AstraZeneca, Abbott, WebTech: Intellectual Property

AstraZeneca Plc, the U.K.’s second-largest drugmaker, won a U.S. court ruling that prevents generic-drug makers from selling lower-cost copies of its cholesterol medicine Crestor until 2016.

A patent on the active ingredient in Crestor is valid, U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. ruled yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware. The judge rejected challenges by companies including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. that sought to market copies of the medicine.

AstraZeneca, based in London, and patent partner Shionogi & Co., based in Osaka, Japan, sued the generic drugmakers starting in 2007 to stop them from marketing copies of Crestor in the U.S. before its patent RE37,314 expires in 2016. Crestor logged $4.5 billion in sales last year, according to Bloomberg data.

“The court’s decision reaffirms the strength of the intellectual property protecting Crestor,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer David Brennan said in an e-mailed statement. Teva officials didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In a note to investors on June 11, Barclays Capital analysts predicted AstraZeneca would win the validity ruling, boosting the shares. The analysts also forecast “negative growth” after 2016, when the Crestor patent expires.

Lawyers for companies including Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva and the Sandoz unit of Switzerland’s Novartis AG contended AstraZeneca didn’t fully disclose details of earlier, similar inventions in its application to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

AstraZeneca lawyers said any omissions were the result of mistakes on the application caused by “miscommunication and mishandling,” and there was no intent to deceive officials.

The challengers also included Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., Apotex Inc., Par Pharmaceutical Co., Mylan Inc. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

The combined case is In re Rosuvastatin Calcium Patent Litigation, 08-1949, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Abbott Sues Mylan Over Plans to Market Generic Simcor Copies

Abbott Laboratories sued Mylan Inc. in federal court in Delaware, alleging infringement of eight patents and seeking to block generic copies of the cholesterol drug Simcor.

Mylan, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, is accused of infringing eight patents related to the simvastin/niacin extended-release compound. The lawsuit was triggered by a request Mylan sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make and sell a generic version before the patents expire.

Abbott asked the court to find that Mylan infringed, and to order government agencies not to approve the production of the generic drug by Mylan until after all the relevant patents expire. The Abbott Park, Illinois-based company also seeks an order barring Mylan from manufacturing and selling the generic version during the life of the patents, or any additional periods of exclusivity to which Abbott is entitled.

Abbott requested that the court award it damages if Mylan makes, sells or imports a generic version of the drug before it is legally entitled.

The patent holder is represented by Mary B. Graham of Wilmington’s Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, and William F. Lee, Vinita Ferrera and Hollie L. Baker of Boston’s Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP.

The case is Abbott Laboratories v. Mylan Inc., 1:10-cv-00559-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

WebTech, Innovative Global Systems Settle Patent Dispute

WebTech Wireless Inc., a Vancouver-based provider of vehicle-tracking systems, said it resolved a patent-infringement lawsuit.

Innovative Global Systems LLC of Rock Hill, South Carolina, dropped its complaint, WebTech said in a statement. No settlement payments or royalties are part of the agreement, WebTech said.

IGS sued WebTech in federal court in Tyler, Texas, in February, accusing the company of infringing five patents related to communication between vehicles. The WebTech Wireless Quadrant System and OBD II Gateway were accused of infringing the patents.

The case is Innovative Global Systems LLC v. Teletrac Inc., 6:10-cv-00040-LED, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

Hall of Fame Exhibition Honors Food-Technology Inventors

The National Inventors Hall of Fame set up a yearlong exhibit honoring inventors of food-related technology, the Alexandria, Virginia-based organization said in a statement.

Among the inventors honored is Roy J. Plunkett, the chemist whose patent 2,230,654 covers the polymer tetrafluoroethlyene, known as Teflon and sold by the DuPont Co. for use on non-stick cookware. Also featured are Lorenzo Langstroth, who created the modern beehive, peanut scientist George Washington Carver, crop scientist Luther Burbank and Norbert Rillieux, who invented processes used to refine sugar.

The museum is open daily except Sundays and federal holidays and admission is free.

Vermillion to Get Patent for Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Test

Vermillion Inc., a developer of diagnostic tests for human diseases, said it’s on the verge of receiving a patent for a test used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.

The Fremont, California-based company said in a statement yesterday it received what is known as a “notice of allowance” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. When this notice is sent, the patent is typically issued shortly thereafter.

The patent covers biomarker combinations for the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease and the measurement of these markers by a variety of methods including mass spectrometry and immunoassay.

According to the 2010 report from the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association, an advocacy group, about 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, with one in eight people age 65 or older affected.

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Playboy Sues Drake Over ‘Fallin’ in Love’ Copyright

Playboy Enterprises Inc., the Chicago-based adult-entertainment company, sued Aubrey Drake Graham for copyright infringement.

Drake, who uses just his last name as a stage name, is a Canadian-born actor and singer. He is accused of infringing the copyright for the song “Fallin’ in Love,” which was released in 1975 by the group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.

Playboy owns the copyright to the song.

The alleged infringement occurred in Drake’s recording “Best I Ever had,” according to the complaint filed June 25 in federal court in Los Angeles.

Codefendants with Drake are Universal Music Group Inc. and Cash Money Records Inc. of New Orleans, which are accused of marketing and distributing the disputed recording.

Playboy asked the court for an award of attorney fees and litigation costs, money damages, and an order barring future infringement by the defendants. Additionally, the company asked for an order for recall and destruction of all infringing works.

The company is represented by Douglas L. Johnson, Neville Lawrence Johnson and James Timothy Ryan of Johnson & Johnson LLP of Beverly Hills, California.

The case is Playboy Enterprises Inc., v. Drake, 2:10-cv-04750-MMM-RC, U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Culturecom’s ‘Dragon & Tiger Heroes’ Series Licensed for Film

Culturecom Holdings Ltd. is licensing one of its comic-book series for a movie based on the content, the company said yesterday.

The Hong Kong-based publisher of the “Chinese Hero” and “Drunken Fist” series is licensing “Dragon & Tiger Heroes” to a company controlled by Chen Man Lung, Culturecom’s executive director.

Azerbaijani News Portals Infringe Copyrights, Agency Head Says

Only 30 percent of the news stories published at Azerbaijani news portals are original, with the rest copied from other sources, Trend News Agency reported.

Speaking at a seminar on copyright law, the chairman of the Azerbaijani Copyright Agency urged journalists to respect copyright law, according to Trend News Agency.

He said news is the property of the author “if the information has the characteristic features, if it transforms into a creative product, and if it contains commentary and analysis,” Trend News Agency reported.

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Vuitton Complaint Gets Artworks Removed from Japanese Museum

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA successfully demanded the removal of artworks made from fake Louis Vuitton products from a museum in Kobe, Japan, Kyodo News reported.

The artworks, all shaped like locusts and created by Kyoto’s Mitsuhiro Okamoto, were intended to reflect society’s appetite for the fakes, the artist told Kyodo News.

The name of the show is “Batta-mon,” which means “locust stuff” in the dialect used in Kyoto and Osaka, and is slang for “knockoff,” Kyodo reported.

In its demand for removal, Paris-based Vuitton told the Kobe Fashion Museum that Okamoto’s pieces damaged its luxury image because they were made from fakes, according to Kyodo.

U.K.’s Communications Regulator to Permit Product Placement

Ofcom, the independent regulator for U.K. communications industries, established new rules permitting paid product-placements in television programs, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

The rules bar product-placements on children’s news, consumer affairs and religious programs, according to the Telegraph.

Placement of baby formula, medicine, tobacco, alcohol, gambling and foods high in fat, salt or sugar is banned, and advertisers are barred from paying to influence story lines, the Telegraph reported.

Paid references on radio shows to products may be authorized in the future, the newspaper reported.

Breton Buckwheat Flour Gets Geographic Origin Protection

A type of French flour from the buckwheat plant received geographic-origin protection from the European Union, according to a regulation published June 25 in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The flour, Farine de blé noir de Bretagne, is made by grinding the seeds of the buckwheat plant grown in Brittany. The flour is mainly used for crêpes and gallettes, once peasant food and now specialty dishes of the region.

According to specifications published in the journal, such flour has been produced in Brittany since the 14th century, with most people in the region eating buckwheat crêpes once a week.

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