Supreme Court, Diageo Rum, Bieber: Intellectual Property

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in a move that may delay generic competition to its top-selling Copaxone multiple-sclerosis drug and alter how patent appeals are handled.

The justices said yesterday that they will hear Teva’s bid to revive a patent that would protect Copaxone from generic rivals until September 2015.

High-court review is a setback to drugmakers that were planning to offer generic versions in May: Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has developed a version with Novartis AG’s Sandoz, and Mylan Inc. Should those companies press ahead with their plans, they will be at risk of having to compensate Teva for lost sales if the company wins its Supreme Court appeal.

The case is Teva v. Sandoz, 13-854.

Apple’s New Quest for Samsung Smartphone Ban Seen as Stretch

Apple Inc.’s failure to convert its victory in a first U.S patent trial to a ban on sales of Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones may undercut the iPhone maker’s chances of faring better in a second high-stakes showdown.

Jury selection began yesterday in the same San Jose, California, courtroom where jurors two years ago found that Samsung infringed Apple’s patents and awarded $1.05 billion in damages.

That verdict wasn’t enough to persuade a federal judge to block Samsung from selling its devices in the U.S. market, a goal that Apple identified as more important than monetary compensation. This time, Apple is targeting a newer generation of Samsung phones and seeking twice the damages.

If Apple again convinces jurors that its technology was copied, it can try anew for a sales ban. That will prove difficult, given that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the trial, twice rejected Apple’s request in the first lawsuit, said Brian Love, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School.

“I have to think that Apple’s primary goal was to get an injunction that would take relatively new Samsung phones off the market,” he said. “Apple needed to get out in front in the first case” with an order banning Samsung’s products and use that as leverage to get a similar order banning newer smartphones in the second case, he said.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Software Patents Are Focus of Closely Watched High Court Case

The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with the standards for software patents, considering the issue for the first time in decades in a case that has divided the computer industry.

The case has drawn in dozens of companies. Retailers and Internet businesses including Google Inc. say the court should help weed out baseless royalty demands over common ideas such as e-commerce or Web hosting. Software makers led by Microsoft Corp. say overly strict limits on patents would reduce incentives to develop cutting-edge programs that detect when a car airbag should deploy or let people alter photographs.

The case, which the Supreme Court will resolve by July, is Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 13-298.

For more patent news, click here.


Diageo Sues Heaven Hill Over Admiral Nelson Spiced Rum Package

Diageo Plc, the London-based spirits company, sued Bardstown, Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. for trademark infringement in Canadian federal court, the Drinks Beverage Review reported.

Diageo alleged that packaging Heaven Hills uses for its Admiral Nelson’s Spice Rum is too similar to Diageo’s Captain Morgan packaging, according to the trade publication.

Jones Group Loses Trademark Dispute with Indian Hosiery Company

Sycamore Partners LLC’s Jones Group lost a trademark battle in India to Vishnupriya Hosiery Mills, the Times of India reported.

India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board rejected Jones Group’s claim, involving an Erode, India-based hosiery company’s use of “Jones” for some products, according to the newspaper.

For more trademark news, click here.


Bieber, Usher Win Dismissal of Suit Over ‘Somebody to Love’

Pop singers Justin Bieber and Usher won dismissal of a 2013 copyright suit that claimed their 2010 song “Somebody to Love” infringed a 2008 song with a similar title.

U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen said in a March 28 order that the two songs weren’t intrinsically similar and that a reasonable juror wouldn’t find the aesthetic appeal of the songs similar.

The case is Copeland v. Bieber, 13-cv-00246, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk).

For more copyright news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Mississippi Protects University Commercial Research Secrets

Materials tied to commercial scientific or technical research at Mississippi universities and community colleges will get a new measure of trade-secret protection under a recently enacted law, Memphis, Tennessee’s Commercial Appeal reported.

The law exempts this material pre-publication from the state’s Open-Records Act, the newspaper reported.

Research under way at the state’s schools includes polymer science, unmanned aerial vehicles and the country’s only legal marijuana farm, according to the Commercial Appeal.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in San Francisco at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at Andrew Dunn, Charles Carter

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