GSK, Urban Outfitters, Craigslist: Intellectual Property

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc lost Indian patent protection for its Tykerb cancer drug, the International Business Times reported.

India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board did uphold a patent on lapatinib, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the drug, the newspaper reported.

The pharmaceutical company said in a statement it was “disappointed in the ruling, which does not affect patents covering the product in other countries, according to the Times.

A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline told the newspaper that while the company is evaluating the ruling, it will consider taking additional steps in India in efforts to validate the patent.

Senate Confirms F. Scott Kieff for U.S. Trade Commission Seat

The U.S. Senate has confirmed the appointment of F. Scott Kieff to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the Washington-based agency with the power to exclude imports that infringe U.S. intellectual property rights.

Kieff was nominated by President Barack Obama in February. He will be bringing a level of patent expertise to a body that has been growing in importance in the battles over such high-technology products as mobile telephones.

In recent months the ITC has been asked to consider disputes over smartphones, laundry and cleaning products, heavy cranes, tablet computers, toner cartridges, miniature microphones, polymers used in paint, and video game systems. While in most cases those who go to the ITC have claimed their patents are infringed, in June a petitioner sought to have a children’s television program excluded on the grounds that it infringed his copyrights.

Kieff is presently a professor at George Washington University and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, where he directs the Project on Commercializing Innovation and served on the Property Rights Task Force. He is also a faculty member at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center at Germany’s Max Planck Institute, and previously was a faculty fellow Olin Program on Law and Economics at Harvard University.

Additionally he was a professor at the Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law with a secondary appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Neurological Surgery.

Kieff was a judicial clerk to Judge Giles S. Rich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Washington-based case that hears appeals of patent dispute. Kieff has also served as a mediator in that court’s appellate mediation program. Additionally, he was a member of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Public Advisory Committee from 2009 to 2010.

Before he became a professor, Kieff practiced at Chicago’s Jenner & Block LLP and at New York’s now defunct Pennie & Edmonds.

Kieff has an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

For more patent news, click here.


Urban Outfitters, Navajo Nation Say Trademark Mediation Failed

Urban Outfitters Inc., the lifestyle specialty retailer based in Philadelphia, and the Navajo Nation failed to resolve their trademark dispute that was sent out for mediation by a federal court in New Mexico.

The retailer was sued in March 2012 by the Navajo nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. The suit was related to the retailer’s use of ‘‘Navajo” in connection with products it sold.

The Navajo Nation sent Urban Outfitters a cease-and-desist letter objecting to the use of the word “Navajo” on underwear and the sale of a flask wrapped in what was described as “Navajo Print Fabric.” The nation complained that the use of the word on underwear offended the tribe’s spiritual beliefs about modesty, and calling a flask “Navajo” was insensitive, given the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol on the reservation.

Other items to which the Navajo Nation objected included an “Unknown Techno Navajo Quilt Oversized Crop Tee” and a “Truly Madly Deeply Navajo Print Tunic,” according to court papers.

In September 2012 Urban Outfitters sought, unsuccessfully, to have the case moved from federal court in New Mexico to Philadelphia. The retailer argued that the New Mexico court was inconvenient for everyone, including the Navajo Nation, which is headquartered in Window Rock, Arizona.

Additionally, Urban Outfitters had argued that the Philadelphia court was “particularly well-versed in intellectual property matters,” and that the case would be disposed of more expeditiously in Pennsylvania.

In January, U.S. District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen rejected Urban Outfitters’ arguments, saying the transfer would only shift the inconvenience from the Urban Outfitters to the Navajo Nation. He also took exception to the retailer’s argument that the Philadelphia court was more experienced in IP disputes, saying “all federal courts are presumed to be equally competent” in federal-question cases.

The case was then sent out for mediation. According to a joint filing by the Navajo Nation and Urban Outfitters, the parties participated in a mediation July 17 conducted by Professor Eric D. Green of Resolutions LLC.

The mediation was unsuccessful and no further sessions were scheduled, according to the filing.

As a result, pretrial events are scheduled throughout 2014, with the trial set for some time after May 1 2015, according to an Aug. 2 joint filing.

The case is Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters Inc., 1:12-cv-00195-LH-WDS, U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico (Albuquerque).

Craigslist Can’t Register Peace Sign as Trademark, Board Says

Craigslist, the San Francisco-based company offering a free online classified-advertising service, has lost its bid to register the peace sign as a trademark, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The San Francisco company had filed three applications in March 2010 to register the peace sign for use with its ad services, online computer databases and interactive bulletin boards.

The symbol they sought to register was created in 1958 by British designer Gerald Holtom, for use by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The symbol -- a circle containing a vertical element bisected by an inverted letter V -- was based on the semaphore symbols for the letters N and D, standing for nuclear disarmament.

In subsequent years it has been used in the U.S. by those opposed to the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Patent Office officials rejected the registration, and issued a second rejection after closely held Craigslist tried to limit its application to cover only purple-colored representations of the peace sign.

In an opinion by the patent office’s Trademark and Trial Appeal Board, the board said that adding the color purple did nothing to render the mark distinctive.

“We find that the purple color claim is not sufficiently distinctive to transform the universal peace symbol into an inherently distinctive mark, even as to the applicant’s specific services,” the board said.

The board found that the peace sign is a “universal symbol that retains its message in all context.” As a result, it “fails to function as a mark.”

Time Square’s ‘Naked Cowgirl’ Says She’ll Seek to Register Mark

A former stripper who appears in a bikini in New York’s Times Square says she will apply to register “Naked Cowgirl” as a U.S. trademark, the New York Post reports.

Sandy Kane, who had previously been sued for trademark infringement by her fellow Times Square performer, Naked Cowboy Robert Burck, told the Post that Burck’s use of bikini-clad women in his act is confusing the public.

Although Burck eventually authorized Kane to use “Naked Cowgirl” in connection with her own name, the performer says she thinks the women performing with him are “an insult to the guitar,” according to the newspaper.

Both performers are having to deal with a newcomer, “Naked Indian” Adam David, who first showed up in Times Square in 2012, the Post reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


Fox News Network Sued TVEyes for Infringing Programs’ Copyrights

Fox News Network LLC sued a television subscription service for copyright infringement.

According to the complaint filed July 39 in federal court in New York, TVEyes Inc. is accused of copying the networks proprietary programming and making it available for a fee to Internet users.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based TVEyes’ Media Monitoring Suit service is sold in a subscription basis, according to court papers. This is the service that Fox claims is giving Internet users unlicensed access to its news programming.

The news service claims that it was contacted by TVEyes seeking a license for Fox content. After Fox News Network refused to grant the license, TVEyes used the content without permission, the company said in its pleadings.

Because Fox has demanded “on multiple occasions” that TVEyes cease its unauthorized use of the programming, the news network says the alleged infringement is knowing, intentional and willful.

In court papers, Fox listed the outlets to which it does offer limited access to some of its programming, including Hulu, Google Inc.’s YouTube, and ITN Source. The news network says it receives revenue from each authorized website.

Fox claims TVEyes “is engaged in the parasitic business of offering and providing to the public for a fee copies of television programming and content created by others” for a subscription fee of $500 a month per user.

The network also objects to the downloading of its content TVEyes permits, and the service’s “clip editor that allows users to create derivative works” based on the unauthorized content.

TVEyes didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request seeking comment.

Fox asked the court to bar TVEyes’ unauthorized use of the news network’s content, and for awards of money damages, including extra damages to punish the Connecticut-based company for its actions, and for attorney fees and litigation costs.

The case is Fox News Network LLC v. TVEyes Inc., 1:13-cv-05315-AKH, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Apple Calls U.S. Proposal for E-Book Court Order Draconian

Apple Inc. called the U.S. Justice Department’s proposal for a court order regulating the company’s sale of electronic books “draconian and punitive.”

The federal government and 33 states submitted the proposal to in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Aug. 2. They asked the judge who ruled that Apple conspired to fix prices of e-books to order the company to cancel existing agreements with five publishers.

“Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction is a draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple’s business,” the company responded in a court filing.

The government’s proposal would require Apple to find a new way to do business with publishers, and might affect its sale of music and other media as well.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, after a nonjury trial in Manhattan, ruled July 10 against Apple. The company, based in Cupertino, California, now faces another trial on damages.

The proposal submitted Aug 2 needs court approval to become effective. A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9.

“Under the department’s proposed order, Apple’s illegal conduct will cease and Apple and its senior executives will be prevented from conspiring to thwart competition in the future,” Bill Baer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division, said in a statement.

The U.S. sued Apple and five of the biggest publishers in April 2012, claiming that the technology company pushed them to allow it to sell digital copies of their books under a model that raised prices and harmed consumers.

The publishers -- Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan unit, CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Pearson Plc’s Penguin unit and News Corp.’s HarperCollins -- settled with the government.

Apple said in its filing that the government’s proposal to regulate the company’s business with publishers is unnecessary because antitrust concerns were “already remedied” by consent decrees the publishers agreed to as part of their settlements.

The case is U.S. v. Apple Inc., 12-cv-02826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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