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briefs

Drugmaker loses India patent fight

India’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected drugmaker Novartis AG’s attempt to patent an updated version of a cancer drug in a landmark decision that health activists say ensures poor patients around the world will get continued access to cheap versions of lifesaving medicines.

Novartis had argued that it needed a patent to protect its investment in the cancer drug Glivec, while activists said the drug did not merit intellectual property protection in India because it was not a new medicine. In response, Novartis said it would not invest in drug research in India.

The court’s decision has global significance since India’s $26 billion generic drug industry, which supplies much of the cheap medicine used in the developing world, could be stunted if Indian law allowed global drug companies to extend the lifespan of patents by making minor changes to medicines.

Websites cash in on April Fools’ jokes

Twitter did away with vowels, Google unveiled a button to add smells and the cast of the 1990s sitcom “Wings” launched a Kickstarter campaign.

The digital world celebrated April Fools’ Day with the rollout of mock innovations and parody makeovers. Many of the top online destinations spent Monday mocking themselves and, in Google’s case, playfully trying to lure users into pressing their noses against their computer screens.

Google, having already debuted its wearable Google Glass, on Monday showcased Google Nose to add scents to it search results. It urged visitors to lean in close and take a deep whiff.

Aereo live TV services gets appeals court OK

An Internet company offering inexpensive live broadcast television feeds to computers, tablets and smartphones doesn’t violate U.S. copyright law, a divided federal appeals court said Monday.

The 2-to-1 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Aereo Inc.’s expansion of its $8-a-month service, which had been limited to New York City until this year. Several weeks ago, the company expanded to New York City suburbs, including New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, and it has announced plans to expand to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other U.S. markets this year.

Broadcasters including Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and others had sued, saying Aereo copies and retransmits their programs as they are first aired without permission.

Walmart rolls out gas-break program

Walmart is offering a break at the pump.

The retailer Monday began its “Great Gas Rollback” promotion, which offers shoppers up to 15 cents off a gallon of gasoline, provided they use a Walmart credit card, MoneyCard or gift card.

The program ends July 7.

Last year, the retailer said it saved customers more than $50 million in fuel costs. Only Walmart stores with participating Murphy USA stations are part of the program.

Gas producer files for bankruptcy protection

Oil and gas producer GMX Resources Inc. said Monday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming low prices for natural gas.

The Oklahoma City company filed in the Western District of Oklahoma. The filing includes its Endeavor Pipeline and Diamond Blue Drilling units.

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