Schlumberger, Google, Jazzland: Intellectual Property

Schlumberger Ltd., the Houston-based oil-services company, filed a trade-secrets misappropriation lawsuit against its former deputy general counsel for intellectual property.

In the case, filed in Texas state court March 14, Schlumberger accused Charlotte Rutherford of retaining the company’s confidential data after leaving her position. Rutherford joined Acacia Research Corp. of Newport Beach, California, in June 2013, according to an Acacia statement.

The oil-services company said in court papers that it began investigating Rutherford’s departure as the result of litigation filed against the company by a third party. Schlumberger was accused Feb. 4 of infringing an Acacia patent in federal court in Austin, Texas, according to court papers.

The case against Rutherford is “a bullying tactic in response to a patent infringement action brought against Schlumberger, Adam J. Handelsman, an Acacia spokesman, said in an e-mail. He called the suit baseless.

The case against Rutherford is Schlumberger Ltd. v. Ritherford, 2014-123621, District Court of Harris County, Texas. The patent case is Dynamic 3D Geosolutions LLC v. Schlumberger Ltd., 14-cv-00112, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin).


Google Told to Pay SimpleAir $85 Million in Web Patent Trial

Google Inc. was ordered by a jury in Texas to pay $85 million to SimpleAir Inc. for using the closely held company’s technology for transmitting Internet-based data to computers and mobile devices without a license.

SimpleAir, a technology licensing company, sought as much as $146 million in the trial before a federal jury in Marshall, Texas. A different jury in January found that Google infringed a patent issued in 2006. It was unable to reach an agreement on how much the company should pay.

The case focused on Google Cloud Messaging and Cloud to Device Messaging, which process and send notification messages to smartphones and tablet computers that run on Google’s Android operating system, the most popular platform for mobile devices.

In the January trial, Google denied infringing the patent and claimed it didn’t represent a new invention. The Mountain View, California-based company has indicated it will appeal. It also argued that, because Facebook Inc. licenses the SimpleAir patent, royalties shouldn’t include any applications provided through the social-networking site.

The case is SimpleAir Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 11-cv-00416, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

Merck to Sell HIV Medicine in India in Cipla Partnership

Merck & Co. is set to sell an HIV medication in India by midyear in partnership with local company Cipla Ltd., a strategy that may help the U.S. drugmaker protect its patent as the Asian nation seeks cheaper generics.

The price of the co-marketed product will be announced in about three months, according to Cipla Chief Medical Officer Jaideep Gogtay. The therapy, sold under the brand Isentress, is among more than 20 that an Indian government panel was preparing to assess for compulsory licenses, which allow cheaper local copies without the patent owner’s consent.

‘‘We’ll see more deals like this,” said Bino Pathiparampil, an analyst at IIFL Institutional Equities in Mumbai. “For multinational companies, it provides some additional marketing lever -- you can reach more interior areas of the country with a lower-priced brand. It’s also one way of protecting your patent rights.”

The drug is part of third-line HIV therapy for patients who aren’t responding to other treatments. Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization, said it pays a discounted $1,000 to get the therapy for Indian patients.

For more patent news, click here.


Louisiana Legislators Looking at Releasing ‘Jazzland’ Mark

Louisiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would remove restrictions on the “Jazzland” trademark formerly used with a now-defunct New Orleans theme park, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The original Jazzland, in a part of New Orleans hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 after being open for two years, the newspaper reported.

Einstein Noah Sued Over Name for Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich

Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., the parent company of Noah’s New York Bagel, was sued for trademark infringement by a Colorado company specializing in smoked fish.

In a complaint filed March 18 in federal court in Denver, Rocky Mountain Honey Smoked Fish Co. claims that Einstein Noah is accused of selling a “Honey Smoked Salmon” sandwich that infringes the fish company’s mark. The Aurora, Colorado-based fish company claims the bagel company is using inferior fish and the public is confused by the unauthorized use of the name.

Einstein Noah doesn’t believe the fish company’s claims have any merit, Kristina Jorge, a spokeswoman, said in a statement. She said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to approve the fish company’s trademark application on the grounds that the phrase is “merely descriptive.”

The case is Rocky Mountain Honey Smoked Fish Co. v. Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., 1:14-cv-00803, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado (Denver).

For more trademark news, click here.

For copyright news, click here.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE