Nuvasive, Steiff Button, Highland: Intellectual Property
By Victoria Slind-Flor – Jan 17, 2014 6:26 AM ET
Nuvasive Inc. (NUVA), the San Diego-based maker of spinal-surgery devices, failed to get an early-stage judgment in a patent infringement case.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said in a Jan. 14 ruling that such a judgment would require a hearing on the scope of patent 6,955,677, which North Carolina’s Anglefix Tech LLC said Nuvasive infringed.
The parties are “vigorously” disputing the reach of the patent and the court hasn’t had the benefit of a full briefing, the judge ruled.
The case is Anglefix Tech LLC v. Nuvasive Inc., 13-cv-00983, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).
Biolitec CEO Skips U.S. Court Battle After Barred Merger
German medical laser maker Biolitec AG (BIPX) and its chief executive officer were sanctioned by a U.S. judge for failing to show up in a lawsuit by an American distributor involving patent infringement, contract claims and a merger allegedly aimed at avoiding a $16.5 million judgment.
The distributor, AngioDynamics Inc., claimed Biolitec diverted assets via the merger with an Austrian unit to avoid the judgment imposed by a New York federal court, according to court papers.
U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor penalized the company and CEO Wolfgang Neuberger for refusing to travel to Boston to answer questions by AngioDynamics lawyers. Neuberger didn’t come to the U.S. because he feared a contempt citation for pushing through the merger over the judge’s ruling, Ponsor said.
Biolitec was accused in the underlying lawsuit in New York of failing to indemnify Latham, New York-based AngioDynamics for patent-infringement claims over products the German company made and AngioDynamics sold.
AngioDynamics subsequently sued in Boston federal court, claiming Biolitec diverted assets to avoid paying the judgment, according to Ponsor.
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Steiff Ear Button for Stuffed Toys Loses EU Trademark Protection
Margarete Steiff GmbH, the German maker of teddy bears and other stuffed animals, lost a trademark battle over the metal button it uses to attach its label to the ears of its toys, Deutsche Welle reported.
Confirming a ruling by the European Union’s trademark regulators, the EU’s General Court said the button wasn’t a sufficiently distinctive indicator of source to be afforded trademark protection, according to Deutsche Welle.
The toymaker has two months to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Justice, Deutsche Welle said.
ITV Studios to Begin Licensing ‘Village People’ Clothing
ITV also is seeking to license the Village People brand, associated with the 1970s-era disco group, in categories including video games, figurines, stationery and electronics, the website reported.
For more trademark news, click here.
Amazon Accused of Publishing E-Book Without Author’s Consent
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and five other defendants were sued for copyright infringement by a New Jersey author who says she never authorized publication of her book “Suzanne Lantana” in anything but a print format.
Amazon, Apple Inc. (AAPL), Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS), Google Inc. (GOOG), Sony Corp. and Rakuten Inc. (4755)’s Kobo unit all made unauthorized electronic copies of the book available for distribution, Melissa Pettignano said in a complaint filed Jan. 13 in federal court in Seattle.
She asked the court for money damages, an order halting further infringement and destruction of any infringing copies.
The case is Pettignano v. Amazon.com Inc., 14-cv-00054, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).
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Trade Secrets/Industrial Espionage
Highland Lawyer Accuses Former Private Equity Chief of Leaking
A lawyer for Highland Capital Management LP told jurors at the start of a trial in state court in Dallas that Patrick Daugherty, the firm’s former chief of private equity investing, quit the firm in anger and spilled its internal secrets.
Highland, which says it manages $17.7 billion, sued Daugherty after he left in September 2011, accusing him of disparaging the firm and improperly disclosing information. Daugherty countersued, saying the company and co-founder James Dondero hurt his reputation and owe him money.
Highland filed the lawsuit in April 2012, about two weeks after Daugherty testified against Dondero and on behalf of Dondero’s wife in a divorce proceeding. Daugherty had been Highland’s chief of stressed special situations and private equity investing before quitting.
The case is Highland Capital Management LP v. Daugherty, 12-04005, District Court of Dallas County, Texas, 68th Judicial District (Dallas).
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