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Impax, ‘Laguiole,’ Longman Nigeria: Intellectual Property

Impax Laboratories Inc. was sued by Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc. for allegedly infringing a new patent for the drug Nuedexta, used to control abnormal emotional outbursts.

Lawyers for Avanir contend Impax wrongly plans to market a generic version of the drug, for which a patent was awarded in July, before the patent expires in 2023, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. At issue is patent 8,227,484.

“Impax’s proposed product is especially adapted for a use that infringes the patent,” Avanir contends in court papers, saying there is “no substantial non-infringing use” for the product.

Avanir, based in Aliso Viejo, California, is asking a judge to rule that the patent is infringed, to order Hayward, California-based Impax not to use the technology and to award unspecified damages.

Reached by telephone, Impax spokesman Mark Donohue declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Avanir reported about $32 million in revenue for the year ending on June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Impax reported about $573 million in the same period.

On Sept. 12, Avanir filed four suits against other pharmaceutical companies alleging infringement of the same patent

The new case is Avanir v. Impax, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


Cott Corp. Sued by Seattle Rain Over New ‘Clear Choice ICE’

Cott Corp., a Canadian maker of sports beverages, juices and soft drinks was sued for trademark infringement by Talking Rain Beverage Co. of Washington state.

According to the complaint filed in Seattle federal court Oct. 5, Preston-based Talking Rain said its Sparking Ice product is infringed by Cott’s new Clear Choice ICE beverage. It claims the packaging “blatantly mimics” key elements of its own distinctive product. The Cotts Clear Choice ICE is such a deliberate imitation that the Canadian company’s product line includes a copy of “every one of the eight flavors of Sparking Ice,” “including the colored nature of the water, the percentage of juice and even the calorie count,” according to court papers.

Both products are packaged in almost identical 17-ounce bottles, with clear labels, the word “ICE” written in white uppercase letters, and a picture of the fruit corresponding with the flavor, Seattle Rain says in its pleadings.

Seattle Rain introduced its product line in 1993, the company said, and redesigned its packaging in 2009. It’s the 2009 packaging, which Talking Rain claims was unlike any other packaging in the flavored-water category at the time, that is allegedly infringed.

The infringement is deliberate, Seattle Rain said, as part of a “blatant attempt to confuse customers.” The company claims that the competing products will be sold in the same commercial channels, and cited what it saw was a claim made in Cotts marketing materials in which it said it was targeting customers of the “comparable national brand.”

Because the products are low cost -- selling for less than $2 a bottle -- Seattle Rain says customers are unlikely to exercise a great deal of care in making their purchases, which makes it even more likely they will be confused as to the source of their purchases.

Seattle Rain asked for orders barring the manufacture, shipping, marketing and sales of the allegedly infringing product, and for awards of all profits derived from that infringement. Additionally, the company requested money damages, including extra damages to punish Cotts for its actions, together with attorney fees and litigation costs.

Mississauga, Ontario-based Cotts didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Talking Rain Beverage Co. v. Cott Corp, 2:12-cv-01727, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Laguiolais Tear Down Village Sign to Protest Trademark Outcome

Residents of the French village of Laguiole have torn down their village sign as part of a protest to their loss of a trademark battle with a company that imports kitchen wares from China, the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reported.

After a business based near Paris registered “Laguiole” as a trademark in 1993 and licensed it for imported goods and told the village’s knife-makers they couldn’t use the name for their products without a license, according to the Guardian.

Villagers are now asking the government to develop rules covering regional products akin to the Appellation Controlee regulations covering wines, the newspaper reported.

In their battle seeking cancellation of the mark, the court ruled in September that the Laguiole knife was more famous than the village, and that the name had become generic for a particular kind of knife not necessarily from Laguiole.

Phu Quoc Fish Sauce So Far Fails to Meet Phu Quoc Standard

Although the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc acquired the geographic indication “Phu Quoc fish sauce” in 2001, to date none of the fish sauce made in the region has met the standards required for the use of the name, Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News reported.

One of the ways that the producers have failed is by having the product -- which is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine -- bottled in Ho Chi Minh City, rather than on the island as the regulations specify, according to Tuoi Tre News.

So far, all the island-bottled sauce has exceeded standards for the maximum level of histamine permitted per liter, the news service reported.

Overfishing of the anchovy, which is a key ingredient in the sauce, is also a problem, as producers have had to buy them on the open market, where many of them have been bloated from oversalting, the news service reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


U.K.’s Ofcom Asked to Extend Anti-Piracy Rules to 4G Services

Content owners in the U.K. are asking Ofcom, the independent regulator of that nation’s telecom system, to extend its anti-piracy rules to cover mobile operators, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

The request was made by the Federation Against Software Theft, which calls for extension of the rules to 4G telecom services, according to the newspaper.

Without these rules, mobile networks will become the vehicle for unauthorized downloading, FAST spokesman Julian Heathcote Hobbins told the Telegraph.

An Ofcom official said that in six months the present rules will be reviewed in light of new and emerging technologies, the newspaper reported.

Saudi Officials Target Riyadh Sellers of Pirated Software, Films

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and information has begun an enforcement campaign against the sale of pirated software in the city of Riyadh, the Middle East North American Financial Network reported.

The crackdown targeted parked cars from which the pirated software was sold in the computer-market area of the city, MENAFN reported.

In addition to parked or moving cars, vendors were also selling the illegally copied software from makeshift stores set up on sidewalks, according to MENAFN.

In addition to software, pirated movies were also sold from the illegal markets, MENAFN reported.

Pirated Longman Books Falsely Labeled as Christian Goods Seized

The Nigerian Copyright Commission seized more than 3,000 cartons of pirated books, including Bibles and educational materials, that country’s Channels TV reported.

Although the goods were labeled as Christian materials, after they were examined, they were found to be pirated versions of educational books, according to Channels TV.

Christian Nkwocha of the copyright commission told Channels that Longman Nigeria Plc was one of the publishers whose books were pirated and included in the shipment.

Three suspects have been arrested so far, and Nkwocha said an investigation continues, according to Channels.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Ex-Tag Oil Employee Under Investigation in Trade Secret Case

Police in New Plymouth, New Zealand, are investigating trade-secret misappropriation allegations against a former employee of Vancouver-based Tag Oil Ltd. after he left and joined competing New Zealand Energy Corp,, the Taranaki, New Zealand, Daily News reported.

Ian Brown, chief operating officer for NZEC, also based in Vancouver, said his company hadn’t head-hunted the former Tag employee, and was still employed by his company, according to the newspaper.

Susan Hughex QC, counsel for the accused former Tag employee, said that all allegations against her client are “strenuously denied” and that he is giving the authorities “complete cooperation,” according to the newspaper

Both companies are involved in oil and gas exploration in Taranaki, which is on New Zealand’s North Island, the newspaper reported. NZEC didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

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