Sanofi, Alkermes Name, Pandora: Intellectual Property

Sanofi (SAN) sees an attractive opportunity in the rampant market for counterfeit Viagra: luring men away from dodgy online pharmacies with an over-the-counter version of a competing erection drug.

The French drugmaker plans safety and efficacy studies to support an application to produce a nonprescription version of Eli Lilly & Co.’s (LLY) Cialis.

Fake versions of Viagra, one of the most copied medicines in the world, are abundant on the Internet, and that puts consumers at risk. Of more than 10,000 online outlets surveyed last year by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 97 percent were out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and standards.

Given Sanofi and Eli Lilly’s plan, Pfizer may revisit making nonprescription Viagra, said Andy Tisman, a consumer health-care consultant at IMS Health in London.

Pfizer reached an agreement in December with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. that permits the Israeli drugmaker to market a generic version of Viagra in the U.S. starting in 2017.

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Trademark

Alkermes Sues Alkeus Over Similarity of Drug Companies’ Names

Alkermes Inc., the Irish pharmaceutical company, sued a Boston company specializing in the treatment of eye disorders for trademark infringement.

In a complaint filed May 27 in Massachusetts federal court, Alkermes said the name of Alkeus Pharmaceuticals Inc. is too similar to its own, creating consumer confusion. Alkermes said it has already sent a cease-and-desist notice to Alkeus, to no avail.

The Boston-based company didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Alkermes Inc. (ALKS) v. Alkeus Pharmaceuticals Inc., 14-cv-122867, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

Lagerfeld Sued by New Balance Over Athletic Shoe Design

Designer Karl Lagerfeld and his fashion company were sued for trademark infringement by a Boston-based maker of athletic footwear over the logo on a shoe.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court June 3, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. objected to the design of sports shoes sold through Karl Lagerfeld Group BV’s online retailer, Net-a-Porter LLC.

New Balance said the Lagerfeld shoe is almost identical to one of its own, featuring a block letter on a saddle device. The difference, New Balance said, is that the Lagerfeld version bears a “K” instead of the “N” employed by the Massachusetts company on more than 20 million pairs of shoes.

Customers are likely to be deceived by the similarity, according to New Balance. Lagerfeld began selling the allegedly infringing shoes in March, New Balance said.

The shoe company asked the court to bar further infringement, and for awards of money damages, including extra damages intended to punish Lagerfeld.

Karl Lagerfeld Group didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment on the suit.

The case is New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. v. Lagerfeld, 14-cv-03942, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Copyright

Pandora Media Songwriter-Royalty Rules to Be Reviewed by U.S.

The U.S. Justice Department will review decades-old agreements that govern songwriter royalties, following court battles between rights holders and the Internet radio operator Pandora Media Inc. (P)

The review will “examine the operation and effectiveness of the consent decrees” dating to 1941 with two major songwriter groups, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and Broadcast Music Inc., the department said in a notice yesterday.

The review might lead to changes in the rules governing how much Pandora, the leader in Internet radio, pays songwriters each time their works are played. Ascap and BMI, both based in New York, represent hundreds of thousands of songwriters, composers and publishers. They’ve argued in court disputes with Pandora that the agreements with the U.S. Justice Department don’t take into account the rise of digital media.

“The department understands that Ascap, BMI and some other firms in the music industry believe that the consent decrees need to be modified to account for changes in how music is delivered to and experienced by listeners,” the Justice Department said.

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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 Andrew Dunn, Charles Carter

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