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GE, Perrigo, Ferrari, Becton: Intellectual Property

General Electric Co., the biggest maker of wind turbines in the U.S., urged a U.S. court yesterday to keep rival Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. from expanding in GE’s home market.

GE contends that Tokyo-based Mitsubishi infringes two of its patents for turbine designs. It is seeking to overturn a ruling from the U.S. International Trade Commission, which declined GE’s request to block Mitsubishi from bringing its turbine parts into the U.S. because, the agency said, GE’s patent rights weren’t being violated.

GE “fundamentally made modern wind power possible,” GE’s lawyer, William Lee of WilmerHale in Boston, told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

At stake is dominance in a U.S. market for wind turbines that Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates at $15 billion annually. The dispute pits GE, the manufacturer of almost half of all wind turbines installed in the U.S., against Mitsubishi, which entered the U.S. market in 2006 and said it hasn’t sold any turbines since GE filed its patent claims in 2008.

The court arguments yesterday centered on whether the six-member commission correctly interpreted what certain aspects, or claims, of the two patents cover.

“The language of the claims and the specification overwhelmingly suggest the commission is correct,” said Mitsubishi’s lawyer, Donald Dunner of Finnegan Henderson in Washington.

GE accounted for about 40 percent of the domestic market in 2009 based on megawatts installed, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association. Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S had a 15 percent share, Germany’s Siemens AG 12 percent, Mitsubishi 8 percent and India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd. 7 percent.

A victory for Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE may prevent Mitsubishi from importing turbine components into the U.S. until the two patents expire in 2023. Mitsubishi said the majority of parts used to build its turbines’ rotor houses, or nacelles, will be made in the U.S., with the remainder coming from Nagasaki, Japan.

Mitsubishi is building a $45 million assembly plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas. GE’s turbines and parts are made at facilities throughout the U.S., including in Pensacola, Florida, and Newton, Iowa.

In a separate action, Mitsubishi filed an antitrust lawsuit in Arkansas accusing GE of trying to monopolize the wind turbine market. That suit is on hold, pending the outcome of the GE patent cases, including the federal appeal.

The appeal is General Electric v. ITC, 10-1223, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The ITC case is In the Matter of Certain Variable Speed Wind Turbines and Components Thereof, 337-641, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). The civil case is General Electric Co. v. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., 09cv229, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Corpus Christi).

Perrigo Settles Rogaine Foam Patent Litigation

Perrigo Co. settled patent litigation relating to Minoxidil foam brought by Stiefel Research Australia Pty., a unit of GlaxoSmithKline plc.

Under terms of the settlement, Perrigo can introduce a generic version of Men’s Rogaine Foam in the U.S. on March 1, 2012, or earlier under certain circumstances, according to a company statement.

Stiefel sued Perrigo in federal court in Delaware in July, seeking to block the introduction of a generic form of the foam baldness treatment.

The case is Stiefel Laboratories Inc., v. Perrigo Israel Pharmaceuticals Ltd., 1:10-cv-00592-UNA, U.S. District Court (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


Ferrari Responds to Ford Suit, to Change Name of Formula 1 Car

Ferrari SpA’s Formula One team will alter the name of its 2011 racing car after Ford Motor Co. claimed it infringed a pickup truck trademark.

Ferrari said in a statement it wrote to Ford to say the F150 car to mark the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy would now be called Ferrari F150th Italia.

Ford sued Ferrari in federal court in Detroit on Feb. 9 asking for a permanent injunction barring use of the name.

The case was Ford Motor Co. v. Ferrari SpA, 4:11-cv-10518, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

American Casino Seeks Declaration It Doesn’t Infringe Mark

American Casino & Entertainment Properties, a Las Vegas-based casino company owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Whitehall Real Estate Funds unit, asked a federal court to declare it isn’t infringing a Seattle company’s trademarks.

According to the complaint filed Feb. 9 in federal court in Las Vegas, Modern Housing LLC objected to the casino company’s use of “Aceplay” and “Acestay” for its casino and hotel rewards programs.

The casino company, which uses ACEP as an acronym, operates the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Arizona Charlie’s Boulder hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and the Aquarius hotel and casino in Laughlin, Nevada.

Modern Housing operates four Ace Hotels in Seattle, New York, Portland, Oregon, and Palm Springs, California. According to the company website, the hotels are repurposed urban buildings, including a former Salvation Army hostel that has become its Seattle property.

The casino company asked the court to declare that its marks don’t infringe, and that the hotel’s Ace mark is “not famous” and entitled only to “a narrow scope of protection.” The company also asked for awards of litigation costs and attorney fees.

Ryan Buckstein, a spokesman for the Ace hotels, declined to comment on the litigation.

The casino company is represented by Michael J. McCue and Jonathan W. Fountain of Phoenix’s Lewis & Roca LLP.

The case is American Casino and Entertainment Properties LLC v. Modern Housing LLC, 2:11-cv-00222-JCM-LRL, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

For more trademark news, click here.


Study for NBC Finds 24 percent of Internet Traffic Infringes

A study conducted on behalf of NBC Universal Inc. indicated that almost 24 percent of all Internet traffic worldwide is used for copyright-infringement purposes.

The survey, performed by London-based Envision Ltd., found that use of the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol accounts for almost 18 percent of all Internet traffic. Envision said that two-thirds of that is copyrighted non-pornographic content being shared without authorization.

In the U.S., 13.8 percent of all Internet traffic involved the unauthorized transfer of infringing content, according to Envision.

The growing popularity of sites such as one operated by Los Gatos, California-based Netflix Inc. is reflected in the study’s finding that video streaming makes up between 27 and 30 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic. Envision said 1.5 percent of the streaming traffic is believed to be infringing.

NBC Universal is owned by a joint venture between Comcast Corp. and General Electric Co., Comcast said Jan. 29.

For more copyright news, click here.

University Technology Transfer

Becton Gets License to Patient Samples for Cancer Screening

Becton, Dickinson & Co., the 114-year-old maker of disposable medical supplies, took a license to a bank of more than 200,000 human patient samples collected by University College London.

The samples will be used to develop tests for markers for breast and ovarian cancer, the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey-based company said in a statement. The samples were collected over multiple years in clinical trials on the detection and management of a type of ovarian cancer.

Becton’s license is with UCL Business, a technology transfer organization responsible for commercializing inventions developed at the university. Among the companies spun off with the assistance of UCL Business from the university’s research are Ark Therapeutics Group Plc, Biovex Ltd., Genex Biosystems Ltd., As-Built Solutions Ltd. and Space Syntax Ltd.

IP Moves

Ropes & Gray Hires ITC Litigation Expert From Dechert

Ropes & Gray LLP hired Stephen J. Rosenman for its Washington intellectual-property group, the Boston-based firm said in a statement.

Rosenman, a litigator, joins from Philadelphia’s Dechert LLP. He also previously practiced at the New York firm now known as Dewey & Leboeuf LLP, and at Howrey LLP and Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, both of Washington.

He has represented clients in patent disputes in federal court, before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and in arbitrations and mediations. Many of his clients are from the semiconductor and computer-hardware industries.

Rosenman has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from George Washington University.

Dickstein Shapiro Hires Robert W. Dickerson from Orrick

Dickstein Shapiro LLP hired Robert W. Dickerson for its Los Angeles intellectual-property practice, the Washington-based firm said in a statement.

Dickerson, a patent litigator, joins from San Francisco’s Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. He also previously practiced at the now-defunct Los Angeles firm of Lyon & Lyon.

He has represented clients whose technologies included laser sintering, stereolithography, flashlights, biotechnology, integrated chip design, electronic medical devices, veterinarian products, commercial garment processing, laminated flooring panels, computer switch products, non-volatile memory, business methods, database management and mechanical devices.

Dickerson has an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Southwestern University.

Morgan Lewis Hires Ex-Howrey Partner for Chicago IP Group

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP hired David W. Clough for its Chicago intellectual-property practice, the Philadelphia-based firm said in a statement.

Clough joins from Washington-based Howrey LLP. He also previously practiced at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and at the firm now known as Marshall Gerstein & Borun LLP, both of Chicago.

He does both transactional patent work and litigation. Among his clients’ technologies are gene therapy, genetic engineering, nucleic acid diagnostics, nucleic acid sequencing, transgenic animals, immunotherapy food chemistry, genetically engineered plants and animals, and medical devices.

He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, a doctorate in microbiology from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and a law degree from Chicago Kent College of Law. Clough had a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard University’s Medical School.

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