Other Barks for Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Business dogIn this week’s edition of Other Barks: The highest federal court in the United States declines to hear an appeal from tech giants on applying common sense to patent validity challenge proceedings. A group of pharmaceutical giants duke it out in a patent battle over a topical ointment for treating acne. The capital’s district court hears arguments in a case about compulsory copyright licenses. Also, President Trump signs a bill authorizing billions in funding for the nation’s space agency.

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  • Fed. Cir. Upholds Noninfringement Finding in Patent Suit Targeting Nintendo 3DS – On Friday, March 17th, the Fed. Cir. released a decision in a case finding that a handheld portable gaming console sold by Japanese consumer electronics company Nintendo (TYO:7974) did not infringe a patent asserted by Japanese tech firm Tomita Technologies. Fed. Cir. affirmed the finding of a lower court that the Nintendo 3DS did not infringe a patent claim based on the proper construction of the term “offset presetting means.” The ruling follows an earlier decision by the Fed. Cir. to reverse and remand the first jury decision in this case which found infringement of the patent based on what Fed. Cir. decided was an improper construction of “offset presetting means.” (Link to Fed. Cir.’s decision in Tomita Technologies USA, LLC et. al. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. et. al.)
  • Georgia Supreme Court Grants Win to iHeart Radio in Copyright Case Over Pre-1972 Recordings – On Monday, March 20th, Macon, GA-area newspaper The Telegraph reported that the Georgia Supreme Court had found unanimously that iHeart Radio’s broadcast services exempted it from a state law against the transfer of sound recordings without the owner’s consent. The suit was brought by musicians Arthur and Barbara Sheridan who alleged that iHeart Radio had been streaming music recorded prior to 1972, when Congress passed federal legislation governing copyrights on music recorded that year and thereafter, in violation of the Georgia state statute. (Link to The Telegraph report on Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in case) (Link to Georgia Supreme Court case summary of iHeartMedia, Inc. v. Sheridan et. al.)
  • EU Asks Social Media Giants to Reconsider Terms and Conditions, Approaches to Fraud – On Friday, March 17th, the European Commission released a press release in which it announced that it was asking a trio of U.S.-based social media providers to adjust certain business practices to comply with European Union (EU) law. The social media companies named include Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Google+, a property of Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL). The social media companies are being asked to, among other things, change their terms of service to protect a consumer’s mandatory right to withdraw from online purchases and remove the social network provider’s ability to remove content without discretion. The Commission also wants the providers to establish procedures for the removal of illegal content like payment scams or subscription traps. (Link to European Commission press release on the social media rules)

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