Bard, Intesa Sanpaolo, Bass Pro: Intellectual Property

C.R. Bard Inc., a maker of catheters, moved closer to collecting hundreds of millions of dollars as the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. in a patent lawsuit over vascular grafts.

The justices yesterday left intact a $185 million jury verdict against Gore, the company behind the waterproof Gore-Tex fabrics. The court gave no explanation, rejecting Gore’s appeal as part of a list of orders released in Washington yesterday.

The potential award has risen with interest, royalties and fees. Gore owed more than $900 million as of September, Bard said in a regulatory filing last year. A trial judge in Arizona is revisiting part of the award -- $185 million assessed for acting intentionally, along with related legal fees.

The case began in 2003 and involves a dispute dating back to 1974. At issue is a tube that helps retain the shape of non-coronary blood vessels using a substance similar to DuPont Co.’s Teflon, and covered by patent 6,436,135.

At the Supreme Court, Gore argued unsuccessfully that one of its employees was a co-inventor of the grafts. Closely held Gore, a Newark, Delaware-based maker of surgical products and fibers, says it uses the substance for its Gore-Tex fabrics.

The two sides are still battling over the award at the trial court in Arizona. Gore is seeking a new trial while Bard is asking a judge to let the company collect more than $740 million. Bard is based in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

The Supreme Court case is W.L. Gore v. C.R. Bard, 12-458. The district court case is Bard Peripheral Vascular v. W.L. Gore & Associates, 03-cv-597, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (Phoenix).

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Jet Money Says It Won’t Seek to Cancel Intesa Sanpaolo Mark

Jet Money, a Russian company in the small-loan business, has withdrawn its attempt to cancel the “Get Money to Family” trademark held by the Italian banking giant Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, RIA Novosti reported.

The Russian company has filed an application with the Moscow Commercial Court to withdraw the suit, according to RIA Novosti.

Jet Money had sought to cancel the registration because of its belief that Intesa Sanpaolo hadn’t used the brand in a long time, Ria Novosti reported.

The hearing on Jet Money’s motion is set for Jan. 25, according to Ria Novosti.

Bass Pro Says It Doesn’t Object To Florida Outdoor Shops Logo

Bass Pro Group LLC, the Springfield, Missouri-based sporting goods chain, has backed down in a trademark dispute with a Florida shop that sells outdoor clothing, Tampa Bay Online reported.

The chain had objected to a logo with the images of three different kinds of fish used by Simple Life Outfitters of Valrico, Florida, according to Tampa Bay Online.

Bass Pro had claimed potential customers could be confused by an alleged resemblance to its single-bass logo and think the two companies were affiliated, according to Tampa Bay Online.

The founder of Bass Pro showed up in the Valrico shop and told the owner that he would stop the challenge and that going after the small business was “not the way he wants to do business,” according to Tamp Bay Online.

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First Three-Strikes Case to Be Heard by NZ Copyright Tribunal

New Zealand’s Copyright Tribunal will hear its first case brought under the 2011 law that permits rights holders to pursue damages against alleged infringers who’ve received three infringement notices, ZDNet reported.

The New Zealand Ministry of Justice told ZDNet that of the 11 pending cases, only one will require a hearing and the others will be determined “on the paperwork.”

Cases have all been instigated by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand, ZDNet reported.

A study from Australia’s Monash University found that the annual cost to copyright owners to send out the infringement notices, if they were sent to only 2 percent of the population of New Zealand, would be more than NZ$234 million ($197 million), according to ZDNet.

New Norwegian Copyright Legislation to Be Presented This Month

The Norwegian government is set to present proposed amendments to that country’s copyright legislation this month, TorrentFreak reported.

Beginning in March 2009, content owners began pressuring TelenorASA, Norway’s largest Internet service provider, to block alleged infringers’ access to the Pirate Bay file-sharing site, according to TorrentFreak, the anti-copyright news website.

After a court ruled that under then-existing copyright law Telenor didn’t have to block access to TorrentBay, rights holders began to pressure lawmakers for changes in Norway’s copyright scheme, TorrentFreak reported.

The government has declined to comment on the details of any proposed changes before they are presented later this month, according to TorrentFreak.

Heptagon Creations Copyright-Infringement Suit Dismissal Proper

Heptagon Creations Ltd., a Brooklyn, New York-based furniture designer, was told by a federal appeals court that its copyright-infringement case against a New York real estate company was properly dismissed by a lower court.

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, was related to the use of images of Heptagon Creations’ “Andrew Joyau” line of furniture on a television program. According to court papers, Heptagon was approached by Core Group Marketing about lending some of its products to furnish a condominium being offered for sale and featured on the Home & Garden Television show “Selling New York.”

Initially Heptagon agreed until Core Group refused to buy an insurance policy to cover the furniture to be used on the show. When the program aired, Heptagon said that condos was initially shown empty while various sales strategies were discussed. Core then created images of fully furnished rooms in the condo that incorporated images of the Andrew Joyau furniture without permission.

Heptagon then filed suit, claiming its copyrights and trademarks were infringed. In December 2011 the trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case, and Heptagon’s appeal then followed.

In its Jan. 11 opinion, the New York-based appeals court said the dismissal was proper and noted that twice the U.S. Copyright Office had dismissed Heptagon’s attempts to register the copyrights, saying the furniture was utilitarian.

The court noted that the furniture company “did not plausibly allege facts indicating the furniture contains design elements that are conceptually separable from the furniture’s utilitarian functions.”

Because of this, the company “cannot plausibly allege that Heptagon is entitled to copyright protection” for these elements, the court ruled.

The lower court case is Heptagon Creations Ltd. v. Core Group Marketing LLC, 1:11-cv-01794-LTS, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeal is Heptagon Creations Ltd. v. Core Group Marketing LLC, 12-317, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (New York).

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