Oracle, Roche, Brightpoint, Zep Solar: Intellectual Property

Oracle Corp.’s patent lawsuit against Google Inc. over Android software may start as early as April or as late as September, a federal judge said.

“I am reserving my right to put the trial on in April or May, but as a practical matter mid-September may be the first time we will be able to try the case,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco told lawyers yesterday during a hearing. He also told the attorneys to keep October and November open to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Oracle is seeking at least $1 billion in damages from the operator of the world’s largest search engine. Oracle, based in Redwood City, California, accuses Google of infringing its Java patents and copyrights in the Android operating system, now running on more than 150 million mobile devices.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, has denied the claims.

“I can’t see this case going to trial before the first day of spring,” Alsup said in court today after the lawyers updated him on the status of pretrial evidence gathering and other matters.

The case is Oracle America Inc. v. Google Inc., 10-03561, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Roche Units Sue Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Over Valcyte Patent

Two Roche Holding AG units sued India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. for infringing a U.S. patent for the drug Valcyte, used to treat viruses in organ-transplant patients and people with AIDS.

Roche Palo Alto LLC and Genentech Inc., both owned by Basel, Switzerland-based Roche Holding, contend Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s is planning to market a generic version of Valcyte, according to federal court papers filed yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Offering for sale, sale or use of the proposed generic product in the United States would cause injury to plaintiffs for which there is no adequate remedy at law,’’ Roche lawyers said in the filing. In dispute is patent 6,083,953, which was issued in July 2000.

Roche seeks a ruling of infringement and an order to stop sale of generic Valcyte until after the patent expires in 2015, according to court papers.

S. Rajan, a Dr. Reddy’s spokesman in India, didn’t immediately return an e-mailed message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Roche sued Sandoz Inc. in federal court in San Francisco in April, also over generic Valcyte.

Roche reported about $48 billion in revenue last fiscal year. Dr. Reddy’s reported almost $2 billion in fiscal-year revenue.

The case is Roche Palo Alto LLC v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, 11-cv-1264, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Zep Files Second Case Against Westinghouse Over Solar Technology

Zep Solar Inc., a maker of system for attaching solar panels to roofs, said it sued Westinghouse Solar Inc. for patent infringement.

The two companies have a continuing dispute over a technology aimed at reducing the cost of solar installation.

The complaint, filed Dec. 20 in federal court in San Francisco, accused Westinghouse of infringing patent 7,592,537, which covers a method and apparatus for mounting solar panels and was issued in September 2009. A copy of the complaint wasn’t immediately available.

Zep designs are used by Yingli Green Energy Holding Co.’s solar unit and Trina Solar Ltd., two of the biggest solar panel makers. Zep also has added Sharp Corp.’s Sharp Solar, Hanwha SolarOne Co. and Enphase Energy Inc. to its licensing program.

The Westinghouse Solar design, known as Andalay, is used by Suntech Power Holdings Co..

Campbell, California-based Westinghouse -- formerly known as Akeena -- sued Zep in the same court in October 2009, seeking a declaration it didn’t infringe that same patent and accusing Zep of infringing patent 7,406,800, which was issued in August 2008.

That case was placed on hold Dec. 9, pending resolution of as dispute between the parties before the U.S. International Trade Commission, a government entity that has the power to bar the entry of infringing products.

A second case in the same court is also on hold. In that case, Zep, of San Rafael, California, sued Westinghouse Aug 2, seeking a declaration of non-infringement of patent 7,987,641, which was issued that same day.

The case before the commission is In the Matter of Certain Integrated Solar Power Systems, 337-811, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

The new case against Westinghouse is Zep Solar v. Westinghouse Solar Inc., 3:11-cv-07493, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The earlier case is Zep Solar Inc. v. Westinghouse Solar Inc., 3:11-cv-03800-JSW, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The case against Zep is Akeena Solar Inc. v. Zep Solar Inc., 3:09-SV-05040-JSE, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Brightpoint Sues Ex-Executive for Trade Secret Misappropriation

Brightpoint Inc., a provider of logistical services to the cellular industry, sued a former executive for trade secret misappropriation, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The executive was accused of bringing confidential business information to Brightstar Corp. of Miami, Florida, according to the business publication.

In the suit, filed in Indiana state court, Indianapolis-based Brightpoint asked the court to bar the revelation of its secrets to Brightstar by the former executive and to order the Florida company not to use those secrets to compete “unfairly,” the business journal reported.

The Indiana company is also seeking money damages, according to the publication.

China Says World Shouldn’t Play Up Computer Hacking After Report

The Chinese government said the world should not play up the issue of computer hacking after the Wall Street Journal reported hackers from China had breached the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s data network.

Hacking is against Chinese law, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said yesterday. He said he had not seen the Journal’s story, which reported that U.S. officials suspect a person behind the attack had ties to the Chinese government.

The Journal story cited two unidentified people as saying hackers had complete access to the Chamber’s computer network, possibly for a year, before they were cut off in 2010. A U.S. intelligence report released last month concluded that China was the No. 1 hacker threat to U.S. firms, and officials say China-based hackers had hit the networks of at least 760 companies.

Targets of attacks have included Google Inc. and Intel Corp. as China makes industrial espionage a key part of its policy, according to U.S. intelligence and analysts. There is now “quite a lot of evidence” that Chinese hackers target overseas companies, said Charles Mok, chairman of the Hong Kong division of the Internet Society, an international standard-setting group.

“The Chinese government hasn’t come up with a reasonable explanation of these activities so far,” Mok said. “Its stock response has been to say it has nothing to do with them.”

In the U.S. Chamber’s case, the hackers appeared to have concentrated on four employees focused on Asia policy, and stole six weeks of their emails, according to the Journal. The Journal said Chamber staff have seen no sign of harm to the group or its members.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokesman J.P. Fielder didn’t comment on the report when reached by phone yesterday.

Google said last year that it was the subject of a sophisticated cyber attack originating in China. Hackers stole intellectual property and targeted e-mail accounts of human-rights activists, the company said. Google later withdrew its Chinese search-engine service from the country and redirected local users to a site in Hong Kong.


Keep A Breast Foundation Sues Over ‘I (Heart) Boobies’ Trademark

Keep A Breast Foundation, a California organization established to raise breast cancer awareness, sued a Rhode Island maker of toys and party supplies for trademark infringement.

The suit, filed Dec. 16 in federal court in San Diego, is related to the foundation’s “I (heart) boobies,” “I love boobies,” and “Heart & Breasts” trademarks.

Rhode Island Novelty Inc. of Cumberland, Rhode Island, is accused of selling silicon bracelets that infringe the “I (heart) Boobies” mark. These are sold through the company’s website, according to court papers.

The foundation said that while the company has apparently removed the listing from its website, it continues to fill orders for infringing items. Rhode Island Novelty has continued to sell the merchandise, the foundation claims, saying it even provided the company with a photo of the allegedly infringing products sold at the Louisiana State Fair.

Rhode Island Novelty didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The foundation asked the court for an order barring further infringement, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees, litigation costs, and the company’s profits derived from the alleged infringement.

Keep A Breast is represented by David A. Peck of the Coast Law Group LLP of Encinitas, California.

The case is Keep A Breast Foundation v. Rhode Island Novelty Inc., 3:11-cv-02936-H-WMC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

For more trademark news, click here.


‘Wolverine’ Infringer Gets One-Year Prison Sentence

A New York resident who pleaded guilty in March to uploading a copy of the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” movie without authorization has been sentenced to one year in federal prison, the BBC reported.

Gilberto Sanchez, 49, had acknowledged uploading what is known as an unfinished “workprint” copy of the film, according to the BBC.

Sanchez also has a year of supervised release and the court imposed restrictions on his computer use, the BBC reported.

When the film was released in 2009, actor Hugh Jackman, who played the title role, likened the version Sanchez circulated to “a Ferrari without a paint job,” the BBC reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

IP Moves

Kelley Drye Expands IP Practice With Two From Schiff Hardin

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP hired Douglass C. Hochstetler and Beth D. Jacob for its IP and technology litigation group, the New York-based firm said in a statement.

Both lawyers joined from Chicago’s Schiff Hardin LLP.

Hochstetler, a patent litigator, has represented clients whose technologies include nutritional supplements, pharmaceutical products, disposable diapers, package design, joint compound and nuclear reactor insulation.

He has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Jacob, also a patent litigator, has a practice that focuses on the representation of generics pharmaceutical companies in litigation related to the Hatch-Waxman Act. She has also represented the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in property-damage litigation related to the collapse of 7 World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

She has an undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and a law degree from Yale University.

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