Gilead, Schindler, Ericsson, Rovio: Intellectual Property

Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to delay the introduction of generic versions of two Gilead Sciences Inc. HIV drugs until June if a judge hasn’t ruled in its favor by then in a patent case brought by Gilead.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan is set to begin a non-jury trial of Gilead’s patent-infringement lawsuit Feb. 20. If he doesn’t rule by June 1, Teva may begin to sell the drugs Truvada and Viread, according to an agreement between the two companies that was filed yesterday in federal court.

Gilead, based in Foster City, California, sued Teva in 2008 and again in 2010, claiming that Teva’s applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make drugs to treat HIV infections in adults infringed four of its patents. The complaints also listed the HIV drug Atripla, which wasn’t cited in yesterday’s filing.

Teva, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, said in court papers that Gilead’s patents were invalid and couldn’t be infringed.

The case is Gilead Sciences v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, 10-01796, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Otis Wins Schindler Fight Over World Trade Center Elevator

United Technologies Corp.’s Otis Elevator unit won a U.S. appeals-court ruling that invalidates a patent owned by Schindler Holding AG, in a dispute over technology used in elevators at New York’s 7 World Trade Center.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday said the patent owned by Schindler’s Inventio unit is invalid as an obvious variation of earlier know-how. A July 2011 jury verdict that upheld the patent “lacks substantial evidentiary support,” the court said in a decision posted yesterday on its website.

Patent 5,689,094 covers the use of magnetic cards or similar identifying transmitters to direct a person to a specific elevator that will go to a pre-designated floor without having to use buttons. Inventio filed suit Nov. 6 against Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., claiming elevators at 1 World Trade Center and 11 Times Square infringe the same patent.

Otis’s system is installed at 7 World Trade Center, built by New York developer Larry Silverstein to replace a tower destroyed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Otis elevator system, called Compass, uses pre-programmed radio frequency identification chips and was the first of its kind installed in the U.S.

The trial judge threw out most of Inventio’s case on damages and refused to order a broad ban on the use of the Inventio patent. The Federal Circuit declined to address Inventio’s appeal of those issues because it found the patent invalid.

Inventio sued Otis in 2006, part of a broader dispute over elevators used in high-rise buildings. Hergiswil, Switzerland-based Schindler is challenging an Otis elevator patent in a case pending in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

The case is Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Otis Elevator Co., 2011-1615 and 2012-1108, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Otis Elevator Co., 06-cv-5377, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Ericsson Sues Samsung as Patent-Licensing Negotiations Fail

Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networking equipment, sued Samsung Electronics Co. for patent infringement, saying the South Korean phone maker failed to extend a licensing deal after years of negotiations.

In the suit filed yesterday in federal court in Texas, Ericsson said that Samsung is improperly using its technology for mobile phones after a previous agreement expired. The Stockholm-based company said it offered to extend the deal on fair and reasonable terms, known as FRAND.

“These negotiations have been unsuccessful for the simple reason that Samsung refuses to pay the FRAND rate paid by its competitors for Ericsson’s standard-essential patents,” Ericsson said in the complaint.

Samsung is engaged in separate patent battles around the globe with Apple Inc. as the two companies fight for dominance in the smartphone and tablet computer markets. Stockholm-based Ericsson spent $5 billion on research and development in 2011 and made a net gain of 6.2 billion kronor ($937 million) from licensing the technology to other companies last year, Kasim Alfalahi, Ericsson’s head of intellectual property, said yesterday in a phone interview.

Ericsson has “demanded prohibitively higher royalty rates to renew the same patent portfolio,” Samsung said in a statement yesterday. “As we cannot accept such extreme demands, we will take all necessary legal measures to protect against Ericsson’s excessive claims.”

The case is Ericsson v. Samsung Electronics, 6:12-cv-00894, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).

German Top Court Partly Upholds Embryonic Stem-Cell Patent

Germany’s top civil court upheld a part of patent on embryonic stem-cells, saying such an intellectual property may be granted as long as embryos aren’t destroyed in the process. Relying on a 2011 ruling by the European Court of Justice, the German judges said patents can be granted for other methods used which don’t destroy the embryo.

For more patent news, click here.


Rovio Says It Needs Immediate Action Against Fake Plush Toys

Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” game for mobile devices, is continuing to argue for an immediate court order barring infringement of its marks by an importer of plush toys.

Rovio, of Espoo, Finland, filed suit in federal court in Oakland, California, Oct. 29, accusing a number of companies based in Livermore, California, of importing and selling plush toys that are counterfeit versions of the “Angry Bird” characters. At that time, Rovio asked for damages in excess of $2 million, a court order barring further infringement and the seizure and destruction of any infringing products.

The games company sought the seizure order without prior notice to the defendants, saying the companies it was suing might otherwise have opportunity to hide the evidence of their actions.

In a Nov. 6 decision, U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong refused the game company’s request for such an order without notice to the defendants. She said that Rovio failed to demonstrate the necessary immediacy of the harm it would otherwise suffer.

Rovio responded in a Nov. 15 filing that it had a “reasonable concern” that the defendants would hide or dispose of products and business records related to the allegedly counterfeit plush toys. The Finnish company said that a process server saw “at least one box” of the toys when it served papers on the defendant, who denied being in possession of “Angry Birds” toys.

According to court papers, Rovio’s “Angry Birds” game has been downloaded more than 1 billion times, with players logging into the game more than 3.33 million hours per day. Rovio itself sells plush “Angry Birds” toys, and, according to court filings, these are the most popular ancillary product.

The case is Rovio Entertainment Ltd. v. Royal Plus Toys Inc., 4:12-cv-05543, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

For more trademark news, click here.


Verizon Sued by Makers of Adult Films Over Subpoena Compliance

Three makers of adult films sued Verizon Communications Inc.’s Verizon Online unit seeking a court order forcing the company to release information about some of its subscribers.

The complaint, filed Nov. 19 in federal court in San Angelo, Texas, makes reference to 29 copyright-infringement cases filed in federal courts in Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.

The filmmakers said they want the court to order Verizon to comply with subpoenas issued in those cases. They seek the information about Verizon subscribers they claim have infringed their copyrights through unauthorized downloading and sharing their films.

Verizon has objected to these subpoenas on “numerous inappropriate and baseless grounds,” according to the complaint. The filmmakers asked the court to overrule all of Verizon’s objections, order the requested responses and find that the New York-based company acted with contempt toward the court.

In the infringement cases, Verizon has characterized the subpoenas as an abuse of the discovery process, and said that the information requested isn’t relevant. The company has also said it’s too burdensome for it to go through the process of responding to the subpoena and producing the requested information.

The film companies said in their complaint that they are willing to compensate Verizon for subscriber data that is produced.

The case is Malibu Media LLC v. Verizon Online LLC, 12-mc-00017, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (San Angelo).

SingTel’s Optus Says Changes Needed in Aussie Copyright Law

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.’s Optus unit said Australia’s present copyright law is being used to “protect vested economic interests” and puts technological innovators are a disadvantage, the Australian reported.

The company made its argument in a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission, which is seeking comments on proposed changes to the nation’s copyright laws, the newspaper said.

Optus noted that the postal service isn’t considered liable for transmitting mail that may contain content that infringes a copyright right and said that telecommunications companies shouldn’t be treated any differently, according to the Australian.

Copyright law shouldn’t make a distinction between uses of copyright material based on the technology employed to access it, Optus said in its submission, according to the Australian.

For more copyright news, click here.

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