Cubist, DuPont, Audemars, Baidu: Intellectual Property

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., a maker of antibiotic medicines, sued Hospira Inc. for patent infringement over plans to market a generic version of Cubicin, a drug used to combat the MRSA flesh-eating bacterium.

Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to sell a copy of Cubicin before the 2020 expiration of Lexington, Massachusetts-based Cubist’s patent 8,129,342, according to a complaint filed July 9 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Cubist contends in court papers that Hospira lawyers wrongly claim the patent is “invalid, unenforceable and/or will not be infringed by the commercial manufacture” of generic Cubicin.

The injectable antibiotic is being used for patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which doesn’t respond to conventional medicines.

MRSA infections are commonly spread by direct contact with skin infections or items such as towels or bandages that touched infected skin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Cubist asked a judge for a ruling of infringement and an order to stop Hospira from selling the generic version of the drug until it loses patent protection.

Tareta Adams, a Hospira spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Hospira Inc., 12-cv-859, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

DuPont Hid Failure of GAT Soy for Years, Monsanto Says in Trial

DuPont Co., the most valuable U.S. chemical company, didn’t tell investors for years that efforts to develop its own herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds had failed, Monsanto Co. told a jury at the start of a patent trial.

DuPont, which knew as early as 2006 that its GAT soybeans didn’t grow as well as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready beans, didn’t make the information public until 2009, George C. Lombardi, an attorney for Monsanto, said yesterday at the start of a patent trial in Monsanto’s hometown of St. Louis. DuPont ended up adding the Roundup Ready trait to make the product work, a patent infringement worth as much as $1 billion, he said.

DuPont claims there was no patent infringement because Monsanto obtained the Roundup Ready patent only by withholding information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Lombardi said DuPont’s concerns about “significant stunting” in its GAT soybeans increased through 2008 even as it repeatedly told investors that the product would be on the market in 2009.

“For years, they told the world GAT was going to work,” Lombardi, a Chicago-based lawyer with Winston & Strawn LLP, told the jury in Monsanto’s opening arguments. “When it failed, they relied on the Roundup Ready product in a stack.”

The Roundup Ready trait, introduced by Monsanto 16 years ago, allows crops to survive applications of Monsanto’s Roundup, the world’s best-selling weedkiller.

The gene is engineered into more than 95 percent of soybeans, largely through licensing agreements, generating $22 billion of revenue over eight years for Monsanto and the more than 200 seed companies that license the technology, Lombardi said. The technology drove $6 billion in soybean seed sales for DuPont’s Pioneer unit in that time, he said.

DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, claims Monsanto uses monopoly power to stifle innovation, restricting use of the Roundup Ready trait while making it difficult for competitors to develop a competing trait. Those antitrust claims have been split off into a separate case, with a trial scheduled for April.

The case is Monsanto Co. v. E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., 09cv686, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis).

Fordham Law Gets WIPO Grant to Research Smartphone Patents

Fordham University’s law school received a grant from the World Intellectual Property Association to conduct research on the acquisition and use of patents in the smartphone industry.

The research will be conducted through Fordham Law’s Center on Law and Information Policy, according to a university statement.

A report, to be finished at the end of 2012, will come from research to be conducted by Professor Joel Reidenberg; Jamela Debelak, who heads the center; Daniel Gross, post-graduate fellow from Fordham’s law school class of 2011, and two law school students.

A workshop discussing the findings will be presented by the center and WIPO, a United Nations Agency.

For more patent news, click here.


Obama Campaign Gets Order Barring Use of ‘Rising Sun’ Trademark

The Obama presidential campaign persuaded a federal court to order a website that sells election-related materials to quit using the campaign’s “rising sun” trademark.

In a July 9 ruling, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Washington-based not to use the mark and to refrain from any actions likely to make the public believe the store is affiliated with the campaign.

The campaign sued in June, complaining it was damaged because it depends on sales of authorized merchandise as a fundraising technique for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The campaign said that when people make even a “relatively small” purchase of trademarked merchandise through the official website, it obtains the buyer’s contact information and uses it “to reach out to that individual repeatedly to seek further donations and further opportunities to promote the campaign.”

The Obama campaign was represented by Barry J. Reingold, William C. Rava and Jeremy L. Buxbaum of Seattle’s Perkins Coie LLP.

The case is Obama for America v., 12-cv-00889, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Fake Audemars Piguet Luxury Watches Seized at Laredo, Texas

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Import Specialists Enforcement Team seized a shipment of fake watches valued at $28.7 million, the agency said in a statement.

The goods were seized at the Port of Laredo, Texas. The seized merchandise included 10 boxes of 1,120 fake versions of watches made by Audemars Piguet, the oldest continuously running family owned Swiss watchmaker.

Another part of the shipment was 28 boxes of other watches that customs said was shipped to facilitate the importation of the infringing fakes.

For more trademark news, click here.


No Jimi Hendrix Music in Film, Producer Tells Rolling Stone

“All Is By My Side,” a film about the life of Jimi Hendrix, won’t include any of the late musician’s music, Rolling Stone reported.

Instead of Hendrix’s music, Andre Benjamin, who plays the Seattle-born musician, will perform cover versions of others’ music Hendrix once performed, Rolling Stone reported.

Producer Sean McKittrick told Rolling Stone the film will focus on Hendrix’s days as a backup musician and his discovery in London, with an emphasis on the early stages of his career.

In June, Experience Hendrix LLC, which handles the Hendrix estate, said that no film could be made about his life without the full participation of the rights holders, according to Rolling Stone.

Baidu Copyright-Infringement Trial Begins in Beijing Court

A copyright lawsuit against Chinese search-engine company Baidu Inc. began yesterday in a Beijing court, China Daily reported.

The suit, brought by Chinese author Han Han, is over the company’s Baidu Wenku, a free online library through which books and be read and downloaded, according to China Daily.

Han and China’s Writers union are asking the court to order the Beijing-based search engine to close down Baidu Wenku, to offer a printed apology and to award 760,000 yuan ($119,000), according to China Daily.

Han and more than 40 other writers have claimed that Baidu made their works available as free downloads without authorization, China Daily reported.

University of New Brunswick Won’t Sign with Access Copyright

One Canadian university has opted out of the license agreement with the Access Copyright, Canada’s copyright licensing agency, CBC News reported.

The University of New Brunswick said it didn’t follow the lead of many other Canadian universities and sign an accord with Access Copyright because it was worried about possible negative effects on academic freedom and student fees, according to CBC.

John Teskey, who heads the university’s library system, said that the license may not be so useful in the era of electronic journals, CBC reported.

Without the license, UNB students and faculty members have limits on what they can photocopy and distribute in class, according to CBC.

New Zealand Library Group Concerned about Trade Agreement

New Zealand librarians are concerned that a proposed trade agreement banning parallel importing could raise the cost of acquiring books for their libraries, the New Zealand Herald reported.

In addition to raising the cost of books, the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, presently under negotiation among 11 nations in the Asia-Pacific regions, could slow down the speed at which books come into libraries, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa said, and the newspaper reported.

The association, which represents 450 New Zealand libraries, is joining with library organizations in the other nations negotiating the agreement to express concerns about its effect on library operations, according to the Herald.

The group is also concerned about a provision in the agreement that would extent copyright from 50 years after an author’s death to 70 years, saying it could have a negative effect on libraries’ digitization programs, the newspaper reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

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