Marvell, Duckhorn, Yoga, Fracking: Intellectual Property

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Marvell Technology Group Ltd., a mobile-phone chipmaker, lost its bid to cut $620 million from the $1.17 billion patent-infringement verdict awarded to Carnegie Mellon University over computer disk-drives.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer in Pittsburgh rejected Marvell’s arguments that the school shouldn’t collect damages for the time before it filed the lawsuit because it waited too long to complain. The judge still has to consider whether the damage award should be increased based on the jury’s finding that the infringement was intentional.

A federal jury issued the fourth-biggest verdict in U.S. history Dec. 26, 2012, after finding Marvell infringed two Carnegie Mellon patents for a way to more accurately detect data from disk drives. Carnegie Mellon said Marvell had falling sales in the late 1990s so needed the school’s inventions to maintain and expand its customer base.

The case is Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group Ltd., 09-cv-00290, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh).

Edwards Lifesciences Wins $392 Million in Medtronic Case

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. was awarded more than $392 million by a jury in a patent-infringement case against Medtronic Inc., which plans to appeal.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Santa Ana, California, in June 2011 and transferred the following year to Wilmington, Delaware. Edwards, based in Irvine, California, claimed Minneapolis-based Medtronic infringed a patent for an aortic heart valve.

Edwards will seek triple damages because the jury ruled Medtronic’s infringement was intentional, according to a statement provided by spokeswoman Sarah Huoh.

The case is Edwards Lifesciences LLC v. Medtronic Corevalve LLC, 12-cv-00023, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

For more patent news, click here.


Duckhorn Denies Duck Commander Claim Wine Labels Don’t Infringe

GI Partners LLC’s Duckhorn Wine unit, which makes wines selling for as much as $95 a bottle, responded to counterclaims in a trademark dispute with a company owned by the Louisiana family that stars in the “Duck Dynasty” reality television program.

The St. Helena, California-based winery sued Duck Commander Inc. for trademark infringement in federal court in San Francisco in November, saying that its Duckhorn trademarks were infringed by wines produced for the Louisiana company. The wines, produced by Sutter Home Winery Inc., are to be sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Duck Commander then asked the court to declare it didn’t infringe, arguing that there are numerous registered trademarks for wine that include the word “duck,” including Ugly Duckling, Duck Duck Goose and Duck Tape.

Duckhorn responded Jan. 13, rejecting Duck Dynasty’s argument that its wine labels don’t infringe.

Duck Commander has been given until Jan. 21 to agree with Duckhorn to have the case heard by a magistrate judge, or to refuse to do so.

The case is Duckhorn Wine Co v. Sutter Home Winery Inc., 13-cv-05525, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

For more trademark news, click here.


Yoga Postures Lack Indian Copyright Protection, Court Says

The Delhi High Court ruled that yoga postures cannot be protected under India’s copyright act, the Times of India reported.

The ruling came in response to a request by the Philippines-based Institute for Inner Studies that others be barred from teaching postures the institute said it developed, the newspaper reported.

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

North Carolina Energy Panel Grants Secrecy for Fracking Fluid

North Carolina’s Mining and Energy Commission approved a rule permitting natural-gas exploration companies to keep secret the chemical makeup of the fluids they use for hydraulic fracturing, the News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

The commission approved the rule, which is a recommendation to the state legislature, after three hours of debate Jan. 14, according to the newspaper.

The lawmakers will vote on fracking standards in late 2014 or in 2015, the newspaper reported.

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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