short-messaging service to post a paparazzi photo of Heigl carrying a Duane Reade bag, according to the complaint filed April 9 in federal court in Manhattan. Duane Reade allegedly said in its tweet that “Katie Heigl can’t resist shopping at NYC’s favorite drugstore.”

Duane Reade also is accused of using the photograph on its page on Facebook Inc. (FB)’s social-media site. Heigl said in court papers that she didn’t give permission for commercial use of the likeness and that Duane Reade implied, falsely, that she endorses the company.

Heigl seeks a court order barring further use of the image, together with money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Walgreen, based in Deerfield, Illinois, didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Heigl v. Duane Reade Inc., 14-cv-00202, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Dotcom Denies Movie Studios’ Copyright-Infringement Allegations

Kim Dotcom, owner of the Megaupload file-sharing service, denied allegations that his service induced copyright infringement, the Western Australian newspaper reported.

Six major Hollywood studios sued Megaupload and Dotcom in federal court in Virginia on April 7, saying the website encouraged and profited from infringement, according to the newspaper.

Dotcom said the studio’s claims that Megaupload’s reward system, which paid users based on the number of times the content they uploaded was downloaded by others, didn’t encourage infringement because files for movies and television programs were too large to qualify for the payment system, according to the Western Australian.

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Former LG Employees Accused of Leaking Robot Vacuum Secrets

Two former LG Electronics Inc. (066570) employees were arrested and accused of leaking the company’s technology to a Chinese firm, the Inside Korea news website reported.

The technology at issue is related to robot vacuum cleaners, according to Inside Korea.

A headhunter for the unidentified Chinese company offered them housing, high-end automobiles and twice their LG salary in return for information from the Seoul-based electronics company, the website reported.

Client Information From Public Sources Isn’t Secret, Court Says

A crop-insurance agent who took a client list with her to a new job didn’t misappropriate trade secrets, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled, according to the Claims Journal.

The court, reversing a jury verdict, found that the client list wasn’t a trade secret because the information was available elsewhere, the Claims Journal reported.

The court did find that the agent violated a contract barring her from sharing information about her initial employer and ordered her to pay about $360,000 in damages, the Claims Journal said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Stephen Farr, Andrew Dunn

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