Harvest Technologies, Volcano: Intellectual Property

Harvest Technologies Corp., a maker of laboratory equipment used in cell therapy, sued ThermoGenesis Corp., claiming its competitor violated patents for separating blood into its components.

ThermoGenesis used technology protected by two patents, titled Blood Components Separator Disk, Harvest claimed in court papers filed Oct. 24 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

“ThermoGenesis’s actions have, at a minimum, shown willful blindness or indifference” to the patents, Harvest said in its complaint.

Both companies provide technologies used to help separate blood and bone marrow into components, a key part of the process for therapies related to stem cells.

Harvest, based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is a unit of Tokyo-based Terumo Corp., a medical-device maker.

In October 2008 a distributor, who was not sued as part of the patent case, gave ThermoGenesis confidential information about Harvest’s technology, Harvest claimed in the complaint.

Officials at ThermoGenesis didn’t immediately return a call left at the company’s headquarters in Rancho Cordova, California.

The case is Harvest Technologies Corp. v. ThermoGenesis Corp., 12-cv-01354, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

Volcano Loses Patent Countersuit Against St. Jude Medical

Volcano Corp., a maker of cardiac catheter devices, lost a patent case when a jury decided that St. Jude Medical Inc. didn’t misappropriate its inventions.

The jury of five men and three women ruled today after a four-day trial in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, that the three Volcano patents in the case weren’t infringed by St. Jude.

“We have always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in a courtroom,” Scott Huennekens, Volcano’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “However, St. Jude Medical continues to take aggressive legal action.”

Amy Jo Meyer, a spokeswoman for St. Paul, Minnesota-based St. Jude, said the company isn’t commenting on the case.

St. Jude initially sued San Diego-based Volcano in July 2010, alleging violation of patents for wires threaded through blood vessels for diagnosis of heart disease. Volcano countersued, pursuing claims over three patents against St. Jude.

After a trial that began Oct. 15, another jury decided Volcano didn’t infringe two St. Jude patents and that two others were invalid, according to a Volcano filing. Trial on Volcano’s claims began Oct. 22 with a new jury.

Volcano also said today that St. Jude agreed that previous versions of a pressure-sensing guide wire infringed a Volcano patent. A trial on damages hasn’t been scheduled.

The original case is St. Jude Medical v. Volcano Corp., 10-cv-631, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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Winchester Mystery House Trademarks Not Infringed by Film

The Winchester Mystery House, a California State Historical Landmark designed and built by Winchester rifle heiress Sarah Winchester, lost a trademark case against a filmmaker.

Winchester built the house by holding a séance each night and receiving guidance from spirits, according to the Winchester House website. She believed her life was in danger from the spirits of those killed with Winchester rifles, and that if she built a house for them, as long as the construction was going on, she would live.

The house was in a constant state of construction for 36 years, until she died in 1922. According to court papers, she is one of the characters in the film.

In its Oct. 24 ruling, a California appeals court said that Los Angeles-based Global Asylum Inc., the makers of “The Haunting of Winchester House,” didn’t infringe the trademarks belonging to the San Jose, California, tourist attraction.

Affirming a lower court, the appeals court found that the filmmakers were within their First Amendment rights to base their film on a historical character. The operators of the house had argued that the use of “Winchester House” in the film title was an attempt to hitchhike on the fame of the tourist attraction.

The case is Winchester Mystery House LLC v. Global Asylum Inc., H036253, California Court of Appeal, 6th Appellate District.

For more trademark news, click here.


Delhi University Responds to Cambridge University Press Suit

In response to a copyright infringement suit by Cambridge University Press and several other international textbook publishers, Delhi University has said it will take action to prevent future infringement, the Hindustan Times reported.

The suit, filed in Delhi High Court, accused the university and an on-campus photocopy shop of reproducing their publications without authorization, according to the newspaper.

The school told the court it would form a committee that would consider ways to provide students with wider access to educational materials while protecting the rights of the publishers, Hindustan Times reported.

Students who are unhappy with the school’s response and the high cost of textbooks plan a campus protest march on Nov. 7, according to the newspaper.

Netherlands Court Finds Web Host Contributed to Infringement

A court in the Netherlands found a web host for a file-sharing site contributed to copyright infringement by refusing to shut down the site when it knew it was providing access to illegal content, the BBC reported.

XS Networks had rented servers to SumoTorrent, a website through which unauthorized content was shared, according to the BBC.

SumoTorrent, which continues to operate, has since moved its data to the Ukraine, the BBC reported.

XS Networks, which ceased operation in February and argued it’s conduct was legitimate, is liable for damages, the BBC reported.

Smiling Buddha Protected by Copyright, Chinese Court Rules

The image of a smiling Buddha designed by the sculptor Huang Quanfu is entitled to copyright protection, China’s Haidan District Court ruled and China Daily reported.

The owner of a Beijing shop where copies of Huang’s Buddha were sold argued that the fat, smiling Buddha known as a Maitreya is a “typical figure in Buddhist culture” and therefore not entitled to copyright protection, according to China Daily.

The court disagreed, saying the shop’s Maitreya figures were too close copies of Huang’s work, and that the shop had even used the artist’s name in promotional material and packaging, China Daily reported.

Hudge Geo Zhenhua said Huang’s imagines were entitled to copyright protection because the artist “integrated his own ideas” into the representation of the Buddha, according to the newspaper.

Odnoklassniki Pays 1 Million Rubles to Settle Infringement Suit

Odnoklassniki, a Russian social network company with more than 30 million users, settled a copyright infringement suit brought by a record company, the Russian Legal Information Agency reported.

The suit alleged Odnoklaassniki had reproduced songs of Russian singer MakSim without authorization, according to the news agency.

Gala Records, Russia’s first private recording company, brought the suit, the news agency reported.

Odnoklassniki agreed to pay 1 million rubles ($32,000) to settle the dispute, and the case was dismissed, according to the news agency.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Vacuum-Maker Dyson Accuses Bosch of Paying Mole to Steal Designs

Dyson Ltd., the bagless vacuum-cleaner maker, accused Robert Bosch GmbH of paying one of its engineers to steal motor designs in a U.K. lawsuit.

Bosch paid the “mole” to pass on technology, which was also given to Bosch’s Chinese motor manufacturer, Malmesbury, England-based Dyson said in a statement Oct 24.

“Bosch’s vice president for engineering employed a Dyson engineer and benefited from our confidential know-how and expertise,” Mark Taylor, Dyson’s research director, said in the statement. “We are demanding the immediate return of our intellectual property.”

Dyson has previously accused French and Chinese companies of copying its products. Intellectual property rights for its air multiplier fan have been infringed about 500 times in 30 countries during the past two years, Dyson said in its statement.

Bosch had a consulting arrangement with the engineer, who worked on garden products, the Gerlingen, Germany-based company said in a statement. Bosch is looking into Dyson’s claim and declined to comment further on the allegations.

The case is: Dyson Technology Limited v. Robert Bosch Limited & Ors, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC12E04131. Motley Crue’s Drum Track a Stolen Trade Secret, Inventor Claims

Motley Crue, a Los Angeles-based heavy metal band, was sued for trade secret misappropriation by the inventor of a device that makes it possible for a drummer to perform while he’s up-side down.

According to the complaint filed in California state court in Los Angeles, Howard Scott King accused the band and its drummer -- Tommy Lee -- of misappropriating the idea of the “Tommy Lee Loop Coaster,” an elliptical track on which the drummer rides on a wheeled platform.

King claimed his discussions about his invention were covered by a confidentiality agreement. He said the agreement, which dates back to 1991, has been “misplaced or lost.”

He claims he never heard any response and hasn’t received any compensation from the band for a technology it began using in June 2011. The invention is also used in the band’s commercials for Kia Motors Corp. and to promote the band and its performances, according to court papers.

King asked the court for money damages, an order barring further use of his invention and for an award of profit related to the alleged misappropriation of his invention.

According to the TMZ entertainment news website, counsel for the band has responded, saying they never received the pitch from Lee.

The case is Howard Scott King v. Tommy Lee, SC118527, Superior Court of the State of California (Los Angeles County).

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