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Bristol-Myers, Milwaukee Bucks: Intellectual Property

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. partner Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. won a court ruling that will prevent generic versions of the schizophrenia treatment Abilify from entering the U.S. market until April 2015.

U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton, New Jersey, yesterday upheld a patent that expires in 2015 and covers aripiprazole, the key ingredient in the drug.

Closely held Otsuka, based in Tokyo, discovered the drug and co-markets it with New York-based Bristol-Myers in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to schizophrenia, the drug is also used to treat patients with bipolar disorder and forms of mania.

The ruling is a loss for companies seeking to sell generic versions of the medicine, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Novartis AG’s Sandoz; Apotex Inc.; Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Synthon BV. Bristol-Myers’s sales of Abilify were $1.86 billion in the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company said in an Oct. 26 statement. The drug accounted for about 14 percent of company sales last year.

Most investors were anticipating a ruling in favor of Bristol-Myers and Otsuka, Seamus Fernandez, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co. in Boston, said in a Nov. 15 note to investors. He has an “outperform” rating on Bristol-Myers shares.

A loss of patent protection for Abilify would have cut Bristol-Myers earnings by about 40 cents a share through 2014 because of the generic competition, Fernandez said.

Teva and Apotex, in a Nov. 11 filing, said the drug was already covered by a patent that expired in 2005. The medicine was first approved by U.S. regulators in 2002.

“Otsuka has been able to extend its patent monopoly on aripiprazole for almost an additional decade,” the generic-drug makers said. “Otsuka is not entitled to extend its period of exclusivity by obtaining a claim in a later patent that is, as here, merely an ‘obvious modification’ of a claim in an early patent.”

In its own Nov. 11 filing, Otsuka called that position “absurd” and said that the compound is “patentably distinct” from the earlier compound.

“Although scientists have been trying to replicate aripiprazole’s unique properties since at least 1994 (when aripiprazole’s successful clinical results were published), no other antipsychotic drug like aripiprazole has been discovered to date,” Otsuka said in the filing.

The generic-drug makers also accused Otsuka of making false statements to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the patent, an allegation that Otsuka denied. The lead case is Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. v. Sandoz Inc., 07cv1000, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Trenton).

For more patent news, click here.


Bucks Seek ‘Fear the Deer’ Mark, Giants Ignore ‘Fear the Beard’

The Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team has filed two applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register “Fear the Deer” as a trademark, according to the patent office database.

One application is for the use of the term in connection with the team. The other is for the use of the phrase on clothing, including novelty headwear with attached wigs.

A competing application, filed by Brew City Beer Gear Inc. of Milwaukee, also seeks to register the term for use with clothing. Although the team’s March 2010 applications predate Brew City’s August 2010 application, Beer City claims it first began using the term commercially on March 24, two days before the team said in its application it made its first commercial use of “Fear the Deer.”

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brian Wilson began his “fear the beard” campaign in July 2010 as part of his team’s successful push for Major League Baseball’s World Series championship. He grew a bushy beard that’s a number of shades darker than his hair. He said it’s “tan” from the Giants’ day games and has denied dyeing it.

During the post season playoffs and the World Series itself, many Giants fans donned fake beards, some of which were even lettered “fear the beard.” The website features the image of a beard resembling Wilson’s that fans could cut out and wear to the game. That site doesn’t appear to have any formal affiliation with either Wilson or the Giants team.

Neither Wilson nor the Giants have applied to register “fear the beard” as a trademark. Stuart R. Kamin of Los Angeles filed an application in July 2009 to register the term for a variety of uses, including athletic helmets and caps.

Kamin’s application features a drawing of a bearded figure with a horned helmet and “fear” on one horn and “beard” on the other. A website -- -- features the same line drawing illustrating a story, “The Legend of Beardomon.” That site makes no reference to baseball.

For more trademark news, click here.

U.K.’s Anti-Fake Campaign Focuses on Crime, Human Trafficking

A Christmas-season campaign in the U.K. against fake goods will emphasize the roles played by organized crime and human traffickers, the BBC reported.

The campaign, lead by the U.K. Crimestoppers charity, will focus on fake DVDs, money, tobacco and fashion, according to the BBC, and will be publicized through posters and beer mats given to pubs and private clubs.

Agencies assisting the charity include the U.K.’s Home Office, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Bank of England, the Film Distributors’ Association, and the Pentland Group Plc clothing company, according to the BBC.

The BBC reported U.K. losses related to the sale of fake goods amount to about 3 billion British pounds ($4.8 billion) per year.

Drug Dealer’s ‘Superman’ Cocaine Conspiracy Lands Him in Jail

A U.K. drug dealer who printed DC Comics’ “Superman” logo on 1 kilogram blocks of cocaine was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence, the U.K.’s Press Association reported.

The dealer had also used Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s Playboy bunny symbol as a trademark, according to the press association.

The prison sentence was for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, not for trademark violations, the press association reported.

The judge who sentenced the drug dealer called his distribution scheme “sophisticated and professionally organized” and noted that the illegal product was marked “with its own trademark for onward sale to users,” according to the Press Association.

Product Placement Rules to Be Revised for European TV

The European Union’s House of Representatives amended its Broadcasting Act of the Audiovisual Media Services to ensure television viewers will know when a company has paid for its products and trademarks to appear in a program, Product Placement News reported.

Under the amended law, whenever an identifiable product appears in a television show as part of a financial arrangement, viewers will be informed, according to Product Placement News.

Broadcasters in the European Union will be limited to 12 minutes of advertising for each hour under the new law, the trade journal reported.


Cooks Source Apologizes to Writer, Cancels Facebook Listing

Cooks Source Magazine, which was the target of a negative reader campaign over copyright issues, said in a statement it canceled its page on Facebook Inc.’s social-media site, and will never again use anyone’s material without written consent.

The campaign began after the publication picked up a writer’s blog posting, published it without her consent or compensating her, and then told her she was the one who should be paying because her work allegedly needed editing.

The magazine said it apologized to Monica Gaudio for its unauthorized use of her article about apple pie, claiming it was “an oversight of a small, overworked staff.”

It was hit with hundreds of comments on its own Facebook page and on several look-alike sites set up by users. Cooks Source said the “e-mail and Facebook abuse” was hurtful to those who could “ill afford the abuse -- either emotionally or financially.” Cooks Source said “to say this has hurt our business is an understatement.”

The magazine said it made donations in Gaudio’s name to the Columbia School of Journalism and to the Western New England Food Bank and has now given her credit for the use of her article.

When accessed yesterday, Facebook still had a number of user-created sites related to Cooks Source including “I’m not addicted to cooks source jokes, I can stop any time I want,” “I participated in the great Cooks Source roast of 2010,” and “I remember the day Cooks Source Magazine Imploded.”

Judith Griggs, Cooks Source’s publisher, told the Daily Hampshire Gazette she may well suspend publication of her 13-year-old magazine because of the negative publicity and its effect on her advertisers.

U.S., EU, Japan Approve Anti-Counterfeiting Accord

The U.S., European Union, Japan and other nations resolved the final issues for an international accord aimed at preventing counterfeiting worldwide, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.

Once it’s made final, the accord will be sent to each government to be put into effect, the trade office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The measure, originally announced in October, doesn’t require approval by Congress.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement -- known as ACTA -- which would set joint rules for cracking down on the pirating of copyrighted materials, had drawn criticism from companies such as Google Inc. They objected to efforts to export some provisions of copyright law without offsetting protections for the fair use of protected books, music or movies.

Following Google’s complaints, the U.S. scaled back its proposals. Once the governments complete legal vetting of the agreement, they will begin to implement it, the U.S. trade office said.

Other objections were to the secrecy with which the ACTA negotiations were conducted. Oct. 28 a group of law professors sent President Barack Obama a letter objecting to the treaty, and claiming it contained unconstitutional elements.

Signatories to that letter included professors from Harvard, Stanford, Duke, the University of California at Berkeley, and New York University.

Ten countries and the 27-nation European Union are parties to the agreement.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Seyfarth Shaw Adds Steven Lipman to Its Boston IP Group

Seyfarth Shaw LLP hired Steven E. Lipman for its Boston IP practice group, the Chicago-based firm said in a statement.

Lipman, who joins from the now-defunct Darby & Darby PC, is a former senior attorney to several commissioners of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He also worked as a patent examiner at the patent office.

He has represented U.S., European and Japanese clients in federal court and before the U.S. International Trade Commission. His clients’ technologies have included pharmaceutical products, medical devices and computer software.

Lipman has an undergraduate degree in engineering from Rutgers University and a law degree from Catholic University of America.

McDonald Hopkins Expands IP Practice, Hires Todd Benni

McDonald Hopkins LLC hired Todd A. Benni for its IP practice, according to a statement from the Cleveland-based firm.

Benni joined from an in-house post with a global supplier of office products, where he was senior managing counsel for IP, advertising and licensing.

He has an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

General Patent Corp. Names Anthony Amaral Chief IP Counsel

General Patent Corp., a patent-enforcement firm based in Suffern, New York, hired Anthony Amaral Jr. as chief IP counsel, according to a Nov. 11 statement.

Amaral, who spent 25 years in private practice, has represented clients in IP litigation in federal trial and appellate courts. He also has done patent acquisition, licensing and counseling.

He has an undergraduate and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, which is today known as Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He has a law degree from St. John’s University, and a master’s degree in law related to international trade from New York University.

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