Apple, J&J, Tesla, Intel, Sirius: Intellectual Property

Apple Inc. won an appeals court ruling that lets it argue anew that Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility infringed its patents for touchscreen technology.

The appeals court ordered the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington to consider whether Motorola Mobility infringed one patent, and review whether an aspect of a second patent was valid. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which posted the opinion on its website yesterday, upheld invalidity findings on other aspects of that patent.

The case focused on what an Apple lawyer told the court was a key invention that “drove the iPhone phenomenon.” The dispute is over transparent screens that can sense multiple touches in different locations, enabling users to operate a mobile phone by touching or swiping its screen.

Motorola Mobility persuaded the agency to rule that patent 7,663,607 was invalid and patent 7,812,828 wasn’t infringed. The case targeted Motorola Mobility’s Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Backflip, Devour and Charm phones, as well as the Xoom tablet. Mountain View, California-based Google bought Motorola Mobility after the commission issued its decision.

Motorola Mobility had a case against Cupertino, California-based Apple that it lost at the trade agency in April. That case is on appeal before the Federal Circuit.

The case is Apple Inc. v. ITC, 12-1338, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The ITC case is In the Matter of Mobile Devices and Related Software, 337-750, U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington).

Lundbeck to Push Brintellix After Lexapro Went Off Patent

H. Lundbeck A/S, Denmark’s second-largest drugmaker, plans to hire more than 200 salespeople in the U.S. to market its new antidepressant Brintellix ahead of anticipated approval from regulators.

Peak sales of Brintellix, which will be co-promoted with Japanese partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., may reach $1 billion to $2 billion, Chief Financial Officer Anders Gotzsche said in a phone interview yesterday. “It will be a significant sales force that Takeda and Lundbeck are providing for the launch of Brintellix,” he said. “It will definitely be more than 200.”

The drug will help offset declining revenue from Lexapro, another antidepressant, which lost patent protection in the U.S. in March 2012. Sales of that drug, known as Cipralex outside the U.S., dropped to 6.4 billion kroner ($1.1 billion) last year from about 8.5 billion kroner in 2011, according to the company.

Brintellix will probably be prescribed as a second-line treatment for patients who don’t respond to, or can’t tolerate, cheaper generic options, Chief Executive Officer Ulf Wiinberg said last year. An application for the distribution of Brintellix was filed in Europe in September and accepted by U.S. regulators for review three months later. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will make a decision on whether to approve the drug by Oct. 2, Lundbeck said in December.

J&J Wins U.S. Appeal Over Rembrandt’s Contact Lens Patent

Johnson & Johnson won a U.S. appeals court ruling that it didn’t infringe Rembrandt Vision Technologies LP’s patent on contact lenses.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington yesterday upheld jury verdict won by Johnson & Johnson, in an opinion posted on its website.

Rembrandt filed suit in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida, in August 2011, claiming that its patent 5,712,327 was infringed by Johnson & Johnson’s Advance and Oasis gas-permeable contact lenses.

After the jury returned a verdict of non-infringement in May 2012, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based Rembrandt asked for a new trial and challenged the verdict.

The appeals court said that the trial judge had properly denied the new trial request and that the patent wasn’t infringed.

The lower court case is Rembrandt Vision Technologies LP v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., 3:11-cv-00819-TJC-JRK, U.S. District Court, Central District of Florida (Jacksonville). The appeal is Rembrandt Vision Technologies LP v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., 12-1510, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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‘Tesla’ Trademark Not Available to Automaker in China

Tesla Motors Inc., the Palo Alto, California-based maker of electric cars, may have trouble entering the Chinese market because of trademark issues, WantChinaTimes reported.

Both “Tesla” and “Tesla Motors” were registered as trademarks in China by Chinese citizens, according to the publication.

Although Tesla managed to buy the “Tesla Motors” mark from its registrant in May, the mark covers rail vehicles, sleighs, airplanes and ships, not autos or car parts, WantChinaTimes reported.

The automaker offered the trademark owner $326,000 for the mark, the owner asked for 100 times that amount, according to WantChinaTimes.

Intel Files for Trademark in North Korea Despite Sanctions

Intel Corp. is seeking registration of its trademarks in North Korea, despite trade sanctions against the country, the Global Post reported.

The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker has “no intent” of doing business in that country, and is only seeking to protect its intellectual property, Intel spokesman Chuck Malloy said and Global Post reported.

He said that under the company’s IP policy, Intel files trademark applications regardless of whether it does business in a particular country, according to the publication.

Under a 2011 executive order by President Barack Obama, U.S. companies are barred from doing business in North Korea, according to Global Post.

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Sirius XM Sued Over Royalties for Playing Pre-1972 Recordings

Sirius XM Radio Inc., the provider of satellite radio broadcast services, was sued in California state court over royalties for pre-1972 music recordings.

The suit was filed Aug. 1 in Los Angeles County Superior Court by two former members of the Turtles, a 1960s-era band best known for such songs as “Happy Together,” “She’s My Girl,” and “You Baby.” They are seeking damages in excess of $300 million.

Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, now known as “Flo & Eddie Inc.,” are seeking certification of their suit as a class action filed on behalf of all owners of pre-1972 sound recordings. They claim that New York-based Sirius isn’t paying royalties for playing this music.

Presently U.S. copyright law protects only music recorded after 1972. Although the U.S. Copyright Office has recommended that the pre-1972 recordings also be brought under that law, presently only state law provides any measure of protection.

The two musicians filed their suit under a California law they claim protects their rights. They said in their complaint that the identities of the other potential class members are “readily ascertainable” from the satellite broadcast company’s database and filed.

They claim that Sirius has infringed millions of recordings belonging to thousands of potential class members and that there are no potential conflicts of interest with future members of the class.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages in excess of $300 million and are also asking for extra damages to punish Sirius for its actions. They also requested awards of attorney fees and litigation costs.

Patrick Reilly, Sirius ZM’s senior vice president, communications, said in an e-mail that his company declined to comment on the litigation.

The case is Flo & Eddie Inc., v. Sirius XM Radio Inc, BC517032, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.

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