Pepper Opens Silicon Valley Office: Business of Law
Pepper Hamilton LLP opened a Silicon Valley office yesterday with a team of lawyers from Goodwin Procter LLP. The office is the firm’s third outpost in California and first in the northern part of the state.
The three former Goodwin partners are Gregory S. Bishop, Thomas F. Fitzpatrick and Andy H. Chan. Bishop will be the new office’s partner in charge. Fitzpatrick will join Philadelphia partner Paul J. Kennedy and Washington partner Goutam Patnaik as co-chairmen of the national intellectual property litigation practice.
Enron Revisited as Court Reviews Whistle-Blower Shield
The U.S. Supreme Court revisited the 2001 Enron Corp. collapse as the justices debated whether a federal law protects whistle-blowers working for auditors, law firms and other advisers to publicly traded companies.
Hearing arguments yesterday in the case of two onetime mutual-fund industry workers, the justices wrestled with a 2002 law that represented Congress’s response to the accounting fraud behind Enron’s failure. The fast-paced session was laced with questions about a hypothetical butler working for the late Kenneth Lay, who was Enron’s chairman, and the role of the company’s accounting firm, Arthur Andersen LLP.
Google’s EU Antitrust Offer Is ‘Ineffective,’ Publishers Say
A group of European publishers criticized Google Inc. (GOOG)’s offer to settle a European Union antitrust probe as “ineffective,” saying it doesn’t solve competition issues.
Google’s proposal to auction links on its search results to some rivals would generate additional revenue for the world’s largest search engine without addressing alleged discrimination in search rankings, the German newspaper publishers’ federation BDZV and other publishing associations said in a statement.
Samsung, Apple, Hyundai, Tardis: Intellectual Property
Apple Inc. (AAPL) is set for a replay of a court fight against Samsung Electronics Co. in which the iPhone maker may seek to recoup more than the $411 million in damages a judge cut from a $1.05 billion jury award in 2012 over patents.
Jury selection began yesterday in San Jose, California, in a retrial over how much Samsung should pay for infringement of Apple’s intellectual property. The original verdict in August 2012, which was the year’s largest in the U.S. at the time, was found by a judge to be flawed because jurors miscalculated the period that the infringement occurred for some of the 28 Samsung devices on trial.
Starbucks to Pay $2.79 Billion to Settle Coffee Dispute
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) said it would pay Mondelez International Inc. (MDLZ) $2.79 billion to settle a dispute over the coffee-shop chain’s bagged-coffee business.
The payment, ordered by an arbitrator, consists of $2.23 billion in damages and $557 million in interest and attorneys’ fees, Seattle-based Starbucks said today in a filing. The company said it has adequate cash and borrowing capacity to fund the payment and will book it as a charge to its fiscal 2013 operating expenses.
Singapore Probes Five, Charges Another Over Web Hacking
Singapore authorities are investigating five men suspected of hacking websites belonging to offices of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the president after charging another with defacing Lee’s town council portal.
“Police has since established the identities of five suspects, Singaporean men aged between 17 and 45,” the police said in a statement on its website today. The hacking of Lee’s office portal and the president’s Istana website appear to be unrelated, the police said.
States Moving Beyond U.S. Minimum Wage as Congress Stalls
President Barack Obama is pushing to raise the U.S. minimum wage higher than $7.25 an hour — the rate it’s been for four years.
Half of the U.S. population won’t have to wait: They live in places where the bottom rate is already higher than that.
Davis, Skadden Help on $4.2 Billion Deal: Business of Law
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advised Shire Plc (SHP), which agreed to buy ViroPharma Inc. (VPHM) for about $4.2 billion to gain treatments for rare diseases and lessen dependence on its best-selling Vyvanse pill for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP advised ViroPharma.
Intellectual Ventures, Canonical: Intellectual Property
Intellectual Ventures Inc., the company started by former Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, wants to shift its image from patent troll to innovation facilitator, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.
Myhrvold told the publication that people “misunderstand our business and how we do it.”
Apple Heads to Trial With Inventor Over Smartphone Patent
Apple Inc. (AAPL), the world’s most valuable technology company, faces a trial over claims by a California inventor that a patent he holds covers key features of the iPhone.
Apple maintains the NetAirus Technologies LLC patent is invalid because the technology was known long before the company filed its patent.
Disney, Piggy Pushers, Dunlop: Intellectual Property
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and other movie and TV studios have asked a federal court to dismiss their copyright-infringement case against the file-sharing website Lime Wire LLC and its founder, Mark Gorton, according to a Nov. 7 court filing.
The studios, including Viacom Inc. (VIAB), News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox Film and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. Entertainment, filed the suit in federal court in New York in February 2012. They claimed a “staggering” amount of infringement took place through the site, and that “millions of users copied billions of files using Lime Wire” without paying anything to copyright owners.
Google, Pier 1, Time Warner, Apple: Intellectual Property
Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility unit is seeking a patent on a technology covering the use of an electronic neck tattoo as microphone for a mobile electronic device.
According to application 20130297301, published in the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on Nov. 7, the electronic skin tattoo can include an embedded microphone, a transceiver for enabling wireless communication with the mobile device and a power supply configured to receive energizing signals from a personal area network associated with the device.
Suspect Detained in North China Explosions That Killed One
Chinese authorities detained a suspect in connection with Nov. 6 blasts in the northern city of Taiyuan that killed one person and sparked security concerns ahead of a Communist Party gathering in Beijing tomorrow.
The 41-year-old man, who had served a nine-year prison term for stealing, confessed after he was captured at 2 a.m. today, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Police found homemade bombs at his residence, Xinhua said.
Microsoft Patent Chief to Join Shook Hardy: Business of Law
Former Microsoft Corp. chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer is joining Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP as a partner and will be the managing partner of the firm’s new Seattle office, opening Dec. 1.
Eppenauer, who was chief patent counsel at Microsoft starting in 2003, led the patent group in the legal and corporate affairs department, where he developed Microsoft’s portfolio of more than 35,000 issued patents worldwide, the firm said. He also managed a team of more than 100 patent professionals and worked closely with government and judicial officials, academics and industry leaders on IP policy issues.
OSX Said Planning to File for Bankruptcy Protection Today
Eike Batista’s shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA (OSXB3) is planning to file for bankruptcy protection today, according to two people familiar with the matter.
OSX, which intends to exclude from the filing three vessels used as collateral for $1.77 billion of debt, will submit documents in a Rio de Janeiro court, the people said, asking not to be named as the decision hasn’t been made public. Shares fell 2.1 percent to 46 centavos at 11:32 a.m. in Sao Paulo.
Affymetrix, Mondelez, Tyler, Uinta: Intellectual Property
Affymetrix Inc. and Life Technologies Corp. (LIFE)’s Navigenics unit didn’t infringe a patent owned by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and E8 Pharmaceuticals LLC over a system to analyze genes, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said yesterday.
Pot-Smoking Quadriplegic’s Firing Shows Haze Over Rules
The marijuana that Brandon Coats smokes under a doctor’s supervision helps calm muscle spasms stemming from a car accident that left him a quadriplegic. It also cost him his job.
Coats, 34, was fired as a customer service representative at satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp. after failing a random drug test, even though Coats lives in Colorado where marijuana is legal for medical use. A state appeals court in April upheld the company’s right to fire him based on the federal prohibition on pot.
Ex-Antitrust Official Joins Gibson Dunn: Business of Law
Scott Hammond, the former head of criminal enforcement in the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division, will join Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as a partner in Washington focusing on criminal antitrust and international cartel matters.
Hammond was hired by the antitrust division after graduating from University of North Carolina School of Law in 1988. In 2000, he was promoted to director of criminal enforcement and named deputy assistant attorney General in 2005.
Silk Road Pirate Trained as Eagle Scout Before Charges
The man accused by the FBI of running a billion-dollar online market for illegal drugs, who allegedly also paid hit men to murder people threatening his business, was no trigger-happy junkie.
He was an Eagle Scout who earned an advanced degree in physics from Penn State University before abandoning academia to pursue a career in finance.
Skadden, Torys on Endo Deal for Paladin: Business of Law
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP advised Endo Health Solutions Inc. (ENDP) on its agreement to buy Canadian drugmaker Paladin Labs Inc. (PLB) for about $1.6 billion to expand in that country and emerging markets.
Paladin was advised by Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.