GSK, VirnetX, Tivo, LVMH, Kolon: Intellectual PropertyVictoria Slind-Flor
ViiV Healthcare Ltd., a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline Plc and two other drugmakers, plans to license pediatric versions of its HIV drug abacavir to a patent-sharing body backed by the United Nations to improve children’s access to treatment.
ViiV will grant the voluntary license to the medicines patent pool for the drug in the 118 countries where 99 percent of children with HIV live, it said in a statement yesterday.
About 3.4 million children have HIV worldwide, and 72 percent of those in need of treatment don’t have access to appropriate care because of a lack of affordable medicines, according to ViiV. ViiV and other drugmakers including Gilead Sciences Inc. also work with generic licensing partners in countries including India and South Africa to produce low-cost version of HIV therapies to sell in developing countries.
“This agreement with the medicines patent pool builds on the existing 13 licenses granted to our generics partners,” Chief Executive Officer Dominique Limet said in a statement. “The overarching goal of our efforts is to improve the lives of children living with HIV.”
ViiV is Glaxo’s joint venture with New York-based Pfizer Inc. and Japan’s Shionogi & Co.
VirnetX $368 Million Jury Verdict Against Apple Upheld by Judge
VirnetX Holding Corp.’s $368.2 million jury victory against Apple Inc. over patents for virtual-private-network technology was upheld by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis in Tyler, Texas, denied Apple’s requests for a new trial or a reduction in the damage award. VirnetX lost its bid for an order that would have limited Apple’s ability to provide virtual private networks on its products, and the judge ordered the two sides to confer within the next 45 days to work out a license for future use of the technology.
A federal jury in Tyler in November said Apple’s VPN on Demand and FaceTime features, used on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as well as Mac computers, infringed four VirnetX patents. There was “substantial evidence” to support both the finding of infringement and the damage award, Davis wrote yesterday.
“We are extremely pleased with the court’s order in our suit against Apple,” VirnetX Chief Executive Officer Kendall Larsen said in a statement. “We look forward to negotiating a license with Apple that includes an ongoing royalty agreement.”
Officials with Cupertino, California-based Apple didn’t immediately return e-mail messages seeking comment.
VirnetX, based in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, had asked for at least $708 million in the trial, while Apple argued the patents were worth no more than $9.1 million. VirnetX also said it would drop its U.S. International Trade Commission case against Apple over other patents and instead pursue further damages in the Texas court.
VirnetX had won a $200 million settlement from Microsoft Corp. in 2010 over the same technology and has claims pending against Cisco Systems Inc. A trial on the Cisco claims is scheduled to begin March 4.
The case at trial is VirnetX Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc., 10-cv-00417, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).
TiVo CEO Expects to Keep Virgin Media as Customer After Buyout
TiVo Inc., the developer of digital-video recorders, expects no change in its relationship with Virgin Media Inc. after the U.K. cable operator is bought by a competitor that has introduced its own set-top box.
“Virgin is doing dramatically well with TiVo,” adding about 1.4 million customers last year, TiVo Chief Executive Officer Tom Rogers said yesterday in an interview.
Rogers said he sees no disruption in the relationship with Virgin Media, the cable company that John Malone’s Liberty Global Inc. plans to buy for $16 billion in cash and stock in a deal announced on Feb. 6. TiVo has rapidly expanded business with pay-TV operators after favorable court rulings upheld key patents, Rogers said.
The digital-recording pioneer widened margins in 2012 by selling advanced set-top boxes with more storage and the ability to record several shows at once. TiVo is transforming itself from a video-recorder provider into one that can shift content around the home and on the go, Rogers said.
Liberty Global, based in Englewood, Colorado, and operating in European markets, introduced its own Web-enabled set-top box in 2012, Horizon TV. The company plans to expand the product, now in Holland and Switzerland, to Ireland and Germany, CEO Michael Fries said on a Feb. 14 conference call.
TiVo’s net loss widened to $15.8 million, or 13 cents a share, in the period ended Jan. 31, from a loss of $7.2 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement yesterday. Analysts had projected a loss of 12 cents, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Revenue grew 34 percent to $88.9 million. That exceeded analysts’ projections of $84.4 million, the average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The company added 209,000 subscribers in the quarter, down 11 percent from 234,000 added a year ago, ending the year with more than 3.1 million. TiVo is pursuing patent infringement litigation against Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility and Cisco Systems Inc. over use of recording technology in the set-top boxes they make. Time Warner Cable Inc. is a defendant in both cases.
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American Cruise Lines Says American Queen Violated Settlement
American Cruise Lines Inc., a Connecticut-based travel company, sued a competitor in a trademark dispute and is seeking at least $12 million in damages.
HMS American Queen Steamboat Co. LLC of Memphis, Tennessee, is accused of violating a settlement agreement of a previous trademark suit involving the use of the term “Great American Steamboat,” according to the complaint filed in federal court in Delaware on Feb. 26.
American Cruise Lines said that as part of the settlement, it agreed to pay $125,000 to American Queen for the right to the term. Additionally, both parties would agree that neither would use “Great American Steamboat” in a “cooling off” period from Nov. 5, 2012, to Feb. 9.
Regardless of the agreement, American Queen has continued to use “Great American Steamboat” trademarks and related Internet domain names, American Cruise Lines claims. The Tennessee company is also causing its business telephone number to be associated with the mark, according to the complaint.
American Cruise Lines says its studies indicate that by the end of December 2012, 15 percent of the Internet searches for “Great American Steamboat Co.” continued to be directed to American Queen’s websites. The Connecticut company says it’s harmed by these actions and that the public is confused and is likely to assume falsely that an affiliation exists between the disputed trademark and American Queen.
In addition to seeking a finding that American Queen has violated the settlement agreement, American Cruise Lines asked the court to order surrender of the offending domain names, and a transfer of all prospective customers names obtained after Nov. 2012 from Internet searches and telephone directory-assistance system inquiries involving its trademarks.
The Connecticut company also asked for a discontinuance of any Great American Steamboat ads that link to the “Great American Steamboat Co.” trademark, and for awards of $12 million in damages, in addition to attorney fees and litigation costs.
American Queen didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.
The case is American Cruise Lines Inc. v. HMS American Queen Steamboat Co. LLC, 1:13-cv-00324-UNA, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The earlier case is American Cruise Lines Inc. v. HMS American Queen Steamboat Co LLC, 1:11-cv-000889-JEI-KW, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
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DKNY Says ‘Sorry’ to Photographer, Donates $25,000 to YMCA
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA’s DKNY label has apologized to a New York photographer whose photos were used in a DKNY window display in Bangkok without his permission, the BBC reported.
Photographer Brandon Stanton, whose images appear in his Humans of New York blog, rejected an offer from the clothing company to license the images for $15,000 according to the BBC.
He said the offer was too small and asked for more money, which DKNY refused to give him, the BBC reported.
DKNY then apologized, and, in response to Stanton’s request, donated $25,000 to a YMCA in New York, with the photographer asking his fans to give the charity another $75,000 to help send underprivileged children to summer camp, according to the BBC.
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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Government Told to Try Harder to Serve Kolon Industries
A criminal trade-secrets theft trial against South Korea’s Kolon Industries Inc. was delayed after a federal judge ruled that the company hadn’t been properly served with court papers.
U.S. District Judge Robert Payne in Richmond, Virginia, in a Feb. 22 order, said that the government is “directed to proceed expeditiously” to serve Kolon with the appropriate court documents.
In a 59-page opinion, Payne cited the deficiencies of each of the government’s attempts to deliver the legal papers to Kolon. He directed the court officials to issue a summons, upon the request of the government, for Kolon to appear on June 7, or, if the summons isn’t served by that date, then on the third Thursday following the delivery of the summons.
In October, an indictment was unsealed alleging the company and some of its employees engaged in what the Justice Department called “a multiyear campaign” to acquire trade secrets related to DuPont Co.’s Kevlar fiber and a second fiber made by Japan’s Teijin Ltd.
The government accused Kolon of a scheme to use purloined trade secrets so it could bring its Heracron fiber to market quickly in order to compete with Kevlar. The company was charged with one count of conspiring to convert trade secrets, four counts of theft of grade secrets and one count of obstruction of justice.
Kolon allegedly targeted current and former employees from DuPont and Osaka-based Teijin and hired them to serve as consultants, then asked them to reveal their former employers’ trade secrets.
In September 2011, in a civil case brought by DuPont, a jury in federal court in Virginia awarded DuPont $919.9 million for trade-secret theft. The Korean company said at the time that the case was “the result of a multiyear campaign by DuPont aimed at forcing Kolon out of the aramid fiber market,” and it would appeal the verdict.
In the same case in 2012, also overseen by Payne, the court ordered Kolon to quit manufacturing Heracron for 20 years. Kolon filed an appeal and a federal appeals court granted a stay of the order.
The criminal case is U.S.A. v. Kolon Industries Inc., 3:12-cr-00138-REP, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond). The civil case is E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. v. Kolon Industries Inc., 3:09-cv-00058-REP, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).