Teva, Marijuana, Pandora, Malibu: Intellectual Property

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Par Pharmaceutical Cos. won an appeal in their bid to sell a generic version of BASF SE’s heart medicine Lovaza in the U.S.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a ruling yesterday said it reversed a lower court decision because one patent held by BASF’s Pronova unit had been made publicly accessible and another had expired.

Lovaza is the first and only fish-oil derived prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva and Par want to market generic versions, the court said in its ruling.

U.S. sales of Lovaza were more than $2.3 billion as of August 2010, the court said.

Pronova was acquired this year by Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF, and Par was bought last year by TPG Capital.

Government Marijuana Used for Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Dementia

The federal government patented medicinal uses of marijuana a decade ago, the New York Post reported Sept. 11.

Patent 6,630,507 was issued Oct. 7, 2003, to the U.S. as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services. It covers the use of marijuana-derived compounds as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

These compounds are “substantially free of psychoactive or psychotoxic effects, are substantially non-toxic even at very high doses, and have good tissue penetration, for example crossing the blood brain barrier,” according to the patent.

Drugs derived from marijuana can be used to treat stroke and chronic neurodegerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and AIDS-related dementia, according to the patent. They could also be used to prevent some kinds of damage in transplanted organs.

The patent application was filed in February 2001 with assistance from Klarquist Sparkman LLP of Portland, Oregon.

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Pandora Media Asks Judge to Block Ascap From Limiting Songs

Pandora Media Inc., the biggest Internet radio service, asked a federal judge to stop a group representing songwriters and music publishers from narrowing the scope of licenses that allow their music to be played.

The radio company argued in federal court in Manhattan Sept. 11 that if the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is permitted to change the scope of the licenses, it would have far fewer songs from the Ascap repertory to offer its listeners than its competitors. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said she would rule later on Pandora’s motion for summary judgment.

“I am very concerned about unintended consequences,” Cote said at the end of a 3 1/2-hour hearing. “What ruling I give I want to be as narrow as possible.”

Large music publishers including EMI Music Publishing Ltd. and Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC have decided to withdraw new-media rights from Ascap and negotiate license fees directly with Web radio services. Pandora said that while its license renewal with Ascap is pending, the organization shouldn’t allow the withdrawals, which would reduce the number of songs covered by Ascap’s licenses.

Pandora filed a lawsuit in November asking the court to set “reasonable” fees for a licensing agreement with Ascap through 2015. It’s seeking a blanket license that would cover all songs represented by the 470,000-member group. Pandora said the current fees make sustained profitability impossible.

Ascap and Pandora reached an “experimental” fee agreement in 2005 that lasted until 2010. The parties then were unable to agree on licensing rates after more than a year of talks, Pandora said in its complaint.

Under the terms of a federal consent decree, the U.S. District Court in New York has jurisdiction over rate-setting if the parties can’t agree. Cote will conduct a trial in December.

The case is In re Petition of Pandora Media Inc., 12-cv-08035, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Malibu Media Sanctioned Over Exhibits Listing Lewd Film Titles

Malibu Media LLC was hit with monetary sanctions in 11 copyright-infringement lawsuits it filed in federal court in Wisconsin.

The company, which makes adult films, sued 11 unknown defendants, each in a separate suit, claiming they used the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol to download copies of Malibu’s films without authorization.

The court objected to an exhibit Malibu filed with each complaint containing a list of films defendants allegedly downloaded, none of which were the company’s films. The court said that while the Malibu films had relatively tame titles, the titles of the films listed in the exhibit were “far more disturbing, lewd, unusual” than the Malibu products.

The court said the exhibit served no pleading purpose and “appears calculated principally to harass defendants” and to shame them into settlement agreements even if they had meritorious defenses.

The “lewd and obscene nature of the graphic titles and content are enough to persuade many initially anonymous defendants to reach early settlements out of fear of being ‘outed’ should the lawsuit proceed,” the court said.

Malibu’s arguments that the exhibit served a legitimate purpose “do not pass the smell test, and any denial of improper motive by its counsel does not pass the laugh test,” U.S. District Judge William M. Conley wrote in his Sept. 10 order.

He ordered the exhibit struck for each of the complaints in all 11 cases and said the film company must pay a sanction of $200 per case.

The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights group, filed a friend of the court brief in the case. Earlier a magistrate judge ordered Malibu to show why it shouldn’t be sanctioned over the exhibit and EFF argued for the imposition of the sanctions.

The cases include Malibu Media v. Doe, 13-cv-00205 and 13-cv-00320, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison).

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Hong Kong Customs Seized Fake Mooncakes Sold for Autumn Festival

Customs officials in Hong Kong seized 135 boxes of counterfeit moon cakes, the egg and lotus seed paste pastries that are an essential element in the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, the South China Morning Post reported.

The fake pastries were seized from a cosmetics and beauty shop and the shop’s 50-year-old proprietor was arrested, according to the newspaper.

Michael Kwan Yuk-Kwan, who heads customs’ intellectual property investigation group, said the fake mooncakes were safe to eat but of a lower quality, the Post reported.

The fakes, worth about HK$20,000 ($2,600),

were believed to have been produced in China and sold for a little more than half the price of the legitimate mooncakes, according to the Post.

Ohio Baker Seeks ‘Doughssant’ Mark, Says They Predate ‘Cronuts’

A baker in Hilliard, Ohio, says he beat the “cronut” fad by 20 years and has filed an application to register “doughssant” as a trademark for his version of the deep-fried pastry, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Roy Auddino, owner of Auddino’s Bakery & Cafe, told the Dispatch that he had to submit “extra papers” with his trademark application to confirm his product isn’t brand new, because many other bakeries rushed to file applications after the New York cronuts became popular this year.

He said even though he had long wanted to register the trademark, he had been put off by the cost of more than $1,000 to file an application, the Dispatch reported.

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