Editor’s note: WRALTechWire’s “Bulldog” is named after the old newspaper tradition of a “bulldog edition” for providing a quick and early look at news. We recently chose to relaunch the Bulldog as a way to incorporate local and other technology and life science news in our daily reports in a concise way so that we can provide more news to our readers.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - In our Bulldog blog’s tech and life science news update: Alcatel-Lucent considers hardware sale; N.C. governor to address NCTA event; Compuware shakes up its board to avoid proxy fight; SciQuest sets annual conference with U.S. Olympic hockey hero Mike Eruzione as a guest speaker; Novartis faces inquiry over drug in Japan; Sanofi pays $700M for drug; Red Hat-backed patent case appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court.

  • Alcatel Is Said to Discuss Enterprise Unit Sale With Unify

PARIS – Alcatel-Lucent is in talks to sell its enterprise business to potential buyers including Unify GmbH & Co. KG, a Gores Group LLC and Siemens AG venture, according to three people familiar with the matter in a story reported by Bloomberg news.

Alcatel-Lucent has operations in North Carolina.

The enterprise unit, which sells telecommunications equipment and services to companies and had 2012 revenue of 764 million euros ($1 billion), has also attracted interest from an industrial company from outside the U.S. and a Chinese investor, one of the people said. Lazard Ltd. is advising Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent on the process.

A sale would allow Alcatel-Lucent to focus on more profitable mobile-phone network contracts and bring the company closer to Chief Executive Officer Michel Combes’s goal of generating 1 billion euros from asset disposals by 2015. Combes is also cutting jobs to reduce expenses as competition with Chinese suppliers of networking equipment intensifies.

Simon Poulter, a spokesman for Alcatel-Lucent, declined to comment, as did Unify spokeswoman Amy Martin. Representatives for Siemens and Gores Group also declined to comment.

  • Governor to Address NCTA Event

CHARLOTTE – N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to address the annual Outlook for IT event put on by the North Carolina Technology Association in the Queen City on Jan. 31.

McCrory is a former mayor of Charlotte.

The NCTA event will feature an overview of expectations for spending in information technology this year as presented by Michael Smith, a research vice president for research firm Gartner.

  • Compuware Shakes Up Board to Avoid Proxy Fight

DETROIT –  Compuware, which spurned a bid from activist investor Elliott Management Corp. last year, reached an accord with the shareholder that staves off a proxy fight for control of the board.

The company operates an office in Durham, N.C. It recently dismissed founder and former chairman/CEO Peter Karmanos for criticizing the company. Karmanos owns the NHL Carolina Hurricanes.,

In exchange for being able to nominate two directors, Elliott will abide by a standstill agreement, limiting its ability to take control of the company. The deal will last until Dec. 31, 30 days before the next fiscal year’s deadline for shareholder nominations, according to a statement.

Compuware Chief Executive Officer Bob Paul has spent the past year trying to show shareholders he can increase their return without a takeover. That’s included selling the company’s Changepoint, Professional Services and Uniface businesses to Marlin Equity Partners for $160 million. It also spun off its Covisint division in an initial public offering in September.

Still, the shares climbed just 3.1 percent last year, trailing the almost 30 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The stock fell 2.3 percent to $10.84 today in New York.

Today’s deal gives Compuware more time to execute a turnaround, said Erik Gordon, a professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

“Management bought another year to try to turn the company around,” he said in an e-mail. “It’s likely to be its last chance.”

  • SciQuest Sets Annual Conferenece

CARY – SciQuest (Nasdaq: SQI) will host its annual conference on procurement done through the Internet on Feb. 23-26 in Orlando, Fla.

The NextLevel event is titled “Quest for the Best.”

Mike Eruzione, the captain of the U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team that won gold in 1980, is among the speakers.

  • Novartis Faces Criminal Probe in Japan

TOKYO – Japan’s health ministry filed a complaint with Tokyo prosecutors against Novartis AG, seeking a criminal investigation of the company for possibly breaching advertising rules with its Diovan hypertension drug.

The complaint accuses Novartis of exaggerating Diovan’s effectiveness in marketing materials, according to a statement on the agency’s website. Novartis will fully cooperate with Japanese authorities, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said.

A ministry panel in September said that Novartis promoted Diovan as a treatment for cutting stroke risks without sufficient evidence, a breach that could lead to fines and jail terms, a government panel said in an interim report in September. Diovan is among Novartis’s best sellers with $4.4 billion globally in 2012 sales.

“We deeply apologize for the great worry and inconvenience we have caused to patients, their families, those in the medical field and the Japanese people,” the company said in its statement.

The drug maker got about $5.4 billion, or 9.5 percent, of its global revenue from Japan in 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Two studies finding that the high blood-pressure treatment also cut the risk of stroke were later disputed. Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and Jikei University said data used in two Diovan studies it conducted, initiated by doctors, could have been manipulated.

  • Sanofi Pays $700M for Drug 

PARIS – Sanofi has agreed to pay $700 million for access to drugs developed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a 12 percent stake in the biotechnology company, expanding its investments in treatments for rare genetic diseases.

Sanofi’s Genzyme unit will gain greater access to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Alnylam’s patisiran, a therapy for a rare life-threatening disease that damages the nervous system, as well as the rights to three other drugs, Paris-based Sanofi said in a statement. The French drugmaker also gets an option on all of Alnylam’s medicines for rare genetic diseases.

The deal builds on Sanofi’s $20.1 billion acquisition of Genzyme, which ranked as the world’s biggest maker of treatments for rare diseases in 2011 when the transaction took place. France’s biggest drugmaker also today revised its agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., its U.S. partner on the cancer treatment Zaltrap, gaining the right to nominate an independent director when Sanofi accumulates a 20 percent stake. Sanofi, which owns about 16 percent of Regeneron, retains the ability to buy as much as 30 percent of the company.

  • Red Hat-Backed Patent Appeal Goes to Supreme Court 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a patent ruling that Raleigh-based Red Hat, Google and Cisco Systems say threatens to open information-technology companies to new infringement lawsuits.

The justices today said they will hear an appeal by Limelight Networks Inc., which is fighting a suit by Akamai Technologies Inc. and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over Akamai’s patented method for redirecting requests for Internet content to ensure access during periods of high demand. The companies compete with one another in that field.

A federal appeals court said Akamai could sue Limelight even though no single company performed every aspect of the patented method. Akamai says Limelight takes all but one step and induces its customers to perform the final step.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent cases, ruled that Limelight could be sued for inducing infringement. The ruling marked a change for the Washington-based court, which had previously barred such suits.

Google, Cisco, Oracle, Red Hat, Symantec Corp. and Xilinx Inc. are backing Limelight, which is based in Tempe, Arizona. Those companies said in a court filing that the decision would leave technology companies vulnerable because products like smartphones “can be used in an almost infinite combination of ways by other companies and consumers.”

The Obama administration also urged the nation’s highest court to intervene and rule for Limelight.