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Medtronic, CBOE, Lindt, Grey Sail: Intellectual Property

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Medtronic Inc. lost its bid to overturn a $74 million jury verdict won by Edwards Lifesciences Corp. and may face a court order halting production of some of its CoreValve heart valves.

Medtronic CoreValve infringed Edwards’s valid patent 5,411,552, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an opinion posted on the court’s website yesterday. The court said Edwards has the right to ask the trial judge to consider an injunction against U.S. manufacturing or sale of infringing products.

“While Medtronic respects the court’s ruling, we respectfully disagree with this conclusion and we are evaluating next steps,” the Minneapolis-based company said in a statement.

Edwards sued CoreValve, then a stand-alone company, in 2008 over an invention for valve replacements that are threaded into the body via catheters, without open-heart surgery. The patent was issued in 1995, and Edwards said it is seeking an extension of the life of the patent to 2017.

“We believe this is a decisive milestone toward final resolution of this matter, given that we have a clear jury verdict that has been affirmed by both the district court and now the U.S. court of appeals,” Edwards General Counsel Aimee S. Weisner said in a statement.

The companies’ devices, used to repair damaged aortic valves, compete for sales in Europe. Edwards sells devices in the U.S., where Medtronic is awaiting regulatory approval.

The U.S. market for the devices could reach $2.5 billion, Jason Mills, an analyst with Canaccord Adams Inc. in San Francisco, said in March.

A federal jury in April 2010 told CoreValve to compensate Irvine, California-based Edwards $72.6 million in lost profits, and pay $1.3 million as a royalty on CoreValve sales. Edwards said that further proceedings in court may require Medtronic “to pay substantial additional damages accumulated after the verdict was issued.”

U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet in Wilmington, Delaware, declined to halt sales of CoreValve’s Generation 3 ReValving System because the company was moving production to Mexico. Edwards said that CoreValve never stopped its production in California. The Federal Circuit ordered the judge to review the issue.

The case is Edwards Lifesciences AG v. CoreValve Inc., 2011-1215 and 2011-1257, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower-court case is Edwards Lifesciences v. CoreValve Inc., 08CV91, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

CBOE Sues International Securities Exchange Over Patents

CBOE Holdings Inc.’s Chicago Board Options Exchange accused Deutsche Boerse’s International Securities Exchange LLC of infringing three of its patents with an automated system for trading options.

CBOE, in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago, is seeking at least $525 million in damages, including lost profit and royalties. The patents at issue involve quote-risk monitoring and quote-modification services that were issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2008, 2011 and on Sept. 11.

“CBOE has been granted a number of critical patents covering its innovative and award-winning technology,” according to the complaint. “These patents disclose and claim electronic systems and methods for automatically adjusting quotes on the exchange based on risk parameters and are crucial to market maker participation in an exchange.”

The Nov. 12 complaint was filed six months after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated a patent infringement case brought against CBOE by International Securities Exchange, or ISE.

Molly McGregor, a spokeswoman for New York-based ISE, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

ISE was the first all-electronic U.S. options exchange when it began in May 2000. CBOE sued ISE in 2007 after it received a letter from ISE demanding that it pay patent royalties and was sued by ISE in New York over its Hybrid Trading System that blends traditional open-outcry trading with electronic execution. Chicago-based CBOE sought a court ruling that cleared its system of any infringement claims.

In dispute are patents 7,356,498; 7,980,457 and 8,266,044.

The case is Chicago Board Options Exchange Inc. v. International Securities Exchange LLC, 12-cv-09805, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Vitec’s Litepanels LED Patent Victory to Be Reviewed by U.S. ITC

Vitec Group Plc’s initial patent victory over other makers of lighting for television and movie studios will be reviewed by a U.S. trade agency that can stop competing products from entering the country.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said yesterday it will review an agency judge’s findings that companies, many based in Asia, infringed patents owned by Vitec’s Litepanels unit for production lighting that uses light-emitting diodes. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision by Jan. 7.

Litepanels, based in Van Nuys, California, said it developed technology that helped revolutionize lighting for TV studios, only to lose business to what it considers knockoffs. To protect its innovations, Litepanels said it needed a sweeping ban on competing products entering the U.S. Judge Theodore Essex agreed and in September recommended a general order to stop “a widespread pattern of violation.”

Cinematographers have said such an order would lead to higher prices and reduced competition as the TV and film industries invest in studio lighting with LED technology, which lasts longer, generates less heat and uses less electricity than older forms of lighting.

Litepanels is trying to “achieve an unfair monopoly that would damage our members’ creative choices, impair their competitiveness, roll back advances in workplace health and safety, negatively affect the industry’s environmental profile and eliminate the healthy competition that is vital to the development of new technology and new job opportunities,” the International Cinematographers Guild said in an Oct. 17 letter to the commission.

Litepanels, which provided the lighting for the press briefing rooms at the White House and Pentagon, said it or its licensees, including Sony Corp., could replace any excluded lighting systems. Companies that don’t use its invention for LED photographic lighting devices would still be able to sell their products.

The company said it needs the exclusion order because competing devices are made in China, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada and Mexico. If one company is shut down, it argues, another will pop up under a different name.

Vitec, based in Surrey, England, said March 1 that sales at its Litepanels unit grew 20 percent last year because of increased usage of LED technology by news broadcasters.

The case is In the Matter of LED Photographic Lighting Devices and Components thereof, 337-804, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademarks

Lindt, Haribo Go to German Court Over ‘Golden Bear’ Trademark

Lindt & Spruengli AG and Haribo GmbH of Bonn, Germany, will return to court in Cologne, Germany, Dec. 18 in a dispute over the right to use “Gold Bear” in candy packaging, Confectionery News reported.

Haribo, which makes gummy bear candies under the Gold-Bears brand, objected to Lindt’s chocolate “Teddy,” which is packaged in gold foil, according to the trade publication.

Sylvia Kalin, a spokeswoman for Kilchberg, Switzerland-based Lindt, said her company deliberately chose not to use “gold” in the name of its product or related marketing, according to Confectionery News.

Because the Lindt Teddy is made from chocolate, the two products are in different segments of the candy market and consumer misunderstanding is unlikely, Kalin said and Confectionery News reported.

B.C. Marketing Settles With Grey Sail Over ‘Full Sail’ Marks

B.C. Marketing Concepts Inc., the maker of Full Sail beers, settled a trademark dispute with a Rhode Island craft brewer.

Grey Sail Brewing Co., based in Westerly, Rhode Island, sued B.C. in May in federal court in Providence, Rhode Island, seeking a declaration its name didn’t infringe B.C.’s “Full Sail” marks.

According to court papers, the one-year-old brewery received a cease-and-desist notice from B.C. in April, demanding it quit using “Grey Sail” as its name. B.C., based in Hood River, Oregon, was established in 1987 and produces amber and India pale ale and a range of seasonal brews, according to the company website.

The case was settled with each party to bear its own expenses, the court said in an Oct. 25 filing.

Rhode Island’s Westerly Sun newspaper reported that Grey Sail agreed to change the company name to “Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island” and to emphasize its Rhode Island roots in its marketing campaigns.

The case is Grey Sail Brewing Co. v. B.C. Marketing Concepts Inc., 12-cv-338, U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island (Providence).

For more trademark news, click here.

For copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Zimbabwe Tobacco Companies Say Espionage Cutting Sales

Tobacco producers in Zimbabwe are accusing South African rivals of getting involved in industrial espionage in efforts to halt the export of cigarettes to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper reported.

The Zimbabwean tobacco companies say they have lost 100 million South African rand ($11.4 million) worth of products to hijackings and robberies resulting from espionage, according to the newspaper.

At least eight citizens have been arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe, on charges of industrial espionage related to cigarette companies, the Herald reported.

Suspect Detection’s Cogito to Be Used in Energy Industry

Suspect Detection Systems Inc., a New York-based maker of security and law enforcement equipment, received multiple orders for its Cogito automated interrogation system from a private security firm seeking to detect industrial espionage, United Press International reported.

The system will be used to interrogate employees of what UPI describes as an unidentified “major energy company.”

The Cogito system has biometric and documentation verification features and interrogation capabilities, UPI reported.

Suspect Detection Systems told UPI that the system, which uses artificial-intelligence techniques and algorithms, can be used without a professional interrogator.

European Cybercrime Center to Be Operational in January

The European Cybercrime Center is set to open in January in Brussels, the Southeast European Times reported.

The center will provide operational, technical and forensic support to European Union member states as part of efforts to combat cybercrime and industrial espionage, according to the newspaper.

Targets of the center are organized crime groups, terrorist groups and other criminals who use technology to commit cybercrime and steal industrial secrets, the Times reported.

The center will work with both law enforcement and the private sector, according to the Times.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at vslindflor@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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