Charter, Nestle, Prince, Nosal: Intellectual Propert

Charter Communications Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, sued an organization backed by Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to force it to license patents acquired from Nortel Networks Inc. on fair terms.

Rockstar Consortium US LP, based in Plano, Texas, controls 4,000 patents, some covering industry standards for networking gear, Charter said in a complaint filed Jan. 17 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The case is Charter Communications Inc. v. Rockstar Consortium US LP, 14-cv-00055, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

South Africa Minister Calls Drug Campaign ‘Genocide’ Plan

South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said a document that suggests drug companies back a campaign against the country’s overhaul of intellectual property laws could cause mass deaths.

The document was prepared by Public Affairs Engagement, a Washington-based lobbying firm that proposes a campaign to strengthen intellectual property rights in South Africa and delay the formulation of new laws that would favor cheaper generic drugs.

The Innovative Pharmaceutical Association of South Africa, which counts Merck & Co., Sanofi, Pfizer Inc. and Novartis AG among its members, said it doesn’t support the U.S. lobbying firm.

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Nestle, Cadbury Turn to KitKat Shape After Color Purple Fight

A trademark fight between Mondelez International Inc.’s Cadbury unit and Nestle SA was sent off Jan. 17 to the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg with a request for guidance on EU law.

Cadbury was battling Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle’s attempt to protect the shape of its KitKat bar, made in the wake of the Swiss company’s successful challenge in October 2013 of Cadbury’s purple chocolate-wrapper trademark bid.

The case is Societe des Produits Nestle v Cadbury U.K. Ltd. in the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, case no CH/2013/0394

Swarovski Abandons ‘Crystal Glamour’ Mark in India, Times Says

D. Swarovski & Co., the Austrian maker of crystals used to bring “bling” to garments and jewelry, has dropped an Indian trademark for “Crystal Glamour,” following opposition from an indigenous knitwear company, the Times of India reported.

Crystal Knitters of Tirupur, India, filed a challenge to Swarovski’s use of “Crystal,” which the knitwear company had used since 1971, the newspaper reported.

After India’s trademark regulators contacted Swarovski, the Wattens, Austria-based company said it no longer was interested in using the mark and asked that the knitwear company’s petition be permitted to go forward, according to the Times.

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Prince Sues to Block Links to Performances on Facebook, Google

Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician who performs as Prince, sued two named and 20 unnamed defendants for copyright infringement in federal court in San Francisco Jan. 16.

Prince accused the defendants of using Google Inc.’s Blogger platform and Facebook Inc.’s website to post links to unauthorized copies of his live performances.

The case is Nelson v. Chodera, 14-cv-00273, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Ex-Korn/Ferry Executive Files Notice of Prison-Sentence Appeal

David Nosal, a former regional managing director at Korn/Ferry International who was convicted last year of trade-secret theft and hacking, said he will appeal his conviction and yearlong prison sentence imposed Jan. 8.

Nosal filed his notice of appeal Jan. 14, and the court gave the government until Jan. 22 to file a response to his request he be released pending his appeal.

The case is U.S. v. Nosal, 08-cr-00237, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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