Astellas, Vivendi, Washington Post: Intellectual Property

Astellas Pharma Inc. said its OSI Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, along with Roche Holding AG’s Genentech and Pfizer Inc., will terminate a case against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. relating to patents for the cancer drug Tarceva. Settlement terms weren’t disclosed.

OSI sued Teva in federal court in Delaware in March 2009, accusing the Israeli generic-drug maker of infringing patents 6,900,221, 7,087,613 and 5,747,498.

Tarceva is used to treat small-cell lung cancer. The litigation was triggered when Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva applied to produce a generic form of the drug.

The order dismissing Teva as a defendant was filed March 15, according to court filings.

The case is OSA Pharmaceuticals v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, 1:09-cv-00185-SLR, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Zogenix Migraine Treatment Method Gets Patent Term Extension

Zogenix Inc., a San Diego-based pharmaceutical maker, said it received an eight-year extension on a patent covering a method of injecting its Sumavel migraine headache treatment.

The patent, 7,776,007, was issued in August 2010, according to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The DosePro needle-free delivery system will be protected by the patent through 2025, Zogenix said in a statement yesterday. The product was first introduced in the U.S. in January 2010.

The patent covers the procedures for a patient to self-administer the drug using the Zogenix device. Germany and the U.K. approved the Sumavel DosePro in January.

Zogenix had its initial public offering in November.

For more patent news, click here.


Vivendi’s Levy Says China Not Doing Enough on IP Enforcement

China’s IP enforcement efforts are insufficient, Vivendi SA Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said at an Abu Dhabi media conference. He said China isn’t making much progress “putting in place a true intellectual property rights policy.”

“I don’t believe they have considered it a priority,” Levy said. Paris-based Vivendi’s sales in China are comparable with “the kind of revenue you’d find in a small Eastern European country,” he said.

Pi Day YouTube Posting Draws DMCA Copyright ‘Takedown’ Notice

A musical composition in honor of Pi Day, the March 14 celebration of the constant used to determine the circumference of a circle and perform other calculations, drew a copyright challenge, according to Oregon Music News.

After Michael Blake of Portland, Oregon, composed a short piece based on the value of pi (3.14159265…) and posted it on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site, the composer of a symphony based on the constant sent YouTube an infringement “takedown” notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Oregon Music News reported.

Lars Erickson, who composed his pi-based symphony in 1990, said he was just trying to protect his rights and that he’s spent “a considerable amount of time” in composing his symphony, according to Oregon Music News.

The composer said he had spoken to Blake and had hoped they could “work this out” and that he wasn’t interested in “suppressing the melody of pi or copyrighting the number,” Oregon Music News said.

Venter Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter Over Joyce Quote in DNA

J. Craig Venter, founder of Alameda, California’s Celera Corp. and one of the two scientists involved in mapping the human genome, ran afoul of the estate of James Joyce after inserting a quote from the author in a strand of DNA, Forbes reported.

Venter received a cease-and-desist letter from the estate after he inserted a line from Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” into the DNA of a synthetic life form he created, according to Forbes.

At the South by Southwest convention in Austin, Texas, this week, Venter said that he had thought the phrase fell under copyright law’s “fair use” provision, according to Forbes.

For more copyright news, click here.


Chrysler Sues T-Shirt Seller Over ‘Imported From Detroit’ Mark

Chrysler Group LLC accused a Detroit clothing company of trademark infringement for emblazoning T-shirts with the carmaker’s “Imported From Detroit” slogan.

Chrysler filed a complaint March 15 in Detroit federal court against Moda Group LLC, which sells clothing and souvenirs through retail outlets and online.

The carmaker said it began using “Imported from Detroit” in its ads to let consumers know “they could obtain the luxury the associate with foreign imports from a manufacturer based in the U.S.” Chrysler said it filed an application Nov. 23 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the phrase as a trademark.

The company ran an ad during this year’s Super Bowl to introduce the phrase to the public. At the end of the spot -- which features Detroit rapper Eminem announcing “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do” -- the screen fades to black and the Chrysler logo and the words “Imported from Detroit” appear.

Chrysler said it spent “millions of dollars” to create and release the ad, which generated an immediate 1,619 percent increase in traffic to the Chrysler 200 model Web page on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6. The automaker also claimed that after this commercial aired for the first time, “the second most searched term” on Google was “Chrysler 200.”

Anticipating the popularity of the ad, Chrysler said it applied to register the mark for use on clothing Jan. 18 and began shipping its own “imported from Detroit” shirts Feb. 11.

The automaker said Moda began selling shirts bearing the slogan without authorization. Chrysler sent Moda a cease-and-desist letter Feb. 18, after which Moda said it would quit selling the allegedly infringing items, according to court papers.

The sales continued, and Moda began marketing additional items bearing the slogan, including tote bags, Chrysler said.

The public is confused about the source of the infringing shirts, and the automaker is harmed, Chrysler said. It asked the court to halt sales of the allegedly infringing items, to order Moda not to create and sell any more infringing products, and to award money damages equal to three times the profit Moda received from its sale of the merchandise.

Additionally, Chrysler asked for monetary damages sufficient to punish Moda for its actions, and for attorney fees and litigation costs.

Chrysler is represented by Marshall G. MacFarlane of Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane PC of Troy, Michigan.

The case is Chrysler Group LLC v. Moda Group LLC, 2:11-cv-11074-AJT-MJH, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

Washington Post Ends Use of ‘Redskins’ in Column, Webcast Titles

Washington Post Co.’s flagship newspaper said it changed the name of its pro football column and blog after the Washington Redskins complained.

The column and blog changed their names from “Redskins Insider” to “Football Insider,” the Post said.

The Washington-based National Football League franchise also uses “Redskins Insider” and objected to others using the term, according to the newspaper.

The restriction is part of a trend among of sports teams that are moving into the news business, and producing their own programming and broadcasts, the newspaper reported.

For more trademark news, click here.

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