Abbott, Kodak, L-3 Communications: Intellectual Property

Abbott Laboratories settled patent lawsuits with generic-drug makers Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mylan Inc. and Lupin Ltd. over its cholesterol drug Trilipix.

“We have reached a settlement on litigation with Lupin, Mylan and Watson regarding Trilipix,” Abbott spokeswoman Adelle Infante said in an e-mail. “The terms are confidential.”

Abbott filed complaints in 2010 against each of the three companies and dismissed them yesterday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. Watson, Mylan and Lupin had sought U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market 45-milligram and 135-milligram copies of Trilipix, according to the complaints.

Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Illinois, sued with its Fournier Laboratories Ireland Ltd. They claimed the generic companies infringed a patent that expires in January 2025. Watson is based in Corona, California; Lupin, in Mumbai; and Mylan, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

In October, Impax Laboratories Inc. said it settled patent litigation with Abbott and Fournier, permitting it to sell a generic version of Trilipix as early as 2013.

An Abbott lawsuit against Actavis Group Hf over a generic copy of Trilipix, filed in 2010, is pending in Newark.

The cases are Abbott Laboratories v. Watson Laboratories, 12-cv-2139; Abbott v. Lupin Ltd., 10-cv-1578; and Abbott v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, 10-cv-2073, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

Kodak Says 20 Potential Bidders to View Confidential Patent Data

Eastman Kodak Co., the bankrupt photography pioneer selling digital-imaging patents, said 20 parties signed agreements to view confidential information and access an electronic-data room ahead of potential bids.

Kodak filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking approval of an auction process that would keep secret all bidder names and the amounts offered, according to a statement from the Rochester, New York-based company. That may lead to the announcement of a winner on Aug. 13.

Kodak is selling more than 1,100 patents to help shrink the company’s focus to printing rather than photography. It had until June 30 to file an outline of the bid procedures, and the motion accelerates that process. Its two patent portfolios, one containing digital-capture patents and the other imaging systems and services, may be Kodak’s most valuable assets.

The company said it has generated more than $3 billion from licensing the digital-imaging patents from users including Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Nokia Oyj.

The patent technology is valued at $2.21 billion to $2.57 billion, based on an estimate by 284 Partners LLC, a patent advisory firm cited in a debtor’s motion filed before a U.S. bankruptcy court in January.

Kodak is pursuing patent litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission against Apple Inc., Research In Motion Ltd. and HTC Corp., alleging they infringe some of the for-sale patents. Kodak has said a victory in the case may force the companies to pay for licensing and bolster the value of the patent portfolios the company is seeking to sell.

Kodak is appealing to the six-member commission in Washington, which has the power to block imports of products that infringe U.S. patents. Their decision is due in September.

Kodak hired Lazard Ltd. more than a year ago to try to find buyers for the patents. The photography pioneer that introduced the Brownie camera more than a century ago filed for bankruptcy in January as digital photography cut into its film business.

The case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

L-3 Communications Accused of Misappropriating Trade Secrets

Several units of L-3-Communications Holdings, a New York-based defense contractor, were sued for trade secrets misappropriation by Vision Technologies Inc., of Bentonville, Arkansas.

The suit, filed in federal court in Fayetteville, Arkansas, accuses the L-3 units of violating a non-disclosure agreement and providing Vision Technologies’ confidential technical specifications and drawings for high-end cameras and camera mounts to a competitor.

Vision Technologies said although it had been in discussion to supply the cameras and camera mounts to L-3, the actual purchase was repeatedly delayed and then terminated in January 2012. Two months later, Vision Technologies said it learned that a rival company was selected to provide the cameras and mounts, and that the other company’s products were “virtually the same as the design and characteristics of its cameras and mounting systems.”

The information on which the competing products were allegedly based was known “only to a handful” of Vision Technologies’ employees, and was shared outside the company only “with the understanding that the specifications are to be kept confidential,” the company said.

It asked the court for an order barring L-3 from further disclosing the Vision Technologies’ trade secrets, and for money damages in excess of $2 million, for extra damages to punish L-3 for its actions, and for awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

L-3 didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Vision Technologies Inc., v. L-3 Communications MAPPS Inc., 5:12-cv-05102-LKH, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas (Fayetteville).


Pirate Bay Makes End Runs Around Courts’ Blocking Orders

Pirate Bay, the website through which users share films, games and music filed, is adding new Internet Protocol addresses in efforts to circumvent court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the site, the TorrentFreak anti-copyright website reported.

Content owners had persuaded courts in the U.K. and the Netherlands to block access to Pirate Bay, saying the sites facilitated copyright infringement, according to TorrentFreak.

A cat-and-mouse game seems to be developing, with Pirate Bay adding new IP addresses just as fast as the content owners get court orders blocking access to the old ones, according to TorrentFreak.

The publicity surrounding the court orders has actually caused in increase rather than a decline of traffic to Pirate Bay, TorrentFreak reported.

For more copyright news, click here.


University of Alabama Loses Trademark Dispute with Artist

A trademark dispute between the artist who designed the U.S. postage stamp honoring University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and the university has been decided in the artist’s favor.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said June 11 that “First Amendment interests in artistic expression so clearly outweigh whatever consumer confusion that might exist.”

The school had sued Daniel Moore for trademark infringement in federal court in Alabama in March 2005.

Moore, who sells his work through, specializes in football images from southern universities, including the universities of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi, as well as Louisiana State University and Auburn University.

He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, as is his wife and one of his daughters. Another daughter had also attended the university, he said in court papers.

The university claimed Moore infringed its trademarks by refusing to take a license to make his commercial prints featuring the University of Alabama football team, and further infringed it by selling coffee mugs and other merchandise with reproductions of his prints of Alabama football teams, according to court papers.

Moore claimed in his court papers that his artwork “journalized historic moments and events in Alabama football.” The work is “protected under the rights afforded under the First Amendment,” he said in his pleadings, noting that the university had granted him “press/media privileges” to research and create his work for two decades.

The case was closely watched in Alabama because of the immense popularity of the university’s football team.

The appeals court said that Moore’s depiction of the team’s uniforms in his unlicensed paintings, prints and calendars is not prohibited by any prior licensing agreement with the university, and that the uniforms “in these works or art are artistically relevant to the underlying works.”

The one part of the case that was returned to the lower court was the question of whether the depiction of the uniforms in Moore’s art reproduced on mugs and other “mundane items” also fell into fair use.

A story on Hollywood Reporter’s website suggested that movie studios may keep the appeals court ruling in mind when it comes to depicting sports teams in films.

The lower court case is Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. New Life Art Inc., 7:05-cv000585-SLB, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, Western Division. The appeals court case is University of Alabama Board of Trustees v. New Life Inc., 09-16412-A, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Hotel Morgantown Responds to Hotel Morgan’s Trademark Complaint

The company operating a hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia, has responded to a trademark-infringement suit brought by the 86-year-old Hotel Morgan Co.

The suit, filed in a West Virginia federal court in April, accused Sahaj Morgantown LLC of infringing the rights of the Hotel Morgan Co. Both companies operate hotels in Morgantown.

Sahaj Morgantown, which filed its response June 6, said its use of the name “Hotel Morgantown” falls within U.S. trademark law’s definition of fair use. The company also claims that the Hotel Morgan Co. failed to state a claim for which federal law provides a remedy.

The Hotel Morgan Co. had asked the court to order Sahaj Morgantown to change its name to something that didn’t contain the worlds “hotel” together with either “Morgan” or “Morgantown.” The company acknowledged that it had never registered “Hotel Morgan” as a state or federal trademark and claimed that the term had acquired secondary meaning, as defined by trademark law, and was entitled to protection.

Hotel Morgan also had sought termination of Hotel Morgantown’s trademarks, and awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

Sahaj Morgantown responded by asking the court to dismiss the case and to require Hotel Morgan Co. to pay the costs related to the defense of the suit.

The case is Hotel Morgan Co. v. Sahaj Morgantown LLC, 1:12-cv-00071-IMK, U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia (Clarksburg).

For more trademark news, click here.

IP Moves

Universal Display Hires Disney’s Premutico as Patents VP

Universal Display Corp. hired Mauro Premutico as vice president, legal and general manager, patents and licensing, the New York-based developer of organic light-emitting diode technology said in a statement.

Premutico joins from Walt Disney Co., where he was managing vice president and chief patent counsel. He has also previously done patent-portfolio management and licensing work at Lenovo Group Ltd. and Symbol Technologies Inc.

He has practiced at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York, at Brumbaugh Graves Donohue & Raymond, which is now part of Houston’s Baker Botts LLP, and at New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Premutico has an undergraduate degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institution and a law degree from Boston University.

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