Medicis, Village Voice, Sex Film: Intellectual Property

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. was sued by Q-Med AB to block transfer of rights to its wrinkle gel Restylane to a competitor.

Q-Med filed the lawsuit, which it described in court papers as “an action in aid of arbitration,” in federal court in Manhattan on Nov. 7. Medicis disclosed Q-Med’s lawsuit in a regulatory filing Nov. 9.

Medicis in September said it had agreed to be acquired by Montreal-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. in a transaction valued at $2.6 billion. In court filings, Q-Med described Valeant as its “direct competitor.”

“Q-Med has informed Medicis that it will not consent to a change of control of Medicis that would result in a transfer to Valeant of the exclusive rights to market and sell Q-Med’s dermal filler products” including Restylane in North America, the Uppsala, Sweden-based company said in a filing.

Asserting it will sustain “irreparable harm” if those rights are transferred while arbitration is pending, Q-Med asked for a court order temporarily blocking the transaction.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan ordered Medicis to respond to the injunction request by Nov. 14 and scheduled oral argument for Dec. 3.

The media relations department of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Medicis didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the suit.

While Valeant isn’t named as a defendant in the case, the company assailed Q-Med’s claims in an e-mailed statement.

“Not only does Q-Med have no entitlement to the injunctive relief it seeks, but its request for such an extreme remedy is predicated on a systematic misreading of its contracts with Medicis,” according to the Valeant statement.

The case is Q-Med AB v. HA North American Sales AB, 12-cv-08071, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Nestle’s Purina Unit Allegedly Infringed Animal-Testing Patents

Nestle SA’s Purina PetCare unit was sued for patent infringement by a California nonprofit organization that provides animal blood-bank and veterinary diagnostic services.

The Nestle unit is accused of infringing four patents related to systems for determining a nutritional program for a dog or cat, according to the complaint filed Nov. 2 in federal court in Santa Ana, California.

Four patents issued in 2011 and 2012 are the subjects of the suit: 7,865,343, 8,060,354, 8,224,587 and 8,234,099.

Hemopet, a nonprofit organization based in Garden Grove, California, according to its website, said Purina’s Veterinary Diet JM and OM products infringe the patents. Hemopet claims it has suffered irreparable damage as a result of Purina’s actions.

In addition to a court order barring further infringement of its patents, Hemopet asked the court for awards of money damages, litigation costs and attorney fees.

St. Louis-based Purina didn’t respond immediately to an e-mail request for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Hemopet v. Nestle Purina PetCare Co., 12-cv-01907, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

For more patent news, click here.


Village Voice Dismisses Trademark-Infringement Suit Against Yelp

Village Voice Media Holdings LLC ’s trademark-infringement suit against Yelp Inc. has settled less than two weeks after it was filed.

The suit, filed in federal court in Arizona Oct. 25, had accused San Francisco-based Yelp of infringing the Voice’s “best of” trademarks. The newspaper publisher said it has been using these marks since 1979, and registered them with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The Phoenix-based publisher objected to Yelp’s use of “Best of Phoenix,” “Best of San Francisco,” “Best of Miami,” and similar terms on its Web pages. To no avail, the Voice said it sent Yelp a cease-and-desist letter on Sept. 18.

Yelp is the operator of the social networking user-review site, and the Voice claimed that through the unauthorized use of the trademarks, the San Francisco company was causing confusion in the marketplace, and unfairly piggybacked on the fame and goodwill the Voice has developed for its trademarks.

In its Nov. 11 filing, the Voice said simply that the parties had reached an agreement and that it was voluntarily dismissing the suit. Each party was to pay its own legal costs.

The case is Village Voice Media Holdings LLC v. Yelp Inc., 2:12-cv-02285-MHB, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

Strange Brewing Told by Strange Brew Company to Change Name

Strange Brewing Co., a Denver-based craft brewery, has been threatened with a trademark infringement suit by a Massachusetts company that sells home-brewing supplies, Denver’s Westword newspaper reported.

Strange Brew Beer & Wine Making Supplies of Marlboro, Massachusetts, sent the brewery a letter warning that its customers were confused by the similarity of the names, and demanding that Strange Brewing change its name, according to Westword.

The brewery responded, noting there are numerous instances to be found on the Internet of companies with “Strange Brew” in at least part of their names, and offering a license agreement with the brewing-supplies company, according to the newspaper.

Westword published the Massachusetts company’s response letter in which it said that the license offer was “offensive,” and warning that if the brewery didn’t change its name, there would be “ formal legal action without further notice.”

For more trademark news, click here.


Pirate Party in Russia on Verge of Registering, Runs Candidate

Although Russia’s anti-copyright Pirate Party is only now preparing to register as a political party with that country’s Ministry of Justice, it already fielded a candidate for mayor in one Russian city, the Russian International News Agency reported.

Although candidate Dmitry Yevsyutkin received only 2.7 percent of the votes cast in the election for mayor of Kaliningrad, party leaders considered it a good start, according to RIA.

In Russia, the party will take on issues beyond copyright, including governmental transparency, censorship and street-cleaning, RIA reported.

Presently the Russian Pirate Party has about 500 members, each of whom pays 1,000 rubles ($31) a year, according to RIA.

Two Arrested for Infringement Against Vision Group TV Unit

Two Uganda residents have been arrested in connection with the copyrights of a news program running on Bukedde TV, one of Vision Group’s media outlets, that country’s New Vision newspaper reported.

Doreen Pacutho, an attorney for Vision Group, Uganda’s largest media company, told New Vision that unauthorized downloading and reposting of content had gone on for more than three months,

The alleged infringers had also used the logo for the legitimate program -- Agataliko NfuFu -- and the logo for Bukedde TV on their website, Pacutho said, and New Vision reporter.

The two alleged infringers were arrested in a sting operation with an official of Vision Group posing as a potential client and assisted by plain-clothes detectives, according to New Vision.

Hulk Hogan Says He’ll Copyright Sex Film Gawker Aired

Terry Jean Bollea, the professional wrestler known as “Hulk Hogan,” is planning to register the copyright for a video clip of himself having sex with Heather Cole, a woman who isn’t his wife, the Tampa Tribune reported.

The copyright filing is part of Hogan’s strategy in a suit against Gawker Media LLC for putting the tape up on its website, according to the newspaper.

In a suit filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, Hogan has claimed posting the video infringes his privacy and could damage his career, the newspaper reported.

Gawker is claiming that publication of the tape is protected under the First Amendment, according to the Tribune.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Balough Offers Trade Secret Determination App through App Store

Balough Law Offices LLC, a Chicago firm, has developed a iPhone and iPad application aimed at helping a company’s employees learn guidelines on what a trade secret is.

The application, which is available for free through Apple Inc.’s App Store, covers trade secret policies and non-compete covenants. It gives both employers and employees a series of questions to answer relative to both those issues.

The firm added a caveat to the application’s description, noting that the application is not legal advice, Balough isn’t acting as the user’s attorney, and the app is “for information purposes only.”