Ranbaxy, Samsung, Zillow, Scotch: Intellectual Property

A gap in U.S. patent law has kept cheap copies of Novartis AG’s heart drug Diovan off the market for 18 months, costing U.S. consumers and insurers as much as $900 million in potential savings.

While the Diovan patent expired in September 2012, the only company allowed to sell copies, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., hasn’t been able to manufacture and market them after four factories it runs in India failed U.S. inspections.

AstraZeneca Plc’s Nexium acid-reflux pill and Roche Holding AG’s Valcyte antiviral, both of which Ranbaxy has the rights to, face the same situation in a month.

The conflict undermines the goal of the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act, known as the Hatch-Waxman Act after its key congressional sponsors, passed in 1984, to get low-cost treatments to market as quickly as possible.

Samsung Calls One of Its Own at $2 Billion Apple Patent Trial

Samsung Electronics Co., fighting a $2 billion patent claim by Apple Inc., called a senior executive to testify to prevent the iPhone-maker from highlighting the absence of such witnesses as it did in their previous trial.

The testimony yesterday of Dale Sohn, who until last year served as chief executive officer at Samsung Telecommunications America, is intended to differentiate the Galaxy maker from its rival by explaining its different business model, and thereby distance itself from Apple’s claims of patent infringement.

Sohn told jurors in federal court in San Jose, California, how Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung developed its phones using a marketing strategy that was different from Apple’s. Samsung also called engineers from Google Inc. as witnesses to defend against claims that features in Galaxy devices infringe Apple’s patents.

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

Google Contact Lens Patents Would Cover Data and Tears

Google Inc., creator of the world’s most-used Internet search engine, is seeking patents on technologies related to contact lenses, including the use of the lens as a wearable transmitter and receiver.

One application, filed in December 2012, envisions the lens as a device to send, receive and display data. According to application 20120319928, bandwidth could be conserved by presenting high-resolution data in the part of the lens where the user is looking, and lower-resolution data in other areas.

Application 20140085599, published March 27, covers the technology for assembling thin silicon chips on a contact lens.

Google’s application 20140088371, also published March 27, envisions using a contact lens to collect and process data such as the blood-cholesterol level of the wearer.

A method of tear collection in a contact lens is covered by application 20140088381, also published March 27. This technology involved the use of a substrate in the body of the lens with cavities that can collect and store tear fluid over time. Google said in the application that the fluid could provide information about the wearer’s sodium and glucose level

For more patent news, click here.

Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage

Move Inc. Doesn’t Convince Court Trade Secrets Will Be Disclosed

A state court rejected Move Inc.’s argument that its former chief strategy officer will inevitably disclose the real estate website network’s trade secrets in his new job with Zillow Inc.

The court also said that Move failed to prove the information at issue constitutes protectable trade secrets.

The case is Move Inc. v. Zillow Inc., Superior Court, State of Washington, King County (Seattle).


Scotch Whisky Association to Go After Fakes in Australia

The Scotch Whisky Association registered “Scotch whisky” as a trademark in Australia, the Scotsman newspaper reported.

According to the association, more than 2 million bottles of fake Scotch whisky have been sold in that country since 2005, the newspaper said.

Now that the trademark has been registered, the association says it will begin pursuing infringement actions against makers of the fake products, the newspaper reported.

For more trademark news, click here.


Appeals Court Says Halt ‘Banana Lady’ From Filing New Lawsuits

A federal appeals court told a lower court it should stop a Wisconsin performer who wears a banana costume from filing lawsuits until she pays the litigation debts accumulated in previous unsuccessful copyright cases.

Catherine Conrad, who performs as “Banana Lady,” has filed at least eight cases in federal court and nine in state court since 2011 related to her performances and copyrights, according to the appeals court opinion. She hasn’t won a judgment in any suit.

The case is Conrad v. AM Community Credit Union, 12-2899, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).

For more copyright news, click here.

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