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Apple, Mylan, Marks & Spencer, PETA: Intellectual Property

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc., the world’s biggest technology company by value, was sued by Taiwan’s Via Technologies Inc. for allegedly infringing three U.S. patents for microprocessors used in mobile phones and tablet computers.

Via, a semiconductor maker based in Taipei, seeks a jury trial and an order to prohibit Cupertino, California-based Apple from selling products containing the inventions in the U.S., according to a complaint filed Sept. 21 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices,” Via said in the complaint.

In dispute are patents 6,253,311 and 6,253,312, both issued in June 2001; and 6,754 810, issued in June 2004.

Apple will dominate tablet-computer sales this holiday season, and global media tablet sales this year may reach more than 63 million units, according to researcher Gartner Inc.

Apple officials didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Via Technologies v. Apple Inc., 1:11-cv-00857, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Warner Chilcott Wins Ruling Blocking Mylan’s Copy of Doryx

Warner Chilcott Plc said it won a court ruling blocking Mylan Inc. from selling a generic version of its Doryx antibiotic.

Warner Chilcott, based in Dublin, sued Mylan in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, in 2009, claiming infringement of various patents, including one issued in 2008 on its 150-milligram tablets.

In granting a preliminary injunction against Mylan, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. District Judge William Martini ruled that Warner Chilcott had shown a reasonable likelihood of success on its claim that its 150-milligram patent was valid and had been infringed, the Irish drugmaker said yesterday in a statement.

“Mylan believes that the district court erred in its decision to grant plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and we intend to seek an expedited trial or other expedited relief from the order,” Mylan spokewoman Nina Devlin said in an e-mail. “Mylan remains confident in its position in the case.”

The case is Warner Chilcott Laboratories v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., 09-cv-2073, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

For more patent news, click here.


M&S, Interflora Both Claim Victory in Case Over Internet Ads

Marks & Spencer Group Plc and florist network Interflora both claimed victory following a European Union court ruling on whether companies can use rival’s trademarked terms to trigger advertisements on search engines.

While Marks & Spencer and Interflora argued a ruling by the EU Court of Justice yesterday is in their favor, a U.K. national court will have to make the final decision on whether Marks & Spencer’s use of the Interflora trademarks “jeopardizes” the reputation of Interflora’s intellectual property.

Interflora, which has operated a flower-delivery network in the U.K. since the 1950s, is suing Marks & Spencer in the U.K. for violating its trademark rights by using keywords, such as Interflora, Intaflora and Interflora Delivery, to trigger ads on Google Inc.’s search engine.

“This ruling is a score-draw,” said Nick Rose, head of intellectual property litigation at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP. “This is helpful for brand owners” such as Interflora “and it leaves some room for Marks & Spencer to claim they’re not liable in this case.”

The High Court in London in 2009 referred the case to the EU’s top tribunal for guidance on how to interpret the bloc’s trademark rules in such cases.

Interflora will be pleased “because they have a lot more scope to argue that what Marks & Spencer did has infringed,” Rose said in a telephone interview. “However, Marks & Spencer still got some wiggle room and some arguments they can raise.”

The EU court said the U.K. tribunal can consider the general knowledge of the English public as to whether Marks & Spencer is part of the Interflora network, said Rose.

“It’s a long way from being an open and shut case for Interflora,” said Rose.

London-based Marks & Spencer said in an e-mailed statement it was “encouraged” by the judgment “as we have always believed this is fair competition.”

Interflora said it was “delighted” by the decision “in their favor.”

In a ruling last year in a dispute between Google and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the EU court ruled that brand owners can sue advertisers who buy protected keywords and display ads on the search engine’s website that make it difficult for users to see whether they sell original or fake products.

FTD Group Inc., the florist whose symbol is the winged god Mercury delivering flowers, bought Interflora in 2006 to enter the European market. FTD Group was acquired by Internet retailer United Online Inc. in 2008.

The EU court clarified that trademark owners can prevent a company from using a trademarked term as a keyword to trigger adverts where the competitor “takes unfair advantage of the distinctive character or repute of the trademark, free-riding, or where the advertising is detrimental to that distinctive character.”

The case is C-323/09, Interflora Inc, Interflora British Unit v. Marks & Spencer Plc, Flowers Direct Online Limited.

AB InBev, Budvar Can Both Keep U.K. Budweiser Right, Court Says

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Czech competitor Budejovicky Budvar NP can both use U.K. trademarks for the word Budweiser, the European Union’s top court said.

U.K. consumers “are well aware of the difference” between the products of AB InBev and Budvar, the EU Court of Justice said in a statement after its ruling yesterday.

“A long period of honest concurrent use of the two identical trademarks concerned neither has, nor is liable to have an adverse effect” on AB InBev’s trademark, which was filed earlier than Budvar’s, the Luxembourg-based EU court said. Budvar’s “later Budweiser trademark need not be declared invalid.”

While AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, and Budvar were both granted U.K. trademark rights to Budweiser by an English court in 2000, AB InBev argues that its right is the only one that should prevail. AB InBev told the EU court at a hearing last year that its market for Budweiser was 10 times bigger, rejecting Budvar’s arguments of a long co-existence.

Budvar has been active in the British market since 1973 and Anheuser-Busch since 1974, according to the EU court. Anheuser-Busch applied in 1979 to get a trademark for Budweiser, covering beer and ale. Budvar opposed that step and several years later also applied for the trademark.

“The case will now be returned to the U.K. Court of Appeals where it will be determined whether the doctrine of honest concurrent use should prevent cancellation of Budejovicky Budvar’s Budweiser trademark registration,” Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev said in a statement.

“Even if we are unsuccessful before the U.K. Court of Appeals, it will not negatively impact our Budweiser trademark in the U.K. which remains valid and can no longer be challenged by Budvar or other third parties,” AB InBev said.

Following a decision by a U.K. court of appeal, both companies were able to register the trademark Budweiser in the country on May 19, 2000. Almost five years later, Anheuser-Busch filed for a declaration of invalidity of Budvar’s trademark.

The two brewers have been entangled in a fight going back to the early 1900s over the right to the Bud or Budweiser names for beer, merchandising and other products.

Budvar claims the rights because its beer comes from Ceske Budejovice, which is called Budweis in German. Anheuser-Busch, founded by German-born immigrant to the U.S. Adolphus Busch, says it started using the Budweiser trademark in 1876, 19 years before Budvar was formed.

The case is C-482/09, Budejovicky Budvar, narodni podnik v Anheuser-Busch, Inc.

PETA Will Set up Pornography Site to Discourage Animal Abuse

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Norfolk, Virginia-based group focused on animal cruelty, will have a website on the new .xxx top level Internet domain, the news website reported.

PETA said it will use sexually explicit content on its PETA.XXX site, as well as animal cruelty awareness, according to VentureBeat.

When potential viewers land on the site they’ll find “those tantalizing images they’ll be hoping for,” Lindsay Rajit, director of PETA campaigns, told VentureBeat.

When visitors go deeper into the site, they will find graphic images of animal abuse, calculated to “grab people’s attention, get them talking, and ultimately get them to ask questions,” Rajit told VentureBeat.

For more trademark news, click here.


‘Speedy Singhs’ Producers Get Pre-Release Non-Infringement Order

The producers of the Bollywood film “Speedy Singhs” went to the Delhi High Court to get orders against potential infringers even before the film’s release, the Times of India reported.

The court issued an order barring any showing, downloading, displaying or releasing of the film without a license from its producers, according to the Times of India.

The order, which is valid until Dec. 19, also bars unauthorized release in such formats as tapes, CDs, DVDs and cable television, the newspaper reported.

The orders are against “John Doe” defendants whose names are not presently known to the producers, according to the Times.

Oracle Says Damages in Android Dispute May Be $1.2 Billion

Oracle Corp. estimated its damages in a patent and copyright infringement lawsuit against Google Inc. over Android software may be as much as $1.2 billion.

Oracle said its patent damages could be as much as $202 million and its copyright damages could be as much as $136 million, and that Google’s profit from copyright infringement are $823.9 million, according to a filing yesterday in federal court in San Francisco.

Google mischaracterized Oracle’s damage estimate when it said in a filing yesterday that Oracle was seeking $2 billion, including $1.2 billion in unjust enrichment damages for 2012 alone, Oracle attorney Steve Holtzman said yesterday in a letter to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is presiding over the case. Google can try to show that some of its profits aren’t attributable to Oracle’s copyrights, Holtzman said.

While the $1.2 billion figure “certainly illustrates some of the enormous profits enabled by Google’s infringement, it is not part of” the damage estimate, Holtzman said in the letter.

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Mountain View, California-based Google, didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the letter.

Oracle, the largest maker of database software, sued Google last year alleging the search engine company didn’t obtain a license to use Java technology patents it claims are infringed by the Android mobile-device operating system, now running on more than 150 million mobile devices. A trial is scheduled for Oct. 31.

In July, Alsup threw out Redwood City, California-based Oracle’s earlier estimate that it was entitled to as much as $6.1 billion in damages in the lawsuit.

Oracle “intends to strenuously pursue” an injunction “to resolve a key issue in this case: Whether Google can use Oracle’s intellectual property to create an incompatible clone of Java and thereby undermine Oracle’s and many others’ investments in ‘write once, run anywhere,’” the letter says. An injunction could order the destruction of all products that violate its copyright.

Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison met for two days of settlement discussions this week before a magistrate judge in San Jose, California. The companies were ordered to contact the judge yesterday to discuss when further discussions will take place and whether Page and Ellison would have to attend, according to a court filing.

New Zealand’s New Copyright Law Draws Bomb-Threat Protest

A New Zealand teenager who posted a bomb threat on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site as a protest against his nation’s new copyright law has been charged with threatening to harm people or property, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The teenager, a resident of South Auckland, suggested in his video there would be explosions in municipal buildings, according to the Herald.

The video, posted on YouTube Sept. 6, also warned that government and media websites would be hacked as part of the protest, according to the newspaper.

One of the conditions of the teenager’s bail was a ban on Internet access, the newspaper reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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