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Rambus, Mylan, Apple, Duprees, Viacom: Intellectual Property

Rambus Inc. is appealing its loss of a $3.95 billion jury trial over its allegations that Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. conspired to prevent its memory chips from becoming an industry standard.

The November verdict sent Rambus shares down as much as 78 percent, the biggest one-day loss since the company went public in 1997. Micron rose as much as 25 percent, the most since its initial public offering in 1984.

A state court jury in San Francisco by a 9-3 vote rejected Rambus’s claims that Boise, Idaho-based Micron and Hynix, based in Ichon, South Korea, are liable for colluding to manipulate prices of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips in violation of California antitrust law. Rambus’s notice of appeal is dated April 3.

“While we cannot predict how or when the appellate court will decide our appeal, we believe that mistakes made during the trial require reversal of the judgment,” Rambus spokeswoman Linda Ashmore said in an e-mailed statement.

Jurors found by the same vote, after deliberating since Sept. 22, that the two companies didn’t plot to interfere with Rambus’s business relationship with Intel Corp. and drive the world’s largest chipmaker away from its collaboration on RDRAM, or Rambus-designed memory, that began in the 1990s.

There are no “meritorious grounds” for Rambus’s filing “but they certainly have the right to an appeal,” Hynix lawyer Ken Nissley said in an e-mail.

Micron spokesman Dan Francisco didn’t immediately return a call or e-mail seeking comment.

The case is Rambus Inc. v. Micron Technology Inc., 04-0431105, California Superior Court (San Francisco).

Mylan Sues FDA to Overturn Teva’s Exclusivity for Provigil

Mylan Inc. sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to overturn a decision to give Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. 180-day exclusivity for the generic version of the sleep-disorder drug Provigil.

Mylan, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, also sued the secretary of health and human services and the commissioner of food and drugs, according to a filing in federal court in Washington. Mylan applied to the FDA for approval of its own Provigil generic and planned to start marketing it April 6.

Teva acquired rights to Provigil through its acquisition of Cephalon Inc. Provigil, used to treat narcolepsy and sleep apnea, had U.S. sales of about $1.1 billion last year, Mylan said, citing data from IMS Health.

The FDA’s decision blocks other companies from introducing generic versions of the drug. Mylan said that Teva can’t be granted exclusivity because it didn’t maintain valid certifications when it purchased Cephalon. Federal law encourages generic-drug companies to challenge patents held by a branded-drug company, Mylan said.

“Upon acquiring such control of Cephalon, Teva no longer had standing to challenge the validity, unenforceability or infringement of patents that it indirectly owns,” Mylan said in the lawsuit.

Denise Bradley, a spokeswoman for Teva, declined to comment on the suit.

Mylan wants the court to order the FDA to grant “immediate approval” of its application to market the generic drug.

The case is Mylan Pharmaceuticals v. Sebelius, 12-00524, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Apple Product Packaging May Permit Communication, Upgrades

Products by Apple Inc. may soon be talking through their packaging to potential customers, according to a patent application filed by the Cupertino, California-based company.

Application 20120081213, published April 5 in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers “active electronic media device packaging.”

According to the application, the packaging may include electrical traces, either molded into or printed on the surface. These traces can transmit power or data to a row or stack of devices. Sensors in the packaging can detect movement, which would trigger a display effect.

Electronic items using this packaging wouldn’t go stale on the shelf, as it would be possible for store personnel to provide software upgrades to the unit without opening the packaging. Software “bugs” could be fixed by using this method, Apple said in this application.

Apple applied for the patent in December, according to the application.

For more patent news, click here.


Former Group Member Lacks Right to ‘Duprees’ Mark, Court Says

A former member of a pop singing group later known as the Duprees lost his bid to have the group’s trademark canceled.

Michael Kelly, who belonged to a group that began singing doo-wop songs in the early 1960s, filed suit in Newark, New Jersey, in December 2008, saying the trademark was falsely obtained and that he had a right to its use.

The group is known for its songs of teenage romantic angst, such as “My Own True Love,” “These Foolish Things,” and “You Belong to Me.”

Kelly left the group because of “irreconcilable differences,” according to court papers.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton said Kelly filed to prove he had a legal interest in canceling the mark. He also failed to show that he was still a member of the group when the trademark application was filed, or that there was deceptive intent in the application.

The case is Kelly v. Estate of Michael Arnone, 08-cv-06046, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

For more trademark news, click here.


Viacom’s Copyright Suit Against Google’s YouTube Reinstated

Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing website must defend itself against claims that it violated Viacom Inc.’s copyrights by letting users post clips from shows without authorization, an appeals court ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan reversed a lower court’s decision to throw out the case before trial.

Viacom sued in 2007, seeking $1 billion in damages and claiming that YouTube users were illegally uploading thousands of videos of Viacom television programs and movies from its Paramount Pictures studio.

U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled in 2010 that YouTube was protected from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it removed the offending videos when told they had been posted. New York-based Viacom appealed, saying YouTube was aware of the copyright violation when it displayed the videos without authorization.

The appeals panel agreed with Stanton that the DMCA requires online service providers to have “knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity” before being held liable for copyright infringement.

At the same time, the appeals court said Stanton erred by granting summary judgment to YouTube on the alleged facts of the case, and that Stanton erred in interpreting a provision of the law.

In court, Viacom argued that YouTube used unauthorized copyrighted material to draw visitors and make the website more attractive to potential buyers. The site benefited financially from infringement by reaping revenue from advertisements placed next to the videos, Viacom said.

Google, operator of the world’s biggest Internet search engine, bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Google said in a filing that Viacom had also been interested in buying the site.

After Google made its successful offer, Viacom sent the “takedown” notices required by law when a content provider wants infringing material removed from a site, Google said. Viacom said YouTube offered it a partnership agreement valued at $590 million before talks ended.

Google also said Viacom uploaded its own videos to YouTube to promote its programs. The website operator said Viacom couldn’t tell which videos were unauthorized and which weren’t.

The case is Viacom International v. YouTube, 10-03270, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan). The lower-court case is Viacom v. YouTube, 07-2103, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Disputed Film Back on Vimeo; Trailer Still Removed from YouTube

Even though an Australian filmmaker’s assistant was hit with a money judgment for making an unjustified copyright infringement claim, Google Inc.’s YouTube site still blocks viewing of a trailer for the disputed film.

The Federal Court of Australia awarded Richard Kenneth Bell A$147,000 ($151,000) and another A$22,000 in court costs after his film “The Blackfella’s Guide to New York” was removed from IAC/InterActiveCorp.’s Vimeo video-sharing site following a bogus copyright infringement claim by his former assistant.

The court said in its March 13 ruling that Bell lost opportunities to sell his artistic product, and that his former assistant failed to appear in the case or file any court papers. The damages award was issued in earlier proceedings, and in the March ruling, the court awarded litigation costs.

The infringement claims made by the former assistant were “groundless” and “unjustifiable,” the court said.

Bell had posted a trailer for his film on YouTube. When accessed last week, the site had a notice that the trailer was unavailable because of a copyright claim by the assistant. The film itself can be seen in Vimeo.

For more copyright news, click here.

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