Arthrex, Flavored Corn, Cheese IDs: Intellectual Property

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Parcus Medical LLC, a maker of medical devices, and its competitor Arthrex Inc. of Naples, Florida, settled a trade-secret misappropriation and patent infringement suit, according to an Aug. 25 court filing.

Arthrex sued in federal court in Fort Myers, Florida, in December 2011, claiming some of its former employees violated noncompete agreements and brought proprietary information to Parcus.

One of the accused former employees is Mark Brunsvold, founder of Parcus, which is based in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

According to court papers, Brunsvold previously was president of Machine Metals, an Arthrex supplier acquired by Arthrex in February 2002. Brunsvold worked for Arthrex until May 2003.

Parcus argued that Arthrex failed to identify any trade secrets that were allegedly misappropriated. Instead, Parcus said, the case was a bad-faith attempt to use the threat of expensive litigation “for the improper purpose of suppressing lawful, fair competition.”

The court filing didn’t disclose details of the settlement.

Arthrex said in a statement that Parcus had acknowledged that some ex-Arthrex employees took proprietary information and that the company used Arthrex patented technology without authorization. Parcus didn’t respond immediately to an e-mail seeking confirmation of the terms described by Arthrex.

The case is Arthrex Inc. v. Parcus Medical LLC, 10-cv-00151, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Fort Myers).

Apple Loses Bid for Samsung U.S. Sales Ban After Patent Victory

Apple Inc. failed again to win a sales ban on Samsung Electronics Co. products found to infringe its smartphone patents, even after requesting what it described as a more limited prohibition.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, yesterday denied Apple’s bid for what the company pitched as a “narrowly tailored” ban on some older Samsung smartphone models after a jury in May found infringement by both companies.

Apple tried to make its request more viable by targeting specific infringing features in nine Samsung devices, and by offering what it called a “sunset period” to give its Suwon, South Korea-based rival a chance to design around the features before any ban was enforced, according to a court filing.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment on the ruling.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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

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Snyder’s-Lance, Cornfields Sued Over ‘Chicago Mix’ Popcorn Mark

Snyder’s-Lance Inc., a North Carolina-based distributor of snack foods, is a defendant in a series of trademark suits brought by a seller of popcorn and candy.

According to the complaints, filed in federal court by St. Paul, Minnesota’s Candyland Inc., Snyder’s-Lance, Chicago’s CarmelCrispLLC and Cornfields Inc. of Waukegan, Illinois, are all accused of infringing a trademark the Minnesota company uses for a proprietary blend of three different flavors of popcorn.

Candyland objects to the competitors’ use of “Chicago Mix” to describe the mixture of regular, cheese and caramel popcorn it says it has been selling for more than two decades. According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Candyland registered the mark in September 1992 for use with flavored popped popcorn.

The Minnesota company said infringing products are being distributed by the defendants to outlets including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sears Holding Corp’s Kmart stores.

Candyland is seeking court orders barring further infringement and for the destruction of all infringing products and promotional materials, as well as money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

None of the defendant companies responded immediately to e-mailed requests for comment on the lawsuit.

The cases are Candyland Inc. v. Snyders-Lance Inc., 14-cv-03128, Candyland Inc. v. CarmelCrispLLC, 14-cv-03211, and Candyland Inc. v. Cornfields Inc., 14-cv-03119, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

Switzerland Combats Counterfeit Cheese With DNA Fingerprints

Swiss cheesemakers’ weapon against forgeries is housed at minus-80 degrees Celsius (minus 112 Fahrenheit) in a Bern freezer. It’s here where scientists keep 10,000 strains of milk bacteria to guard against copycats.

The country’s cheese industry, worth 604 million Swiss francs ($659 million) in exports last year, has turned to DNA fingerprinting to fight counterfeits, which Emmental producers estimate have cost them as much as 20 million francs.

Forgeries are contributing to declining revenue for an industry that’s already beleaguered because of high production costs and the rise in value of the Swiss franc, which makes the country’s cheese more expensive abroad. About 10 percent of cheese labeled as Swiss-made Emmental on supermarket shelves is fake, the association Switzerland Cheese Marketing estimates.

Bacterial fingerprinting started in 2011 with Emmental, the most widely exported Swiss cheese, after fakes surfaced in Italy. Tete de Moine, a round, semi-hard cheese made by only eight dairies in the Jura region, got its marker last year. Identifiers for Gruyere and Sbrinz are in the works.

Only registered producers may order containers of the bacteria. The scientists rotate among three DNA markers to ensure that even if a forger gets hold of a packet, it won’t be of much use. There are also spot checks in supermarkets.

For more trademark news, click here.


Kim Dotcom Argues in New Zealand His Finances Should Be Private

Kim Dotcom, founder of the Megaupload file-sharing site that has been targeted globally for enabling copyright infringement, told a New Zealand court yesterday that he shouldn’t have to discuss the sources of his finances with the court, Radio New Zealand reported.

U.S. film and music companies seeking the information argued that the information could be presented to the court under seal to allay Dotcom’s privacy concerns, according to Radio New Zealand.

The court has taken the matter under consideration, Radio New Zealand reported.

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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 Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

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