ViaSat and Space Systems/Loral settle intellectual property dispute

Intellectual Property Management

Satellite company ViaSat recently settled for $100 million with Space Systems/Loral, the company that built its first satellite and proceeded to use the technology to create competing satellites. Both companies create satellites for telecommunications purposes.

A U.S. District Court jury in San Diego found in April that Space Systems had breached a nondisclosure agreement with ViaSat, and had infringed three ViaSat patents. A second patent infringement suit was set to go to trial in 2016, but the settlement brought an end to both suits.

"We have worked hard and invested much to prove that ViaSat created and owns the critical enabling technology of the first generation of high-capacity satellites built by SS/L, including ViaSat-1, Jupiter-1 and others still being manufactured and identified in the referenced suits," Rick Baldridge, president and COO of ViaSat, said in a release.

The company's latest satellite is being manufactured by Boeing and will be launched in mid 2016, according to The Times of San Diego. Space Systems/Loral is protected from further lawsuits on an intellectual property or breach of contract basis by the settlement.

Damages due Oracle from SAP vacated in trial

Commercialization and Licensing Intellectual Property Management

A federal appeals court recently vacated $1.3 billion in damages that were awarded to database company Oracle by a jury trial regarding rival SAP SE's acquisition of Tomorrow Now, according to Forbes. The jury award was, according to the trial judge, excessive, and was therefore reduced. Oracle appealed this decision, but a three-judge federal bench upheld the judge's decision.

In 2007, Oracle sued SAP, alleging a Texas unit of the company had made hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads and copies of software used to market maintenance services to customers. A jury in 2010 subsequently awarded $1.3 billion in damages to Oracle, basing this amount on what a hypothetical license for SAP to use Oracle's intellectual property would have cost.

The new ruling from the appeals court said Oracle could either choose to receive $356.7 million in damages or begin a new trial. The appeals court also said Oracle could not seek damages based on how much a hypothetical license would cost as the method is too speculative.

"We are extremely pleased with the court's decision," Andy Kendzie, an SAP spokesman, said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Oracle declined to comment on the ruling.

Cipla seeks to bring generic asthma and HIV medicine to the US

Intellectual Property Management

Cipla Ltd., a generic drug company that made the news last decade for selling AIDS drugs for $1 a day in Africa, now seeks to increase its market share in the U.S. The two major areas on which the company will focus are asthma medicines and HIV drugs.

According to Bloomberg, Cipla will be concentrating on a version of GlaxoSmithKline's asthma treatment Advair, for which patent protection expired in 2010. Cipla plans to submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an aerosol generic version of the drug, but GlaxoSmithKline still retains intellectual property protections on the inhalers used for its delivery. The patents for the inhaler that dispenses the aerosol version of Advair are valid until 2025, and the FDA will require any other drug makers to prove their inhalers are equally good. The guidance from the organization requires inhalers similar in size and shape to GlaxoSmithKline's.

In HIV treatment, Cipla plans to create cheaper generic versions of top-selling medications from Gilead Sciences Inc. This is part of the company's play to see 20 percent of its sales come from the U.S. by 2020 – currently, Cipla receives only 9 percent of its sales from the country, according to Bloomberg.

UK undertakes intellectual property trade delegation to China

Intellectual Property Management

The UK government has sent a trade delegation to China to focus on issues around intellectual property in the country, according to Xinhuanet.

"I am determined we do all we can to make life as easy as possible for our businesses by improving our bilateral relationships with China on intellectual property matters, essentially the ownership of ideas and the reduction of counterfeits and design thefts," intellectual property minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, who is heading the delegation, said, Out-Law.com reported. "There is huge potential for British firms to do business with China, generating new jobs and economic growth in both countries."

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is planning to discuss many topics with Chinese officials, including global patent reform and making intellectual property systems more efficient. The IPO is hosting the second UK-China IP Symposium in Beijing in partnership with the Chinese State Intellectual Property Office to begin the trade delegation's work.

China is an area of serious concern for many companies regarding intellectual property. Joint work by China with other countries may have the potential to remedy many of the issues with intellectual property that foreign businesses in the country continue to encounter.

Vacant U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator role to be filled

Intellectual Property Management

President Barack Obama has put forward a nomination to fill the vacant role of U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The nominee is Danny Marti, who graduated from Emory University law school and served as co-chair of law firm Kilpatrick Townsend's intellectual asset and transactions team.

The position of U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, or IPEC, was created in 2008 to help guide and organize the administration's intellectual property policies. Victoria Espinel, who stepped down last year, was the first to hold the post. During her time in the position, she established a "Copyright Alert System" and was involved in the America Invents Act, among other initiatives and policies.

"The IPEC plays a critical role in promoting intellectual property as a driver of our nation's culture and economy," Senator Chris Dodd, who also acts as the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement. "Danny's impressive record of commitment to enforcing IP rights in the Internet age makes him a particularly strong choice. We urge the Senate to confirm him without delay for this important job."

Many industry groups that are strongly concerned with intellectual property – including music, movies and tech associations – have praised Marti's nomination and hope for a quick confirmation.