In France, MSD is currently battling against Mylan, Sandoz, Teva, Biogaran and EG Labo. Recently, the Judicial Court of Paris issued four decisions. For now, the battle between MSD and the generics companies is on hold.
All patent disputes are based on the national SPC for basic patent EP 07 20 599. The SPC protects the combination of ezetimib and simvastatin, on which MSD’s cholesterol-lowering drug Inegy is based.
Meanwhile the SPC (FR05C0040) has expired. The dispute, therefore, focus mainly on the question of damages.
First instance wins/second instance loss
While the first instance Judicial Court of Paris found the SPC valid in several cases, the Court of Appeal came to a different conclusion. It declared the SPC null, such as in the cases MSD against Mylan (case ID: 19/06114), and MSD against Teva (case ID: 18/23642).
Only in MSD against Biogaran did the first- and second-instance courts come to the same conclusion. Here, both courts declared the SPC invalid, subsequently rejecting the originator’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Meanwhile, Sandoz and EG Labo, the French subsidiary of Stada Group, had stopped marketing their generics until the SPC expired. This followed the first instance ruling of the Judicial Court at the beginning of 2019, which declared the SPC valid.
Judicial Court of Paris for damages
In the cases against Mylan and Teva, MSD appealed the decisions of the Court of Appeal that nullified the SPC. Now these cases are pending before the Supreme Court.
At the Judicial Court of Paris, the parties are fighting parallel over possible damages. In the disputes against Mylan, Sandoz, Biogaran and EG Labo, the first instance court ordered a stay of the proceedings pending the Supreme Court decision with regards to the validity of the SPC.
Trade secrets kept secret
The 3rd chamber, which deals with IP disputes, not only decided to stay the proceedings. Furthermore, in the proceedings against Sandoz and Mylan, the judges also ordered MSD to destroy the documentation communicated following previous procedural judge’s orders.
It also prohibited the innovator to use these documents, to ensure the party cannot use the documentation in foreign proceedings in the future.
Previously, Biogaran had already successfully fought off a demand from MSD, to produce confidential information. In spring 2020, the Judicial Court of Paris ordered Biogaran to disclose information relating to producers, distributors and importers of its products, as well as the amount and the prices of commercialised products (case ID: 17/17048).
Biogaran appealed this decision. In a ruling from 2 March 2021, the Court of Appeal overturned the order of the pre-trial judge from 2020. It rejected MSD’s claims for disclosure of confidential information by Biogaran. The second-instance judges found that the requested information fell under the scope of trade secrets.
Battle between long-standing advisors
In all cases, MSD relied on Allen & Overy partner Laetitia Bénard, who is known for pharma litigation.
Mylan and Sandoz both counted on Denis Schertenleib, who is regularly active in pharma litigation on the side of generic companies.
Biogaran is a regular client for mixed firm Casalonga. Biogaran not only relies on the team’s litigators in such disputes, but also hires its renowned patent attorneys for EPO filing and oppositions.
August & Debouzy represented Teva in the dispute with MSD. Partners Grégoire Desrousseaux and Francois Pochart led the team, which has long-advised its regular client in the French part of complex pan-European proceedings. This includes against Novartis in the dispute over immunosuppressant everolimus.
For MSD (all cases)
Allen & Overy (Paris): Laetitia Bénard
For Mylan (case ID 17/14664) and Sandoz (case ID 19/02893)
Schertenleib Avocats (Paris): Denis Schertenleib, Ombeline Degrèze-Péchade
For Biogaran (case ID 17/17048)
Casalonga (Paris): Marianne Gabriel
For EG Labo (19/02892)
BCTG Avocats (Paris): Gaëlle Bloret-Pucci
Judicial Court of Paris, 3rd chamber
Nathalie Sabotier (presiding judge – case ID 17/17048 )
Gilles Buffet (presiding judge – case ID 17/14664)
Carine Gillet (presiding judge – case ID 19/02893 an 19/02892)
Has Tesla Acquired Another Innovative Battery Startup?
Everyone loves a good mystery, especially when it has to do with Tesla and a potential battery breakthrough. In regards to Tesla’s rumored acquisition of a Canadian battery startup, we know just enough to spin an intriguing story (at least we hope you, dear readers, will find it so).
Automakers are naturally secretive about their technologies, especially ones that are still in development. Tesla is certainly no exception in this regard, so we won’t expect the company to release any details about this matter any time soon. However, TechCrunch has pieced together enough from publicly available information to indicate that Tesla has acquired Toronto-based Springpower International, the developer of an innovative manufacturing process that could make Tesla’s batteries cleaner and cheaper.
At Tesla’s Battery Day last September, Senior VP of Engineering Drew Baglino described a new process for making nickel-metal cathodes. The current process generates large quantities of wastewater, which contains bits of metal, ammonia, and other toxic chemicals. The new process reuses water and produces little waste. Baglino said it has the potential to reduce operating costs by 75%.
Just a couple of weeks earlier, Tesla purchased a number of patent applications from Springpower International, one of which describes an innovative process similar to the one that Baglino mentioned. In Springpower’s process, “the bulk of the aqueous solution used for the wet chemical reaction can be recycled…so that the total process has little or no effluent generated during production of the cathode precursor material.”
Since then, Springpower’s former website has disappeared, and several of Springpower’s top techies are now working for Tesla.
Springpower was founded in March 2010, and received a $3.4-million grant from tech incubator Sustainable Development Technology Canada in 2018. James Sbrolla, who mentored the young company and helped it to secure the government grant, told TechCrunch that, although he hasn’t been in contact with Springpower lately, he wasn’t surprised to hear about the rumored Tesla acquisition.
“It’s a group of smart people, no question about it,” Sbrolla told TechCrunch. “Technology like Springpower’s gives tremendous upside with a reduced environmental footprint, and being attached to a larger organization makes scaling much quicker and easier.”
Acquiring Springpower would fit nicely with Tesla’s long-term goal of bringing more of its battery technology in-house. “Now that we have this process, we’re going to start building our own cathode facility in North America,” said Baglino on Battery Day. While the California carmaker will continue to use suppliers such as Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL (for reasons of scale, if nothing else), it is always on the lookout for new ways to make its batteries safer, greener, and cheaper.
The new cathode manufacturing process is just one of many incremental improvements Tesla has in store for its batteries (and other components) and the techniques used to make them. Over the next few years, the cumulative results could be nothing short of revolutionary.
Nokia sharpens patent firms’ focus on diversity
Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia has launched its Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (E,I&D) Scorecard. The company will evaluate, via quarterly and annual quantitative and qualitative assessments, whether its panel firms are taking steps to implement an effective E,I&D programme.
Assessments will score law firms based on factors such as recruitment policies, pay equality, and availability of mentoring and pro bono initiatives. It also examines the percentage of billable work carried out by employees from different backgrounds, engagement with D&I organisations, and the presence of a dedicated E, I&D team.
For Nassib Abou-Khalil, chief legal officer at Nokia, the company’s visible commitment to hiring diverse teams is a fundamental aspect of Nokia’s future company direction.
In conservation with JUVE Patent, Abou-Khalil says, “Promoting inclusion and diversity is high on Nokia’s agenda, and we are collaborating with our suppliers and other stakeholders to make I&D a major differentiator to Nokia.”
“Practical examples include, for instance, trainings to suppliers and asking them to share their inclusion & diversity plans with us.”
The initiative is not unique to patent law firms, with Eversheds Sutherland, Roschier, Bird & Bird, Quinn Emanuel, McKool Smith, and Alston & Bird in the first participating group.
However, Nokia’s visibility in rolling out its programme should provide a benchmark for IP and patent firms going forward.
Steps in the right direction
Observers often criticise the European patent market for its lack of women and/or those identifying as Black, Asian or minority-ethnic in senior positions. The issue has recently come to light, for example, in the UK’s hire of two judges for its IP bench. Furthermore, recent studies have also discussed how to address the issue of ‘hidden disabilities’ and other, less obvious indicators of diversity such as sexuality and gender.
Thus, for larger, multi-jurisdictional patent law firms, the onus is on their ability to respond to market pressures. At historic law firms such as Bird & Bird and Eversheds Sutherland, as market demographics changed during the latter half of the 20th century, the companies began integrating equity, inclusion and diversity into their corporate strategies.
Nowadays, however, equity and inclusion often form part of hiring formulas and pitching structures. As such, patent firms tend to take such requirements more seriously. The kind of directive, such as Nokia’s EI&D scorecard, are becoming more widespread in IP and patent law.
If a potential client extends its own diversity requirements to the law firm, there is a greater chance of in-house and law firms sharing core values of equity and representation. Thus, it is likely that other in-house teams will follow suit in their law firm selection process.
Nassib Abou-Khalil says, “Overall, we are very pleased to see more focus being put on equity, diversity and inclusion topics in the legal industry, with more and more companies launching initiatives to promote diversity not only internally but through the companies they partner with.”
He continues, “Many companies, though, have opted for a carrot or stick approach. However, we have taken a unique approach to prioritise dialogue, collaboration and by helping partners drive change to create a more inclusive diverse and equitable legal profession.”
Boutiques offer fresh perspective
Some lawyers suggest that there is less opportunity for boutique law firms to fill diversity quotes. This is especially the case if the firm is based away from global cities such as London, which are known for having diverse populations. In other, less diverse cities, boutique firms can have greater trouble attracting and displaying a broader demographic of employees.
On the other hand, some boutiques are, alongside historic law firms, comparatively young. For example, Nokia also works with Arnold Ruess in Germany. Founded just ten years ago, its partnership is younger than some more longer-established firms. Such boutiques, created in a more modern era, have the ability to implement diverse practices from the outset. This is something that Nokia’s new initiative reflects.
Abou-Khalil says, “We chose the six panel law firms to pilot the scorecard with, and are planning to extend the scorecard to all law firms we use in the future.”
Women in front
One leading patent partner notes that the IP sector in general provides a good mixture of, for example, female partners across the board. However, in patent specifically, firms could do more to encourage applications from, and retention of, female patent attorneys and patent litigators at partner level.
Clemens-August Heusch, VP head of global litigation and disputes at Nokia, says, “As a sector of IP and patent law, life sciences and pharmaceuticals tend to attract more women. But engineering and mechanics are always one step behind.”
He says, “At Nokia, we are encouraging more women to take up STEM subjects at a high school and university level. There is absolutely no reason why it should always be men in this sector.”
Nokia’s drive for inclusion
Abou-Khalil says, “What makes Nokia’s approach unique is that it focuses on collaboration, partnership, support, and encouragement to create a network where Nokia’s Legal & Compliance organisation and the key law firms it uses hold each other accountable to progress equity, inclusion, and diversity representation.”
Abou-Khalil says, “Once we roll out the scorecard to all firms, they will not be alone in this improving their E, I&D practices, but will have the support of Nokia and a network of other companies to learn from. Our goal is not to put anyone at a disadvantage. Rather, to work collaboratively with all our law firms towards making a positive impact improving Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in the legal profession.”
And this initiative is not the first time that Nokia has extended a commitment to fostering greater diversity. In 2020, it launched a partnership with Diversity Lab, “an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost inclusion and diversity in law… in collaboration with top law firms and legal departments.”
One example of its work is its “Mansfield Rule for Legal Departments 2nd Edition,” a movement to broaden the pool of eligible candidates in legal leadership positions.
PhonePe and BharatPe Lock Horns, Diablo Trademark in Dispute and more
PhonePe and BharatPe Lock Horns, Diablo Trademark in Dispute and more
PhonePe fails to secure temporary injunction against BharatPe, Tamil Nadu’s Matti Banana sought for GI Tagging and more brought to you by the Trademark Attorneys at BananaIP (BIP) Counsel
INDIAN TRADEMARK UPDATES
Delhi High Court Denies PhonePe’s Injunction Against BharatPe
UPI and bank payment company, PhonePe, had recently filed an application before the Delhi High Court, seeking an interim injunction against its competitor BharatPe’s usage of the term ‘Pe’ as a suffix in its trademark. PhonePe claimed that by using the term ‘Pe’ in its suffix, BharatPe had infringed their trademarks and were attempting to free-ride on PhonePe’s goodwill. The Delhi High Court, however, dismissed PhonePe’s plea, holding that the term ‘Pe’ was not a distinctive character of the mark, and the usage of the same by BharatPe was not sufficient enough to cause confusion in the minds of the consumers. The Court further observed that the marks were completely different as the words ‘Phone’ and ‘Bharat’ were not even phonetically similar. The Court in this instance upheld the well-established principle that ‘exclusivity can only be claimed on the entire mark and not parts thereof.’
Citation: PhonePe Private Limited v. EZY Services & Anr. [IA 8084/2019 in CS(COMM) 292/2019]
INTERNATIONAL TRADEMARK UPDATES
Blizzard Entertainment Opposes Fox’s ‘Diablo’ Trademark
Internationally renowned video game developer, Blizzard Entertainment, has recently filed a notice of opposition before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) against Fox Media’s trademark application for the mark ‘Diablo’. Fox Media had filed the application in relation to a character named ‘Diablo’ on its new television show ‘HouseBroken’. Blizzard Entertainment, whose video game series ‘Diablo’ was launched in 1997, also owns the trademarks ‘Diablo II’, and ‘Diablo III’ for the subsequent editions of the game. In its opposition, Blizzard has claimed, that Fox’s application for the mark ‘Diablo’ is contrary to federal trademark law, as it would cause confusion and would deceive consumers.
Wrigley Cracks Down on THC-Infused Skittles
World-famous confectionary company, Wrigley, has recently instituted a suit before the United States District Court for the Central District of California, against several websites, alleging infringement of its trademark rights. Wrigley, which owns the ‘Skittles’, ‘Starburst’ and ‘Life Savers’ brands of candy has alleged trademark infringement by several websites, including www.2020ediblez.com, www.ie420supply.com, and www.oc420collection.com among others, who were selling THC and cannabis infused products such as ‘Medicated Skittles’, ‘Starburst Gummies’ and ‘Life Savers Medicated Gummies’. Wrigley has alleged that the sale of these products, which nearly-identically resemble those of Wrigley’s, infringes upon its trademark rights, and might also pose a danger to consumers who may inadvertently consume the same, believing them to originate from the confectionary giant.
BRAND LICENSING UPDATES
Virgin Media Partners with Southampton FC Academy
Virgin Media has recently announced its latest campaign, the Virgin Media Football Academy, in association with English football club Southampton FC, to launch a series of training videos and live sessions for students and teachers alike. The aim of the campaign is to help teachers and pupils to restart physical education after the prolonged school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions will concentrate on football skills as well as nutrition and mental wellbeing, delivered by professional coaches and players from Southampton FC’s Academy.
TCG Entertainment Secures Deal for Ella Fitzgerald Concert Experience
Evolution USA, the global licensing and brand management agency of the legendary American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, has linked up with TCG Entertainment to carry the iconic singer’s music to global audiences with a live symphony orchestra. The shows, which will be produced by TCG Entertainment, are set to launch in 2022, where the audience will be able to enjoy the never seen before music, along with the star’s greatest hits, licensed from Evolution USA. The concerts will be performed all over the United States before moving to international audiences.
DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE UPDATES
Mall Operator Attempts Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
Real-estate giant, Majid Al Futtaim Properties Llc, the operator of a chain of shopping malls in the Middle East called ‘City Centre’, recently instituted a cybersquatting dispute before the World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”), against the domain name www.CityCentre.com. The Panel constituted by WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Mechanism (“UDRP”), however, observed that the owner of the disputed domain, Domain-It, had acquired the rights over www.CityCentre.com in 2001 itself. The Panel further held that the expression ‘City Centre’ was a descriptive term, and had no specific connection with Majid Al Futtaim Properties. Therefore, the complaint was disposed of, and the Panel found Majid Al Futtaim Properties guilty of attempting reverse domain name hijacking.
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION UPDATES
Tamil Nadu Seeks GI Tag for Matti Banana
The Kanniyakumari Banana and Horticulture Farmers Producer Company Limited, has recently filed an application for GI Tagging of the Matti Banana, endemic to the Matti region of Tamil Nadu. The application has been facilitated by the MSME Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre, as well as NABARD’s Madurai Agri Business Incubation Forum. The Matti Banana has been used for a prolonged period of time as baby food, and is also said to possess medicinal properties. The application claims that the tribes of the Western Ghats have even used the Matti banana to cure diseases such as jaundice.
Authored and compiled by Uma T.S, Shreya Chaddha & Varun Gopalakrishnan
About BIP’s Trademark Attorneys
The Trademark News Bulletin is brought to you by the Trademark/Copyright, IP Transactional Strategy Divisions of BananaIP Counsels, a Top IP Firm in India. Led by Sanjeeth Hegde, BIP’s trademark attorneys are among the leading experts in the field. If you have any questions, or need any clarifications, please write to [email protected] with the subject: Trademark News.
The weekly trademark news initiative is a part of their pro bono work and is aimed at spreading trademark awareness. You are free to share the news with appropriate attribution and backlink to the source.
Disclaimer: Kindly note that the news bulletin has been put together from different sources, primary and secondary, and BananaIP’s reporters may not have verified all the news published in the bulletin. You may write to [email protected] for corrections and take down
Hiring IP Associates – Job Openings at BananaIP
Hiring IP Associates – Job Openings at BananaIP
BananaIP is hiring Intellectual Property (IP) Associates with LLM in Intellectual Property and/or Btech/LLB. Persons with relevant experience, and persons with disabilities will be given preference.
BananaIP is a premier IP Law Firm with more than 1000 clients across technology domains ranging from Automotive and AI to Entertainment and Life Sciences. The firm is recognized as a pioneer in technology driven IP services and IP strategy for business success. The diversity, specialization and expertise of its team combined with its open culture makes BananaIP the best firm to work with.
Job Title: Intellectual Property (IP) Associate
Department: Intellectual Property Research, Analysis and Advisory
Job description: As a part of the IP Research, Analysis and Advisory Division of BananaIP Counsels, the Associate will work on a variety of projects ranging from IP research reports and legal opinions to oppositions and litigation management. The associate is expected to carry with her/him knowledge, expertise and experience in different aspects of IP law, technology law, eCommerce law, and entertainment law, among others. An open minded approach, and ability to handle complex issues will be expected of the associate.
Joining Date: June 1st, 2021
Probation Period: 6 months from the date of joining
Location: Bangalore – Work From Home will be permitted during lock down and COVID restrictions.
Education: LLM in IP; and/or Btech/LLB
Experience: 2/3 Years
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Well-versed with Intellectual Property Law, Technology Law, eCommerce Law and Entertainment Law
- Ability to understand technology
- Capability to collaborate and work online
Interested candidates may apply along with a cover letter by email to [email protected], with the subject “Application for IP Associate Position”. Candidates must include the following documents in the email:
- CV highlighting the candidate’s background; and
- Reference Letters/Writing Samples if available.
The process of hiring will involve two/three written tests, an oral interview and a HR discussion.
Note: BananaIP’s team will contact a candidate only if her/his application is shortlisted. If you do not hear from us within 14 days, please assume that your CV was not suitable to this position.
About BananaIP Counsels
After 16-years of IP services and excellence, BananaIP is recognized as a pioneer in the evolution of IP in India through high quality services, law, and policy contributions, highly cited publications, and proactive technology integration.
With a team of more than 60 legal and technical professionals, BananaIP is one of the largest IP firms in India today. We serve more than 600 clients and have managed more than 20,000 files or projects. (Read more)
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