Thursday, October 10, 2013

(BN) Lilly, Starbucks, Cengage, The9: Intellectual Property

(Bloomberg ) Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY), the maker of Cialis and Evista, said in a statement yesterday it was "appalled and very disappointed" by trade secret thefts allegedly committed by two former employees.

The ex-employees were accused of stealing confidential information related to early stage clinical development of potential new drugs, Lilly said. The alleged theft doesn't significantly jeopardize its research and development pipeline, the company said.

The Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company said it has worked with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the probe and wouldn't make any additional comments.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reported that the alleged thieves were scientists with doctoral degrees, who were accused of transferring confidential information valued at $55 million to a Chinese pharmaceutical company.


Starbucks' 'Duffin' Product Announcement Raises Bakery Fans' Ire

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), the Seattle-based coffee chain, said on the company blog Oct. 4 that it was introducing a jam-filled muffin it dubbed the "duffin."

The posting garnered an immediate wave of negative comments from readers who said they had eaten duffins at a London-based establishment for years. Those who protested said that duffins were a "signature" offering of Bea's of Bloomsbury, and accused Starbucks of "having the nerve to steal their idea."

They said the recipe for duffins has even been published in the U.K. restaurant's cookbook, "Tea With Bea."

Bea's of Bloomsbury posted a notice on its website, thanking its customers for their support in the controversy, and offering them a 15 percent discount on a dozen of its duffins.

Although the U.K.'s Guardian reported that Starbucks supplier Rich Products Corp. of Buffalo, New York, had registered a "duffins" trademark, the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office indicates only one registration.

The Pontiac Coffee House LLC of Springdale, Arkansas, registered "Duffin" in September 2011 as a U.S. trademark. According to the patent office listing, the mark is used with donuts, muffin mixes and muffins. That company's website lists several flavors of duffins on its menu for $1 apiece.

Annheuser-Busch Loses Right to Budweiser Trademark in Italy

Budejovicky Budvar NP, the Czech brewer, has succeeded in persuading an Italian court to bar Belgium's Annheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) from using the Budweiser name in Italy, Associated Press reported.

The two entities have been engaged in a century-long battle over rights to the name, with the Czech brewer arguing that only beer brewed in its home country is entitled to be called Budweiser, AP reported.

Budvar said the Italian court authorized the importation of its Budweiser Budvar lager, and the removal of the AB InBev's Budweiser mark from Italy's trademark registry, according to AP.


Cengage Learning Sues JPMorgan Chase Over Textbook Copyrights

Cengage Learning Inc. sued lenders, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the agent for the first-lien debt, to nullify their purported liens on thousands of textbook copyrights.

The textbook publisher also sued Bank of New York Mellon Corp., as the trustee and agent for first-lien notes, and CSC Trust Co. of Delaware, as the trustee and agent for second-lien notes, according to a complaint filed Oct. 5 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Brooklyn, New York.

Cengage claimed in the lawsuit that JPMorgan and the others recorded interest in the copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office within 90 days before its July 2 bankruptcy filing, allowing Cengage to avoid the liens and security interest on the registered copyrights, according to court documents.

The publisher said in a footnote of the lawsuit that it believes there are "approximately 15,750 unique copyrights that are subject to avoidance."

Cengage, based in Stamford, Connecticut, develops teaching materials for colleges, schools, libraries and corporations, and provides print and electronic publishing.

The company, which bills itself as the second-biggest publisher of college-course material in the U.S., listed more than $1 billion in assets in a court filing. It owes the lenders and noteholders about $5.8 billion, court papers show.

The company negotiated a proposed restructuring with the first-lien holders to eliminate more than $4 billion in debt, according to a statement.

In 2007, private-equity group Apax Partners LLP led a $7.75 billion acquisition of Cengage from Thomson Reuters Corp.

The case is In re Cengage Learning Inc., 13-bk-44106, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). The lawsuit is In re Cengage Learning Inc. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, 13-bk-01479, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

The9 Ltd. (NCTY) Defeats Chinese Author's Copyright Infringement Claims

A Shanghai game developer has turned back a copyright infringement claim made by a Chinese author and history teacher, the Global Times reported.

The9 Ltd. was sued by Yuan Tengfei after he found his books listed on mobile phone software created by the company, according to the Global Times.

The author claimed The9's software was uploading his books to its server, according to the newspaper.

The court found that The9 link only directed users to another website rather than enabling the downloading of Yuan's books, the Global Times reported.

Safaricom Says Video Service Has No Connection to Doctor's Plan

Safaricom Ltd., the Kenyan provider of Internet and mobile phone services, has responded to a copyright claim from a Kenyan doctor over a medical video conferencing service, Nairobi's Business Daily reported.

Safaricom said the concept was already in the public domain and the partnership it developed with San Jose, California's Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and others had no connection to a proposal by Dr. Dedan Warui, according to the newspaper.

Warui has claimed he brought the idea to Safaricom two years ago and had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company at that time, Business Daily reported.

While Safaricom acknowledged it had been in contact with the doctor, it said the company decided to go with a different proposal, and, in court filings, claimed a similar service was up and running in India before its contacts with Warui, according to Business Daily.

Adobe Goes After Indian Photo Studios It Says Infringes

Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE), the San Jose, California-based maker of Photoshop software, has filed an infringement claim against an Indian photo studio, India's Daily Bhaskar newspaper reported.

Police raided the studio and seized four computers, which Adobe was later able to verify were operating with unlicensed copies of the California company's software, according to the newspaper.

Sachin Gupta, who leads the Indian Photographers and Videographers Association told the newspaper that Adobe officials brought the police a 14-page list of names of photo studios in India's Indore and Bhopal regions the company claims are using pirated software.

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