WIPO Report: China Sees Massive Surge in IP Filings Across the Board

Worldwide IP filings increased by 3.6% in 2021, according to a report published November 21 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The increase came during a turbulent time for the world economy, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a global economic downturn. The biggest increase in patent filings was in Asia, where 67.6% of worldwide patent applications were filed. The United States saw a 1.2% decrease in filings and a 1% increase in trademark filings. Trademark applications grew at a much faster rate than patent applications, with a 5.5% in trademark filing activity. Industrial design filing activity also rose by 9.2% with the largest uptick again in Asia. China saw high rates of growth and is a global leader in sheer numbers across all indicators.

Other Barks & Bites for Friday, November 25: Seventh Circuit Nixes Publicity Claim Against Subscriber List Sale, Copyright Office and USPTO Announce NFT Study, and Alia Moses Takes Over as Chief Judge of Western Texas

This week in Other Barks & Bites: U.S. District Judge Alia Moses officially takes over as the Chief Judge as the Western District of Texas; the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Jack Daniel’s appeal of the First Amendment ruling in favor of VIP Products’ whiskey bottle-shaped dog toys; the World Intellectual Property Organization announces that two-thirds of all patent applications were filed in Asian IP offices during 2021; Senators Cruz and Cantwell introduce a bill directing the FTC to create required disclosures on recording capabilities for smart devices; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office announce a joint study on non-fungible tokens; IBM files a copyright infringement suit against Micro Focus for its unauthorized use of IBM’s mainframe software; and the Seventh Circuit nixes a right of publicity claim under Illinois state law after finding that the sale of a magazine subscriber list did not involve the use of the plaintiff’s identity to complete a commercial purpose.

What IP Stakeholders are Giving Thanks for in 2022

As we get ready to celebrate another Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, it’s time once again to reflect on the year so far and to look beyond the many challenges facing intellectual property (IP) owners to what there is to be thankful for. Whether it’s people—like Judge Paul Michel, Kathi Vidal, Senator Thom Tillis and Rep. Thomas Massie—or major developments—like the withdrawal of the latest Joint Policy Statement on SEPs and the introduction of legislation to reform patent eligibility law—the commenters below have found a lot of ways to give thanks.

Unauthorized Hamilton Production Underscores Issues with Unlicensed, Infringing Staged Theatrical Productions

This August, the Door Christian Fellowship McAllen Church made some unfortunate headlines after it came to light that the church had produced and staged a performance that made unauthorized use of original works from the blockbuster Broadway musical, Hamilton. By the end of the month, The Door had issued an apology for the unauthorized performances and agreed to pay damages and destroy any recordings of the staged performance in respect of the intellectual property protections of Hamilton’s creators. While this unlicensed and infringing use was quickly dealt with by Hamilton’s legal team, there have been other instances of recalcitrant producers who have only been held accountable for staging unlicensed theatrical works after years of infringement.

NYIPLA Tells Supremes IP Lawyers Need Attorney-Client Privilege for Dual-Purpose Communications

The New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) filed an amicus brief last Thursday in the U.S. Supreme Court in In re Grand Jury. The petition was filed in April this year, presenting the Supreme Court with the question of whether communication involving both legal and non-legal advice should be protected by attorney-client privilege. The question has broad implications for attorney-client privileges, especially for intellectual property lawyers, says the NYIPLA brief. NYIPLA  makes the case that the Supreme Court should adopt “a rule which protects a dual-purpose communication if a significant purpose of the communication is to obtain or provide legal advice.” Currently, the appeals courts are divided as to whether this rule should be adopted versus one that protects communications only if legal advice was the dominant purpose behind the communication.

Jack Daniel’s Will Get Its Shot at SCOTUS Review Against Dog Toy Maker

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday granted a petition filed in August this year by Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. seeking clarification on whether the First Amendment protects VIP Products, LLC, a maker of dog toys that made humorous use of Jack Daniel’s trademarks for commercial purposes, against claims of infringement and dilution. The High Court previously denied Jack Daniel’s petition in January of 2021, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit “summarily affirmed” the district court’s summary judgment ruling for VIP on remand. In its ruling in 2020, the Ninth Circuit said VIP’s dog toy mimicking a Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle was an expressive work entitled to First Amendment protection, reversing the district court’s initial holding that the toy infringed and diluted Jack Daniel’s marks and remanding the case back to the district court for a determination on the merits of the infringement claim.

SEPs in Europe: From Huawei/ZTE to Apple/Optis, Europe Has Become a Friend to Patentees

During IPWatchdog’s Standards, Patents & Competition Masters 2022 program last week, one panel examined the standard essential patent (SEP) landscape in Europe, which has become decidedly more patent owner friendly than that of the United States in recent years. Beginning with the landmark 2015 decision by the European Court of Justice in Huawei v. ZTE, ([2015] EUECJ C-170/13), European courts have held SEP holders and implementers to account by applying the framework set forth in that ruling, which panelist Inna Dahlin of Valea AB summarized for attendees.

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