Big Infringement cases of 2018 – Report

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Sun Pharma’s subsidiary files patent infringement suit against German drugmaker Biofrontera

In July, 2018, Sun pharma’s US subsidiary DUSA pharmaceuticals on Wednesday said that the company has filed a lawsuit against German drugmaker Biofrontera for patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and tortious interference claims in an ongoing patent infringement suit.

  • DUSA has alleged that Biofrontera defendants misappropriated confidential and trade secret information from DUSA and improperly obtained confidential DUSA information from its former employees to sell and market their own products.
  • At the heart of the controversy are two drugs of DUSA- LEVULAN® KERASTICK® (aminolevulinic acid HCl) for topical solution. “The lawsuit seeks an assessment of both damages and injunctive relief against the Biofrontera defendants”, Sun Pharma said in a statement. The company added that the patents-in-suit deals with an apparatus and method for “photodynamic therapy” (or “PDT”) and equipment for PDT. According to DUSA’s claims the photodynamic therapy, pioneered by DUSA, combines a drug with a light source to treat disease conditions.
  • The product was launched by DUSA in September 2000 in the US.

Patent infringement complaint filed by Fiat on Mahindra in US

  • In August, 2018, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) today said a patent violation complaint has been filed against the home grown utility vehicles major by Fiat Chrysler Automobile US, LLC, at US-based International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint alleges that certain design features of the details of Mahindra ROXOR infringe the intellectual property rights of Fiat’s Jeep design as it was modelled after the original Willys Jeep, M&M said in a regulatory filing. The company believes that the complaint is without merit, it added. 

Qualcomm accuses Apple of stealing its secrets to help Intel

  • Qualcomm Inc in September, 2018 alleged that Apple Inc stole its trade secrets and gave them to Intel Corp with the goal of improving Intel’s chips so Apple could replace Qualcomm’s chips and can use intel chips in future.
  • Qualcomm made the accusations in a motion to amend a complaint that was originally filed in November, when it alleged that Apple had broken a software license contract by sharing confidential details about Qualcomm’s chipset with Intel engineers. The Tuesday allegations were made in a planned legal filing seen by Reuters.
  • They go further than the original complaint by alleging Apple stole Qualcomm trade secrets in a “multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct … for the purpose of improving lower-quality modem chipsets, including those manufactured by Intel, a competitor of Qualcomm, to render such chipsets useable in Apple devices with the ultimate goal of diverting Qualcomm’s Apple-based business to Intel.”
  • The San Diego County lawsuit is unfolding amid a wide-ranging legal dispute in which Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair patent licensing practices. Qualcomm, the world’s largest mobile phone chipmaker, has in turn accused Apple of patent infringement.
  • Recently this month, China bans sale of most iPhone models after granting Qualcomm an injunction against Apple. The ban does not cover the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Plus or iPhone XR, which were not yet available when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit. Qualcomm claims that Apple violates two of its patents in the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
  • Things get really heated up between the two tech giants and if qualcomm successfully proves the infringement then there would be huge royalty for qualcomm.

Israeli start-up sue Apple for their patented smartphone camera technology

  • In November, 2018 Tel Aviv-based Corephotonics Ltd. filed its patent infringement case against Apple in federal court in San Jose, California, in November. An Israeli startup has sued Apple accusing the iPhone maker of copying its patented smartphone camera technology.
  • Corephotonics, which has raised $50 million from several high-profile venture capital firms and other investors, said its patented dual camera technology for mobile devices was incorporated by Apple in the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus without its authorization.
  • According to the lawsuit, Corephotonics Chief Executive David Mendlovic approached Apple about a partnership. Apple praised the start-up’s technology but refused to license it, Corephotonics said, even suggesting it could infringe the latter’s patents with little consequence. According to the complaint, “Apple’s lead negotiator expressed contempt for Corephotonics’ patents, telling Dr. Mendlovic and others that even if Apple infringed, it would take years and millions of dollars in litigation before Apple might have to pay something.” An Apple spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.
  • Corephotonics is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law firm that advised Samsung Electronics Co. on its patent litigation with Apple.

American photographer Neil Zlozower accused Spotify of Copyright infringement

  • On 7th December 2018, an American photographer Neil Zlozower accused Spotify, a music streaming service of Copyright infringement.
  • He filed this suit at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the suit, the streaming service used his photograph on their web player without any permission. The alleged photograph is of MötleyCrüe, an American rock band, taken by Zlozower.
  • Neil Zlozower is a renowned photographer and his photographs are very popular in the media. He shot for the covers of magazines like ‘‘Guitar Player’’, ‘‘Kerrang!’’, and ‘‘Rolling Stone’’.
  • He also worked with numerous artists such as David Bowie, Tom Waits, the Rolling Stones etc. According to the suit, Spotify used Zlozower’s photograph of American rock band MötleyCrüe for the group’s artist page. However, they did not obtain any license or permission from Neil Zlozower before using it. The suit further claimed that the streaming service infringed the copyright wilfully.

American photographer Neil Zlozower accused Spotify of Copyright infringement

  • According to the suit, Spotify used the photograph to benefit from Zlozower’s reputation around the world. Spotify did not obtain any license or permission to reproduce, reuse Neil Zlozower’s photography for any purpose. The streaming service generated huge profits by such willful infringement.
  • Zlozower alleged in his suit, that the infringement is wilful and it has cost him negatively. Therefore, he is seeking damages and any profits gained by Spotify by using his photograph. He is also seeking statutory damages of up to $150,000, and additional costs. The verdict of this case is yet to be disclosed.
Vipin Sharma
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